Twins sign right-hander Stauffer to 1-year deal

Reliever excited for 2015, expected to help bolster bullpen

Twins sign right-hander Stauffer to 1-year deal

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins strengthened their bullpen on Tuesday as they signed right-hander Tim Stauffer to a one-year deal worth $2.2 million.

Stauffer, 32, posted a 3.50 ERA with 67 strikeouts and 23 walks in 64 1/3 innings with the Padres last season. To make room for him on the roster, the Twins outrighted both outfielder Chris Parmelee and catcher Eric Fryer to Triple-A Rochester. Parmelee was previously designated for assignment for the second time in his career on Dec. 13.

Stauffer is the first major addition to the bullpen this offseason, and he figures to take the role of departed right-hander Jared Burton after Minnesota declined to pick up his $3.6 million option in October. But Stauffer said he's open to any role, including starting.

"I'm pretty open and flexible to do whatever," Stauffer said. "I've been able to bounce back really well from pitching multiple days in a row. So whatever they have a need for, I feel like I can do it for them."

Stauffer missed nearly the entire 2012 season after undergoing surgery to repair a strained flexor pronator mass in his right elbow, but he has pitched well since the surgery. The right-hander has posted a 3.63 ERA with 131 strikeouts and 43 walks in 134 innings over the past two seasons.

"I feel great," Stauffer said. "My elbow has felt great the last couple years without any issues. I'm able to go out there and pitch without having to worry about it."

The former first-round pick in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft has a career 3.87 ERA in 575 innings. Stauffer has made 73 career starts and 110 career relief appearances. He made three spot starts with the Padres last season, posting a 10.13 ERA in eight innings, but he had a 2.56 ERA in 41 relief appearances.

Stauffer isn't a hard thrower, as his fastball averaged 90.6 mph last season, according to Fangraphs.com. But he keeps hitters off-balance, as he mixes in a cutter, changeup and curveball to go along with the fastball, which he only throws 54.2 percent of the time, per Fangraphs.com.

Stauffer is the latest free-agent signing for the Twins this offseason, joining Torii Hunter (one-year, $10.5 million) and Ervin Santana (five-years, $55 million). Stauffer said he believes the Twins are going in the right direction and saw them play firsthand twice last year in Interleague Play while with the Padres.

"I played against them last year and definitely saw some young talent," Stauffer said. "They have some good players and they've made some signings that are definitely going to help them. Torii Hunter is only going to help the team and so I think it's going to be a completely different team going into next year like many are. So I think it's going to be a good team and I'm excited."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.