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Twins remain interested in bringing Pelfrey back

Twins remain interested in bringing Pelfrey back

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Twins remain interested in bringing back right-hander Mike Pelfrey and have made him a contract offer, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said on Tuesday at the Winter meetings.

Twins general manager Terry Ryan wouldn't confirm the club has made Pelfrey an offer, but did say he remains in contact with Pelfrey's agent, Scott Boras. The Twins reportedly offered Pelfrey a two-year deal worth $10 million.

"We're still in dialogue with Mike," said Ryan, who rarely comments about current free agents.

But Gardenhire had more to say about Pelfrey, who had a 5.19 ERA in 29 starts with the Twins last season. The right-hander, who was coming off Tommy John surgery, struck out 101, walked 53 and gave up 13 homers in 152 2/3 innings.

"We have a lot of respect for Pelfrey," Gardenhire said. "We're talking with him and working with him. We've basically made some offers and talked. It's a decision whether he wants to take it or go elsewhere. I love the guy. He's good for the clubhouse. He came a long ways last year off his surgery. So now we'll just see, I'm stepping back to see if it works out."

Pelfrey had an unsightly 5.19 ERA last season, but Gardenhire saw promise in Pelfrey, especially considering he came back from Tommy John surgery so quickly. Pelfrey was much better in the second half of the season with a 3.25 ERA in five June starts and a 3.60 ERA in six August starts but faltered in September with a 7.45 ERA in four outings.

Advanced metrics such as Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP), which measures what a player's ERA should have looked like based on strikeouts, walks and homers allowed, also painted a rosier picture of Pelfrey. He had a 3.99 FIP, as he still had strong peripheral stats and was hurt by a .337 batting average on balls on play (BABIP). The league average BABIP is roughly .300.

"We went through this process, now we'd like to see the benefits and fruits of it going forward," Gardenhire said. "So hopefully it works out and he comes back. We like the young man an awful lot, and he can help us win baseball games."

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.

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