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Inbox: Will Twins be able to re-sign Pavano?

Inbox: Will Twins be able to re-sign Pavano?

MINNEAPOLIS -- The holiday season is once again upon us, so let me take the opportunity to give my thanks to all the readers who continually read the Inbox and the rest of the stories on twinsbaseball.com. I enjoy being able to bring you news about the Twins and getting the chance to answer your questions. I appreciate all the e-mails and questions that you send throughout the year, and please know that I do read them all -- even if I don't always get the chance to answer them here or via e-mail.

I wish all of you a happy and healthy holiday season. But before you get ready to start preparing your turkeys for Thursday, let's take a look at this week's Inbox and see what's on your minds this week.

How serious are the Twins about re-signing Carl Pavano? He literally saved the rotation in the final two months, and his stuff was as good as it has ever been in the playoffs vs. New York.
-- Nick R., Silver Spring, Md.

The Twins have made their interest in re-signing Pavano very clear this fall. But the question is whether Pavano's asking price will be within the Twins' price range. The Twins met with Pavano's agent, Tom O'Connell, during the General Managers' Meetings in Chicago earlier this month. O'Connell told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that it was an excellent first meeting. But the two sides both understood that Pavano wanted to explore free agency. So the Twins now will have to compete with other clubs for the veteran pitcher.

The Twins are interested in trying to add at least one veteran arm to their rotation this winter, if it's at the right price, but there are other starting pitchers out there that intrigue the Twins besides Pavano. Among those pitchers are free agents Jarrod Washburn and Rich Harden. The Twins have explored trades for both of those hurlers in recent seasons, and with the pitching depth in their Minor League system, the Twins could possibly afford to take a risk on a guy like Harden, who has been prone to injuries.

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Can you explain how the Twins are going to use Miguel Angel Sano both now and in the future? Will he start the year in Elizabethton?
-- Cody W., St. Paul

First off, I wanted to let everyone know that the 16-year-old shortstop prospect will be playing under the name Miguel Jean. This isn't a surprise to the Twins. Miguel had been using his mother's maiden name of Sano -- something that's done as a sign of respect in the Dominican Republic. When the Twins signed him, they knew Miguel's actual last name was Jean and the prospect said he wanted to play under that name for the foreseeable future. I wanted to clear that up for anyone who might be confused when they didn't see the name Sano anywhere in the Twins Minor League rosters. As for where Jean will be playing in 2010, the plan is to have him start his career with the Twins' rookie Gulf Coast League squad in Fort Myers, Fla.

Now that the Twins have acquired J.J .Hardy, does this mean Orlando Cabrera will no longer be a part of the Twins' plans for 2010?
-- Lance S., Clinton Corners, N.Y.

Following the trade, Twins general manager Bill Smith said that Hardy will be the club's shortstop in 2010. So everyone took that to mean that the club would allow Cabrera to leave via free agency this winter. That still appears to be the most likely scenario. However, one person who would like to see Cabrera come back is Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. The club's skipper told me last week he wants Cabrera back, possibly as the club's second baseman.

"I think he's an offensive threat. I think he can do a lot of things -- I'm not afraid to try anything," Gardenhire said of Cabrera at second base. "If it's going to make our team better then we try it."

Smith said on a radio show last week that the big question mark on Cabrera returning is that his experience at second base is limited and he's never played third base. So I'm not sure the Twins front office is strongly interested in signing Cabrera to make a position switch. I also haven't heard yet whether Cabrera is willing to sign to play second or third. With Gardenhire showing strong interest in having Cabrera return, I wouldn't rule out the possibility just yet, but we'll have to wait to find out more.

What is going on with Glen Perkins and his grievance? There hasn't been anything in the news about him. Will he be back?
-- Chelsea H., Brainerd, Minn.

I've received a lot of questions about Perkins and the grievance that he filed against the Twins toward the end of the season regarding service time. While Perkins and Smith have been mum on the subject, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported recently that the pitcher dropped the grievance after the two sides reached a settlement. According to the Star Tribune, the left-handed pitcher did recoup some service time but not enough to qualify for salary arbitration as a "Super Two." The two sides may have settled before a hearing took place, but there have been reports that the Twins could be looking to move Perkins this winter. Considering the things that took place between Perkins and the club over the past couple months, it might just be best for both sides if Perkins gets a fresh start elsewhere. For now though, Perkins is still with the team and he's expected to be at full strength for the start of Spring Training.

With starting pitching being one of the bigger problems last year, what are the chances that the Twins are able to go after, and get, Rich Harden?
-- Thomas V., Delano, Minn.

Harden was on the Twins' radar this past August. The club put in a waiver claim on the pitcher, only to have the Cubs pull him back. While Harden has had trouble staying on the field in recent years, he's considered to have one of the highest upsides of this year's free-agent class of pitchers. Harden, 28, has never been durable enough to throw 200 innings in a season but his stuff has always been electric. As I mentioned earlier in this mailbag, the Twins feel comfortable with the depth that they currently have in their system and Smith said he believes that the club's young rotation will take a step forward after a rough 2009 season. So it might make sense for the Twins to take a risk on a guy who could provide high rewards if he remains healthy. Smith has shown he's not afraid to do this based on his signing of third baseman Joe Crede last year. But as is always the case, it will all depend on how much Harden could demand on the free-agent market.

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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