FORT MYERS, FLA. – Rob Antony on Wednesday described the talks the Twins had with Ervin Santana’s agent, Jay Alou, as “exploratory,” hours after the free-agent righthander agreed to a one-year, $14.1 million deal with the Atlanta Braves.
The Twins threw out a three-year deal worth between $30 million and $33 million during talks, but Santana — who reportedly sought a $100 million deal at the start of the offseason — preferred a one-year deal so he could return to free agency next offseason. So why didn’t the Twins make a one-year offer?
“The way we looked at things is that we are trying to build things here, and we weren’t necessarily looking for a one-year guy,” said Antony, Twins vice president and assistant general manager. “The Braves are in a different situation than we are. A one-year deal made sense for certain clubs, not for us.
“What we talked with him was very exploratory. We asked what they were thinking. We told them what we were thinking. That’s about it. Needless to say, they didn’t match up.”
The Twins weren’t afraid of adding another starting pitcher and dealing with a surplus of arms later. And they weren’t afraid of losing a second-round pick as compensation for signing Santana, who was 9-10 with a 3.24 ERA for Kansas City in 2013.
“Santana is not a fifth starter,” Antony said. “He would have improved our rotation. So it was worth looking into to see if something would work.”
Ricky Nolasco, Kevin Correia, Phil Hughes and Mike Pelfrey are in line to be the Twins’ first four starters, with Samuel Deduno, Vance Worley, Scott Diamond and Kyle Gibson the top candidates for the No. 5 spot.
Correia was chatting up Pedro Alvarez before Wednesday’s Twins-Pirates game, the two being former teammates from Correia’s time in Pittsburgh.
“The wind was blowing out to right pretty good,” Correia said. “I’m like, ‘Hmmm, you gonna try to hit one today?’ He was like, ‘No way.’ Sure enough, he got one.”
Alvarez’s two-run blast came in third inning and was one of seven hits off Correia in Pittsburgh’s 8-4 victory. The Twins righthander gave up four earned runs over three innings with no walks and one strikeout.
They were the first runs off Correia this spring. He pitched two innings scoreless in an intrasquad game on Feb. 27, three scoreless on March 3 against Toronto and three scoreless in a B game Friday against Pittsburgh.
He was far from concerned about his Wednesday outing.
“I’ve gotten better every time out there,” Correia said. “Even [Wednesday] I was a lot closer than the counts looked. I was throwing pitches down. I feel great right now. It is one of the springs that I can honestly say I don’t have any issues with at any point. The arm, everything felt great.”
The Twins will play host to the Red Sox on Thursday. Righthander Phil Hughes will start for the Twins while righthander Jake Peavy starts for the Boston.
La VELLE E. NEAL III