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Twins sign Cirillo, cut ties with Eyre

  • Article by: Joe Christensen
  • Star Tribune
  • December 13, 2006 - 11:18 PM

The Twins officially signed Jeff Cirillo to a one-year, $1.5 million contract Wednesday and cut ties with reliever Willie Eyre.

At Tuesday's nontender deadline, the Twins chose not to offer 2007 major league contracts to Eyre and infielder Luis Rodriguez.

Rodriguez re-signed with the team Wednesday, agreeing to take a reduced Class AAA salary if he gets sent to Rochester. Eyre decided to test the free-agent waters.

"I thought we made a similar offer to [Eyre] as we did to Luis," Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said. "Luis took us up on our offer. Willie did not."

Eyre, 28, spent the entire regular season with the Twins but did not make the playoff roster. He went 1-0 with a 5.31 ERA in 42 appearances spanning 59 1/3 innings this year.

"I just think it's fair to me and my family to explore some other options," Eyre said. "I've been with the Twins organization for eight years, and I hold no grudges toward anyone."

The Twins still have 39 players on their 40-man roster with Cirillo added and Eyre coming off. Ryan said he's confident there's enough pitching depth in the system to replace Eyre.

"Somebody's got an opportunity," Ryan said. "That's one of the positives."

Twins still want White

Even with Cirillo in the fold, Ryan said the team still is trying to re-sign Rondell White.

"I'm still talking to Rondell's representative," Ryan said.

Cirillo, 37, gives the Twins infield depth, particularly at third base, but the Twins aren't looking at him to be a full-time designated hitter.

"We've got good reports on him," Ryan said. "He takes professional at-bats, and he's had success against lefthanded pitching."

As for Cirillo's defense?

"It's good," Ryan said. "He can really throw, and he's still athletic, even at 37."

Etc.

•Looking at the list of nontendered players who joined the free-agent market Wednesday, one pitcher that interests the Twins is Joel Pineiro. But he'll probably be too expensive in this market. He made $6.8 million last year, and the Seattle Mariners didn't want to give the 58-55 career righthander another raise through arbitration.

•The Chicago Cubs nontendered Adam Harben, the minor league pitcher the Twins traded for Phil Nevin on Aug. 31. Harben had Tommy John surgery after injuring his elbow in the Arizona Fall League.

Joe Christensen • jchristensen@startribune.com

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