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Oakland Athletics outfielder Josh Willingham

Sherry Lavars, McClatchy Tribune

Twins showing interest in Willingham, Doumit

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN
  • Star Tribune
  • November 16, 2011 - 12:14 AM

MILWAUKEE - The Twins recently contacted Matt Sosnick, the agent for Ryan Doumit and Josh Willingham, expressing interest in both players, according to people familiar with the discussion.

Sosnick and Paul Cobbe also represent Hisashi Iwakuma, a free agent pitcher from Japan who interests the Twins.

In Doumit and Willingham's case, no offers have been made, but they are among the free agents on the list the Twins are considering this offseason.

Willingham is a corner outfield option for the Twins if they don't re-sign Michael Cuddyer or Jason Kubel.

Willingham, 32, batted .246 with a .332 on-base percentage, 29 home runs and 98 RBI last season for the Athletics. He played most of his 136 games in left field and is a righthanded hitter who would fit in well alongside Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau.

Like Willingham, Doumit mostly appeals to the Twins because of his bat. He's considered a below-average defensive catcher, which doesn't make him an ideal backup option for Mauer.

But the switch-hitter batted .303 with a .353 OBP and .477 slugging percentage in 77 games for the Pirates last season. His catching skills are comparable to former Twin Jose Morales -- a good arm with suspect receiving skills.

Doumit, 30, offers more versatility than Morales, however, after making 32 career starts at first base and 54 career starts in right field.

Now that Jim Thome has signed with the Philadelphia, the Twins will have more flexibility with their bench. If they signed Doumit, they might keep three catchers on the roster, keeping Drew Butera for his defense.

But if something should happen to Mauer, where they need someone else to catch 50 or more games, they could turn things over to Doumit. The defense might suffer, but he should be able to make up for it at the plate.

Trade buzz

Some within the Twins organization viewed Mariners catcher Miguel Olivo as a potential trade target this offseason, but Seattle has no ready replacement for Olivo and isn't interested in moving him.

Also, there was some thought the Twins might consider trading Carl Pavano to the Rockies, a team that had interest in signing him the year before as a free agent. The Rockies want to add a veteran starter this offseason but they've heard the Twins don't want to move Pavano.

Carroll takes physical

Jamey Carroll passed his physical Tuesday and the Twins will announce his signing Wednesday. Last week, the 37-year-old middle-infielder agreed to a two-year, $6.75 million deal with an option for 2014.

For their part, the Dodgers have signed free agent Mark Ellis of the Rockies to replace Carroll. Ellis got a two-year, $8.75 million deal with a club option.

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