First baseman Justin Morneau, catcher Joe Mauer and outfielder Michael Cuddyer headline a group of six Twins looking for big paydays as salary arbitration figures were exchanged Tuesday.
Morneau, the American League MVP who made $385,000 last season, is seeking $5 million next year; the Twins have offered $4 million.
Mauer, the AL batting king who made $400,000 last season, is seeking $4.5 million; the Twins have offered $3.3 million.
Cuddyer, coming off his first 100-RBI season last year, has filed for $4.25 million; the Twins have offered $3 million.
The Twins opened dialogue with agents for all three players last month, and discussions on multi-year deals continue on all fronts.
It's possible the large gaps between what the players asked for and what the Twins have filed for will accelerate talks on multi-year deals, because there will be too much to lose for either side if the cases reach the three-person arbitration panel. Arbitration hearings are scheduled for Feb. 1-20.
Outfielder Lew Ford, coming off a disappointing season, has filed for $1.3 million; the Twins have offered $800,000. Third baseman Nick Punto is seeking $2.1 million; the Twins have filed for $1.6 million. And reliever Juan Rincon has filed for $2.4 million while the Twins have offered $1.6 million.
Matthew LeCroy has signed a minor league deal with the club and has been invited to spring training. LeCroy, 31, batted .239 with two homers and nine RBI in 39 games with Washington last year after spending the six previous seasons with the Twins. He will make $500,000 if he makes the team.