The Twins are desperate for starting pitching but probably won't gamble on big contracts for Zack Greinke or Anibal Sanchez. Kyle Lohse had an ugly exit from Minnesota in 2006. The Twins had little interest in Edwin Jackson last year. Dan Haren probably will stay on the West Coast, and if the Yankees let Hiroki Kuroda go, he will look for another big market. But there will still be several free-agent options for the Twins.
Here are 10 pitchers with the best chances of landing in Minnesota (final 2012 team in parentheses):
1. Scott Baker (Twins): Coming off Tommy John surgery, he would like to stay with Twins on an incentive-laced deal.
2. Hisashi Iwakuma (Mariners): Went 8-4 with a 2.65 ERA in 16 starts last year. Twins had heavy interest two years ago.
3. Joe Saunders (Orioles): Aside from Andy Pettitte, he is the best lefthander on the market. Baltimore should keep him.
4. Ryan Dempster (Rangers): His ERA last year was 2.25 for the Cubs and 5.09 for Texas. At 35, his velocity is dropping.
5. Jeremy Guthrie (Royals): A disaster for the Rockies last year, then a savior for the Royals. Fastball averages 92.8 mph.
6. Shaun Marcum (Brewers): Successful when healthy but has history of arm trouble. Last year, fastball averaged 86.5 mph.
7. Joe Blanton (Dodgers): Home runs were a big problem for this workhorse in Philadelphia, less so with the Dodgers.
8. Scott Feldman (Rangers): The 6-6 righthander has loads of talent. Consistency eluded him under pitching coach Mike Maddux.
9. Carlos Villanueva (Blue Jays): Teased as starter last year, but one wonders why pitching-starved Toronto would let him go.
10. Francisco Liriano (White Sox): With value still low, why not reunite him with new Twins bullpen coach Bobby Cuellar?
|Chicago Cubs - M. Garza||6:05 PM|
|Pittsburgh - W. Rodriguez|
|Detroit - M. Scherzer||6:05 PM|
|Cleveland - C. Kluber|
|NY Yankees - P. Hughes||6:05 PM|
|Baltimore - M. Gonzalez|
|Tampa Bay - A. Cobb||6:07 PM|
|Toronto - R. Ortiz|
|Cincinnati - M. Leake||6:10 PM|
|NY Mets - J. Niese|
|Philadelphia - T. Cloyd||6:10 PM|
|Miami - J. Fernandez|
|Minnesota - M. Pelfrey||6:10 PM|
|Atlanta - T. Hudson|
|Oakland - D. Straily||7:05 PM|
|Texas - Y. Darvish|
|Los Angeles - Z. Greinke||7:10 PM|
|Milwaukee - H. Burgos|
|Boston - F. Doubront||7:10 PM|
|Chicago WSox - J. Quintana|
|Kansas City - W. Davis||7:10 PM|
|Houston - B. Norris|
|Arizona - I. Kennedy||7:40 PM|
|Colorado - J. Chacin|
|Seattle - A. Harang||9:05 PM|
|LA Angels - J. Williams|
|St. Louis - A. Wainwright||9:10 PM|
|San Diego - E. Volquez|
|Washington - S. Strasburg||9:15 PM|
|San Francisco - M. Cain|
|Los Angeles||9:00 PM|