La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Neal: Twins in on Garza, could be in on Tanaka

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: December 10, 2013 - 9:03 PM

Add a couple more names to the list of Twins pitching targets. Interesting ones.

Let's start with former Twin Matt Garza, who is one of the top free agent pitchers on the market.  He was 10-6 with a 3.82 ERA in stints with the Cubs and Rangers last season and could return to the organization he began in career with before being dealt to Tampa Bay in 2007 as part of a package that brought the Twins Delmon Young.

During a phone conversation on Tuesday from his home in California, Garza expressed a willingness to let free agency continue to play out.

``I'm not in a hurry,'' Garza said. ``My agent keeps in touch with me and lets me know who he's been chatting with.''

Garza, 67-67 with a 3.84 ERA in his career, is willing to return to the Twin Cites.

``I'm open to anything that makes me feel comfortable,'' he said. ``If (Minnesota) is where that's at, I will have no problem going there.''

The Twins would likely have to outslug several teams, including the Angels, in order to land Garza. He would join free agents Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes in a seriously enhanced Twins rotation - if they could pull this one off.

And, according to a source, the Twins are willing to put in a bid on Japanese righthander Masahiro Tanaka, who was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA for the Rakuten Golden Eagles last season. Tanaka has not been posted yet, but the soon-to-be-approved new system caps the bids at $20 million. Indications are that the Twins are willing to dive in at that temperature and see if they can sign Tanaka.

This also will be a tough one, as several teams are expected to bid on Tanaka. And Tanaka will be allowed to negotiate with multiple teams if there's a tie.]

Wow. The Twins are really getting after it here. They have been linked to more interesting players than I can remember at a winter meetings.

They were interested in lefthander Brett Anderson before he was traded from Oakland to Colorado today.

They have met with Bronson Arroyo's agent.

GM Terry Ryan admitted they are still talking to Mike Pelfrey – makes sense that they aren’t waiting for Pelfrey and Boras to make up their minds,

They may end up with one of these pitchers. Two seems a stretch. But they definitely aren't bottom-feeding this offseason.

``We've gotten beaten up for three years now,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. ``You know you need pitching. We're trying to get pitching. We've done a pretty good job at this point. We're looking at position players. We said we were going to get better, and that's our goal is to get better. We started that process, but by no means is it done. We're still working hard at it.''

Did he sense that Ryan is more active than in past years?

`` We're trying to get better.  That's all I can tell you,'' Gardy said. ``Terry is active.  We've been active here before putting our hand in.  It doesn't mean we're going to do a lot more, but it means we're really trying.  If the right guy works out, Terry is being really aggressive.

``It's fun to watch. There are a lot of meetings going on, lot of good talking about a lot of players.  I think Terry's pretty serious about this stuff.  He always is.  He knows we need to get better, and he wants to do it.  And he's not trying to make it a total turnaround at once.  No one believes we can do that, but we're going to get better and play better baseball.''
 

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