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.

Twins have a tentative deal with Mike Pelfrey

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: December 17, 2012 - 1:58 AM

The Twins have reached agreement with free agent righthander Mike Pelfrey, according to a source familiar with the negotiations. The deal won't be finalized until he passes a physical.

According to reports, Pelfrey will receive $4 million in 2013 with the chance of earning another $1.5 million in incentives.
Pelfrey started three games last season for the Mets before being lost for the year due to a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow, required reconstructive surgery. Pelfrey has indicated that he should be ready to go for the start of the 2013 season, but nothing will be known for sure until he makes it through spring training.

Pelfrey, 29, is a former first round pick by the Mets who went 50-54 in seven seasons. His best year came in 2010, when he went 15-9 with a 3.66 ERA. He slumped to 7-13, 4.74

Twins General Manager Terry Ryan was not available for comment.

If the Twins do sign Pelfrey, he will join Scott Diamond, Vance Worley and Kevin Correia in the 2013 rotation. The Twins, however, might continue to look at starting pitching options during the offseason.

It's an interesting move by the Twins. Pelfrey could be a solid addition if he can contribute early and regain his form. But Pelfrey has his Tommy John surgery about two weeks after Scott Baker did. The Twins tried to sign Baker but apparently want to have an option year on his deal, which Baker balked at.

Then they give Pelfrey a one-year deal. Hmmmm.

Baker ended up signing for the Cubs for $5.5 million - plus $1.5 million in incentives.

A ground ball pitcher, Pelfrey hasn't given up more than 21 home runs in a season and has a career rare of 0.7 home runs per nine innings.

I view Correia as a back-of-the-rotation guy. Pelfrey can be more than that, if he gets his mojo back after Tommy John surgery. I thought the Twins would sign a couple Pelfrey-level pitchers this offseason. He has won 15 games in the league before and might have another season like that in him.

But you have to look at the Twins' potential rotation and wonder if they have anything more than a No. 3 starter. I still think the Twins would have some support if they just announce that they are building for two years down the road. They might think they can be competitive, but we'll be watching Alex Meyer and Trevor May to see if they get off to fast starts and can get here by September.

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