Now that Michael Cuddyer and Josh Willingham are off the board, the Jason Kubel sweepstakes are heating up, and the Twins are right in the mix.

The Twins increased their efforts to re-sign Kubel late this week, a person familiar with Kubel's situation told the Star Tribune today.

The Twins made limited progress in their discussions with Kubel before agreeing to their three-year, $21 million contract with Josh Willingham.

All along, the Twins made it clear to Kubel and Willingham that Cuddyer was their first choice. They made a three-year, $25 million offer to Cuddyer, but he has since agreed to a reported three-year, $31.5 million deal with the Rockies.

The Twins wanted at least one righthanded power bat, and they got that with Willingham, who hit 29 home runs for Oakland last year. But the Twins know they can't be completely certain what they'll get out of the lefthanded hitting Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer next season.

So they haven't forgotten about the lefthanded hitting Kubel, who could still wind up playing right field for the Twins, allowing Willingham to stay in left field, where he's more comfortable.

Kubel, 29, is three years younger than Cuddyer and Willingham. It sounds like Kubel's agent is getting a lot of calls today. The Indians are among the many teams believed to have serious interest.

Stay tuned.

Update: Kubel is a Type B free agent, so the Twins would get a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds of the 2012 draft, as compensation if he signs elsewhere.

Cuddyer was a modified Type A free agent, so the Twins will get two compensation picks for him. They won't get an extra first rounder because Colorado has a Top 15 pick, at No. 10. But the Twins will get a sandwich pick and another right before Colorado picks in the second round. So that's two compensation picks in the Top 65, roughly, for losing Cuddyer.

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