Mike Pelfrey has proved he is healthy again after arm surgery, and he's established he's a good fit with the Twins. But one crucial fact about the righthander, one that will determine his future, remains uncertain:
What's he worth?
Pelfrey, who signed a one-year, $4 million contract with the Twins last winter, said even his agent, Scott Boras, isn't sure.
"We talked when we were in [Anaheim], and he mentioned that he doesn't really know what my market is," Pelfrey said.
That's because Pelfrey was so inconsistent in April and May, posting a 6.66 ERA in his first 11 starts as he worked to get stronger following Tommy John surgery the previous May. But as the weather got warmer, so did Pelfrey; his ERA in June and July is 3.83, even including a difficult four-inning start Tuesday against the Royals.
"It's been two completely different seasons for me," the 29-year-old Pelfrey said. "I think [my next contract] is going to depend on the last two months, on how I finish."
The difference, in his final 10-12 starts, could be worth tens of millions of dollars.
"That doesn't really change anything for me. My goal is always to go out there and put up zeros," said Pelfrey, but he knows what he'll be looking for this fall. "I don't want to sign a one-year deal again. Scott and I have been discussing, probably two or three years. Especially now that I'm healthy, a multiyear contract makes more sense."
Does it make sense for the Twins? The team has made no overtures about a contract beyond this year, Pelfrey said, probably because they, too, want to see how he finishes the season. It's a gamble either way; sign him now and risk that he won't continue improving, or wait till after the season and risk the price being bid up by other teams desperate for an experienced starter.
"It's just like a lot of guys out there — we'll make a lot of decisions in late September when the season concludes," General Manager Terry Ryan said. "The one good thing about players in-house is, you've got rights that other teams cannot address. They have to wait until the free-agency period. We certainly would have time and opportunity [to sign him], if he has interest and we have interest."
Pelfrey said he definitely has interest in staying put.
"I've let them know I love it here. I've enjoyed my time here, and if they see me as part of the solution, I'd love to be around," he said. "But ultimately, it's up to them."
Brace for Dozier
Brian Dozier, newly outfitted with a knee brace and orthotics in his left shoe, said Wednesday he's ready to play again. And this time, without the nagging pain in his knee.
"I've been favoring my knee for awhile now," Dozier said, but the problem became acute when he tried to beat out a bunt in Seattle. The problem, doctors say, is a deep bruise where the bones meet in his knee, and it grew much more sore — then later triggered a back spasm — as he lunged for the base.
The treatment, plus the new equipment, helped the pain subside and Dozier was cleared to play, but manager Ron Gardenhire decided to give him one more day, just to be sure.
• A committee of former major league players has chosen Ryan Doumit as the Twins' winner of the Heart and Hustle Award, an honor bestowed by the MLB Players Association that "honors players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and tradition of the game."