The major league deadline for offering contracts to arbitration-eligible players was Dec. 2. I was among those surprised when the Twins made the required offers to all six players in that category: pitchers Tommy Milone, Brian Duensing and Casey Fien, third baseman Trevor Plouffe, outfielder Jordan Schafer and infielder Eduardo Nunez.

Three weeks later, the Twins made another puzzling move: They signed Tim Stauffer, a veteran righthander and free agent, to a $2.2 million contract. Three months later, the Twins are ready to set the first Opening Day roster for manager Paul Molitor, and the decisions to make commitments to marginal veterans are among the reasons to look at the early part of this season with dread.

Plouffe settled for $4.8 million and he's an asset. Fien settled for $1.35 million and the Twins need him to throw as he did for the first two-thirds of last season. Schafer settled for $1.5 million and will start in center field — less than ideal but better than continuing to wait for Aaron Hicks. In my opinion, the remainder of the aforementioned would not be around if the Twins didn't have money invested.

Patrick +: