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Re-signing Carl Pavano leaves Twins with an extra starter

Jan 24, 2011, 12:17 PM EDT

Minnesota Twins starter Pavano pitches to the New York Yankees during the first inning of Game 2 of their MLB ALDS baseball playoffs in Minneapolis

Carl Pavano is a 35-year-old pitcher with an infamously lengthy injury history and one of the lowest strikeout rates in baseball last season, so re-signing him to a two-year, $16.5 million contract is not without risk for Minnesota, but to avoid a three-year commitment and retain him for a slight bump in annual salary from the $7 million he earned in 2010 is a very sound move for the Twins.

It also means the Twins now have six starting pitchers for five rotation spots, or perhaps more accurately four guys for the three spots behind Francisco Liriano and Pavano. And the rotation logjam will get even more crowded once 2009 first-round pick and top prospect Kyle Gibson is ready for a call-up, most likely around midseason.

It’s a nice problem to have, of course, and re-signing Pavano will look even better for the Twins if they’re able to address other needs by either trading one of Kevin Slowey, Nick Blackburn, Scott Baker, and Brian Duensing for good value or shifting someone to the question mark-filled bullpen with success following offseason free agent departures by relievers Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier, Brian Fuentes, and Jon Rauch.

Duensing has the most relief experience, while Slowey or Baker likely have the most trade value. And if the Twins could, they’d surely love to get out from under Blackburn’s contract.

  1. BC - Jan 24, 2011 at 12:40 PM

    Fear the Pavanostache.

  2. trevorb06 - Jan 24, 2011 at 12:42 PM

    From before the 2010 season started I was saying they need to make Duensing a starter. If they put him back in the pen, especially over Blackburn going to the pen, we’re going to have issues. Duensing has the potential to be a great number 3 guy, or even a decent no. 2 guy. Baker and Blackburn should be on the bottom of the pecking order for this. It is beyond me how people over valued Baker so much. I can see why people thought highly of Blackie though, I’ll admit to even be on the wagon for a while.

    Bottom line though is 4 spots should already be decided with Baker and Blackburn vying for that number 5 slot.

    • wonkypenguin - Jan 24, 2011 at 9:23 PM

      Agreed.

  3. Detroit Michael - Jan 24, 2011 at 2:11 PM

    That Blackburn contract extension looked like a mistake the day it was made. Looking worse now.

  4. Jonny 5 - Jan 24, 2011 at 2:51 PM

    They need an extra starter with Pavano pitching don’t they? Just for back up in case he goes down.

    It’s funny how this makes sense and is a sound move to sign Pavano. Then people act as if Joe Blanton is over paid.

    • phukyouk - Jan 24, 2011 at 10:25 PM

      you know its funny but as a Yankees fan i never thought i would say this but im not too worried about Carl “Walking ER” Pavano going down. i mean he has had 3 straight seasons without injury, right? i mean look at AJ. he was an injury waiting to happen until the season before he came to NY and has been healthy ( physically anyway) since then.

  5. mvd513 - Jan 25, 2011 at 5:48 AM

    Pitchers get hurt, slump, underperform. These same six spent time in the rotation last season.

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