Friday, December 4, 2009

Twins Offer Pavano Arbitration

I'll admit, when the Twins decided to trade Yohan Pino for Carl Pavano I was a bit skeptical. Sure, Pavano was an upgrade over what the team was using due to injuries, but the Twins were 6 or 7 games back at the time and it seemed like they certainly weren't going to catch the Tigers. Pino was worthy of a look, and his minor league track record seemed to point to the possibility of him emerging as a back-of-the-rotation starter. Factor that in with the six years the Twins could have controlled him, it seemed like yet another mistake by Bill Smith.

Obviously, Pavano pitched well down the stretch and the Twins caught the Tigers and managed to squeak into the playoffs after one of the most memorable games in baseball history. The fact that Pavano qualified as a Type B free agent made the trade even better, assuming the Twins offered arbitration.

Hours before the deadline on Tuesday the Twins did just that. If Pavano signs with another team, the Twins will land a supplemental pick between the first and second rounds of next June's amateur draft. If the team can use that pick correctly, it's very likely that the prospect will be better over the long term than Yohan Pino. That makes the deal a clear win for Minnesota.

Even if Pavano accepts arbitration, which seems like a long shot, the Twins will have a solid veteran starter for somewhere between $7-$10 million for one season. I would prefer Pavano sign with another team because I'd prefer to see the Twins make a run at Rich Harden, but I certainly won't complain if Pavano is the veteran starting pitcher this coming season.