Twins closing in on two-year contract with Carl Pavano

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According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, the Twins are nearing agreement on a contract with free agent right-hander Carl Pavano and it might be for only two years.

Pavano was thought to be on the hunt for a three-year deal pretty much all winter and might have landed one from a non-contender like the Nationals or Pirates, but he has opted instead to stay with 2010 American League Central champs.

The 34-year-old — actually, 35 just two days from now — posted a solid 3.75 ERA and 1.19 WHIP over 32 starts last season, earning a 17-11 record while striking out 117 batters and walking only 37 over 221 innings of work.

His numbers should remain excellent with another year inside of the new and critically acclaimed Target Field, which held home runs better than any other park in the majors last year with its high walls and deep dimensions.

The Twins are surely glad to have him back, especially at what appears to be a discount in total years.  The financial details may present a different story, but paying a big salary over two seasons is quite a bit different than paying that same salary over three seasons.  This is a victory for the Minnesota faithful.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.

That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.

Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.