Twins avoid arbitration with Casilla via one-year, $865K deal

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From SI.com’s Jon Heyman comes word that the Twins have reached agreement on a one-year, $865,000 contract with infielder Alexi Casilla, avoiding the need for an arbitration hearing.

The 26-year-old was eligible for salary arbitration for the first time this winter after racking up enough service time in 2010.

He sat idle for the first two months last year because of an elbow issue then hit .276/.331/.395  with one home run and 20 RBI in 152 at-bats once he regained his health.

Casilla has served mostly as a utility infielder for Minnesota since first breaking into the league back in 2006.  With J.J. Hardy out of the picture, the Twins are going to ask him to start at shortstop in 2011.  Tsuyoshi Nishioka, a new acquisition out of Japan, will start at second base.

Report: Momentum in talks between Mariners, Jon Jay

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MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that there is some momentum in talks between the Mariners and free agent outfielder Jon Jay.

Jay, 32, hit .296/.374/.375 in 433 plate appearances with the Cubs last season, which is adequate. He’s heralded more for his defense and his ability to play all three outfield spots.

The Mariners are losing center fielder Jarrod Dyson to free agency and likely don’t want to rely on Guillermo Heredia next season, hence the interest in Jay. The free agent class for center fielders is otherwise relatively weak.