Twins finally reach two-year, $16.5M pact with Pavano

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Finally, according to Ken Davidoff of Newsday, the Twins have officially reached agreement with right-hander Carl Pavano.

It was reported almost 13 days ago that the two sides had reached a compromise on a two-year contract, but it took another few meetings for all of the financial terms to be worked out.

Pavano will earn $8 million in 2011 and $8.5 million in 2012, according to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.  There is another $500,000 available via performance-based incentives.

That’s a large investment for a 35-year-old starter, but Pavano finished with a strong 17-11 record, 3.75 ERA and 1.19 WHIP across 32 starts last season and should be able to come close to those numbers over the next two seasons while making half of his appearances inside Target Field, which is looking like one of the more pitcher-friendly ballparks in all of the major leagues.

The Twins did well to refrain from rushing in with a three-year offer when the offseason began and their patience was eventually rewarded.  Now they have a key piece of their 2010 division-winning squad back in uniform at a fairly reasonable contract length and price.  If age catches up to Pavano this year or next year and it simply doesn’t work out, he’ll be off the books before you can say Minnetonka.

Royals sign Michael Saunders to a minor-league deal

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Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday. MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan adds that Saunders will make $1.5 million upon reaching the majors, with a potential $500,000 in bonuses.

After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.

With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.