Report: Twins interested in Jeff Francis and Edwin Jackson

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With Chris Capuano off the board, Jon Paul Morosi of reports that the Twins have turned their attention to two alternatives: Jeff Francis and Edwin Jackson.

While one is a rather predictable target, the other is a bit of a surprise.

Francis, who turns 31 in January, posted a 4.82 ERA and 91/39 K/BB ratio over 183 innings with the Royals this season. The southpaw averaged a career-low 4.5 K/9 while the velocity on his fastball (84.7) was down a couple ticks from his career average. The good news is that his shoulder wasn’t an issue and he managed to make 30 starts for the first time since 2007. However, he may have to settle for a one-year deal this winter.

The Twins have only had initial talks with the agent for Francis, but they should have further discussions at the Winter Meetings next week. The Rockies have also expressed interest in bringing him back, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post.

As for Jackson, Morosi acknowledges that he appears to be more of a longshot. The 28-year-old right-hander is one of the top options in a market lacking in quality starting pitchers, so with any luck, he should be able to find a three-year deal. Throw in the fact that Jackson is represented by Scott Boras and the Twins have already said that they plan to cut payroll relative to 2011, and it’s likely he ends up elsewhere.

Mets pitcher Jason Vargas to have surgery on his non-throwing hand

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Yesterday the Mets announced that lefty Jason Vargas sustained a non-displaced fracture of the hamate bone in his right hand as the result of a comebacker during a spring training start. This morning they announced that Vargas will have surgery, which should cause him to miss the first week or so of the season.

Vargas will have the surgery tomorrow. Given that it’s on his non-throwing hand, he won’t miss much time — just a week or so of action, with another few days to get back up to speed afterward. He actually threw a bullpen session this morning. The issue is that he can’t catch a ball right now.

Vargas, 35, signed a two-year, $16 million pact with the Mets last month. With him missing a couple of starts, the Mets should break camp with both Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler in the rotation. The two had been fighting for the final spot.