UPDATE: Twins, Josh Willingham near three-year, $21 million contract

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11:15 PM ET: Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that the Twins and Willingham are “very close” to a three-year, $21 million contract.

UPDATE III: Hold up. Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com and Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune are both hearing that a deal between the Twins and Willingham isn’t done. What’s more, Christensen reports that talks aren’t dead with Michael Cuddyer. This could get interesting.

UPDATE II: Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that the Twins and Willingham have agreed to a contract, pending a physical. No word on the exact terms, but Crasnick hears that it’s a multi-year contract.

UPDATE: Not only are the Indians out of the mix, Rosenthal now reports that the Twins are “near an agreement” with Willingham.

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Cleveland has been linked to Josh Willingham for weeks now, but Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reported this afternoon that the Indians are no longer pursuing the free agent outfielder and now team president Mark Shapiro has made that very clear on Twitter.

Shapiro made a couple tweets urging fans to be patient despite the Indians’ lack of offseason activity and then responded to a question specifically about Willingham like this:

source:

Nothing is official yet, of course, but it seems pretty unlikely that Shapiro would be willing to make a comment like that about Willingham if there was any chance of him signing with the Indians.

And if the Indians are truly out of the mix for Willingham that leaves the Twins as heavy favorites.

The Cards dealt Stephen Piscotty to the A’s, in part, so he could be near his ailing mother

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Last night we wrote about the rumored deal between the Cardinals and the Athletics for Stephen Piscotty. The deal is now official, with Piscotty going to Oakland for minor leaguers Yairo Munoz and Max Schrock.

Something else emerged about the deal today: a big reason why St. Louis traded Piscotty to Oakland as opposed to another team was so that he could be near his mother, who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease last May. Piscotty and his family are from Pleasanton, California, about 35 miles from Oakland.

Here’s Cardinals GM John Mozeliak:

This was certainly a baseball trade — Piscotty became expendable for the Cardinals after they acquired Marcell Ozuna yesterday — but it was one which could’ve been made with any team with a couple of red or white chip prospects. That Mozeliak considered Piscotty’s personal situation in making the deal with the A’s is a credit to him and his staff.

The 26-year-old Piscotty hit .235 with nine homers and 39 RBIs in 107 games last season. He has hit .268 with 38 homers and 163 RBIs in 2+ major league seasons. He agreed to a six-year, $33.5 million contract extension last spring.

As for the prospects in return: Munoz, 22, hit .300 with 13 homers and 68 RBIs this year for Double-A Midland and Triple-A Nashville. Schrock, 23, batted .321 with seven homers and 46 RBIs for Midland, and was a Texas League All-Star.