Bill Smith returning to Twins a month after being fired as GM

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Minnesota fired Bill Smith as general manager on November 7, replacing him with former GM Terry Ryan, but they talked about wanting to keep him as part of the organization in a different role and apparently Smith is willing to stay.

Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN.com reports that Smith is close to returning in a “special assistant to the president and GM” role that would involve overseeing the team’s efforts in Latin America and their spring training complex in Florida.

Smith was overmatched as a GM, making multiple team-crushing decisions, but he’s been with the Twins since the mid-1980s and handled his firing with class, refusing to say a bad word about anyone involved.

Report: Chris Tillman will decide on a team this week

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Free agent right-hander Chris Tillman is narrowing his pool of potential suitors, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Returning to the Orioles is one option, of course, but Heyman also mentions another two undisclosed teams who are still in the running. An earlier report from Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun suggests that as many as four teams may be in the mix; either way, a final decision is expected by Monday.

Tillman, 29, has spent the entirety of his major league career in Baltimore. After posting career-high numbers in 2016, his progress was derailed during an injury-plagued 2017 campaign, during which he missed nearly six weeks on the disabled list with recurring right shoulder inflammation. He finished the season with a bloated 7.84 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 4.9 SO/9 over 93 innings.

While the mystery teams have yet to reveal themselves, the Blue Jays, Twins and Tigers have all expressed interest in the veteran right-hander this offseason. Both the Blue Jays and Twins have made big moves to bolster their rotations over the last few days, with the additions of Jaime Garcia and Jake Odorizzi, respectively. That doesn’t mean that Tillman is out of reach, however — if his price is right, he could provide some much-needed depth for pitching staffs that finished 15th and 22nd in the league last year.