Report: the Twins are close to a “major free agent signing”

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Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors is hearing some buzz:

 

It’d be somewhat surprising to see the Twins sign a “major” free agent, as they have not been in the deep end of the free agent pool for a few years. But as Dierkes notes, the Twins have been linked to several free agent pitchers in recent days, including Matt Garza, Bronson Arroyo and Ricky Nolasco. There was also a report linking them and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who would make sense now that Joe Mauer has been moved to first base.

Because it’s the Twins, my money would be on a soft-tossing righty. They love soft-tossing righties.

Orioles acquire Alec Asher from the Phillies

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The Phillies announced on Tuesday that the club traded pitcher Alec Asher to the Orioles for a player to be named later.

Asher, 25, was the victim of a roster crunch. He was not going to make the 25-man roster and the starting rotation at Triple-A Lehigh Valley was already full. The Phillies acquired him from the Rangers in the July 2015 Cole Hamels trade.

Asher had good results in 27 2/3 innings in the big leagues last year, posting a 2.28 ERA with a 13/4 K/BB ratio. While it didn’t show in those stats, the right-hander sometimes struggles with command and he doesn’t miss bats often enough to make up for it. The Orioles, however, are happy to add some pitching depth.

Ervin Santana gets Opening Day nod from Twins again

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Ervin Santana will once again start on Opening Day for the Twins, MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger reports. He’ll face the Royals at home in a day game on Monday, April 3.

The last pitcher to start back-to-back Opening Days for the Twins was Carl Pavano in 2011-12.

Santana, 34, is entering the third year of a four-year, $55 million contract signed in December 2014. Last season, the right-hander finished with a solid 3.38 ERA and a 149/53 K/BB ratio over 181 1/3 innings.