Twins closing in on two-year contract with Carl Pavano

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According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, the Twins are nearing agreement on a contract with free agent right-hander Carl Pavano and it might be for only two years.

Pavano was thought to be on the hunt for a three-year deal pretty much all winter and might have landed one from a non-contender like the Nationals or Pirates, but he has opted instead to stay with 2010 American League Central champs.

The 34-year-old — actually, 35 just two days from now — posted a solid 3.75 ERA and 1.19 WHIP over 32 starts last season, earning a 17-11 record while striking out 117 batters and walking only 37 over 221 innings of work.

His numbers should remain excellent with another year inside of the new and critically acclaimed Target Field, which held home runs better than any other park in the majors last year with its high walls and deep dimensions.

The Twins are surely glad to have him back, especially at what appears to be a discount in total years.  The financial details may present a different story, but paying a big salary over two seasons is quite a bit different than paying that same salary over three seasons.  This is a victory for the Minnesota faithful.

Mike Rizzo and Shawn Kelley almost got into a physical confrontation

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A few weeks back the Washington Nationals designated reliever Shawn Kelley for assignment the morning after he threw his glove into the ground and glared at the Nats dugout in frustration after giving up a homer in a blowout win against the Mets. He was later traded to the Athletics. Nats GM Mike Rizzo said at that time that he thought Kelley was trying to show up his manager and that there was no room for that sort of thing on the team, offering an “either you’re with us or you’re working against us” sentiment in the process.

Today the Washington Post talks about all of the Nationals’ bullpen woes of late, and touches on the departure of Kelley as being part of the problem. In so doing, we learn that, on the night of Kelley’s mound tantrum, he and Rizzo almost got into a physical confrontation:

Rizzo headed down to the clubhouse and confronted Kelley, according to people familiar with the situation. The argument became heated, including raised voices, and eventually it almost became physical, according to people familiar with the exchange. Adam Eaton got between the two of them and separated them before things could advance further . . .

Might I point out that, the fact of this emerging now helps to vindicate Brandon Kintzler who, the day before, was traded away, some say, for being the source for negative reports from inside the Nats’ clubhouse?

That aside, the article does not make anyone look good, really. Rizzo had the backing of his team with the Kelley incident, but the overall story — how did the Nats’ bullpen, which was once a strength — get so bad? — does no favors for Rizzo. Mostly because he seems to have thought that they had so much extra bullpen depth that they could afford to deal away Kintzler, which he says was a financial move, not a punitive trade for being a media source.

Question: when was the last time you heard a baseball man say he had too much relief pitching? Especially today, in which the bullpen has assumed such a prominent role? Seems rather unreasonable to cut relievers when you’re trying mightily to come back from a sizable deficit in the standings, yes?