Falvey says Darvish squarely on Twins' radar

Coming off postseason berth, club seeking No. 1 starter to join rotation

November 30th, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins aren't ruling anything out in free agency, including signing ace , chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said on MLB Network's High Heat.
The Twins are being aggressive in their pursuit of a front-line starter to join their rotation, as they've checked in on Darvish and have also been linked to other top starters on the market such as , and Alex Cobb.
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The largest free-agent contract the Twins have handed out remains the four-year, $55 million deal signed by before the 2015 season, but the club has the financial flexibility this offseason to go past that. Minnesota has only roughly $25 million in salary commitments for '19, and no contracts that go beyond that year.
Falvey was asked specifically about targeting Darvish, who is expected to command the largest deal for a pitcher this offseason, and Falvey confirmed the club has interest. General manager Thad Levine also knows Darvish well from his time with the Rangers, as Levine was the assistant GM when Darvish signed with Texas out of Japan in 2012.

"The way we're looking at free agency is we're not ruling anything out," Falvey said. "We're admittedly focused on the pitching side. He, among other pitchers, is someone we will monitor as far as the market and where things go. It's been a little slow in the early going, but it's my expectation that we'll be in the game in a lot of these different conversations."
The Twins historically haven't been major players in free agency, but their financial flexibility and young core could help change that. Acquiring relief help and potentially a right-handed bat both remain goals this offseason, but finding starting pitching remains the top priority early this offseason. There's also a strong chance the front office will look to extend some of its pre-arbitration players, but that shouldn't affect the club's goals in free agency.
Falvey has said he sees free agency as a way to supplement deficiencies, and not as a cure-all for the roster. But Minnesota surprisingly reached the postseason in 2017 and is looking to add more pitching to create a more consistent winner.
"We have the opportunity to take the next step," Falvey said. "And that's always the most challenging one. We'll approach this with a recognition that every team is looking to improve and get better. We know what we're chasing down in our division with Cleveland. We're going to set out to do that this year."