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Twins owner 'on board' with pursuing Darvish

Pohlad 'intrigued' by free-agent right-hander
MLB.com @RhettBollinger

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins have been linked to free-agent right-hander Yu Darvish all offseason and have stated their interest publicly, but for the first time, owner Jim Pohlad confirmed he would OK a deal for Darvish for the right price.

Pohlad, speaking to fans during a question-and-answer session during TwinsFest at Target Field on Saturday, was asked about Darvish and indicated he's interested in signing the ace.

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins have been linked to free-agent right-hander Yu Darvish all offseason and have stated their interest publicly, but for the first time, owner Jim Pohlad confirmed he would OK a deal for Darvish for the right price.

Pohlad, speaking to fans during a question-and-answer session during TwinsFest at Target Field on Saturday, was asked about Darvish and indicated he's interested in signing the ace.

Dozier willing to engage in extension talks

"I'm on board with that," Pohlad said while on stage, bringing cheers from Twins fans at the event. "There are some interesting names and some interesting opportunities there, but I'm as intrigued by [Darvish] as anybody and attracted to [signing him] as anybody."

Video: Twins steady in pursuit of top-tier starter

Twins president Dave St. Peter echoed Pohlad's comments that the club remains engaged with Darvish, who is the top starting pitcher on the free-agent market.

"There is mutual interest in seeing if something makes sense for both parties," St. Peter said. "We are not there yet today but that could accelerate here in the near future."

Video: St. Peter, Pohlad look ahead to the 2018 season

The Twins have some payroll flexibility, as they don't have any players signed to a contract beyond 2019. Their projected Opening Day payroll is roughly $105 million, which is slightly less than last year when they opened the season with a $108 million payroll.

Signing Darvish, however, would likely push their payroll past $120 million, which would be a club record. The Twins, though, have three prominent players in the last year of their contracts: Joe Mauer ($23 million), Ervin Santana ($13.5 million) and Brian Dozier ($9 million), although Santana's $14 million club option for 2019 vests if he reaches 200 innings pitched.

Derek Falvey, the club's chief baseball officer, indicated on Friday that the Twins have room in their budget for a frontline starter even after committing $16.75 million over two years to reliever Addison Reed last week.

"Any player we add, there won't be a budget limitation," Falvey said. "If we bring the right deal to Jim, he'll support it."

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.

Minnesota Twins, Yu Darvish