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Twins ready for pitching market to heat up

MLB.com @RhettBollinger

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Twins have made it loud and clear that acquiring pitching is their top objective this offseason, and now that the Winter Meetings are here, the front office is hoping to accelerate that process.

The Twins' contingent arrived Sunday for the Meetings, which will be held from Monday to Thursday and concludes with the Rule 5 Draft. It has been a slow-moving market for pitching, but with all 30 clubs in attendance and countless agents on hand, things can change in a hurry.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Twins have made it loud and clear that acquiring pitching is their top objective this offseason, and now that the Winter Meetings are here, the front office is hoping to accelerate that process.

The Twins' contingent arrived Sunday for the Meetings, which will be held from Monday to Thursday and concludes with the Rule 5 Draft. It has been a slow-moving market for pitching, but with all 30 clubs in attendance and countless agents on hand, things can change in a hurry.

Minnesota's first priority remains finding a frontline starting pitcher, and it has been linked to the top available starters like Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn, even though all but Darvish were extended qualifying offers and the Twins would lose their second pick in next June's Draft.

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Video: Molitor wants to add pitching this offseason

"The way we're looking at free agency is we're not ruling anything out," Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said on MLB Network. "We're admittedly focused on the pitching side. 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."

Minnesota didn't make any splashes at the Winter Meetings last year, but the club had already signed catcher Jason Castro to a three-year, $24.5 million deal by then. Their most notable move was meeting with second baseman Brian Dozier and opting not to trade him with two years left on his deal. It turned out to be a prudent decision, with Dozier helping lead the Twins to a surprising postseason berth as the second American League Wild Card team.

Historically, the Twins haven't made many huge moves at the Winter Meetings, but they did sign Ervin Santana to a four-year, $55 million deal in 2014. And with Falvey and general manager Thad Levine running the show, the Twins could blow past that deal, which remains the largest free-agent contract in franchise history.

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But even if the Twins don't make a move at the Winter Meetings, they can still lay the groundwork for future free-agent signings or trades. Improving the bullpen and finding a closer is still a goal for Minnesota, while finding a veteran right-handed bat would help balance the lineup.

Falvey and Levine will have daily meetings with the press to recap the action, while Twins manager Paul Molitor is set to meet with the media at 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday.

That coverage will appear on twinsbaseball.com and on Twitter (@RhettBollinger) throughout the week. Be sure to use the comment section at the end of each story to sound off with your own opinions on potential moves or anything else.

It could be a busy week for the Twins, so stayed tuned to twinsbaseball.com.

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

Minnesota Twins