Twins steady in pursuit of top-tier starter

Falvey says club not ruling out any free-agent pitcher

January 19th, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS -- Even after signing three relievers this offseason, including for two years and $16.5 million last week, Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said the club still has room in the budget for a front-line starting pitcher and hasn't ruled out any free-agent options.

Falvey said the front office has the full support of owner Jim Pohlad and that he doesn't believe the Twins have any major budget constraints to sign a much-needed starter. The Twins have been linked this offseason with the top starters available, such as , Alex Cobb, and . The signing of Reed hasn't changed their offseason plans.

"We committed some money [to Reed], so we're more sensitive to the next step, but if we bring the right deal to Jim, he'll support it," Falvey said at the annual media luncheon before TwinsFest. "I'm not going to comment on a specific player, but I see 5-10 pitchers out there who could impact us. We're not ruling out any of those guys until they're off the board. Any player we add, there won't be a budget limitation."

Hot Stove Tracker

The Twins are confident they'll sign a starting pitcher this offseason, and a top-tier starter is their preference, but they'll also look for potential bargains, especially with how late it is in the offseason with so many starters still available.

"We'll stay engaged on a group of names that are considered top end, as well as value adds that could help us," Falvey said. "We'll look at both groups. We'll wait as long as necessary in terms of finding the right fits. There are still a lot of guys on the board. Whenever the signings happen, they happen."

TwinsFest tidbits

• Right-hander Phil Hughes was scheduled to attend TwinsFest this weekend but had to cancel at the last minute to deal with kidney stones. Hughes, though, is healthy after undergoing a second surgery to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome and will be ready for the start of Spring Training, Falvey said. Hughes will come in competing for a spot in the rotation.

• Third baseman continues to rehab his surgically repaired left shin in Florida with newly hired trainer Masa Abe. Sano also will not attend TwinsFest. The Twins believe Sano will be ready for the start of the season, not necessarily Spring Training. MLB's investigation into Sano's alleged sexual assault is ongoing and there's no timetable for a resolution, Falvey said.

• The Twins are aiming for 2.2 million fans in 2018 after roughly 90 percent of their season ticket holders renewed. Tickets also remain for the rest of TwinsFest, which runs through Sunday, and the club anticipates 12,000-15,000 fans attending.

• The Twins are renaming Field 5 at their Spring Training complex after longtime bullpen coach Rick Stelmaszek, who passed away in early November. He's the longest-tenured coach in Twins history, serving as bullpen coach for 32 years from 1981-2012.

• The Twins hired Elvis Martinez, 31, as their new Spanish-language interpreter. He's a native of La Romana, Dominican Republic, and worked in the Cardinals' organization last year.

• The Twins signed infielder and right-hander Omar Bencomo to Minor League contracts. Non-roster invites to Spring Training will be announced at a later date.