Twins do deals with all 8 players in arbitration

Updated: January 19, 2010, 8:25 PM ET
Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins have agreed to contracts with all eight of their players in arbitration, including pitcher Carl Pavano, shortstop J.J. Hardy and outfielder Delmon Young.

The deals were done Tuesday, when proposed salaries for 2010 were to be swapped between teams and the agents of players up for arbitration. The only one of the eight who got a multiyear contract was infielder Brendan Harris, who was eligible for arbitration for the first time. Harris agreed to a two-year, $3.2 million deal, with $1.45 million this season and $1.75 million in 2011.

Right-handed relievers Jesse Crain ($2 million), Matt Guerrier ($3.15 million) and Pat Neshek ($625,000) and left-hander Francisco Liriano ($1.6 million) also got one-year contracts.

The Twins have now guaranteed more than $84 million for 18 players this season, already a team record.

Most of the rest of the roster will likely receive contracts for or close to the major league minimum, but signing another free agent could push the payroll past $90 million. The Twins also must figure out a way to keep the league MVP, catcher Joe Mauer, past this season with free agency approaching for him next fall. This year's payroll, however, wouldn't be affected by a contract extension for Mauer, who will make $12.5 million this season.

Pavano was a free agent, but he accepted the team's arbitration offer last month. The right-hander will make $7 million and return to the rotation, after going 5-4 with a 4.64 ERA in 12 starts for the Twins.

Young will more than double his salary to make $2.6 million, with $50,000 available in performance bonuses. He will be the regular left fielder, following the offseason trade of Carlos Gomez. Young has not played up to the potential the Twins saw when they traded for him two years ago, but he finished on a strong note last fall and hit .284 with 12 homers.

Hardy, who came from Milwaukee in the deal for Gomez, will make $5.1 million as the new starting shortstop.

Harris can play second base, shortstop and third base, but his role for this season is unclear with Hardy's arrival. Nick Punto will likely be a regular at second or third, with the possibility remaining of adding another player for one of those spots as well.

Guerrier also doubled his salary after going 5-1 with a 2.36 ERA in 79 appearances.

The side-armer Neshek hasn't pitched since May 2008, after hurting his elbow and later needing Tommy John ligament replacement surgery that kept him out all of last season.

Liriano was also eligible for arbitration for the first time, after going 5-13 with a 5.80 ERA in 136-plus innings. He has yet to regain the form and the confidence he showed during an All-Star rookie season in 2006. He'll be in a crowded competition for the last spot in the rotation, behind Pavano, Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn and Kevin Slowey.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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