Munson will compete to start at third

MINNEAPOLIS -- Left-handed reliever J.C. Romero agreed to a
$3.7 million, two-year contract with the Minnesota Twins and
free-agent infielder Eric Munson agreed to minor league deal that
would pay him $700,000 if he is added to the major league roster.

Romero, who was eligible for arbitration, gets $1.25 million
this year and $2.2 million next year, according to Sunday's
agreement. Minnesota has a $2.75 million option for 2007 with a
$250,000 buyout, and the price of the option could increase to as
much as $3.5 million, depending on how many games finished the
pitcher has in 2006.

Romero, 28, went 7-4 with a 3.51 ERA in 74
appearances for Minnesota last season, but he struggled with his
confidence and frustrated the coaching staff with his inconsistency
-- enough to get him sent to Triple-A Rochester for two weeks in

Romero, though, is one of the Twins' best relievers, with a 9-2
record and 1.89 ERA in 81 appearances in 2002. In six seasons, all with the
Twins, he is 21-17 with 22 saves and a 4.49 ERA.

Munson, who can earn an additional $100,000 in performance
bonuses, became a free agent when the Detroit Tigers did not offer
him a contract after last season. He hit .212 with 19 home runs and
49 RBI in 2004.

The deals were originally announced on WCCO Radio by manager Ron
Gardenhire and pitching coach Rick Anderson as part of the Twins
Winter Caravan, an annual promotional bus tour for the team and its
broadcast network.

The Twins are negotiating with three arbitration-eligible
starting pitchers -- left-hander Johan Santana and right-handers
Carlos Silva and Kyle Lohse.

On Tuesday, unless contract agreements are reached before then,
the team and the players will exchange their recommendations for
2005 salaries. Talks can continue up to the arbitration hearings,
scheduled for the first three weeks in Februrary. If it gets that
far without an agreement, an independent panel of arbitrators will
determine the player's salary.