Twins passed on Koskie return, Jays officials says

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Blue Jays offered to send Corey Koskie
back to Minnesota for a bargain price, but talks between the clubs ended without a deal, a Toronto official said.

"I don't see a deal happening with Minnesota," Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi told the Star Tribune Wednesday.

The Blue Jays were willing to pay at least $3 million of the $11.5 million former Twins third baseman Koskie is owed for
the next two seasons, and Toronto wasn't asking for premium
prospects in return.

But the Twins have reached their projected 2006 budget limit and
weren't eager to bring back Koskie if it meant trading pitcher Kyle Lohse to clear payroll.

Last year, the Twins' payroll was about $56 million. This year,
based on the players who have come and gone, their projected
payroll is about $62 million.

The Twins cleared Joe Mays, Jacque Jones and J.C. Romero from
the books, but others such as Johan Santana and Torii Hunter have
big raises coming. The team has also added Luis Castillo, Tony Batista and Rondell White.

Twins GM Terry Ryan would not confirm any discussions about Koskie but said he'd be reluctant to trade Lohse, even with youngsters Francisco Liriano and Scott Baker possibly ready to step
into the rotation.