Wow. A lot happened over the last week.
On Monday, Matt Capps and Glen Perkins avoided arbitration and signed one-year contracts. Perkins signed for $700,000. Fine. He's cheap. He's left-handed. He's breathing. The Twins seem to have a bit more faith in him than I do. Whatever.
Meanwhile, Capps is getting $7.15 million. Yikes. That's a lot of money for a set-up guy. I understand that the Twins wanted some insurance for Joe Nathan as he recovers from elbow surgery, but, wow. The Twins must've thought that Capps would get at least that much money in arbitration, or else they wouldn't have offered it to him. Personally, I kind of would've liked to see them forget about Capps and re-sign Brian Fuentes in that role. Capps does have the benefit of being young, so that's good. He must have some spark that Bill Smith sees that I don't yet. But, I'm sure he'll be all right.
Speaking of Brian Fuentes, he signed with the A's. Sounds like he'll be a set-up guy for Andrew Bailey. The A's are really putting together a nice bullpen, which includes a number of former Twins: Grant Balfour, Craig Breslow, and now Fuentes.
On Thursday, the Twins re-signed Carl Pavano. Finally. For several weeks, in fact seemingly every week since the Twins offered arbitration in early December, we heard that Pavano would decide "by the end of the week." But, it was worth the wait; he'll be a Twin for two more years.
This deal had "meant to be" written all over it. The money is fair ($8 million this year, and $8.5 million next with a chance for an extra $500,000 based on innings pitched), and Carl really wanted multiple years. Not only that, he keeps saying in interviews that Minnesota is where he wants to be and that the Twins have a great bunch of guys. Even Jim Thome made sure he knew he should come back. He wants to be here and he's wanted.
Surprisingly, as the deal was nearing completion, word came out that the Yankees had been interested in him and even offered big money for his services. Surprising because the last time the Yankees wanted him, it didn't work out so well -- four years, nine wins, and lots of money is not a formula for love in NY. The manager, teammates, and fans grew quite weary of his injuries and apparent inability to heal and they came to believe he was a lazy bum. The Yankees and their fans demand nothing less than excellence, and they didn't get it with Carl.
Apparently, however, Brian Cashman believed in him and maintained an amicable relationship over the years. The Yankees are desperate for a reliable starting pitcher, and any other guy with Carl's credentials would've been a shoe-in. However, the actual Carl would've needed barrels of excellence in order to earn trust and be accepted; it would've been quite unfriendly there. Even now, with Carl nestled safely in the bosom of friendly Twins Territory, Yankee fans are, shall we say, venting their frustrations all over Facebook and Twitter as only New Yorkers can.
And even more surprisingly, Carl was willing to give it a try in New York, perhaps to quiet some lingering regrets. That is, until the Twins threw in a second year to their offer. Then the pieces fell into place. He seems genuinely happy to be back. And the fans kind of dig him too.
Here are some interview videos from FSN.
Notice the 'stache is gone? He admitted in an interview that if it does make a comeback, it has to be a surprise. I have no doubt that, come mid-season, when the team needs a rallying cry, a gimmick, a talisman, a 'Staches for Success campaign, it'll come out of hiding.
On Friday, Nick Punto signed with the St. Louis Cardinals. Too bad; I prefer him off the bench over Tolbert or Plouffe. Sure, there's no doubt our Little Nicky Punto divided Twins fans like no other player, but his defense was a lot of fun to watch. Sure, he didn't have the best batting average in the world, but his defense was a lot of fun to watch. Sure, he made some baserunning blunders, but his defense was a lot of fun to watch. Sure, he dove headfirst into first base, but...well, you get the point.
Good luck, Nicky. Oh and Cardinals fans, you'll appreciate his work ethic and hustle.
Off-season crocheting update:
Another scarf for the Scarves for Special Olympics Project.