Mike Berardino / St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins and the cash-strapped Tampa Bay Rays had plenty of trade conversations throughout the offseason. Saturday evening, Feb. 17, all those cell minutes and text messages finally bore fruit. Right-hander Jake Odorizzi, who turns 28 just before Opening Day, will make the short drive from Port Charlotte, Florida, to Fort Myers to join his new team. In exchange for Odorizzi, who won his arbitration hearing this week and will make $6.3 million this season, the Twins gave up only Class A shortstop Jermaine Palacios.
MINNEAPOLIS — When Tyler Duffey gave up the No. 56 jersey he had worn for the Twins since 2015, he didn't ask Fernando Rodney for any monetary compensation. Duffey, a fellow right-hander now wearing No. 21, didn't ask Rodney, the Twins' 40-year-old closer, to make a donation to his favorite charity or buy him a new set of golf clubs. Instead, Duffey requested a tutorial that could wind up providing substantially more value.
The Twins are still looking for an impact pitcher to boost the top of their starting rotation. In the meantime, they decided to give the way-back machine a whirl with the signing of former Detroit Tigers right-hander Anibal Sanchez, pending a physical.
Twins all-star right-hander Ervin Santana underwent surgery on his right middle finger Tuesday, the team announced, and could be out until early May. Santana, 35, experienced discomfort in the finger last week after ramping up his bullpen sessions in advance of spring training. He had dealt with the issue in the past, according to the team, and underwent an X-ray and magnetic resonance imaging exam at the end of the 2017 season.
MINNEAPOLIS — Most of Jim Thome's 612 career home runs were no-doubters, clearing the wall with ease. The same apparently goes for his first crack at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The former Twins slugger, who played here in 2010-11, was polling at 93-percent support with more than half the expected votes known, according to Ryan Thibodaux's Hall of Fame ballot tracker. Hall election requires 75 percent of the vote from the Baseball Writers' Association of America, which will announce this year's class on Wednesday, Jan. 24.
MINNEAPOLIS — Veteran left-hander Buddy Boshers, who made 75 appearances out of the Twins' bullpen the past two years, was claimed off waivers by the Houston Astros on Monday, Jan. 22. Boshers, 29, had been designated for release or assignment last week to make room for newly signed reliever Addison Reed. Boshers becomes the second situational lefty the Twins have lost via waivers this offseason to the past two World Series champions. In November they lost Double-A lefty Randy Rosario to the Chicago Cubs, who won it all in 2016.
MINNEAPOLIS—Six weeks have passed since Jack Morris punched his ticket to baseball immortality. No, he doesn't have his induction speech finished yet. "I'll probably rewrite it 10 times," said the St. Paul native and Highland Park High School product.
MINNEAPOLIS—In case there was any doubt, Twins owner Jim Pohlad made it clear Saturday, Jan. 20, his team remains very interested in signing free agent Yu Darvish or acquiring another of the remaining starting pitchers that could move the meter. "Yes, I'm totally on board with that," Pohlad said during a fan forum at TwinsFest. "There are some interesting names and some interesting opportunities there. I'm as intrigued by it as anybody and attracted to it as anybody."
MINNEAPOLIS — All-star right-hander Ervin Santana may be entering the final guaranteed year of his contract, but the Twins' Opening Day starter would gladly cede those duties to a high-profile acquisition. "I'd be happy," Santana said at TwinsFest. "I would be more than happy. That means our pitching staff is getting better. I'm going to be happy because we're going to have another great pitcher in our rotation." Santana, who had never fronted a staff until joining the Twins, pointed out he had to wait until 2016 for the chance to start an opener.
MINNEAPOLIS—The Twins' streak of avoiding salary arbitration hearings since losing back-to-back years, 2005-06, to right-hander Kyle Lohse is expected to end next month. A dearth of suitable salary comparisons for righty Kyle Gibson will push the Twins toward a hearing in Arizona, where assistant GM Rob Antony will be among those representing the team. While the Twins submitted a figure of $4.2 million at last week's deadline, Gibson and his agent, Randy Rowley, countered at $4.55 million.