The Twins have reportedly offered Carl Pavano arbitration.
Minnesota had until Tuesday’s 11 p.m. deadline to offer the right hander arbitration for next season, but chose to do so early.
The decision makes sense as Pavano qualifies as a Type B free agent and that guarantees the Twins a draft pick if he signs elsewhere.
Additionally, if he chooses to accept the offer, the Twins have shown no hesitation to the prospect of Pavano making an encore performance in Minnesota next season.
Pavano was highly-regarded for his gritty, veteran presence on the young pitching staff late last season. He also produced by going 5-4 with a 4.64 ERA in twelve starts for the club down the stretch, seven of which qualified as quality starts.
The Twins have already had discussions with Pavano about a potential second tour of duty, so it is more likely that if he were to accept the arbitration offer, the club would strike a multi-year deal.
Pavano, 34, has a lengthy injury history that includes an infamous injury-laden, four-year stint with the New York Yankees.
He bucked the trend in 2010 by staying healthy for a full season for the first time since his 2004 campaign with the Florida Marlins.
He pitched 199.1 innings over 33 starts and posted a cumulative 14-12 record with a 5.10 ERA. Those numbers are skewed by an abysmal April. After his shaky start to the season, Pavano went 14-9 with a 4.67 ERA in 181.1 innings.
Despite his injury history and middle-of-the-pack overall numbers, Pavano has garnered interest from a number of teams.
Cleveland has shown interest in bringing him back and it is rumored that a number of National League teams are interested in the right hander as well.
At his best, Pavano is probably no better than a middle of the rotation starter at this point in his career, but he did finish in the American League’s top five in starts, walk rate, and strikeout-to-walk ratio, so he still brings something to the table.
I look at this situation as a win-win for Minnesota.
If Pavano accepts, we get a reliable innings-eater for the middle of the rotation.
If we sign a multi-year deal—at the right price—it gets even better.
If it comes down to an arbitrator on a one-year deal, Pavano’s overall numbers merit a raise, but not a substantial one.
Pavano’s base salary last year was $1.5 million and he made roughly $4.35 million when performance bonuses were factored in. At worst, he would probably cost the Twins somewhere in the $6-7 million range via arbitration.
Then there is the alternative.
Pavano could decline arbitration and guarantee the Twins a draft pick when he signs elsewhere.
The Twins could then use the money they were going to use to sign Pavano to acquire a different starter or to bolster the infield.
Barring the sudden, unexpected return of the “American Idle” version of Pavano from his tenure with New York, the Twins can’t lose in this situation.