Terry Ryan's offseason might not be over just yet. He told reporters at TwinsFest this weekend that there are still a few free agents out there by whom he's intrigued. Darren Wolfson reported over the weekend that the team is basically waiting on Joe Saunders to decide whether or not to accept their one-year offer. Saunders, despite having minimal leverage at this point in the offseason, is still hoping for a three-year deal. Wolfson noted that the Twins might be willing to expand their offer to two years.
I don't think the Twins have done well in terms of free agency this offseason, but this seems to be the right strategy. Holding out and making Saunders come down to their price is a good move, given his limited leverage. The team is looking toward 2014, and adding Saunders on a two-year deal doesn't do a ton to further that line of thinking. In a year when the team's top prospects will be knocking on the door of the Major League level, the Twins needn't have two rotation spots locked up by Saunders and Kevin Correia in 2014. That would leave just one spot (assuming Vance Worley and Scott Diamond are both still in the picture) for one of Kyle Gibson, Alex Meyer and Trevor May to contribute in some capacity.
Saunders would be a reasonable, albeit unspectacular addition to the 2013 team. He'd increase the respectability of the rotation, but this isn't someone who really merits a multi-year deal from an American League team. Saunders was basically a league-average pitcher in 2012 (103 ERA+), and posted the best K/9 (5.8) and K/BB (2.87) of his career.
Twins Want Saunders on One-Year Deal
Twinkie Town | Jan 29