Last night marked the deadline for Carl Pavano, Orlando Hudson and Jesse Crain to accept the Twins' arbitration offers. As expected, all three declined, meaning they will test the open market as free agents. Should they sign elsewhere, the Twins will be compensated with draft picks.
Any of the three can be brought back, but the Twins are unlikely to come out on top of a bidding war for Pavano or Crain -- both of whom are reportedly drawing a great deal of early interest -- and the team hasn't even pretended to have any real interest in bringing Hudson back.
By signing elsewhere, each of the three players would supply the Twins with an additional sandwich pick between the first and second rounds of the 2011 draft. As a Type A, Pavano would also yield an additional pick. The placement of that draft pick is dependent on where Pavano ends up, so his eventual destination is well worth tracking.
The compensation system calls for the team signing Pavano to surrender their top pick. However, a number of first-round selections are protected (the first non-protected pick this year is the Tigers at No. 19, as this handy graphic illustrates); if a team with a protected first-rounder signs Pavano, the Twins would gain that team's second-round pick.
With this in mind, let's sort through a few of the clubs that have been rumored to have interest in employing Pavano and his illustrious mustache.
Adam Kilgore, who covers the Nats for the Washington Post, tweeted yesterday that the team is in discussions with Pavano. After another dismal year, Washington is slotted to pick sixth in next year's draft so they're protected. The fact that they'd surrender only a second-rounder (which grow less and less valuable with each added supplemental pick) could make them a more likely destination than those teams with non-protected first-round picks. Teams like...
The Rangers have become extremely aggressive in addressing their needs over the past year. They seem determined to try and bring back Cliff Lee, but if they're unable to do so Texas could turn to the best remaining option: Pavano. The Rangers' No. 26 pick in the 2011 draft is unprotected, but the departure of Lee -- a Type A -- would garner them two additional top picks and perhaps make that loss palatable.
Pavano's name was one of a handful that Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle tossed out as potential targets for the Astros, suggesting that the team may seek to bolster its appeal to potential buyers by adding some big names. The Astros pick 11th in the first round, so the Twins would receive their second-rounder.
The Marlins (14th pick, protected) were also rumored to be interested in Pavano, but they're likely out of the mix now that they've added Javier Vazquez. Same goes for the Rockies (20th pick, non-protected), who were in on Pavano before re-signing Jorge De La Rosa. That No. 20 pick would have been a great value for the Twins; it also would have been a very costly loss for Colorado, which may have played into their decision to bring back De La Rosa instead of pursuing Pavano.
With the Winter Meetings fast approaching, I'm sure we'll hear more and more rumors emerge regarding Pavano suitors. Twins fans can follow this storyline with great interest, and not just out of curiosity over whether the righty's stache will blend in with his uniform colors in 2011.