MINNEAPOLIS — With the news coming down today that the Milwaukee Brewers have acquired Royals Cy Young Award winning pitcher Zach Greinke, Twins fans should feel no sadness over losing out on the sweepstakes. In fact the Twins may be getting something even better out of the deal: Carl Pavano. The Brewers were the main competition with the Twins for Pavano, with the two sides even having dinner in Wisconsin, much to the displeasure of Twins fans. However with the addition of the former Cy Young award winner, the Brewers not only have less of a need for Pavano, they have less money to offer him. The whole reason the Royals were dealing Greinke is because he is in the final years of his contract and the possibility of him remaining in Kansas City were extremely slim. The Brewers will now have to give Greinke a brand new deal which will most likely keep the right hander in Milwaukee for the forseeable future; this is also a plus for Twins fans.
Now the likelihood that Pavano returns to the Twins is wonderfully high. Plus the Twins may have won double as not only will they get Pavano back but they may get him at a hometown price, but that is unlikely. Pavano will most likely be signing his last contract should he sign it with the Twins or anybody else. The danger now becomes who has the leverage here: the Twins or Pavano. The Twins want Pavano back more than anything, but are they willing to pay? Pavano has stated he would like to return to Minnesota for the remainder of his career, but is he willing to take what they want to pay him. It has been speculated that it would take three years and around $36 million to keep Pavano in Minnesota and the Twins may buckle under the pressure. It’s a true standoff now but the Twins may buckle quicker if there is pressure and competition out of New York.
It’s no secret that the Twins are the scape goat for the Yankees when they get in trouble (see the Playoffs where they Yankees probably lose to the Rays in the first round) and they are in some of that trouble now. With Cliff Lee off the market, Pavano has instantly become the number one guy on the market and the Yankees on the prowl for starting pitching. Plus they’re bitter about getting snubbed on the Cliff Lee sweepstakes and may take out their rage on the Twins, not necessarily to spite the Twins but it would just work out that way. The only problem with Pavano returning to New York is the Yankees tried that once before and got burned bad. After pitching lights out for the Marlins Pavano was the number one guy on the market and the Yankees gobbled him up faster than Matthew LeCroy gobbled up turkey on Thanksgiving. Things ended very sourly as Pavano never consistently stayed healthy (he pitched 24 games for the Yankees over three years. He pitched 32 for the Twins in one) and was eventually given the boot, landing him in Cleveland before the Twins found their diamond in the rough. The Yankees wouldn’t be afraid to throw money on his terms at him this time around because they are very desperate to replace A.J. Burnett who is basically Carl Pavano 2.0 for the Bronx Bombers.. The only thing stopping that from happening would be Pavano’s feelings about New York and according to sources, they have a mutual feeling about their first marriage. But in addition to the Yankees, the more likely destinations would be either Atlanta or Washington who is putting together a pretty good team Pavano would compliment well, while possibly playing mentor to a healing Stephen Strasburg.
The bottom line on Pavano is: is he worth the money he is asking and do the Twins value him as highly as he thinks he should be valued? Pavano put together one and a half impressive years with the Twins —22-15 in 45 games amounting to 294.3 innings pitched, with 176 strikeouts and ERA’s of 4.64 and 3.75 in ’09 and ’10 respectively. He’s beloved in Minnesota and it’d be more than a shame if legions of fans had fruitlessly invested money into “Pavstaches”, which have become almost as iconic as the Mauer sideburns have. The Twins also can’t take any more hits to their pitching game as the bullpen is already practically on life-support. The Twins can afford to sign Pavano and can fix the bullpen no matter what they do regarding his contract. The only question remains will the Twins get burned like the Yankees, or will the re-signing of their ace lead to the Twins pulling a Pavano on the Yankees and finally burn them? Only time and a checkbook will decide.