MINNEAPOLIS — Mike Pelfrey is staying in Minnesota.
The Twins have agreed to re-sign the free-agent right-hander on a two-year deal, a Major League source confirmed Saturday night. The deal, which is reportedly worth $11 million with up to $3.5 million in incentives, was first reported by CBSSports.com.
The Twins, however, have not officially announced the deal, as Pelfrey still needs to undergo a physical. The deal is expected to become official next week.
Pelfrey, 29, posted a 5.19 ERA in 29 starts with the Twins last season after joining the club on a one-year deal worth $4 million. The right-hander, who was had Tommy John surgery the previous May, struck out 101, walked 53 and gave up 13 homers in 152 2/3 innings.
Pelfrey was better in the second half of the season with a 3.25 ERA in five June starts and a 3.60 ERA in six August starts but faltered in September with a 7.45 ERA in four outings.
Advanced metrics such as Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP), which measures what a player’s ERA should have looked like based on strikeouts, walks and homers allowed, also painted a rosier picture of Pelfrey. He had a 3.99 FIP, as he still had strong peripheral stats and was hurt by a .337 batting average on balls on play (BABIP). The league average BABIP is roughly .300.
Pitchers also tend to perform better in their second year back from Tommy John surgery, as their command begins to improve.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire made it no secret at the Winter Meetings that he wanted Pelfrey back in his rotation. Pelfrey, who is represented by Scott Boras, is now the third free-agent addition to the rotation, joining Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes.
“I love the guy,” Gardenhire said at the Winter Meetings. “He’s good for the clubhouse. He came a long ways last year off his surgery. We like the young man an awful lot and he can help us win baseball games.”
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Could the Twins be adding another starting pitcher to their rotation via free agency?
Despite already signing Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes to multi-year deals, the Twins reportedly met with right-hander Bronson Arroyo’s agent, Terry Bross, on the first day of the Winter Meetings today.
But Arroyo confirmed to MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon that no deals are close, and the Angels and Phillies are also interested in his services.
The Twins have yet to make a formal offer to Arroyo, but the situation is definitely worth monitoring. It’s still unclear if the Twins are ready to hand out another multi-year deal after spending a combined $73 million on Nolasco and Hughes, but it’s another sign the Twins aren’t done trying to fix a rotation that posted the worst ERA in the Majors last season.
I’ll have more as the day goes along here, as we’re set to meet with general manager Terry Ryan at about 5 p.m. CT.