Carl Pavano and the Minnesota Twins finally came to an agreement today for a two year contract worth $16.5 million.  After rumors about the possibility of Pavano returning to the New York Yankees or that the Washington Nationals were a favorite, he will be returning to the Twins for the next two seasons, where he could perhaps retire.

With the re-signing of Pavano, the Twins are faced with a tough decision as to who will be the official starters for the 2011 season.  Minnesota now has six potential starters to fill five rotation slots.  Besides Pavano, the Twins have Francisco Liriano, Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey, Nick Blackburn and Brian Duensing.  Duensing is the only one of these six potential choices to not have any wins or losses for the 2010 season:

Carl Pavano:  3.75 ERA, 17-11 record, 1.19 WHIP, 117 Ks, 37 Walks in 221 IP

Francisco Liriano:  3.62 ERA, 14-10 Record, 1.26 WHIP, 201 Ks, 58 Walks in 191.2 IP

Scott Baker:  4.49 ERA, 12-9 Record, 1.34 WHIP, 148 Ks, 43 Walks in 170.1 IP

Kevin Slowey:  4.45 ERA, 13-6 Record, 1.29 WHIP, 116 Ks, 29 Walks in 155.2 IP

Nick Blackburn:  5.42 ERA, 10-12 Record, 68 Ks, 40 Walks in 161 IP

Brian Duensing:  2.62 ERA, 10-3 Record, 78 K’s, 35 Walks in 130.2 IP


The Twins now have to decide which of these pitchers is the extra baggage that will not fit into the starting rotation for this coming season. 

Do they rid themselves of the high ERA and sub-.500 record of Blackburn, or cut Duensing? 

Do the Twins trade one of these other pitchers for prospects, or do they move one of the starters to a long relief position? 

My bet would be to move either Blackburn  into the bullpen or deal in a trade, but that is only prognostication.  The only thing I do know for sure is Pavano will be part of the rotation.

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