Carl Pavano has expressed interest in returning to the Twins and now it's appearing as if the veteran starting pitcher could be getting closer to having that happen. A source with knowledge of the negotiations confirmed to MLB.com on Thursday night that Pavano and the Twins are "making steady progress" on a deal. Another source close to the situation said that the two sides continue to talk, but indicated no deal was imminent. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com first reported Thursday evening that the Twins are closing in on a deal with Pavano, which is believed to be for two years.
Pavano, who turns 35 on Saturday, is considered to be the top remaining starter on the free-agent market. He went 17-11 with a 3.75 ERA for the Twins in 2010 and led the team in wins along with innings pitched (221 2/3). Pavano made $7 million last season. Other teams have been reported to have interest in Pavano, including the Royals and the Pirates in recent days. The Brewers had spoke with Pavano's agent, Tom O'Connell, prior to acquiring Zack Greinke and the Nationals also spoke with O'Connell last month, but it was reported this week that the club was not actively pursuing the veteran starter. Since being acquired by the Twins in August 2009, Pavano is 22-15 with a 3.97 ERA. The right-hander was thought to originally be seeking a three-year deal this winter, but the indications were that the Twins weren't willing to work out a deal of that length. Yet the Twins have been very interested in bringing back Pavano, who, if a deal can be reached, would form a strong 1-2 punch with Francisco Liriano at the top of Minnesota's rotation.