10/29/2003 2:12 PM ET
Twins notes: Final free agent filings
Morneau makes Team Canada for Olympic qualifier
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
Right-hander Rick Reed is unlikely to return to the Twins in 2004. (Ted S. Warren/AP)
MINNEAPOLIS --- Starting pitchers Kenny Rogers and Rick Reed became the seventh and eighth Twins players to become free agents.
Rogers, who filed papers Wednesday, signed a one-year, $2 million contract with Minnesota during Spring Training. Replacing injured starter Eric Milton in the rotation, the left-hander put together a respectable season with a 13-8 record and 4.57 ERA in 33 games, including 31 starts. His 195 innings pitched was third on the club and he often anchored a struggling rotation during the season.
Turning 39 years old next month, Rogers was left off the Twins' three-man rotation during the American League Division Series. The decision to use him from the bullpen in the playoffs appeared to rankle the veteran. That, and his salary, could leave him unlikely to return for a second season.
The 38-year-old Reed struggled through a rough 2003 season, going 6-12 with a 5.07 ERA in 27 games, including 21 starts. He lost his spot in the rotation when he went on the disabled list with a back strain on Aug. 20.
Reed came to the Twins from the Mets in a July, 2001 trade for outfielder Matt Lawton. His best year in Minnesota was 2002 when he was 15-7 with a 3.78 ERA and led the club in wins, starts and innings.
Reed made $8 million this season but did not pitch enough innings to trigger an automatic option clause to return for 2004. It is doubtful that the club will pursue him as a free agent.
All eligible Twins players have declared themselves free agents. Rules prohibit them from negotiating salary figures with other teams until Nov. 10. Twins general manager Terry Ryan declined to comment about his negotiations plans with the eight players.
Gomez gone: The Twins declined to exercise their club option on backup infielder Chris Gomez, who already filed for free agency. Gomez batted .251 with one home run and 15 RBIs in his lone season with Minnesota. He won't be returning next season.
"We are going to go in a different direction on that front," Ryan said.
Representing: First baseman Justin Morneau has been selected to play for Team Canada in the 2004 Olympic qualifying tournament that begins Oct. 30 in Panama City, Panama.
Morneau could be opposed in games by fellow Minnesota prospects Joe Mauer, J.D. Durbin and Jesse Crain, who made the Team USA squad for the same competition.
"It's a big deal for us to have four players in that tournament," Ryan said. "That's quite a coup for this organization. We're proud of it."
Twins tidbits: Outfielder Lew Ford broke his left thumb while playing winter ball in Venezuela. He has returned to the United States for a one month recovery but is expected to go back to finish the winter season.
Ryan said the Twins would not pursue Japanese shortstop Kazuo Matsui, who declared for free agency in the Major Leagues on Tuesday. Matsui is a star in Japan and could draw significant interest, and dollars, if he decides to play in the United States.
"I've got a shortstop," said Ryan, referring to Cristian Guzman. "That's not realistic."
Minnesota's Single-A affiliate in Quad City announced that it has changed its name for 2004 from the River Bandits to the Swing.
TwinsFest 2004: It was announced Wednesday that TwinsFest 2004 will be held at the Metrodome from Jan. 23-25. The annual fundraiser has raised more than $2 million for the Twins Community Fund since its inception in 1989.
Many current, former and future Twins players are expected to appear throughout the TwinsFest weekend. A complete list of players will be released soon.
Event highlights include tours of the Twins clubhouse, auditions to sing the National Anthem before a 2004 home game, silent and live auctions of sports collectables, baseball cards and collectables, free youth baseball clinics and a skills area.
All paid admissions to TwinsFest will receive a free ticket for a 2004 regular season game. Admission prices are $7 in advance for adults ($10 at the door) and $3 for children ($5 at the door). Proceeds benefit the Minnesota Twins Rookie League and RBI Youth Programs.
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