Carl Pavano is "talking a lot" with the Twins about re-signing with the club, reports SI.com's Jon Heyman (Twitter link). Most of the Pavano rumors this winter have centered around the Nationals showing interest in the veteran starter, but given Pavano's stated desire to return to Minnesota, it's possible the Twins were just biding their time to gauge the market for the free agent. In an MLBTR poll taken last month, close to 46% of respondents predicted Pavano would re-sign with the Twins, and it's safe to say Minnesota is still the front-runner.
Between Milwaukee acquiring Zack Greinke, Texas turning their attention to the lineup by signing Adrian Beltre, and Detroit's lack of interest, it seemed like the Pavano market had shrunk to just Minnesota and Washington. Heyman's tweet, however, lists the Pirates and Royals as "other options" for the right-hander. This isn't the first we've heard of Pittsburgh possibly being interested in Pavano, but the Royals are a new suitor, though they're known to be looking for pitching to replace Greinke's innings.
Pavano ending up in either Kansas City or Pittsburgh would be, to say the least, a surprise. If one of the two teams gives him the three-year contract he's looking for, however, the extra guaranteed year could be enough to sway Pavano to join a team that isn't likely to contend over the lifetime of the deal. The Pirates and Royals might see a Pavano signing as a bellwether move to announce to players and agents that the small-market clubs are ready to be active in the market, though it could be argued that just being active in bidding achieves that same goal.