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Two of the Twins Relief pitchers not coming back?

AJBurnett34

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With out them it will be hard to win. They got them to the Playoffs....

Guardado, Hawkins may not return to Twins next year
Jim Souhan, Star Tribune

Published June 16, 2003 TSID16

Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said Sunday he won't negotiate during the season with pending free agents Eddie Guardado and LaTroy Hawkins, prompting the pitchers to say they won't be with the Twins next season.

"Well, then I'm gone," Hawkins said. "That means I won't be back. That's disappointing. That's really disappointing. But it's a business. They've got to do what they've got to do, and I've got to do what I've got to do."

Said Guardado: "They're just waiting for us to fail. This shows you that longevity doesn't get you anywhere. Loyalty, either. That stuff means nothing."

Hawkins had hoped to have a contract extension in place by the All-Star break. Guardado, who hasn't spoken publicly about the lack of negotiations between him and the team, had told friends he had similar thoughts.


Guardado: "They're just waiting for us to fail. This shows you that longevity doesn't get you anywhere. Loyalty, either. That stuff means nothing."

Jerry Holt
Star Tribune
Previously, Ryan had left open the possibility of negotiating with the two star relievers during the season.

Sunday, Ryan said: "That won't be addressed until the end of the season. We're not going to get into any of that stuff, because it's not conducive to concentrating on the game."

Hawkins and Guardado are two of the Twins' most important players, and acknowledged clubhouse leaders. Guardado is 0-1 with a 2.51 ERA and 19 saves in 20 opportunities. Hawkins is 4-2 with a 2.23 ERA.

Ryan offered Guardado a one-year extension worth $4 million this spring, but pulled the offer off the table when he didn't like the counteroffer made by Guardado's agent. He has had no serious negotiations recently with the Hawkins camp.

Guardado is making $2.7 million this season. Hawkins is making $3 million.

"I think they both should make the All-Star team," Ryan said. "And I think they will."

It was a day of progressively interesting conversations about Hawkins and Guardado. In the morning, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that while he doesn't usually lobby for his players to make the All-Star team, he would make an exception for Hawkins, who, unlike Guardado, has never been so honored.

"I would really like to see Hawk make it," Gardenhire said. "I know he's not a closer, but he pitches in a lot of important situations. He's turned his career around, and although I know this doesn't mean you're an All-Star, he is great in the community. I see him every night in the parking lot, being so good to the fans.

"I think he deserves it."

Told that, Hawkins said: "You know what I want more than being an All-Star? A contract. It's getting a little late. Time is running out for them, not me."

In light of that comment, Ryan was asked if he would negotiate with his relievers. Ryan said, "Not during the season."

After the game, told of Ryan's comments, Hawkins and Guardado said they believed the Twins had no interest in re-signing either of them, even once the season ends.

"That's frustrating for us, and frustrating for our teammates," Hawkins said. "We can't take this in a good way. This is actually very sad for us."

Guardado, who lockers next to Hawkins, then said: "We're gone. That's over with."

The Twins have plenty of big decisions to make regarding their 2004 roster. If pitcher Rick Reed doesn't reach 194 2/3 innings this season, the Twins won't be committed to paying him $8 million for next season. The Twins have an option to pay third baseman Corey Koskie $4.5 million next season. Pitcher Kenny Rogers, who is making $2 million, is not expected to return.

First baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, who is making $1.75 million this year and is arbitration-eligible, could be replaced by a less-expensive player.

Those savings will be offset by the increased salaries paid young players as they earn more through increased service time or salary arbitration. Hawkins and Guardado are the only long-term Twins who can become free agents.

Guardado has been with the Twins since 1993, and is the longest-tenured Twins. Hawkins ranks fourth on that list, behind Brad Radke and Denny Hocking. "This is a sad day," Hawkins said. "But I guess we were right about their intentions all along."

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