Some very good news for Twins fans in the off season, and I talk about who the Twins didn’t offer contracts to and who has already signed back up with the club.

First off, the Twins didn’t offer contracts to both Luis Rodriguez and Willie Eyre, but Rodriguez has since re-signed with the team. Willie boy, on the other hand, says “I just think it’s fair to me and my family to explore some other options,” so he’s going to look for other contracts.

In related news, the Chicago Cubs also did not offer a contract to minor-league pitcher Adam Harben, whom the Twins traded for Phil Nevin. I think it’d be in the organization’s best interests to try and get this guy back in the farm system, but who am I.

In some major news, Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka has agreed to a contract with the Boston Red Sox worth $52 million over 6 years. Add this to the $51 million that Boston spent just to negotiate with the guy and “Dice-K” becomes the 17 million dollar man. It’s obviously a steep price to pay, but it’s not like the Sox are getting Terry Mulholland here. In 8 seasons with the Seibu Lions, he has amassed a W-L record of 108-60, while giving up only 1140 hits and 502 walks in 1402.2 innings pitched for a WHIP of 1.17. He has 1355 strikeouts, giving him a K/IP ration of .966 (Johan Santana ‘s is 1.05, in 1090 innings pitched). He’s given up 459 earned runs for an ERA of just 2.95.

Now for good news for all Twins fans: a schedule containing dates for ’06 Twins games that are going to be played on FSN in the offseason has been released. The first game was shown on Wednesday night, and the next one is on Monday night. Here is the schedule in its entirety.

Wed, Dec. 13, 7:00 p.m. Twins defeat Angels in extra innings (4/19/06)

Mon, Dec. 18, 7:00 p.m. Liriano Gem at Brewers (5/19/06)

Mon, Jan. 1, 7:00 p.m. Kubel walk-off grand slam vs Red Sox (6/13/06)

Mon, Jan. 15, 7:00 p.m. Twins defeat Clemens in Houston (6/22/06)

Tues, Jan. 23, 7:00 p.m. Twins win 11th consecutive game (7/3/06)

Wed, Feb. 7, 9:00 p.m. Punto smells RBI vs Devil Rays (7/18/06)

Fri, Feb. 16, 6:00 p.m. Morneau hits 30th HR and Santana strikes out 10 (8/9/06)

Mon, Feb. 19, 7:00 p.m. Bonser helps Twins close gap vs. Tigers (9/9/06)

Mon, Feb. 26, 7:00 p.m. Cuddyer 2-run HR propels Twins (9/11/06)

Mon, Mar. 5, 7:00 p.m. Morneau 2-run double caps comeback (9/12/06)

Mon, Mar. 12, 7:00 p.m. Bartlett and Hunter hit HRs over Green Monster (9/19/06)

Wed, Mar. 21, 7:00 p.m. Twins tie for AL Central lead on Mauer HR (9/28/06)

Fri, Mar. 23, 7:00 p.m. TBD

Mon, Mar. 26, 7:00 p.m. TBD

Fri, Mar. 30, 7:00 p.m. TBD

It’s quite the experience, seeing people like Juan Castro, Shannon Stewart, Tony Batista, Lew Ford, and Ruben Sierra bat on a regular basis. It’s also nice to see Michael Cuddyer hit a pinch-hit, 2-run homer in the bottom of the 10th to win the ballgame (that’s what happened in Wednesday night’s game).

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