The Twins signed a couple of pitchers to minor-league deals, and are also trying to create a long-term deal with some current players.

Sidney Ponson, welcome to the Twins. The overweight, likes-to-drink starter agreed to just a minor-league deal that could be worth up to $1 million. He was once a 17-game winner, but really isn’t a “marquee” guy. He’ll likely end up as the 5th starter, as a “veteran” presence at the back of the rotation.

The second guy is Brad Voyles, a guy who, I admit, I’d never heard of. He’s 31-years old, and hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2003. Again, to a minor-league contract, so it’s a low risk/high reward type of deal that General Manager Terry Ryan likes to complete.

It’s apparent that the Twins are now trying to sign closer Joe Nathan to a contract extension. Posters on’s message board think that this is due to one of two possible reasons:

1. The Twins realize they will have enough money to sign ace Johan Santana to a contract extension, or

2. The Twins realize they won’t have enough money to sign Johan, so they want to lock up other key guys.

I, along with every other Twins fan, hope it’s because of reason number 1. I personally think they need to not extend Nathan’s contract, hope he produces very well in his contract year of 2008, and trade him while he’s red hot. A closer like him his hard to come by, and I believe reliever Pat Neshek could be groomed into a good closer. Only time will tell, though.