Cirillo expected to sign with Twins
Playing time a factor in infielder's decision to leave Milwaukee
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins have been awfully quiet so far this offseason, but it appears that they could make their first acquisition sometime later this week.Jeff Cirillo is scheduled to undergo a physical in Minneapolis this week, and he expects to sign a one-year contract with the Twins to serve as a backup infielder. "Nothing's done yet, but I'm pretty sure that's going to happen," Cirillo said on Monday night. Cirillo, 37, batted .319 with three homers and 23 RBIs in 112 games with Milwaukee last season. The Twins would use him primarily as a backup at third base, first base and designated hitter. Cirillo also holds a career .299 batting average at the Metrodome. Though Cirillo didn't reveal the terms of the deal, it's expected to be around $1 million, and it will likely include incentives. General manager Terry Ryan could not be reached immediately for comment. The decision to leave Milwaukee, where he holds the franchise's career batting average, was not an easy one for Cirillo. Eight of his 13 Major League seasons have been with the Brewers, and he said that he felt very comfortable with the team. Cirillo did receive an offer from the Brewers -- a one-year deal believed to be around $1.2 million -- but the offer came with the understanding that he could see little playing time. The Brewers signed veteran Craig Counsell to a two-year deal this offseason, and Tony Graffanino accepted the team's arbitration offer last week, leaving the club with a very crowded infield. Cirillo said that Brewers general manager Doug Melvin was candid with him about the team's infield situation, and it was the lack of playing time that led him to pursue the offer from the Twins.
"I'm torn, because you want to be loyal to the Brewers, and the fans have treated me so well there," he said. "But at the same time, I would have been relegated to pinch-hitting. I know how hard it is to be the 'pinch-hit guy.'"I also know that things happen every year. Baseball is a long season, and guys get injured. But the role I'll be playing in Minnesota will probably get me three times as many at-bats. It came down to playing time."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.