Speaking with Jim Duquette and Jim Bowden of Sirius XM Radio on Sunday, Twins general manager Thad Levine confirmed that the team is in the market for major pitching upgrades. Levine revealed that the Twins are actively talking with the agents for available starters Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb, among others, as well as representatives for various relievers (all Twitter links). The executive specifically pointed to Darvish as “a priority,” and he used the same word to describe soon-to-be free agent Shohei Ohtani.

“He’s a unique free agent, but we don’t know a lot about him personally yet,” Levine said of Ohtani. “It’s exciting for us because we have a chance to sign a player like him. He’s a top priority for us.”

The three-week sweepstakes to sign Ohtani, a Japanese pitching and hitting superstar, appears likely to commence at the start of December. Had the 23-year-old Ohtani waited until the age of 25 to come to the majors, he would have been in line to sign a mega-deal, which may have ruled out a serious Twins pursuit. But the collective bargaining agreement will limit Ohtani to a low-cost minor league contract this offseason, thereby giving all teams some chance to sign him if they’re willing to pay a $20MM posting fee to his Japanese organization, the Nippon Ham Fighters, for his services. While money isn’t going to guide Ohtani’s decision this offseason, it’s notable anyway that the Twins have the third-most bonus pool space available ($3.245MM). That won’t hurt them in their chase, of course, but they’ll have to sell Ohtani on how he’d fit into their organization and city.

Interestingly, there has been speculation that, because of the good relationship they forged in their homeland, Ohtani and Darvish, 31, could end up with the same team this winter as a sort of package deal.