Joe Nathan's elbow injury could deliver yet another blow to the Cubs' bullpen.
With the Twins' All-Star closer facing the likelihood of Tommy John surgery, the Twins are suddenly in the same market for a late-inning reliever that the Cubs are - with every bit as urgent a sense of need.
And for maybe the first time ever, the Twins are at no discernable financial disadvantage as they go head-to-head with the Cubs to fill a roster hole.
While the Cubs have a larger payroll and much larger revenues, that payroll budget is tapped. And chairman/owner Tom Ricketts has made it clear that while he'll consider lifting the lid some to accommodate a reliever, that move must be prudent and could affect how much the Cubs will be allowed to spend closer to the trading deadline.
Think the small-market Twins are dealing with the same restrictions? Certainly, Minnesota has financial limitations, but this is also a team that has traditionally played its payroll cards modestly in part to allow for necessary movement when it sees a chance to contend.
Not only is this one of those moments for the team - just look at its list of winter moves if you don't believe their planning on a sixth division title in nine years - but the opening of their new stadium this season only adds motivation to spend a little more to cover Nathan's loss.
Which means every potentially available quality, veteran reliever from San Diego's Heath Bell and Toronto's Jason Frasor to possibly even free agent John Smoltz could be in Minnesota's sights.
Bell ($4 million) already appears out of reach for the Cubs unless a chunk of salary goes to San Diego in a would-be trade.
But if the Twins pull off a deal for Frasor ($2.65 million), that could take the Cubs' top option off the board and put a big dent in their ability to assemble a bullpen they can count on entering a season that could have a lot to say about the direction the team - if not several Cub decision-makers - heads, beyond 2010, under new ownership.