Monday, February 20, 2012


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Monday, November 16, 2009

Infield Options for 2010

There have been many bloggers and fans taking about the infield situation the Twins face for the 2010 season over the last month or so. There are people out there that feel we need to fill the hole at 3B with a free agent. There are others that feel it would be better to add a 2B from this year's free agent class.

The 3B options that are currently available on the market are Chone Figgins, Adrian Beltre, Mark DeRosa, Troy Glaus, and Joe Crede. Figgins will be pushed out of the Twins price range so stop dreaming. DeRosa is getting older which can be seen by his defensive decline and his recent injuries. Beltre could be an option but will likely seek a multi-year deal and will never return to his former self.

Glaus and Crede are both in the same category in terms of low-risk, high-reward. Glaus was injured for 95% of the season last year which could allow a team to sign him will low guaranteed money with several million in incentives. He has a career line of .255/.359/.497 and an average of 35 HR and 101 RBI over his 8 1/2 year career. If he can return to a .260/.360/.485 hitter while smashing 25-30 HR and driving in 80-95 runs, he would be a great option at 3B. Crede on the other hand I would not look at as an option for the up coming season. Last winter, most of Twins Territory saw it as a great low-risk signing because of the guaranteed money. While defensively he was as advertise, offensively he fell way short of his career line and expectations.

Why are people so hung up on finding a 3B free agent for the 2010 season? It boggles my mind to hear people think is would be a good idea to sign one of these free agents, outside of Glaus depending on the contact he is seeking. We have two options in the wings for the 3B position being Danny Valencia and Luke Hughes. We don't need to be looking for a 3B right now.

The focus of Twins Front office needs to be on acquiring a 2B. Unlike with the 3B position, this club has no long term answer for this position anywhere in the high minor leagues. This year's 2B free agent class harbors a large number of good candidates for the Twins. Placido Polanco, Orlando Hudson, Felipe Lopez and Jamey Carroll are possible and realistic options.

Polanco is known for is outstanding glove and nice plate discipline while playing for the Detroit Tigers. He would be a good option for this club but he will be highly sought after this offseason and may be looking for a 3 or 4 year deal that would push him to the end of his career. Knowing this, I would not want a 34 year old 2B for the next 3 or 4 years.

Hudson was a free agent last year and I was quite puzzled the Twins didn't make a push for him. The reason they didn't was because he was a Type A free agent and looking back at it, it was the right decision to pass on Hudson then. Again this year he is a Type A free agent and a year older. Will the FO look at what they spent last year on Kyle Gibson and Miguel Angel Sano and sign a Type A free agent? Hudson had a good year with the Dodgers going .283/.357/.417 in 551 AB. Down the stretch his playing time was cut because of the hot stick of Ronnie Belliard. Much the same as Polanco, Hudson will be looking for a multi-year deal at close to 4-7 million per.

Lopez is the wild card and the player that should be pushed hard for by the scouts, coaches and players this offseason. He has not turned 30 yet and won't until next May. He was traded to the Brew Crew at the trade deadline and batted .320/.407/.448 in 66 AB while with the Crew. He had 4 bad years playing for the Nationals but IT'S THE NATIONALS. This past year he pulled it back together after a change of scenery. Lopez is an average glove at 2B and could fill the #2 spot in the lineup very, very nicely. This could be a very good move for this club because Lopez can be had a very reasonable price long with a 2 or 3 year deal. Given his age and possible ability, he could fit in nicely.

Carroll is the old, cheap veteran the FO always seems to go after. I wouldn't be surprised to see Carroll on this club next season.

If the 2B position is filled via free agency, it would move Nick Punto over to 3B. Over the last hand full of years, Punto has played his best defense while playing at third. When Punto played 108 games at third in 2007, his UZR was 13.7. That is the high rating he has ever had at any position. He has a strong and accurate arm, quick instincts and great glove. If history is to repeat its self then Punto should have a decent year offensively because it is an even year plus a contract year. In 2005, 2007, and 2009 his line was .225/.309/.295. In 2006 and 2008 his line was .287/.348/.377, if those numbers were just given to you, would you ever think those would be Punto numbers? I wouldn't. If he can produce like he has in the past, we are looking a decent 3B until Valencia earns the spot.

With the limited depth this club has in the minors for 2B (basically nothing) and this year's class of free agents(next year there is nothing for 2B) the time is now to pursue a 2B that can both take over defensively and become the #2 batter in the lineup. Bill Smith, make this happen sooner than later.

Friday, November 6, 2009

JJ Hrady is the Newest Twin

The Minnesota Twins acquired shortstop JJ Hardy from the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday by trading centerfielder Carlos Gomez. This is a great move for this club because there has been a glaring need for this position for a better part of a decade. Orlando Cabrera played the position with some success towards the end of the season helping the Twins win the Central. As of now, it looks like Cabrera won't be coming back next season, which I can't be happier about. He was a good addition at the trade deadline but with his declining defense and growing age, it would be the wrong direction for this club to take. With trading for Hardy, the Twins infield gets an All-Star caliber SS who is still young and has the potential of hitting 25 HR with a .275/.330/.465 line while they are losing one of the best defensive centerfielders in the league. The outfield defense as of now looks somewhat weak on the defensive front with the loss of Gomez. There is still a long offseason for Bill Smith and the FO to address that issue. I still wonder if the FO is actively shopping Delmon Young. My guess is non actively but they would consider looking at any offer presented to them. It will be an interesting offseason to see what other moves this club makes to fill some of the holes like 2B, an Ace or #2 type pitcher and the outfield defense.

Monday, August 31, 2009

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