Third Base Options For The Twins

The Twins are a good team, but it's in spite of the production they're getting at the hot corner. Ron Gardenhire's third baseman have combined to hit just .213/.283/.280 with a pair of home runs. Nick Punto and Brendan Harris each have slugging percentages below .300, so the Twins recently called on top prospect Danny Valencia. That move gives the Twins more power than the Punto-Harris combination, but it doesn't assure them of anything. Let's take a look at the Twins' options as they try to get some offense from their third basemen:

  • Hope that Valencia hits - Baseball America named Valencia an untouchable before last year's trade deadline, and ranked him sixth among Twins prospects heading into the year. At that point, Valencia had a promising bat, but was an inconsistent defender because of "subpar concentration and footwork." Valencia, 25, has hit .323/.364/.323 since arriving in the majors in early June, so his bat is no sure thing either.
  • Call up the Red Sox - Ken Rosenthal reported over the weekend that the Twins' field staff would like to add Mike Lowell, though the front office has concerns about his durability. The $7.1MM remaining on Lowell's 2010 salary would also be an obstacle.
  • Trade for an Oriole – The Twins could call the Orioles about Miguel Tejada (.676 OPS, $6MM salary) or Ty Wigginton (.854 OPS, $3.5MM salary). Tejada is playing third for the O's and Wigginton has spent most of his career at the hot corner and has recent experience there.
  • Ask about LaRoche – There's no room for Andy LaRoche in Pittsburgh, now that the Pedro Alvarez era has begun. LaRoche has just a .232/.295/.316 line, but the 26-year-old posted a .731 OPS and played solid defense last year. 
  • Turn to the free agent market - Joe Crede defended well and hit 15 homers for the Twins in 2009. However, he had back, shoulder, hand, knee and hamstring issues last year and hasn't faced MLB pitching since.
  • Hope that the Blue Jays keep slumping – There's no guarantee that the Blue Jays keep slumping or that they'll have interest in moving Jose Bautista if they do fall out of contention. Those 18 homers and the fact that Bautista doesn't become a free agent until after 2011 mean the Jays could ask for a highly-touted prospect or two. It wouldn't be the first time the Twins picked up a former Blue Jay with power to play third; the club added Tony Batista back in 2006.

30 Responses to Third Base Options For The Twins Leave a Reply

  1. CrisE 5 years ago

    Corie Koskie is at home, I think he’s coaching little league or something. Even with the chronic headaches he might be better than Harris.

  2. neifiisgreat 5 years ago

    Aramis Ramirez? Assuming he comes back after the Cubs decide to sell, and returns to form.

  3. D_Clayts 5 years ago

    I think LaRoche or Wigginton would be their best bets. The O’s will be selling and, as the article states, LaRoche has been bumped from the starting lineup. I think the Twinkies could pull off something for Wiggy but LaRoche would definitely come at a less steep price. Being an avid Jays fan I highly doubt Bautista will be on the move without a big return, which might happen considering how Jose has hit this season.

    • coachofall 5 years ago

      Bautista is hitting .220 and has begun his regression to his career norm. Laroche is younger and much cheaper so don’t be so quick to assume he would be “cheaper” to acquire than Bautista.

  4. Otis26 5 years ago

    Alex Gordon or ‘A-Gor’ as I call him. Seriously.

    • Deviation 5 years ago

      Despite the way that KC is treating him, I think there’s little to no chance that they trade him.

  5. Deviation 5 years ago

    Those are some ugly, ugly options.

  6. Dan_O62 5 years ago

    Isn’t Cantu on the list of ‘more-in-the-twins’ price range kinda players? His glove isn’t great, but he is a clutch hitter to all fields. If the Snakes are culling the herd, i’d also suspect reynolds may be on the table — too pricey?

  7. vtadave 5 years ago

    Twins might want to inquire on Mark Reynolds. I imagine he can be had for a couple pitching prospects. Snakes don’t need Ramos…

    • I could see the Twins trying to get Reynolds. The only problem is he strikes out a ton, which doesn’t really fit the Twins mold. He has more strikeouts than any two twins combined besides Cuddyer and Kubel. But they’ve got lots of pitching and outfield depth in the minors to deal from.

  8. The problem I see with all of those options is horrible defense. All of the players mentioned (minus Lowell) have more errors than the entire Twins infield this season. I can’t see the Twins putting up with that.

  9. Another option, though obviously not the best one, is Edwin Encarnacion. when Snider gets healthy he’ll have no place to play in Toronto. Of course, you have to believe he’d hit.

  10. Orioles –
    Ty Wigginton and Will Ohman
    Twins –
    Liam Hendriks and Ben Revere

  11. The Twins should inquire with the A’s about Kouzmanoff, if they’re falling out of the AL West.

  12. Dan_O62 5 years ago

    I don’t see oakland falling out of the race for a few months yet, the al west is still up for grabs. It’s a shame they couldn’t rescue Gordon out of the kc swamp, tho.

  13. $1529282 5 years ago

    I know the D’Backs said the only two players they won’t trade are Justin Upton and Ian Kennedy, but I have an extremely hard time imagining them parting with Reynolds. Plus, aside from Kyle Gibson, the Twins don’t have much in the way of high-ceiling starting pitchers, and I imagine they’d like to keep him around with Pavano being a free agent.

    If they’re interested in some kind of Ben Revere, David Bromberg, and a mediocre back-end type arm like Manship/Swarzak, or some relievers, then maybe, but I can’t see the two lining up on a Reynolds deal.

    Realistically, I can’t even see the D’Backs being interested in moving him.

    • Mauerneau 5 years ago

      Ya I’m not really seeing a Reynolds deal either.. But holy smokes would that make our lineup disgusting..

      Kind of off topic, but how about Dan Haren? He’s not cheap, but I think he would be a solid front of the line starter and fits the twins mold. The Dbacks have made it clear they are in sell-mode, so who knows. I have no idea what his value is but I really hope we move Ramos for a front line starter this season.

  14. Mauerneau 5 years ago

    I’ll probably take some heat for this, but I have no problem with Punto at third when were healthy.. I don’t need to go through the argument about how his defense makes up for his lack of offense, but I think we could do worse with a number 9 hitter. He consistently sees a lot of pitches (saw more than Mauer last year), which sounds unimportant unless you’re a true twins fan, has the right attitude, and goes hard every night. Plus it’s an even year, so his BA is bound to go back up to .280-.290… right?

    • Yankees420 5 years ago

      I’m not sure where you got your info, but fangraphs has Punto as seeing 1859 pitches last year, while Mauer saw 2540. The only year Punto has ever seen more pitches than Mauer was in ’07, and that was because he had 65 more plate appearances.

    • TwinsVet 5 years ago

      I’m inclined to agree with you. I just don’t see getting a #9 hitter upgraded as a pressing need for the club. Especially when you’re talking about guys like Revere, Ramos, Gibson, etc., being moved to make it happen. We may very well need those trade chips next year, when 2b/3b are much more pressing needs.

  15. crashcameron 5 years ago

    dan haren and maybe chad qualls?
    qualls being bullpen depth and maybe setup guy/sometimes closer if he can regain some solidity

    who to trade?
    scott baker and a prospect arm?
    doubt, though, that Zona would want that much contract?

    delmon young, baker and danny valencia for Haren, Qualls and Reynolds?
    do the Twinks have THAT much money?

  16. what about jose lopez from the mariners? he has had a great defensive year at 3rd and has the propensity to have some power in his bat

  17. TwinsVet 5 years ago

    Dream: A healthy Mike Lowell.
    Optimistic: Kouzmanoff.
    Reality: Twins platoon it out with Punto/Harris.

  18. It would be better to find one now. I think the Braves will be looking for a third baseman over the winter.

  19. explorertj 5 years ago

    Minor complaint about this article is the reporting about why Valencia was called up. He was not called up because he earned it or because Punto/Harris are so bad. He was called up to fill in while Hardy and Hudson are on the DL and while Punto moved to 2B. I don’t see the Twins giving up any decent prospects for the players listed in the article, they are very conservative and know they’ll have some salary restraints in the near future so they’ll need those prospects.

  20. nick1538 5 years ago

    Dream Moves:
    Michael Wuertz and Kevin Kouzmanoff from Oakland
    Dan Haren from Arizona

    Wuertz (from Austin, MN) gives depth in an already strong bullpen
    Kouzmanoff (solid all around player) could be the best Twins 3B since Koskie
    Haren fits the Twins mold of quality pitcher (control, workhorse), with ace up-side

    The best part about these players is they could stick with the Twins for a few years rather than be 1/2 year rentals. Kouzmanoff and Wuertz are relatively inexpensive players. Haren is expensive (2011: $12.75MM, 2012: $12.75MM, 2013: $15.5MM option), but he has pitched well in the AL before (with Oakland in 2005-2007).

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