The off-season plan is much of the same for the left side of the infield after the Minnesota Twins again received little production at both third base and shortstop in 2009. Less than two days after the World Series, the Twins upgraded at shortstop, but as the year nears an end, third base remains uncertain and time is running out.
In recent weeks the list of third base options has been nearly cut in half. Garrett Atkins is off to Baltimore, Troy Glaus is off to Atlanta, and Pedro Feliz is headed to Houston. Remaining are Mark DeRosa, Adrian Beltre, trade candidate Kevin Kouzmanoff, and the often injured Joe Crede.
The price tag for both DeRosa and Beltre has been high. At the Winter Meetings nearly three weeks ago, reports put their price at $9 to $10 million per season for three seasons. While the Twins will see an increase in payroll for the 2010 season, that price is far too high for most major league ball clubs.
Earlier this week, DeRosa reportedly was offered a two-year, $12 million contract by the San Francisco Giants. If the price has fallen to that point, the Twins could be in on the veteran third baseman capable of playing second base and the corner outfield positions as well.
Outside of the two remaining premier free agents lies Kouzmanoff. The Twins had interest last off-season according to reports, and had several talks with the Padres at the Winter Meetings in Indianapolis earlier this month.
Kouzmanoff is expected to make around $5 million next season and is under control for three more years. The Twins have offered Glen Perkins according to reports, but on Thursday it was reported that talks have “cooled” and there is a possibility he could now stay in San Diego.
When all is said and done, the team’s only option just might be to re-sign Joe Crede. After playing in just 90 games last season, Crede will be cheap on an incentive-laden deal, and he is willing to return to Minneapolis for the first season at Target Field.
Fans almost certainly would favor DeRosa, Beltre or Kouzmanoff, but the options at third base are dwindling, and unless the team acts fast, they may have the same starting third baseman on Opening Day for the first time since 2007.