Since the off-season first began, the reports have been centered around various third basemen, and the talk has been about who will play next to J.J. Hardy on the left side of the infield next season. Just weeks after the Winter Meetings came to a close, most of the Minnesota Twins’ options have signed elsewhere, and what they’ll do is now uncertain.
Chone Figgins is off to Seattle, Pedro Feliz is going to Houston, Troy Glaus will be in Atlanta, Garrett Atkins is headed to Baltimore, and Mark DeRosa is now headed to the west coast and San Francisco. One potential upgrade remains in Adrian Beltre, but his price might be too steep.
Joe Crede could return or the Twins could go with Danny Valencia to fill the third base void. But there is one other option that might just make sense. If Nick Punto is bound to be in the lineup, why not place him at third and go after a second baseman?
Two primary second basemen remain on the free agent market in Orlando Hudson and Felpiz Lopez. Both would be solid upgrades for the team at the right price, and they’d fill not only the second base void, but also the second spot in the lineup.
Last season, Hudson hit .283 with 9 homeruns, 62 RBI and 74 runs scored. Lopez meanwhile hit .310 with 9 homeruns, 57 RBI and 88 runs scored. Lopez is three years younger, but Hudson is just 32 and a deal would likely be for two or three seasons.
If the Twins were to add Hudson or Lopez to the roster, a potential 2010 Opening Day lineup might be as follows:
1. Denard Span (cf)
2. Hudson/Lopez (2b)
3. Joe Mauer (c)
4. Justin Morneau (1b)
5. Michael Cuddyer (rf)
6. Jason Kubel (dh)
7. J.J. Hardy (ss)
8. Delmon Young (lf)
9. Nick Punto (3b)
Last season, the Minnesota Twins hit just .262 in the second spot in the lineup to go along with a .306 on-base percentage. Their second basemen combined meanwhile, hit just .209 with a .302 on-base percentage. Both Hudson and Lopez had on-base percentages around or above .360, and each could get on in front of Mauer rather than empty the bases.
The general consensus has been that the Twins would obtain a third basemen and fill second base with Nick Punto. With options running out however, it might be just as wise to go after Orlando Hudson or Felipe Lopez and stick Punto on the left side.