All-Decade Team: Infield

All-Decade.png
The year is changing to 2010, and the first decade of the 21st century is coming to an end. It has without a doubt been an interesting 10 years for the Minnesota Twins as they’ve faced contraction, made the playoffs in five of the past eight seasons, and put forth two great comebacks. 
Several Minnesota Twins’ bloggers and writers were sent questionnaires to help put together the All-Decade team, and four responded: Seth Stohs from SethSpeaks.net, John Bonnes from TwinsGeek, Nick Nelson from Nick’s Twins Blog, and Michael Rand from RandBall, all made their picks for the best of the decade.
Catcher
Who played: Matt LeCroy, A.J. Pierzynski, Henry Blanco, Joe Mauer
Seth
Stohs
John
Bonnes
Nick
Nelson
Michael
Rand
Alex
Catcher
Joe
Mauer
Joe
Mauer
Joe
Mauer
Joe
Mauer
Joe
Mauer

Joe Mauer was the unanimous selection at catcher, and the reasoning in pretty simple. After being injured during his rookie season in 2004, Mauer began taking off with his first full season in 2005.
In 2006 Mauer became the first American League catcher to ever win a batting title, and he won a second in 2008 and a third in 2009. He made the All-Star Game three times, won two Gold Glove awards, was chosen as a Silver Slugger winner twice, and capped off the incredible decade with an American League MVP award.
The decade was great to Mauer, and the greatest hope for the new decade is that Mauer will again be in Minnesota. 
First BaseWho player: Ron Coomer, Doug Mientkiewicz, Justin Morneau

Seth
Stohs
John
Bonnes
Nick
Nelson
Michael
Rand
Alex
First
Base
Justin
Morneau
Justin
Morneau
Justin
Morneau
Justin
Morneau
Justin
Morneau

Much like his good friend and teammate Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau was the unanimous selection at first base. Morneau received his first opportunity in 2003, and took over first base full time when the team traded Doug Mientkiewicz in 2004.
In 2006, Morneau broke out. He hit 30 homeruns on his way to winning the American League MVP award, and was an integral part to a historic second half comeback. In the past decade, Morneau made the All-Star Game three times, won two Silver Slugger awards, and won the 2008 Homerun Derby.
Second BaseWho played: Jay Canizaro, Luis Rivas, Nick Punto, Luis Castillo, Alexi Casilla

Seth
Stohs
John
Bonnes
Nick
Nelson
Michael
Rand
Alex
Second
Base
Luis
Castillo
Luis
Castillo
Luis
Castillo
Luis
Castillo
Luis
Castillo

Rolling along with the unanimous selections, Luis Castillo was selected as the second baseman of the decade. The Twins acquired Castillo before the 2006 season, and played in Minnesota for two years.
In 2006, Castillo was an integral part to the historic comeback, hitting .296 with 25 stolen bases. In his two seasons combined in Minneapolis, Castillo hit .299 with 3 homeruns and 67 RBI.
Third BaseWho played: Corey Koskie, Michael Cuddyer, Nick Punto, Brian Buscher, Joe Crede

Seth
Stohs
John
Bonnes
Nick
Nelson
Michael
Rand
Alex
Third
Base
Corey
Koskie
Corey
Koskie
Corey
Koskie
Corey
Koskie
Corey
Koskie

Corey Koskie was a fan favorite, and he was also the last player at third base before the position became a consistent question mark. Koskie played in Minnesota for seven season, with five coming in the decade.
In seven seasons with the Twins, Koskie hit .280 with 101 homeruns and 437 RBI. He played a solid third base defensively, and appeared in the playoffs in three seasons for the team. 
ShortstopWho played: Cristian Guzman, Jason Bartlett, Nick Punto, Orlando Cabrera

Seth
Stohs
John
Bonnes
Nick
Nelson
Michael
Rand
Alex
Shortstop
Cristian
Guzman
Cristian
Guzman
Cristian
Guzman
Cristian
Guzman
Cristian
Guzman

Rounding out the unanimous selections in the infield is shortstop Cristian Guzman. Guzman played in Minneapolis for six seasons, and five of those seasons came in the decade.
Guzman began his career in 1999, and in 2001 he established himself as he represented the Twins in the All-Star Game. In six seasons with the Twins, Guzman his .266 with 39 homeruns, 289 RBI and 102 stolen bases. 

Designated Hitter
Who played: David Ortiz, Matt LeCroy, Jose Offerman, Rondell White, Jason Kubel
Seth
Stohs
John
Bonnes
Nick
Nelson
Michael
Rand
Alex
Designated
Hitter
Jason
Kubel
Jason
Kubel
Jason
Kubel
Jason
Kubel
Jason
Kubel

Had David Ortiz played longer in Minnesota, he may have been the choice as the designated hitter of the decade. He didn’t however, and the title deservingly goes to Jason Kubel. Kubel has been in Minnesota for six years, and has played five seasons.
Knee injuries hindered Kubel’s career in the early years, but in 2007 he started becoming the player everybody expected. In five seasons as a Twin, Kubel has hit .278 with 71 homeruns and 279 RBI. He nearly hit 30 homeruns during the 2009 season, and received an MVP vote. 

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