Tagged: Mark DeRosa

What About Second?

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. 

Third Base Options Dwindling

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.

Winter Meetings: Third Base Talks

There is still no action on the Minnesota Twins’ front, but there have been several rumblings in the past day regarding the team and several players. There has been no talk of starting pitchers or second baseman, just third basemen. 

With just three days to go by, indications are that the club is looking at third base as the position of choice to upgrade. Currently it seems that they’ll go in-house to fill the second base void and sign a free agent or make a trade to finish off the left side of the infield. 
So who have the names been?
Mark DeRosa 
The Twins apparently have “strong” interest in DeRosa. The veteran apparently is looking for a three-year, $27 million deal. That won’t happen in Minnesota, but if the price drops, he could be a fit. 
So far it seems, there have been only preliminary talks:

Just spoke with Mark DeRosa’s agent, Keith Grunewald, and he confirmed that he’s talked with the Twins about the free agent third baseman. They haven’t talked much and it’s just been preliminary. Grunewald said there’s a great deal of interest in DeRosa and called him one of the best commodities in the third base market.

Pedro Feliz
While FoxSports reported yesterday that Pedro Feliz was interested in Minnesota and the Twins were potentially interested in him, that doesn’t seem to be the case. It seems the Twins especially haven’t been looking in his direction:

…The agents for Feliz have not heard from the Twins. 

…Indications are that the Twins just aren’t feeling Pedro Feliz.

Kevin Kouzmanoff
The Twins seem to have the most interest in Mark DeRosa as far as free agents are concerned, but the name Kevin Kouzmanoff has been a popular one recently. There were several indications Wednesday that there is mutual interest between the Twins and Padres. 
The talks were first reported on Tuesday night when it was learned that the Twins had offered the Padres Glen Perkins and were rejected with San Diego asking for another player. Wednesday talks apparently continued:

The Twins and Padres have had several discussions about Kevin Kouzmanoff, perhaps a better (cheaper) fit for Twins than other 3B options.

Later in the day the Padres heated talks and continued to talk with the Twins:

Padres now “aggressively” trying to move Kevin Kouzmanoff, says one source who spoke with them. Hear Twins & Giants have been most interested. 

Hearing that Padres offered Kouzmanoff to Giants for Fred Lewis & Kevin Fransden. Asked Twins for Glen Perkins & 2nd player.

With all of those talks, the general feeling is that nothing will happen at least until the non-tender deadline passes Saturday. Several infielders are expected to be let go by their teams rather than offered contracts, with Garrett Atkins being one potential player. 
The Twins are apparently not keen on giving up more than Glen Perkins in a Kouzmanoff deal, but he’s cheap with pretty good production, and if other options don’t become available, something could happen.