January 16, 2010 – It has been reported that the San Diego Padres have traded 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff to the Oakland A’s and now the door is quickly closing on any hopes of the Twins getting a major league caliber 3B. The free agent market at 3B is drying quickly up with Joe Crede, Melvin Mora, and Andy Kennedy as the last men standing and there are rumors out there that the Orioles are hot on the Crede trail. I am not sure that Mora is any improvement over what we currently have at playing third now and we certainly don’t want Adam Kennedy.
So what do the Twins do, they still have holes at 3B and 2B? The 2B free agent market still has Orlando Hudson who would be a great pick-up and Felipe Lopez who would also be a nice fit but after that it drops down to Ronnie Belliard and of course Adam Kennedy again.
It seems that the Joe Mauer salary negotiations are already impacting the team that the Twins can put on Target Field. The Twins need to sign Mauer but they find themselves between a rock and a hard spot because they have a pretty solid team but they have two major holes in their infield. If the team is going to seriously contend, the Twins need to bite the bullet and spend the money to fill at least one of the two holes and probably play Punto in the other position. If they do nothing, they still end up with a high salary team with diminished hopes of making the playoffs and you can already hear the “time to rebuild” chatter starting to gather momentum.
You can bring Danny Valencia up and play him at 3B but he is not ready. The sad part is that neither his hitting not his fielding is ready to play in the big leagues, if either his glove or his bat were ready, it would be easier to throw him in the fire and suffer with the other but that is not the case.
I guess that is why Mr. Smith makes the big bucks, to make these kinds of decisions, but here we are, about a month away from spring training and the Twins have two major holes in the infield and Mauer is still not signed for the long term. Do something Mr. Smith, show us you are breathing and that there is more going on at Target Field then just everyone “patting themselves on the back” for the great ballpark that will open in April. If nothing else, at least bring back Joe Crede, maybe he can play 3B at Target Field five days a week. I think the ball is in your court Mr. Smith, I know you have been working hard and that you have really been getting after it, but now it is time we see the fruits of your labor.