Friday, October 26, 2007

2008 Third Base Class

Boston won Game 2 behind another strong starting pitching performance, this time from Curt Schilling. The Rockies garnered five hits... and four of them were from Matt Holliday. Hard to win when only one person on the team can get on base. Obviously, though, this was a much closer contest than on Wednesday night, as Ubaldo Jimenez gave up two runs to take the loss in a 2-1 defeat. Hopefully the fortunes will turn now that the teams are heading to Coors Field, because I would really like to see a competitive series.

With the requisite World Series note out of the way, it's time to focus on the players who will become free agents once it ends. Specifically, I will take a look at the third basemen and leftfielders (which would leave Jason Kubel as the Designated Hitter) who will be available in order to see which ones are a possibility for the Twins to sign this off-season. Second base could also be considered a position of need, but since it seems as if the Twins are content with Nick Punto and Alexi Casilla, I'm not going to address that situation.

Today, I'll look at the third basemen. There are many names that can be thrown out at first glance, both because they are old and not good: Geoff Blum, Tony Batista, Russell Branyan, Jeff Cirillo, Greg Norton (who has an option anyway), and Abraham Nunez (of the Phillies). It may seem unnecessary to even mention these players, but then think of who the Twins have signed in the past (it actually includes two of those players). Better players available would include Aaron Boone, Corey Koskie, or Mike Lamb. Koskie has an option the Brewers have indicated they will not exercise, but both Boone and Koskie are coming off serious injuries. Either of them would be a risk of simply being another Jeff Cirillo or, even worse, another Tony Batista. Therefore, I don't advocate signing either. Lamb is likely to sign a deal with the Astros after finishing his years of arbitration, so that takes care of those three. In reality, the Twins would need to look towards the next level up (in performance and price), which really means either Pedro Feliz or Mike Lowell. Either of these players would command more than the Twins have been willing to pay in the past, but maybe Bill Smith will bring a different attitude toward signing free agents. I think Feliz will get more than he is worth after four straight years of 20+ home runs. He isn't a very good fielder, despite a marked improvement over 2006, and his career on base percentage is .288, including a .290 mark this past year. Lowell, therefore, would be more worth the money. Granted, he will cost more than Feliz, but he is also a significantly better player, including being one of the best defenders at the hot corner.

In conclusion, there are not many options at third base. I would be okay with the Twins signing Koskie if it was on the cheap and they were very quick to get rid of (or at least bench) him if he didn't perform. I think the price tag for Feliz will be too high for a player of his caliber, but Mike Lowell would be a good, albeit expensive, option. Depending on what other moves the Twins make with regard to their costs, though, they may be able to afford that move.

What's that? I forgot one player likely to be a free agent? Which would be the simple solution? Oh, right! Let's sign Alex Rodriguez to a 5-year, $120 million deal and give him part ownership.


  1. Pedro Feliz is a great defensive player. He'll give you 20-25 HR's per year and about 85 RBI's. Overall not a bad pickup for some team looking for an upgrade.

  2. I agree he is good for 20-25 home runs and 85 RBIs, but those numbers are going to command a lot of money, and the rest of his statistics aren't good enough to warrant a team like the Twins giving him the sizeable contract he will most likely receive.

    I did look at his defensive stats, and I think I did short-change him in the entry. He is an above average fielder, although not as good as Mike Lowell.


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