Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

The Forums

Front Page: Mission Accomplished: An Elite Twins Bullpen

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:50 AM
As the month of July came to an end, Minnesota Twins fans watched with anticipation hoping that their club was going to make the necessar...
Full topic ›

Front Page: The Future Value of Luis Arraez

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:43 AM
Major League Baseball has rookies every season that are deemed as the next wave of stars. However, this rarely comes to fruition as plent...
Full topic ›

Magic Number Thread

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:36 AM
Why no magic number thread?     Why can't I post pictures?      BYTO was fun.    
Full topic ›

Front Page: Twins Game Recap (9/17): Twins Win Wild Game...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:40 AM
This game had pretty much everything you could ask for from a great baseball game. An historic home run, three different comebacks to tie...
Full topic ›

Front Page: Win Tickets To Meet Luis Arraez!

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:23 AM
Twins Daily is excited to announce we have partnered with FanHQ to get a lucky reader tickets to meet Twins rookie Luis Arraez. Just sign...
Full topic ›

Offseason Primer: Corner Infield Free Agents

Joe Mauer's big send-off yesterday, combined with the ominous uncertainty surrounding Miguel Sano, leaves the corner infield spots as a major source of mystery as the Minnesota Twins embark on their offseason.

Let's take an early look at a few players who will be available in free agency.
Image courtesy of Allan Henry, USA Today
Note: This is an excerpt from the free agency section of the upcoming 2019 Offseason Handbook, which you can officially preorder as of today. You'll find these profiles, plus dozens more, within. Claim your copy today to get it before its official release.

To say the Twins lack clarity at the infield corners would be an understatement. Incumbent first baseman Joe Mauer is a free agent, for the first time ever. Incumbent third baseman Miguel Sano is coming off a brutal season bisected by a demotion to Single-A. The latter will be back (barring a trade) but in what capacity? Keep him at third, or move him to first (or even DH)? Up to you. And that decision will dictate planning here.

Joe Mauer, 1B
Age: 35
Previous Team: Twins
2018 Stats: .282/.351/.379, 6 HR, 48 RBI

Mauer is coming off an underwhelming season that saw him turn in some of the worst numbers of his career. But he remains an excellent defensive first baseman and strong situational hitter with above-average OBP skills. If he returns, it'll be as a part-timer and frequent DH. But with righty-swinging Tyler Austin on hand, that might fit. Mauer is contemplating retirement.

Estimated Contract: 1 year, $7 million

Eduardo Escobar, 3B
Age: 30
Previous Team: Diamondbacks
2018 Stats: .272/.334/.489, 23 HR, 84 RBI

Cherished clubhouse character and late-blooming versatile slugger. Signing Escobar would restore a recognizable veteran presence to the locker room while allowing Sano to move across the diamond for a potential offensive upgrade at both corners. Esco's ability to fill in at short or second, if needed, helps with flexibility.

Estimated Contract: 3 years, $45 million

Matt Adams, 1B
Age: 30
Previous Team: Cardinals
2018 Stats: .239/.309/.477, 21 HR, 57 RBI

Looking for an apt platoon mate to complement lefty-masher Austin, Adams might be your man. He's got an .815 OPS with 41 homers over the past two seasons, and is a career .279/.330/.495 hitter against righties. Can play outfield corners in a pinch.

Estimated Contract: 2 years, $15 million

Hungry for more? Preorder the Offseason Handbook, which will include profiles on tons of other free agent options, at the corner infield and other areas of need.

  • dbminn, nclahammer and caninatl04 like this

  • Share:
  • submit to reddit
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

73 Comments

I'm curious what Josh Donaldson's contract projection is. If he figured out the whole dead arm situation that could be a high risk, high reward option.
    • USAFChief, Twins33, nicksaviking and 3 others like this

I am not advocating for it, but is their any chance the Twin bring back LoMo?

The Twins could easily bring back Logan Morrison. They already have to pay him a buyout.

 

Looking at Matt Adams, you MIGHT have more certainty of him because of two seasons of play, but his numbers would correspond with Tyler Austin. They both play the same position. The rub here is how many 1B/DH do you need (let's throw Sano in that mix) and you also have Willians Alstudillo in competition.

 

If you could possibly go with a 7-man bullpen, Joe Mauer would be a nice addition to stay with the team in a Jim Thome role, someone who could come off the becnh and also play in the field (an advantage over Thome, you don't need to pinch rn for him).

 

I'm thinking Sano is the elephant in the room for 2019 right now, like Mauer was for 2018. If you have to play him, where do you play him and how does that affect adding others and the bench. If Sano is not a third baseman, than Escobar is a candidate.

 

But, truly...will Escobar get a $45 million contract offer? I see $25-30 million if teams want to go three years. He may get a larger one-year contract, but how do other teams view him compared to corresponding third base opportunities (or other infielders).

 

 

    • beckmt, SF Twins Fan, MN_ExPat and 1 other like this

I understand lumping together 1B and 3B for discussion purposes, but I think the 2019 Twins are "set" at 1B for not only next year, but for the foreseeable future with combinations of Garver, Kepler, Austin and / or Sano for 2019 / 20 and a handful of current minor-leaguers (Larnach?) beyond.

    • gunnarthor, nicksaviking, mikelink45 and 2 others like this
Photo
Winston Smith
Oct 01 2018 12:15 PM

I'd look in to Moustakas to play 3B for a couple years. Sano/Kepler/Austin/Garver can take turns at 1B/DH. Sano can play 3B when they face LH pitcher that Mous has trouble with.

Photo
SF Twins Fan
Oct 01 2018 12:15 PM

After last offseason I don't see Escobar getting to $45M but I could see $35M over 3 years. If I was the Twins FO, my first calls would be to Donaldson to see if he would want a 1 year prove he's healthy deal and to Jose Iglesias to see if he'd be willing to take a 2 to 3 year deal. Donaldson could play 3rd, 1st and DH and Iglesias could play all three infield positions if needed.

 

Machado is a pipe dream but it would be awesome to put him at 3rd and sign Iglesias for SS. Move Sano over to 1st and DH.

    • birdwatcher, gunnarthor, Twins33 and 1 other like this

Josh Donaldson.

 

joshdonaldsonjoshdonaldsonjoshdonaldsonjoshdonaldsonjoshdonaldsonjoshdonaldsonjoshdonaldson

 

Josh.

 

Donaldson.

    • Twins33, SF Twins Fan, Tomj14 and 1 other like this
Photo
yarnivek1972
Oct 01 2018 12:29 PM

After last offseason I don't see Escobar getting to $45M but I could see $35M over 3 years. If I was the Twins FO, my first calls would be to Donaldson to see if he would want a 1 year prove he's healthy deal and to Jose Iglesias to see if he'd be willing to take a 2 to 3 year deal. Donaldson could play 3rd, 1st and DH and Iglesias could play all three infield positions if needed.

Machado is a pipe dream but it would be awesome to put him at 3rd and sign Iglesias for SS. Move Sano over to 1st and DH.


Someone will give Donaldson at least 2-3 years. He proved in September that he was healthy. And if he has a good postseason...
Photo
yarnivek1972
Oct 01 2018 12:29 PM

After last offseason I don't see Escobar getting to $45M but I could see $35M over 3 years. If I was the Twins FO, my first calls would be to Donaldson to see if he would want a 1 year prove he's healthy deal and to Jose Iglesias to see if he'd be willing to take a 2 to 3 year deal. Donaldson could play 3rd, 1st and DH and Iglesias could play all three infield positions if needed.

Machado is a pipe dream but it would be awesome to put him at 3rd and sign Iglesias for SS. Move Sano over to 1st and DH.


Someone will give Donaldson at least 2-3 years. He proved in September that he was healthy. And if he has a good postseason...
Photo
SF Twins Fan
Oct 01 2018 12:42 PM

 

Someone will give Donaldson at least 2-3 years. He proved in September that he was healthy. And if he has a good postseason...

 

16 games is a pretty small sample size. He's also going to be 33 this December, so I'd be shocked if he got 3 years.

 

Edit: Also, who's to say he's going to want to sign a 3 year deal when he could sign a 1 year deal, crush, and then sign a 3 year deal for more money a year later.

I also think your estimate for Mighty Mouse is a tad high, but who knows.In any case, he would be my first call.

 

Like 2018, the Twins are a little hog tied in that they have to plan on Sano filling a full time role...probably at third.If he fails to produce like this year, getting someone like Escobar to shift to 3B with Adrianza stepping in at second/short is about the best they can hope for.

 

Lets not be to surprised if they bring LoMo back.None of us know the extent of the injuries he played thru this year.Do they pay the $1mm and release him, hoping to sign him for less than $7mm?But if they believe: 1) the injuries this past year were serious; 2) he is now healthy; and 3) he was a good fit in the clubhouse, I can see them exercising their option...iff they are certain Mauer is retiring.And isn't that the problem, they probably won't know about Mauer before they have to cut bait on LoMo.

I usually think with my head.But my heart says a mixture of Mauer, Austin, Sano, Escobar would work for 3B/1B/DH.

    • birdwatcher and rdehring like this
Photo
TheLeviathan
Oct 01 2018 01:58 PM

This is a really, really weak group.I think signing Escobar is the best thing we can do here and move on to other positions.

 

I don't mind a flyer on Donaldson, but it doesn't thrill me.

    • nokomismod, LA VIkes Fan, Major League Ready and 4 others like this

If healthy, and for a good contract, Josh Donaldson makes the most sense.As was stated earlier, he can play 3rd, 1st and DH.He fits in with Sano and Austin for those 3 positions, doesn't matter who really plays which one to me, excluding Austin at 3rd.  

Last off season the Brewers went and got good / very good MLB players......

 

I'd rather the Twins follow that model, than sign a bunch of mediocre, just above replacement level, players.

 

Either that or just go young and move on. Mauer does nothing for me. Adams is just a dh/1b.....they don't need more of those, not with Austin and Rooker and maybe Sano.......

    • USAFChief, gil4, Twins33 and 13 others like this

Announcers just said the Brewers manager played all his cards and it made me think we had a season without a single face card and a couple of jokers. 

    • Riverbrian, Oldgoat_MN and David HK like this
Photo
Winston Smith
Oct 01 2018 02:32 PM

 

Last off season the Brewers went and got good / very good MLB players......

 

I'd rather the Twins follow that model, than sign a bunch of mediocre, just above replacement level, players.

 

Either that or just go young and move on. Mauer does nothing for me. Adams is just a dh/1b.....they don't need more of those, not with Austin and Rooker and maybe Sano.......

Seems like most people just want to keep the band together and hope for the best.

    • Mike Sixel, beckmt, birddog and 4 others like this
Photo
drivlikejehu
Oct 01 2018 02:36 PM

 

This is a really, really weak group.I think signing Escobar is the best thing we can do here and move on to other positions.

 

I don't mind a flyer on Donaldson, but it doesn't thrill me.

 

Well, it's a really weak free agent group in general, beyond Machado, Harper, and a couple good starting pitchers. 

 

Getting Donaldson or Escobar would be pretty high on my priority list, second only to a starting pitcher. 

    • Mike Sixel, Twins33 and David HK like this

Seems like most people just want to keep the band together and hope for the best.


Which is strange IMO... The best they've done is win 85 games. Be bold, do something different.
    • USAFChief, Mike Sixel, nicksaviking and 6 others like this
Photo
ChrisKnutson
Oct 01 2018 03:56 PM
Any of Machado/Donaldson/Escobar would be great and all, but maybe the Twins should take a more realistic approach and make a deal for a 3rd/SS (Maikel Franco, Starlin Castro, Aledmys Diaz, J.P. Crawford, Ketel Marte, etc).

Josh Donaldson would be amazing!

104, 115, 99
103, 98, 108

OPS+ of Joe Mauer & Tyler Austin the last three years. I don’t get all the love for Austin. If he’s the primary first baseman, he’s going to fan 200 times. This board will be sick of him by June 1.
    • Oldgoat_MN, Tomj14, Doctor Wu and 1 other like this
I am a huge fan and believer in Escobar and I just dont see $45M for 3 years. IMO, that would be a total turn around from the depressed market we saw last season.

But to me, he makes the most sense. He is an super utility guy to play daily and yet can also thrive very well starting at a single position.

Healthy, playing any where close to his previous self, Sano is the primary 3B. Especially if he continues on his current diet and exercise program. He can also fill in at 1B and DH.

I am leaning toward a 2nd 1B/DH type, with Mauer retired, who can bring a decent LH bat. But then I look at Astudillo and others and start to talk myself out of it.
    • Twins33, nicksaviking, gagu and 1 other like this
I could clarify which are Mauer’s and which are Austin’s, would that matter?

 

104, 115, 99
103, 98, 108

OPS+ of Joe Mauer & Tyler Austin the last three years. I don’t get all the love for Austin. If he’s the primary first baseman, he’s going to fan 200 times. This board will be sick of him by June 1.

 

Austin is 25, Mauer is 35. One can play 140 games a year, one has not played over 100 at 1B hardly at all......

 

And yes, we may be sick of Austin by then, but he also makes the league minimum, and there is no emotional attachment by the team/fans, so he can be cut or traded or whatever......

 

They literally could not be less alike in terms of their future and their cost (both money and opportunity).

    • Twins33 and SF Twins Fan like this

Similar Articles


by Patrick Wozniak , 16 Aug 2019
Photo


by Ted Schwerzler , 23 Jul 2019
Photo


by RandBalls Stu , 05 Jul 2019
Photo


by Tom Froemming , 15 Jun 2019
Photo


by Thieres Rabelo , 14 Jun 2019
Photo