Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Tracking the Third Base Saga

The Winter Meetings are now officially underway, so we should start seeing a whole bunch of rumors spring up over the course of the week. (You can follow all the developments at Rotoworld, where Aaron Gleeman is blogging the action.)

The Twins continue to seek a third base solution. They reportedly broke off talks with Casey Blake late last week when the two sides couldn't come to agreement on a third year (the Twins wanted an option, Blake wanted a guarantee). Ultimately, this turned out to be a deal-breaker, and it looks like Blake will end up re-signing with the Dodgers, who are willing to add a third year to their offer.

While I thought Blake was a logical target for the Twins, I'm glad to see them taking a hard stance here. He'd have been a solid short-term option and the Twins have money to burn over the next couple seasons, but it's not clear that they'll have the payroll flexibility in 2011 to have $6+ million committed to a 38-year-old.

And so, the Twins move on to looking at other options. For the time being, that apparently means reopening talks with the Mariners regarding Adrian Beltre. Seattle Times beat writer Geoff Baker suggests the M's may be interested in moving Beltre in return for a package built around Michael Cuddyer. While that'd be fine and dandy from the Twins' perspective, it doesn't really make sense for the Mariners. If they're trying to shed payroll (the only reason they'd deal Beltre), why would they be interested in bringing in a injury-prone veteran with a spotty track record and a somewhat bulky contract? If the Mariners actually do covet the right fielder for some reason, I'd think a package of Cuddyer plus Jeff Manship would be a good starting point. But, again, I sincerely doubt that is the case and I find it much more likely that the Mariners will demand a member of The Fab Five.

Elsewhere, Paul Hagen from the Philadelphia Daily News speculates that the Phillies may be interested in acquiring Delmon Young to replace Pat Burrell in their outfield. In return, Hagen notes that the Twins "almost certainly would ask for top prospect Jason Donald and are also seeking bullpen help." I've been pretty hawkish in my opposition to trading Young while his value is down, but I'd back off from that position if the Twins could reel in a player like Donald, a shortstop who has raked his way through the minors and finished last season at Double-A. Of course, such a deal would have to produce mixed feelings amongst Twins fans. On the one hand, the organization is bringing in a top prospect who represents a potential long-term solution at a middle infield spot. On the other hand, they're shipping off a big-league player who can help now in return for a guy who in all likelihood won't be ready to contribute significantly until 2010.

That's all I've got for today. Make sure to check back throughout the week; I'll continue to keep tabs on all the Twins-related rumors that pop up during this week of Hot Stove action.