I already posted some of this here, but I'm going to repost my idea for what the Twins should do:
We desperately need a 3B that hits for average and power. I like Punto, but we need one or two less singles hitters in the linup. Even if Punto wasn't a fluke this year, I think he is better served as a sub for 3b, ss, and 2b. That should help keep everyone rested as well as give him 400+ PAs if he isn't a fluke. If he was a fluke, he goes back to being a late inning defensive replacement. I don't see a decent FA 3B in the market, with one exception... One thread at DTFC mentioned a Japanese FA that looked pretty intruiging. If there's not bidding war for his services, TR would be wise in inking him. If he was inked, then my trade proposal here would be for a very good starter instead of a 3B. Here goes:
Resign White as a DH/LF. Kubel should be the starting LF, but gets switched to DH and rested frequently to protect his knee. I think he will do much better next year, with a bit more time working on that knee, but the Twins should play it safe with him over then next year or two. White really showed what we hoped we'd see in the second half. If the Twins are smart about it, they'd resign him. White can be had cheaply, and Ryan may be able to get him a contract with incentives that would allow him to make what he could have made had his option vested. I'd also add a second option to this to get him for another year at a similar price if he performs.
Consider trading Crain/Rincoln and/or propsects to get a good, solid 3B. I'd be open to trading Nathan too, but they had better get an amazing deal for Nathan. The 3B needs to hit for average with some power, and preferably be a RH hitter. I am not up on which teams have what in their minor league system. One team that makes a logical partner would be the WhiteSox. They have Joe Crede blocking Josh Fields. Either one would fit the type of player I'd like. And if the Twins were in teh NL central, they would trade one of them in a heartbeat for Rincoln and Crain. Unfortunately, I doubt that happens, unless it's a 3 way deal. I'm really curious what you minor league buffs think the Twins could get at 3B for Rincoln and/or Crain.
Depending on the market, maybe they can get a decent innings eater to help the rotation also. We have plenty of pitching prospects that could move into the pen, and our pen would still be fairly strong. I also think time in the pen would do Baker and Perkins good, as they'd better learn how to pitch out of jams. Then you can move one of them into the rotation if needed.
My next years starting team:
- new 3B aquisition
There's a lot of 20-30 HR potential in the 3-9 slots. Quite a few guys should be sporting .280 BAs as well, giving us an offense that MIGHT score 900 runs (assuming health, it should come close)...
- FA/trade or one of Baker/Perkins/Durbin/Slowey. Maybe convince Radke to go for one more year at a cheap price.
- Rabe or Tyner (preferably Rabe I think)
- Lrod or Casilla
- Cheap FA... Actually, Matthew Lecroy comes to mind. He's a cheaper version of Nevin. He has power, and would probaby put up better PH numbers than Nevin. He also hits lefties well, and could occasionaly DH against tough lefties. I think he's a FA too, though I could be wrong. He could be had for pretty close to the league minimum.
There shouldn't be any major payroll issues here either, as the only major addition would be the 3B. Removing Rincoln and Crain should come very close to evening it out, and could save us cash if we got a major league ready 3B prospect for them. I'd also be up for trading Hunter, but I fear removing him would be making one hole in favor of plugging another. In this scenario, Hunter goes to the bottom of the order, where I don't think he hurts us as much.
Here's the added bonus, this entire roster could be contructed before FA begins, thereby leaving Ryan firmly in controll... Far better than getting in a bidding war.