Five Free Agent Targets for the Twins

At this point I'm just making up Twins-related material. Forgive me, blogosphere gods.

This is a list loosely compiled on the following criteria:

  1. Each player must be brought in for a specific reason. No player is on this list "just because" or "because he's good". Every player has a purpose.
  2. None of the players should be expensive. If the Twins were to sign all five (which they couldn't, whether for roster requirements or redundancy) they wouldn't spend more than $10 million between them.
  3. The player is not Nick Punto, or Nick Punto in disguise.

Vladimir Guerrero, DH/OF

I love Jim Thome, but the Twins need a right-handed bat to help Young and Cuddyer even out the triumvirate of Mauer-Morneau-Kubel, and besides: the latest rumors have Thome looking for an $8 million dollar deal. That's too much for one guy, even one who hits like Jim Jam. Additionally, the market for Vlad is shrinking by the minute, as yesterday we learned that both of his primary options, the Rangers and Angels, are no longer interested. It seems the Rays may be a suitor, but he would be a great fit for the Twins. The biggest question is whether he'd get enough plate appearances, but I think I'd find a way to make it work.

Offer: 1 year, $6 million

Troy Glaus, 1B/DH

He's already 34, and there are two red flags: declining production and injury risk. Over the last few years he's dealt with oblique injuries (plural), problems with his left foot and left knee, and he missed a 132 games in 2009 with a shoulder issue. But there's a chance of squeezing out some value on a one-year deal that sees Glaus available to hit left-handed pitching and to backup Justin Morneau at first base. He's my backup plan if the Twins can't swing Guerrero.

Offer: 1 year, $1.5 million

Justin Duchscherer , RHP

The man cannot seem to stay healthy. But the talent is there. After missing all of 2009 he made five starts with the A's last April and, generally, pitched well. I'd use him exclusively as a relief pitcher to limit the duration of time he has to throw during a game, and he also has a higher strikeout rate as a reliever. If he is healthy and effective, Duchscherer could turn into a high-reward, low risk kind of pitcher.

Offer: 1 year minor league contract, invite to spring training

Jon Rauch, RHP

One thing we'd miss by losing both Rauch and Matt Guerrier: innings. Rauch gives reliability in the way of appearances, and truth be told he's not bad in terms of performance either.

Offer: 1 year, $2 million

John Maine, RHP

Maine turns just 30 in May, but considering how much hell he gave Mets fans over the last couple years I'm sure they'd say he'd already been around too long. But I think there's something worth salvaging here. He can get guys to swing and miss, his fly ball (and home run) rates may not be as much of an issue in what appears to be a pitcher-friendly Target Field, and if Rick Anderson can work on his accuracy then who knows? He's a project, no doubt, but if the Twins aren't comfortable paying $10 million a year for Carl Pavano or taking a shot on an injury risk like Ben Sheets, then there are a couple of middle ground risks available that might be worth a flyer. If he works out he could be a solid #3 kind of guy, and if not, we know the Twins have plenty of depth.

Offer: 1 year, $1 million

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