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Thome is nice, but Twins still need infield help

Jan 27, 2010, 11:57 AM EDT

As a Twins fan I’ve been hoping they’ll sign either Felipe Lopez or Orlando Hudson to play second base and hit second in the lineup, but the Minneapolis Star Tribune‘s beat writing tag team threw some cold water on both scenarios recently.
First here’s LaVelle E. Neal II on Lopez:

Lopez? Scouts tell me you want to hit the ball to him. Not the Twins’ way.

Looking at any kind of advanced defensive statistics is also “not the Twins’ way,” so Lopez’s solid showing in Ultimate Zone Rating since becoming a full-time second baseman is ignored. That’s unfortunate, because he has a decent glove and has hit .298/.366/.409 over the past two seasons. He’d help the Twins plenty.
And now here’s Joe Christensen on Hudson:

I’ve been told Hudson had little interest in the Twins in the past but seemed humbled after last offseason, when he was a Type A free agent and had to settle for an incentive laden one-year deal with the Dodgers. … The Twins are discussing it, but my guess is Hudson signs elsewhere.

Right now the list of quality free agent infielders has dwindled considerably and the Twins’ projected lineup has Nick Punto starting at second base and Brendan Harris starting at third base, so not making a serious run at Lopez or Hudson would be very disappointing unless general manager Bill Smith has something else up his sleeve. And usually he doesn’t.

  1. ecp - Jan 27, 2010 at 12:28 PM

    Hudson didn’t HAVE to settle for the Dodgers incentive-laden deal; he did actually receive at least one multi-year guaranteed contract offer that he refused. The reason he gave for selecting the Dodgers instead was that he wanted to play for Joe Torre…who, ironically, didn’t wind up showing Hudson much respect.

  2. Union - Jan 27, 2010 at 12:39 PM

    The fact we have not been tied to either of these players when we are in need of a #2 hitter and 2nd baseman just baffles me. The Thome signing just adds to my confusion. Yes he will improve our bench but, that seems kind of moot when you have way bigger holes to fill. Maybe Smith is working on a trade, I’ve seen rumors of the M’s shopping Jose Lopez. I think he would be a perfect fit contract wise for us. Being a Twins fan my entire life though, I’m not holding my breath. I’m guessing we’re just bargain hunting now and grabing what comes cheapest.

  3. dbs - Jan 27, 2010 at 12:57 PM

    Agree with Union. Thome on the bench does not help a team that runs out Punto/Harris/Tolbert on a regular basis. Unless the Twins can use 2 DH at the same time, money spent should have been directed at other holes in the lineup.

  4. Squish - Jan 27, 2010 at 1:28 PM

    I believe Jose Lopez is worse than Felipe at defense, the M’s are/were thinking of moving him to 1B because of it. Again, not the Twins way. Both can hit however (not the Twins way).

  5. Zonebrick - Jan 27, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    Is Nick Punto part-owner of the Twins?! Hard to see how he keeps returning year after year otherwise.

  6. Drew W - Jan 27, 2010 at 3:09 PM

    If F-Lop is happy he will produce, but he pouted in DC, stunk it up, and magically found his stroke once the Nationals released him. Not a great character guy.

  7. ochocinco - Jan 27, 2010 at 8:06 PM

    Punto is the worst hitter in baseball.

  8. Ben - Jan 29, 2010 at 3:10 PM

    Felipe Lopez is the best option out there, and I think he is a pretty good one. Better than Punto or any of the “others”. I like the Thome signing, but it doesn’t mean much unless you at least get Crede back or get a 2B (preferably both, but I’m a realist).

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