Saturday, January 2, 2016

Sluggers for hire

It's 2016, and a number of of high-profile free agents -- mostly sluggers -- remain without a team.

Old friend Justin Morneau is one of them. So are Justin Upton, Chris Davis, Alex Gordon and Yoenis Cespedes. Five guys who play first base and/or corner outfield (Davis does both), and their market has not been what they expected.

They each have their own story, their own reason(s) for still being on the market. Morneau has the concussion shadow over him; Cespedes is apparently trying to get paid on the basis of his hot month with the Mets, and nobody seriously thinks he's that good. Davis and Upton have draft-pick compensation attached.

At this point it seems unlikely that any of them are going to get what they {presumably) expected, be it years, money or both. There are a few signs that teams are starting to sniff around for potential bargains.

But I don't see the Twins being among them. They are basically set at those positions, with Joe Mauer and a raft of young talent they intend to play.

For example: Imagine that they did sign, let us say, Alex Gordon. Gordon is a marvelous player, in my estimation the best all-round player in the Kansas City lineup. He also turns 32 next month, and is believed to be seeking a five-year contract. My guess is he'll get paid, but more like three years, Anyway, imagine dropping him into the Twins lineup.

Gordon would displace Eddie Rosario in left field. Rosario could move to center, but then there's no place to put Byron Buxton. He could move to right, but that's ticketed for Miguel Sano, who's in right because the Twins are unwilling to dislodge Trevor Plouffe. Mauer, at first base, is not going anywhere, and the Twins just invested $25 million in Byung Ho Park.

I can't see it.

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