There’s only so much Nick Punto and Louis Rodriguez a man can take. At a certain point, one starts to long for a third baseman who is, you know, good at baseball and can actually contribute to (rather than detract from) a team’s chances for victory. To make matters even more frustrating, we’re currently in a bit of a Golden Age of major league third basemen; from Alex Rodriguez, to Miguel Cabrera, to David Wright (and I could go on and on), there are so many good players manning the hot corner today that the Twins’ lack at the position becomes even more glaring.
There’s always the chance that Joe Mauer ends up at third base sooner rather than later. In fact, I think there’s a decent chance that Terry Ryan intends this to be the long-term solution, which is why nobody has been brought in to fill the hole created by Cuddyer’s move to right. But putting aside that idea, there are a couple of tasty acquisitions the Twins could make mid-season that have a chance to pay off big-time.
Both Morgan Ensberg and Edwin Encarnacion are in the dog house for their respective teams. Ensberg has fallen into a third-base platoon in
Ensberg is the older player, by seven years. He’s now two years removed from 2005’s monster season in which he hit .283/.388/.557 with 36 homers, but his 2006 was nothing to sneeze at either. His batting average fell down into the .230s, but his on-base percentage actually rose by eight points to .396. This season, he’s mired in a pretty serious slump, hitting only .216/.369/.345.
I like the idea of an Encarnacion deal even more, as it would represent a forward-thinking move on the Twins part that could add a potentially excellent young talent to compliment the Mauer/Morneau core. Encarnacion has been, in a word, putrid this year. A .220/.303/.284 line doesn’t seem like much of an upgrade. But in last years rookie season (at the young age of 23), he put up a very solid .276/.359/.473 with 15 home runs in about 400 at-bats. All reports out of
With very little hitting in the minor-league pipeline, the Twins are going to have to look outside to fix their attack; Ensberg and (especially) Encarnacion both give them a good chance at a serious coup. It’s time for Terry Ryan to take a bit of a risk for once, and buying low on these two players is a good place to start.