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.
The Brewers reportedly signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year, $10 million contract on Sunday. While the deal is not yet official, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers plan to give Moustakas a look at second base during spring training. If all goes well, he will be the primary second baseman and Travis Shaw will stay at third base.
The initial thought was that Moustakas would simply take over at third base for the more versatile Shaw. Moustakas has spent 8,035 of his career defensive innings at third base, 35 innings at first base, and none at second. In fact, he has never played second base as a pro player. Shaw, meanwhile, has spent 268 of his 4,073 1/3 defensive innings in the majors at second base and played there as recently as October.
This is certainly an interesting wrinkle to signing Moustakas, who is a decent third baseman. He was victimized by another slow free agent market, not signing until March last year on a $6.5 million deal with a $15 million mutual option for this season. That option was declined, obviously, and he ended up signing for $5 million cheaper here in February as the Brewers waited him out. Notably, Moustakas did not have qualifying offer compensation attached to him this time around.
Last season, between the Royals and Brewers, the 30-year-old Moustakas hit .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs and 95 RBI in 635 plate appearances.