Chart: Free-agent talent available this winter

  • Updated: September 21, 2013 - 8:22 PM

AVAILABLE FOR A PRICE

Free-agent signings can energize a fan base, because they provide an influx of talent without giving up anything but money. But even if the Twins suddenly became uncharacteristically aggressive in the free-agent market, they would find it difficult to fill their shopping list. Which might be why General Manager Terry Ryan said last week that “if we’re going to do anything … it’s probably not going to be in free agency.” A look at some of the free-agent talent available this winter to address their most pressing needs:

OUTFIELD

Age and injuries make the choices risky for the Twins, who figure to have several prospects arriving in the next two to three years. Among the possibilities (statistics through Friday):

Shin-Soo Choo. Little chance the Reds will let the Korean slugger get away after hitting 21 home runs and putting up a .426 on-base percentage.

David DeJesus. His $6.5 million option may be too pricey for the Rays, and at 33, he’s no longer a leadoff hitter. But 33 extra-base hits in 400 plate appearances, and the ability to play all three positions, could make him a good option for a year or two.

David Murphy. His 2012 season, with an .859 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, was All-Star level for the Rangers. His 2013, when both percentages fell by 100 points, makes him expendable. But he’s only 31.

THIRD BASE

Virtually every free agent is 35 or older, making them poor risks. Among them: Placido Polanco, Michael Young, Kevin Youkilis, Eric Chavez, Juan Uribe. There is one exception: 30-year-old Mark Reynolds, cut by Cleveland in August and picked up by the Yankees. But he owns one of the highest strikeout rates in history, a bad fit on a Twins team that already makes too little contact.

STARTING PITCHING

No position is riskier or more expensive, but there is some talent in this pool, including a couple of former Cy Young Award winners in Barry Zito and Tim Lincecum. The latter is intriguing, since he’s only 29, but he earned $22 million this year and posted a 4.40 ERA. Perhaps more realistically:

Scott Feldman. He’s only 30 and owns a 4.13 ERA over the past three seasons with fewer than one homer per nine innings, despite playing in home-run bandboxes for the Rangers, Cubs and Orioles.

Phil Hughes. The Twins discussed acquiring him during the Johan Santana talks six years ago, but he never lived up to his first-round promise with the Yankees, posting ERAs above 5.00 two of the past three years. Still, he is only 27, and a significantly better pitcher (a 4.10 career ERA) away from Yankee Stadium.

Joba Chamberlain. Another Yankees disappointment, he is only 28; the Nebraska native might fare better outside New York. It’s a risk, since Yankees stuck him in the bullpen, where he has averaged only 40 innings for four years. But his ERA was 4.18 as a starter, with a high strikeout rate (and walk rate, too).

Ervin Santana. Still only 30, he posted a 3.16 ERA for the Royals in almost 200 innings, a high point in an up-and-down career. He’s homer-prone, but Target Field would help with that. He earned $13 million this season, and will be looking for a raise, so it would require a non-Twins-like commitment.

Phil Miller

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NY Mets 4 FINAL
St. Louis 5
Pittsburgh 4 FINAL
Minnesota 2
St. Louis 1 FINAL
Washington 1
Boston - LP: C. Buchholz 2 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: J. Teheran 4
NY Yankees 10 FINAL
Philadelphia 0
Tampa Bay 0 Cancelled
Baltimore 0
Detroit 1 FINAL
Toronto 4
Chicago WSox 3 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 6
Texas 6 FINAL
Oakland 7
Cleveland 2 FINAL
Arizona 3
Arizona 7 FINAL
LA Angels 2
Miami 0 Cancelled
Houston 0
Seattle 0 Bottom 6th Inning
Kansas City 5
San Francisco 2 Bottom 2nd Inning
Los Angeles 3
Colorado 1 Top 2nd Inning
San Diego 1
Milwaukee 3 Bottom 2nd Inning
Cincinnati 2
Detroit 111 FINAL
Orlando 97
LA Clippers 119 FINAL
Philadelphia 98
Charlotte 107 FINAL
Washington 110
Boston 96 FINAL
New York 92
Cleveland 98 FINAL
Brooklyn 106
LA Lakers 83 FINAL
Toronto 94
Miami 86 FINAL
Atlanta 99
Golden State 107 FINAL
Memphis 84
Sacramento 88 FINAL
New Orleans 102
Minnesota 110 FINAL
Houston 120
Dallas 70 4th Qtr 2:30
San Antonio 91
Utah 58 3rd Qtr 2:51
Denver 68
Portland 41 2nd Qtr 7:00
Phoenix 32
Calgary 2 FINAL
Minnesota 4
Columbus 4 3rd Prd 13:01
Chicago 2
Dallas 0 2nd Prd 13:42
Edmonton 1
UCLA 62 FINAL
Gonzaga 74
NC State 65 FINAL
Louisville 75
Utah 22 2nd Half
Duke 27
Kent State 21 1st Half 3:52
Northern Ariz 17
Michigan State 19 1st Half 7:04
Oklahoma 23
(15) North Carolina 65 FINAL
(3) South Carolina 67
(18) Iowa 66 FINAL
(5) Baylor 81
(9) Arizona State 22 1st Half 2:29
(7) Florida State 24
(14) Stanford 31 2nd Half
(2) Notre Dame 42
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