* La Velle posted an update on his blog yesterday that is definitely worth reading. It includes notes on various players and prospects. The most interesting tidbit, from my perspective, was that the Twins are trying minor-league outfielder Eddie Rosario at second base in instructional league, and plan to carry the experiment over to spring training.
Rosario, who turned 20 last month, has played the outfield exclusively in his minor-league career, which thus far has spanned only 118 games. He had a breakout season in the Appalachian Rookie League this year, batting .337/.397/.670 with 21 home runs and 60 RBI in only 67 games.
Between Ben Revere, Joe Benson, Aaron Hicks, Angel Morales, Oswaldo Arcia and perhaps Miguel Sano, the Twins are overloaded with talented young outfielders that have a chance to help them in the coming years. Rosario's bat is certainly looking legit after he led the Appy League in homers. If the Twins can successfully shift him from an area of organizational strength to an area of extreme weakness (middle infield), it'd be a huge win.
Rosario has played only one full professional season, so a transition to the infield could be easier than it would be for, say, Ben Revere. La Velle noted that the Puerto Rican prospect was "all for" trying second base, and that front office execs Deron Johnson and Mike Radcliff both said Rosario "looked pretty good there during instructional league."
* The same article wonders whether the Twins can afford to bring back both of their long-tenured free agent outfielders this offseason. Jason Kubel has been with the organization for 11 years and Michael Cuddyer for 14 years, so these are decisions that will be taken very seriously.
There are a lot of good arguments for bringing Cuddyer back, and I'd guess that if it comes down to a choice between the two, the Twins are leaning heavily in that direction. However, from a pure baseball standpoint, Kubel sure looks like the better bet to provide good value for the money over the life of a new contract.
After posting an .805 OPS in 2008 and a .907 OPS in 2009, Kubel is coming off a pair of down years where injuries have been an issue. This, combined with his defensive deficiencies and platoon split (which softened this year), will keep him from commanding a king's ransom on the open market. However, even with his reduced productivity over the last two years, his core numbers (.756 OPS, 33 HR, 150 RBI) are very similar to Cuddyer's (.777 OPS, 34 HR, 151 RBI).
Yes, Kubel is another lefty bat and he doesn't offer the same flexibility or leadership that Cuddyer does. But he's also three years younger and he's going to be a whole lot cheaper. It will be interesting to see how those factors weigh on the Twins.
* I'm pleased to finally announce that this year's edition of the TwinsCentric GM Handbook is now available for pre-order. If you lock up your copy now, you'll get a nice discount at 5.99 -- down from the official price of 9.99 -- and you won't have to wait long for your copy, as we'll be dropping the e-book PDF file in your virtual mailbox as soon as the World Series is finished. You can click on the image below to secure yours:
As always, the Handbook puts you in the shoes of the Twins GM and provides all the information you'll need to navigate the offseason and renovate the roster. We've got full run-downs of the free agent market, trade targets, arbitration eligibles, 40-man roster decisions and more, all packed with insight and advice from your TwinsCentric guides.
The GM Handbook has become our flagship product, and I hope that everyone who's interested in a comprehensive preview of this hugely important offseason will pick up a copy. Thanks, as always, for the support.