By La Velle
Two persons with knowledge of negotiations said the Twins and Cubs talked yesterday about a deal for infielder Mark DeRosa – a potential move that would get the Twins involved in the most talked-about trade of the offseason.
The Cubs have been looking for teams to bring into the Jake Peavy deal because they don’t have enough pitching to send the Padres in return for the 2007 Cy Young Award winner. The Twins have young pitching. The question: Who are the Twins be willing to give up for DeRosa, who’s free agent after the season and is expected to test the market then.
Indications are that the Cubs will present the Twins a list of pitchers they would want in the deal – a list that likely would be influenced by the Padres.
DeRosa, who turns 34 in February, will make $5.5 million next season. He batted .285 last season with career highs of 21 homers and 87 RBI.
I took it for granted that the Twins would play DeRosa at third base because that’s all the Twins have talked about this offseason. But, while talking about Alexi Casilla yesterday, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire raised the possibility about moving Casilla back to short next season – where many believed his best position was before an opening at second popped up last season.
“If we were to lose (Nick Punto) or something like that, I’m not afraid to take a look to see a Tolbert at second base or something,” Gardenhire said. “I’m not afraid to do any of that. You can mix-and-match all you want.
“I like the way it was going along when we had Casilla playing healthy at second base. That was a pretty good infield and we were playing pretty good baseball. We had lead-off guys and guys that would take pitches and bunters and the whole package, and it was fun baseball to watch. If we can get back to that, that was okay. Nothing wrong with that infield at all. ”
DeRosa played 95 games at second base last season and 22 at third.
The Peavy trade has had several moving parts to it throughout the offseason, so expect the Cubs to keep looking for a third team to help out until they can find the right pitching to spin off to the Padres.
In other news:
Punto update: I’m not sure if the DeRosa talks affect this or not but there’s a belief that if the Twins are to keep Punto, a deal could be done very soon. Punto is shopping around for offers but is expected to come back to the Twins to give them the final decision.
Kevin Kouzmanoff: The Twins are interested in the Padres third baseman and could call the Padres about him if the DeRosa talks don’t pan out. Kouzmanoff doesn’t walk much but has the power the Twins are looking for. He’s considered a shaky defensive player, but one person who has watched him pointed out that he works hard at getting better with the glove and has a chance to improve.
Other third basemen: The Twins don’t appear to be too fired up about Jorge Cantu. They still like Ty Wigginton, referring to him as a, `gamer.’
Other stuff: The Twins don’t appear to be interested in Texas’ Michael Young, who has been mentioned as trade bait recently….