(Actually this is by La Velle, who is having computer problems)
The Twins left the winter meetings without upgrading at third base, but an interesting option popped up on Friday when the Astros non-tendered third baseman Ty Wigginton.
A well-placed source told me today that Cleveland, San Francisco and Pittsburgh already have expressed interest in Wigginton, with the Reds sniffing around as well. Will the Twins jump into the fray?
It makes a lot of sense that they should.
Wigginton hit .285 last season with 23 homers and 58 RBI in 111 games last season. In addition to third base, he can provide cover at second base and play first base on days Justin Morneau wants to DH (he apparently NEVER wants a day off).
The Twins have admired Wigginton for a few years and made a run at him a couple years ago near the trade deadline. I’ve heard the phrase. “game on,” used to describe him.
When reached on Saturday, Twins GM Bill Smith said, “we are going over the list (of non-tenders) and seeing what’s out there and will meet on Monday.’’
A lot of posters are already screaming that Wigginton should be signed by now. If the Twins indeed haven’t made a call yet, I’d be mildly surprised.
If you’re Wigginton’s agent, you’re going to drum up a market for your guy and get as many teams interested as possible.
Wigginton made $4.35 million last season and stood to get a raise to around $7 million in arbitration before he was non-tendered. Houston tried to trade him last week at the winter meetings, and there are indications that he was nearly dealt to San Francisco. The fact that he was due an arbitration bump likely led to teams backing off of a trade. Now a free agent, they can negotiate with him and not have to give up a player.
It will be interesting to see how much Wigginton gets.
At 31, he’s four years younger than Casey Blake, who signed with the Dodgers for an annual average value (AAV) of just under $5.5 million (not counting the option year or buyout). I’m not an agent or front office expert, but Wigginton must be worth at least $6 million a year and it may take $7 million a year tog get him.
I still think Wigginton presents a great opportunity for the Twins. They can solve their third base problem for a few years with someone who, apparently, is a Twins-type player. They can take their time with getting Danny Valencia to the majors and figure out a position for Luke Hughes.