MINNEAPOLIS -- Even after deciding to keep infielder Ehire Adrianza on a one-year, $1.3 million deal to avoid arbitration on Thursday, it's clear the Twins are looking for middle-infield help this offseason.Minnesota traded second baseman James Dozier and utility man Eduardo Escobar at the non-waiver Trade Deadline, and Escobar has
MINNEAPOLIS -- Even after deciding to keep infielder Ehire Adrianza on a one-year, $1.3 million deal to avoid arbitration on Thursday, it's clear the Twins are looking for middle-infield help this offseason.
Minnesota traded second baseman James Dozier and utility man Eduardo Escobar at the non-waiver Trade Deadline, and Escobar has already re-signed with the D-backs. Dozier remains a free agent, but it remains unlikely he'll return to the Twins.
Chief baseball officer Derek Falvey is open to acquiring a second baseman or a shortstop, as he said shortstop Jorge Polanco could move to second base, if needed. There are several middle infielders available in free agency, and a few have had their name pop in trade rumors in recent weeks. Manny Machado is the biggest name available, but the Twins aren't expected to make that kind of a splash. Here's a look at whom the Twins could target in the middle infield in free agency:
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Gonzalez would make a lot of sense because he has so much versatility to go along with his power. He has experience at shortstop, second base, third base, first base and even all three outfield positions during his seven seasons with the Astros. Gonzalez had a breakout year in 2017, hitting .303/.377/.530 with 23 homers. But he hit .247/.324/.409 with 16 homers in 145 games last year. There's going to be a strong market for his services, but he would be a perfect fit for the Twins and could play all over the diamond.
LeMahieu doesn't offer much power, but he is a strong defender at second base and is a solid contact hitter with a career .298 average in 955 games with the Cubs and Rockies. The free agent hit a career-high 15 homers last year, but he also saw his average dip to .276 in 128 games with Colorado. He's won three Gold Glove Awards at second, so he'd be an upgrade defensively, and it would allow Polanco to stay at short.
The switch-hitter is coming off a career year with the A's, batting .267/.353/.448 with 23 homers and 99 RBIs in 157 games. The free agent has been one of the more underrated second baseman in the Majors over the past two years, but he also turns 35 in April. Lowrie, though, would be a good short-term solution until shortstop prospect Royce Lewis is ready to reach the Majors in a few years.
Harrison, like Gonzalez, can play multiple positions, but he can't play short like Gonzalez. He's more of a second baseman/third baseman who can play some outfield. Harrison is a two-time All-Star, including in 2017, but he hit .250/.293/.363 in 97 games with Pittsburgh last year.
Kinsler, 36, would be a short-term solution at second base and would bring veteran leadership to the clubhouse. He was a stalwart in Texas and Detroit before winning the World Series with the Red Sox last year. Kinsler is still a good defender and won the Gold Glove Award in 2018, but he's not the hitter he once was, so he's likely to take a one-year deal.
Descalso is a solid defender who can play second and third, and he hit .238/.353/.436 with a career-high 13 homers and 57 RBIs in 138 games with the D-backs last year. He's not known for his bat, which makes him a more affordable option in free agency.
Schoop has unusual power for a second baseman, but he was surprisingly non-tendered by the Brewers on Friday, which makes him a free agent. He was an All-Star with the Orioles in 2017, when he hit 32 homers with 105 RBIs in 160 games. But he hit .233 with 21 homers and 61 RBIs in a combined 131 games with Baltimore and Milwaukee last year. Schoop is still only 27, so he has upside.
Beckham, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 MLB Draft, has some thump for a shortstop, but he is coming off a down year with the Orioles. He hit a career-high 22 homers in '17, but he hit just .230/.287/.374 with 12 homers and 35 RBIs in 96 games with Baltimore last year. But he's 28 and could be a good buy-low candidate because he can play both short and second.
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.