After making several acquisitions this off season, some believe the twins have money to free up. In terms of who should be available this short list should be a list used as a possible for sale sign for the Twins.
First, the Twins have a middle infield capable of strong defense as well as strong batting numbers. J.J. Hardy and Orlando Hudson should make a formidable team in the middle of the infield. However this leave a few established guys left to battle for the third base position.
Third base should almost be reserved for the Twin, who at times can be under appreciated, Nick Punto. While he has had an up and down career with Minnesota, more often than not his defense alone makes up for any inadequacies at the plate (but who can seriously resist a head first dive into first base?).
For a player who has bounced from position to position through his years at Minnesota, he has earned his spot at third base, he has been able to prove time and time again that he can play everyday. More over, Punto should not have to compete for a starting job, he has both the experience and the technical skill required for the position (as well as the others in the infield).
This leaves Brendan Harris out in the cold. Yes the Twins just signed him to a two-year deal. Yes the Twins believe he has a future in the organization. However, he is expendable. If the Twins were to trade Harris for a prospect, the future of the infield would be solidified. Danny Valencia is the third baseman of the Twins' future, but after him the depth chart gets a bit thin.
Brendan Harris would be a sad piece to watch walk away from the Twins, however it may be necessary for the Twins to free up valuable payroll money for the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
After Brendan Harris comes another tough loss, but is necessary to remain competitive. Joe Nathan. I know many people will hate me for saying this, but he is becoming old news in the American League, particularly the Central Division. As good as he is, teams are beginning to figure out his strategy. Hard Heat then wicked curve balls that rarely stay in the strike zone. Opposing teams are beginning to lay off pitches that aren't in the zone and are teeing off on the hard fast balls (case in point A-Rod in the division series).
It pains this writes to say it, but a staple in the Twins bullpen might have to become an expendable portion of payroll with his high cost and diminishing effectiveness against opposing hitters.
Now I'm not saying these absolutely must be done, however, they are things that should be considered as the Twins move forward toward the World Series.
Losing good guys always stinks, but is a necessary part of any professional team.