For a team struggling through failed experiments at third base, most recently with Mike Lamb, a tempting option has been on the trade market since mid-summer. With Todd Helton back at full strength and the emergence of Ian Stewart, the Colorado Rockies have one corner infielder too many, and are actively looking to trade 3B Garrett Atkins this off-season.
Colorado had a very disappointing year after their stunning postseason run in 2007, and are looking to deal Atkins for pitching help, a position the Twins always have in spades. Adding intrigue to the trade speculation is the Twins overflow in starting caliber outfielders. Fan favorite Michael Cuddyer, despite spending his entire career in the Twins system, is the current favorite to be moved.
With the Rockies also looking to trade OF Matt Holliday, an Atkins for Cuddyer trade makes a lot of sense for both clubs. The Twins could add the 25 HR, 100 RBI .300 average hot corner they've long searched for, and the Rockies could plug Cuddyer into the hole left if they trade Holliday, at almost half the price tag.
Again, the Rockies need to add arms, so a current Twins starter would have to be included. Nick Blackburn seems the likely choice, given his September fall-off, Baker serving as the ace of the staff and Slowey improving greatly with his pinpoint control. The Twins would probably fill his spot in the rotation with Phil Humber, who's out of minor league options.
The Twins proved they could compete without Cuddy in the lineup this year. They've been clamoring for a power-hitting third-bagger to complement Justin Morneau. A lineup with Joe Mauer, Atkins, Morneau, Delmon Young and Jason Kubel in the middle would be formidable, especially going into (what should be) hitter-friendly Target Field in 2010.
The only question is, does it make TOO much sense?