2022 Minnesota Twins Offseason Positional Preview: Third Base

The Minnesota Twins enter the 2021 offseason with numerous questions across the board, and with a large number of positions with major question marks, it’s not so easy for Twins fans and writers to make real predictions at what could happen.

With that being said, we’re going to give it our best at breaking down each position on the roster and what to do this offseason, breaking down major questions, possible free agent additions, prospect call ups, trade options, and a prediction on what the position will look like when the 2022 season begins in roughly five months.

Our next Minnesota Twins positional preview focuses on a position with a big question.

We moved through catcher and first base last week, with second base and shortstop earlier this week, so we’re rounding out the infield with third base. Third base is a bit of a mystery for the Minnesota Twins, as no one is quite sure what will happen for next season.

The biggest free agent signing in Twins history currently resides there and while some fans are disappointed he hasn’t been his former self, he’s been very good for a 35-year-old. Unfortunately for him, a top prospect is knocking on the door and with a “retooling” period seeming more and more likely, he may be on the trade block.

With trade rumors swirling and the Twins trying to decide to build around the core or blow everything up, we break down the position that will be the key in telling which direction the team is leaning.

 

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Minnesota Twins designated hitter Josh Donaldson is congratulated in the dugout. (Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)

Who’s currently on the Minnesota Twins Roster?

Josh Donaldson: Josh Donaldson was very good for the Twins in 2021, posting a 26 homer season with 127 OPS+, with his OPS+ ranking as the third-highest on the team. To top it all off, he played 135 games, helping quash injury concerns. If the team was contending, there’d be no question about the correct move here. But that’s where the issue lies.

As Donaldson is getting up there, his defense is starting to fade a little bit. He’s looking more and more like a designated hitter who can fill in at third, but that’s not a bad spot for him to be, especially with a player like Jose Miranda waiting in the wings.

If the Twins decide to move him, Donaldson will be fairly easy to market. A former All-Star whose producing at a high level offensively for 2 years, $37 million is a good deal and his $8 million buyout for 2023 protects against a fall off. If he’s on the roster, he’ll get a lot of playing time, but we’ll have to see what happens.

Luis Arraez: Already listed on our second base list, we’ll include Luis Arraez here too. Arraez played 55 games at third last year, more than any other position and he’ll likely play even more at the hot corner in 2021. He shouldn’t be the main option, but he’s a very good fill-in.

 

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Jose Miranda warms up at practice for the Fort Myers Miracle on Tuesday, April 2, 2019.

Top Minnesota Twins Minor League Third Basemen

Jose Miranda: I mean, obviously. Jose Miranda dominated at Double-AA and Triple-AAA last year and has nothing left to prove in the minors. Third base seems like Miranda’s eventual destination in the majors, but given that he’s also able to play first base, he should start the year at the big league level.

Free Agent and Trade Targets for the Minnesota Twins to Consider

Don’t add a third baseman in free agency or in the trade market.  Signing Eduardo Escobar to play second, short and third was an idea that I floated as a potential utility signing, but this is an extremely weak market behind Kris Bryant, Kyle Seager, and Eduardo Escobar, so the Twins should focus on other positions and develop from within.

Predictions for Next Year’s Minnesota Twins Shortstop Room

The Twins are very deep at third base, which is good thing, and I don’t think they will do too much moving. Trading Josh Donaldson would mean eating some salary, something the Twins look to actively be avoiding, so my best guess is that he stays on into the season (before trade negotiations eventually rise up again) and spends a lot of time at designated hitter.

Luis Arraez will clean up a lot of extra games with Jose Miranda getting some run, but I think these three will play a large number of games at the position