In my analysis of potential third basemen targets, I concluded that there were only 4 players who meet the following criteria:
a. improve the infield defense
b. improve the hitting against LHP
c. improve the teams SLG%, esp. from the right side
and the improvement was based on the 2007 baseline numbers of the Twins' third basemen currently with the team:
Buscher (L) SLG .390 FP .938 ZR .774
Harris (R) SLG .394 FP .949 ZR .766
There are strong rumors out of Boston indicating that the Red Sox are looking into moving Lowell after they obtain a more powerful bat in the middle of their order (Texeira has been mentioned as a 1B, which will move Youkilis to 3B).
Lowell would fit the above criteria. His SLG was .461, FP .967 and ZR .815. He is a right hand batter and will be 36 at spring training. He is under contract through 2010 at $12M per year. Given the health concerns (he had back surgery that will cause him to be out until at least spring training - there are some reports that he will be out of the season), and the contract, a mid-level prospect would be adequate to complete the trade. For arqument's sake, lets assume that he will be healthy? Here is how Lowell ranks in the 2 factors used earlier to establish the order among the other 4:
Quality At-Bat %:
Chase % with 2 Strikes:
These results will put Lowell some place between Wiggington and Rolen, making the preferred order:
There are serious health concerns for Lowell, making his acquisition a potential high risk/high reward with minimum payment. The only problem with the Twins potentially going that direction is that the seriousness of his condition might not be known until February, which might too late to get another third baseman, if the medical reports are discouraging.