With the Blue Jays' glut of corner infielders, there has been much speculation about the possibility of a trade that would bring former Twins' third-baseman Corey Koskie back to Minnesota. After trading for first-baseman Lyle Overbay and third-baseman Troy Glaus this off-season, the Jays now have a collection of first and third-baseman that includes those two as well as Koskie, Shea Hillenbrand, and Eric Hinske. Toronto GM JP Ricciardi has stated that Overbay and Glaus will start at first and third, while Hinske will be moved to the outfield and Hillenbrand will probably DH. This leaves Koskie, who missed 85 games last year for the Jays due to injury, as the odd man out. The Twins have signed Tony Batista to play third, but his contract is non-guaranteed and he could be released at minimal cost if the Twins were able to acquire Koskie, who would be a clear upgrade.
I like the notion of a return to Minnesota for Koskie. He is a good guy, and a pretty good player. I don't really buy into the argument that he is a risky investment because he is "injury-prone"... he broke his hand sliding into second-base last year, that is a freak incident. To my knowledge he does not have any serious lingering injuries. He also has a .369 career OBP, which dwarfs Batista's .298, and he provides better defense as well as some solid pop with the bat.
Unfortunately, there are several obstacles standing in the way of a Koskie return to the state in which he spent his first seven big-league seasons.
The money is the biggest problem. The Twins cannot afford to pay his salary, especially if they can't dump Lohse in the deal. Yes, it would be lovely if Toronto would be willing to pick up most of Corey's salary, but I have a feeling there are other teams out there in need of help at third base that would be willing to pick up most of it (Cleveland, for instance?).
It'd be great if we could send Lohse to the Jays for Koskie, but I don't see why Toronto would want him. He's not better than any of the five guys currently slated to be in their rotation, and Ricciardi probably recognizes that he is going to be overpayed next year at $4.5 million (although with the contracts that he gave AJ Burnett and BJ Ryan, he would likely see Lohse's contract as a bargain). Short of that, who would we send to the Jays? I'm open to suggestions.
If Ryan can find a way around these issues - and I would be very pleasantly impressed if he can - I would welcome Koskie back. By no means is he a superstar, but there is no arguing the fact that he is a dramatic upgrade over any of the third base options we currently hold.