Saturday, December 15, 2007

On the Lamb

The Twins signed their second former Astro in as many days yesterday, inking third baseman Mike Lamb to a two-year contract worth $6.6 million, with an option for a third year. Joe Christensen reports that while Lamb is a likely candidate to start at third base, assistant GM Rob Antony said, "We don't like to give anything away."

Considering the alternatives, my guess is that Lamb will be the Twins' starting third baseman next season, and that's not really a bad thing. He often struggled to get regular playing time during his eight seasons with the Rangers and Astros, and has never accumulated more than 381 at-bats in a season (EDIT: since his rookie season -- thanks Ryan!). Still, he's posted a solid .281/.339/.427 line over the course of his career, and last season with the Astros he batted .289/.366/.453 with 11 home runs and 40 RBI in 311 at-bats.

There's reason to question why an apparently rebuilding team would make a two-year commitment to a 32-year-old defensive liability, but Lamb is likely to provide at least league-average offensive production from third base next year, which will be a major upgrade from the atrocious .236/.308/.323 line the Twins got from third base last year. Plus, the presence of defensive wizard Adam Everett at shortstop should help offset Lamb's fielding deficiencies on the left side of the infield.

As the Twins struggled to field an offense that could even be considered respectable for much of the 2007 season, I often mused that if they could just upgrade from "awful" to "average" at a few positions, they'd have a shot at competing. Bill Smith has accomplished that, in earnest, by adding Lamb at third base.

7 comments:

Beau said...

Yeah. I still doubt the Twins have much a shot at the division, but Smith's moves so far have made me confident that we can be a .500 team with perhaps something to root for come mid-August.

Karleeee said...

Lamb= awesomeness

doubleplusgood said...

I agree with you, Nick. Why not? Modest salary. Never had a chance to be an everyday player. Descent hitter. We can't get every position filled through a Santana trade and this isn't Tony Batista. I like the moves Smith is making. Just hope he holds tight on his demands for Santana and I think we'll be in good shape.

Matt P said...

I will admit when i heard Bill Smith went out and got everett to cover short stop for next year i nearly burned my twins hat. This makes that trade seem like a decent idea. While I'm not too enthused about having another Punto-esque performer in our offense, I think it makes a lot more sense to have a solid defensive player at short than it does at third. At least we'll be getting some decent production at third base this year, while not sacrificing much on the defensive front. And I agree, punto was a bit overrated. he's definitely not a good enough fielder to make up for his AA bat skills.

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