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Answers to all of our problems

February 23, 2009

by Matt Kane

You want answers? I’ve got answers. They may not be the correct answers, but I’ve got answers.

First, let’s establish the questions I have answers to.

Number One: Who will play third base for the Minnesota Twins this summer?

And. . .

Number Two: Who will play quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings this fall?

As for question number one, the Twins have more options than you might think when it comes to filling the hole at third base.

The easiest and most boring solution is to do nothing, and allow Brian Buscher and Brendan Harris to bore Twins fans all season with their combined 10 home runs and 57 RBIs.

The popular choice, as of late, is to sign free agent and former dark-sider Joe Crede to a short-term deal in hopes that he will recapture the 30-home run, 94-RBI form he displayed in 2006 with the White Sox. The question is whether Crede has recovered enough from back problems that limited him to 144 games. Is he well enough to at least play a full season?

It’s obviously a question every team in need of a third baseman is pondering. Because of this, I think Crede should put himself on sale from the $7 million he is asking for per season. If the Twins could get Crede for half the asking price, with an incentive-laden contract, I am all for it.

I certainly hope that happens, because I am not sold on the Buscher/Harris plan.

While watching a baseball preview shot Sunday, I thought of some other options for the Twins.

The first, and my favorite, is for the Twins to sign free agent shortstop Orlando Cabrera. I want Cabrera as a player, but I know there is no way the Twins would approach the $10 million Cabrera made in 2008 with the White Sox. The A’s are showing interest in Cabrera, but, like the Twins, are not interested in paying him.

If the Twins could somehow sign Cabrera, my plan would be to move Nick Punto to third base and plug Cabrera in at shortstop.

I know Punto is not the solution to the lack of power at third base, but his glove at the hot corner can be valuable.

Cabrera is a two-time gold glove shortstop, and he is a good hitter with a World Series ring (Boston in 2004). Plug him in the two-slot just ahead of Joe Mauer, or fifth behind Justin Morneau.

The signing of Cabrera by the Twins is highly unlikely. Fine, then what about Nomar Garciaparra?

Garciaparra (35) is up there in age, so he would be a short-term fix, but I think he could help the Twins.

Garciaparra was once one of the game’s best players, so maybe consistent playing time could rejuvenate his career. If Garciaparra can stay healthy, he has shown he is a good player. In the six seasons he has played in at least 140 games, Garciaparra has hit no less than 21 home runs and driven in no fewer than 104 RBIs. In 2006, with the Dodgers, Garciaparra hit 20 home runs and drove in 93 runs in 122 games, so he has recently shown signs of his former self. He can also give Morneau a day off at first base here-and-there.

And don’t forget about the Mia Hamm factor. Any time Hamm attends a game at the Metrodome or at Target Field in 2010, that’s a good thing.

If Crede and Garciaparra are not the answers to the Twins’ problem at third base, why not sign fan-favorite Corey Koskie?
So, he hasn’t played a game in more than two years, I trust Koskie at the hot corner much more than I do those other two. He cannot be any worse, I wouldn’t think.

Now, let’s get to the question of who will play quarterback for the Vikings.

My choice to fill the position is none other than Michael Vick.

That’s right, I said Michael Vick.

The guy went to jail, so I think he has served the time for his crime.

I’m not a big fan of thug athletes, but maybe it’s time for the Minnesota-nice Vikings to work on a more serious image.

Actually, I don’t really care about the image the Vikings personify, I’m more worried about getting a guy who can play quarterback.

Vick is not a guy who will throw for 300 yards per game, but I’m not sure any quarterback can, with the receivers currently on the Vikings’ roster. Bad receivers make a running quarterback more valuable, I would think, and no quarterback ran better than Vick.

Viking fans remember Vick, thanks to his 46-yard touchdown run against the Purple in overtime of a game in 2003. Vick rushed for a quarterback-record 173 yards that day, and threw for three touchdowns. Why not let Vick show off his skills eight times per season?

If Vick doesn’t work out as a quarterback, the Vikings are in the same boat they are in right now. If he is not a good quarterback when he returns, I still wouldn’t cut Vick. With his speed and agility, Vick would make a great game-breaking receiver-slash-punt returner — ala Devin Hester.

Who knows, maybe Vick can even play third base.