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First basemen the Twins could target in free agency

Will the Twins part ways with C.J. Cron?

After slugging a major league record for home runs and with no offensive players leaving in free agency, the Twins won't have to make too many signings this winter.

With Nelson Cruz's option being picked up, the biggest offensive question mark will be if the Twins decide to tender C.J. Cron for his last year of arbitration. 

Cron is projected to make about $7.7 million, according to MLB Trade Rumors. If Minnesota deems Cron expendable, here are three free agents the Twins could target this winter.

Eric Thames

The left-handed hitting Thames was a mainstay in the middle of the Brewers lineup for the past three seasons, but his $7.5 million option was declined by Milwaukee making him a free agent.

In 149 games, Thames slashed .247/.346/.505 with 25 home runs, 23 doubles, 61 RBI to go along with 51 walks and 140 strikeouts.

Thames, who turns 33 this month, will likely seek a contract near $10 million per season but how long the terms are remain a question mark.

Also, with Thames playing in the National League for the past three seasons, he could be used at designated hitter if Nelson Cruz needed a day off, which would help the Twins keep a potent left-handed bat in the lineup. 

Mitch Moreland

Moreland, a postseason veteran and World Series winner with the Boston Red Sox in 2018, is entering free agency this winter. 

The 33-year-old played in just 91 games last season due to injury, but still slugged 19 home runs and 58 RBI while slashing .252/.328/.507. He's also a few years (2016) removed from a Gold Glove season with the Texas Rangers in 2016.

Moreland, another left-handed hitter, has 48 games (127 at bats) of postseason experience in his 10-year career, including three World Seres appearances.

He's in similar territory as Thames in terms of his salary demands, as he made just $6.5 million last season and might not be able to land a long-term contract, meaning a one-year deal could be in play.

Neil Walker

The 11-year veteran and former second baseman has transitioned into a corner infielder. Walker split time at first base (69 games) and third base (26 games) last season with the Miami Marlins.

In 115 games, the switch hitter had a down season from his normal career average slash line of .261/.344/.395, but he's averaged 16 home runs from 2010-18.

Because he's coming off a down season, Walker will be a cheaper option compared to Thames and Moreland. Plus, his position flexibility would give the Twins more options in the everyday lineup.

Even if the Twins don't tender Cron or seek a free agent, they have plenty of in-house options like Mitch Garver, Marwin Gonzalez, and Ehire Adrianza, not to mention the fast-rising prospect, Alex Kirilloff. 

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