The Twins appear to have two openings in the infield and are likely to fill one while letting Nick Punto take the other. At least it looks that way to a lot of fans, bloggers and other sports writers. But if there is a choice, which should have priority, a second baseman or a third baseman. The decision depends on two factors, who is available outside the organization and who is available for each position internally. Here are the internal candidates:
Punto, Casilla, Tolbert, Harris, Tolleson?
Punto, Tolbert, Harris, Valencia?, Plouffe?
I think Punto is probably a better second baseman than at third. His bat certainly fits there better at second, but that isn't really relevant since he will be hitting in the same spot in the batting order in either case. On defense, it probably doesn't make much difference.
Gardy obviously doesn't think Harris is a second baseman, and I think the same thing is probably true of Tolbert who has limited experience turning the double play. Given a choice, Harris and Tolbert are probably going to be at third.
That leaves the prospects, suspects etc. The real question may be who is more likely to contribute to the Twins this year, Valencia or Casilla. A lot of people have given up on Casilla, but I doubt the Twins have from the comments made by Bill Smith that Casilla is a better player than he showed this year. One thing that is a pattern is that fans, bloggers and sports writers all get excited about young players much too early and then give up on them just as quickly when they don't produce immediately. I question whether Valencia will ever be a major league regular, but it is highly doubtful he will take the third base job out of spring training. On the other hand, it's not impossible that Casilla will finally be ready to put all that talent to use this year.
If the choice is third or second, I think the Twins ought to be looking at adding a third baseman. While it is not at all certain Casilla will come through, I don't think its time to give up on him by signing a veteran player to a long term contract at second. Especially with Punto set to play there unless Casilla develops to the point that he takes the job away from him.