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  • Span's Last Hurrah?

    Denard Span stepped into the box to lead off Tuesday night's game and turned on the third pitch he saw from left-hander David Huff, driving it into right field for a double and sparking a three-hit night. In six games since returning from the disabled list, the center fielder is now 9-for-25 (.360) with two doubles, a triple and four runs scored.

    His late-season success bodes well for Terry Ryan heading into an offseason where Span will likely be the club's primary trade chip.

    Following what will almost certainly be a second consecutive season with 90-plus losses, there's going to be plenty of pressure on Ryan to shake things up. The emergence of Chris Parmelee makes the Twins motivated sellers, and given that they have not-so-subtly dangled Span in back-to-back trade deadlines, the writing is on the wall.

    There's an extremely high likelihood that Span will be dealt this offseason. So the question is: what can they get for him?

    When it comes to assessing his trade value, he has several things working in his favor. He's an established leadoff man with a reputation as a strong defender. He'll be coming off a solid season in which he currently holds a .290 average (third among AL center fielders) and .350 OBP (fourth) with a career-high 34 doubles.

    It's also very much worth noting that the free agent crop for center fielders this offseason will be quite thin. Unless you count Josh Hamilton, the most appealing options are B.J. Upton, Shane Victorino and Michael Bourn. Not one of those players is clearly a better bet going forward than Span, whose three-year, $20 million remaining contract looks like a great value compared to what those three are likely to get on the open market.

    Then again, Span also has some things going against him. No one views him as the powerful force he was in 2008/09 anymore, and his missed time over the past two seasons has to weigh on the minds of interested general managers. Even if he plays every game the rest of the way, he will have missed 127 games over the past two years.

    Fortunately, last year's concussion is now an afterthought and his strong play since returning from this latest shoulder ailment will help erase concerns that this one could linger. That's why carrying his current hot streak through the end of the campaign would be a big positive for the Twins.

    Just one more thing to watch here in the final two weeks.
    This article was originally published in blog: Span's Last Hurrah? started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 37 Comments
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Another thread of do not trade him, he is good......how do you expect this team to get better if it will not trade good players?
      The key is not simply to trade good players - that can result in a zero-sum (or worse) game that fixes a weakness by creating another one. Instead, you trade where there is oversupply at one position to address a weakness at another. The classic was trading AJ when Mauer was ready, resulting in some good talent coming back and no loss at all in the catcher's slot. Trading Span looks like a similar case, with minimal dropoff, and for that reason I support a favorable trade involving Span, but not simply trading him because he's good.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Span has to be moved at some point, why not do it while his value is high and the team isn't contending.

      Besides, trading him will likely improve the outfield defense shortly. Granted, while Parmelee fills in until Hicks is ready it will be weaker, but adding Hicks will make the outfield better. Currently neither Span or Willingham are willing to budge from their postions, which is forcing the Twins to push Revere out of postion to RF.

      Seeing as Span is hurting the team by not playing RF now, does anyone really think Span and/or Gardenhire is going to be interested in a position change to enable Hicks' best talents later? or Buxton or Kepler or Benson? Not only do the Twins have a ton of OF talent, most of them are CF and by the time they are ready, it's possible all of them would be an upgrade over Span who seems reluctant to cede the position. He's got to go sometime, might as well do it in a rebuilding year.
    1. COtwin's Avatar
      COtwin -
      I think that this is the time to trade Span. Like so many others have said, we have young players to plug in and eventually our defense will even see an upgrade because of the move. However I think it is unfair to Span to blame him for not shifting around the outfield. Does he want to move away from Center, probably not. Is that his call to make, probably not. But more important than either is that his trade value is much higher as a quality Centerfielder than as a great defensive corner outfielder. We are trying to get people to buy high on him, that means advertising him at a higher value position.
    1. Montecore's Avatar
      Montecore -
      Quote Originally Posted by 70charger View Post
      These types of threads tend to devolve into trade him vs. don't trade him, but there's so much assumed that there really isn't any information there. I bet that even the hard core don't trade him types would swap him straight up for Verlander. Right?

      My position is that we should be fielding offers, asking for good pitchers, and just seeing what happens. If nothing worthwhile is on offer, keep him. (And I say that even though I think we could very well get some pretty good pitching in return.) We have to be agnostic about whether he gets traded, because we don't know what's out there. Generally we know what we need, but whether it's available - that's a different story.
      Sorry, but the Span for Verlander scenario is inane and pointless. To the point - no team would be foolish enough to offer a good pitcher for Span. It'll be a Matt Capps for Ramos bonanza redux. Is J.C. Romero still in the league? That's the kind of offer they'll get. See if you can luck out and get somebody potentially good for Parmalee. Maybe shop Willingham as terrific as he's been this year. But, there'll be no decent offers for Morneau and certainly none for Span.
    1. 70charger's Avatar
      70charger -
      Quote Originally Posted by Montecore View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by 70charger View Post
      These types of threads tend to devolve into trade him vs. don't trade him, but there's so much assumed that there really isn't any information there. I bet that even the hard core don't trade him types would swap him straight up for Verlander. Right?

      My position is that we should be fielding offers, asking for good pitchers, and just seeing what happens. If nothing worthwhile is on offer, keep him. (And I say that even though I think we could very well get some pretty good pitching in return.) We have to be agnostic about whether he gets traded, because we don't know what's out there. Generally we know what we need, but whether it's available - that's a different story.
      Sorry, but the Span for Verlander scenario is inane and pointless. To the point - no team would be foolish enough to offer a good pitcher for Span. It'll be a Matt Capps for Ramos bonanza redux. Is J.C. Romero still in the league? That's the kind of offer they'll get. See if you can luck out and get somebody potentially good for Parmalee. Maybe shop Willingham as terrific as he's been this year. But, there'll be no decent offers for Morneau and certainly none for Span.
      Span for Verlander was an extraordinary hypothetical. Of course it's not going to happen; it was supposed to illustrate a point.

      As to your point, why not tell us why you think Span is so valueless? He's relatively cheap, he's under team control, he's an above-average defender, and he's a leadoff hitter. You really think that's worth nothing better than a Matt Capps type? Why?
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Montecore View Post
      Sorry, but the Span for Verlander scenario is inane and pointless. To the point - no team would be foolish enough to offer a good pitcher for Span. It'll be a Matt Capps for Ramos bonanza redux. Is J.C. Romero still in the league? That's the kind of offer they'll get. See if you can luck out and get somebody potentially good for Parmalee. Maybe shop Willingham as terrific as he's been this year. But, there'll be no decent offers for Morneau and certainly none for Span.
      Span is considerably more valuable than you seem to believe. Above average up-the-middle guys don't grow on trees. Cost-controlled guys still in their primes are even more rare. If the Twins were looking for an infielder instead of a pitcher, Span probably would have been gone at the deadline. The trick is finding a team that has a surplus of starting pitching and a lack of outfielders. That's the difficult part. Finding value for Span shouldn't be hard in itself... Finding value you need is the hard part.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      The trick is finding a team that has a surplus of starting pitching and a lack of outfielders. That's the difficult part.
      http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/TBR/2012.shtml
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      The trick is finding a team that has a surplus of starting pitching and a lack of outfielders. That's the difficult part.
      http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/TBR/2012.shtml
      Well, it appears that financially it would work for Tampa as well (not to mention that it is Denard's hometown).

      Span's $4.75 million in 2013 and $6.5 million in 2014 compares favorably to the $7 million they paid Upton in 2012 and the $6 million option ($1 million buyout) that Scott is signed for in 2013.

      It helps that the $9 million for Span in 2015 is a club option with only a .5 million buyout
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      The trick is finding a team that has a surplus of starting pitching and a lack of outfielders. That's the difficult part.
      http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/TBR/2012.shtml
      Tampa is a great match for several reasons. I'd love to see it happen.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      I'd also like to toss this one back in the ring:

      http://www.baseball-reference.com/te...=CIN&year=2012

      A .249 OBP for a playoff team's leadoff hitters and .284 OBP for their CF's are going to have to be addressed for an up and coming team who's sites are set on being an annual contender. Either the Twins or the Reds may come to see that the other's offer didn't look half bad after all once the off-season begins.
    1. Lesser Dali's Avatar
      Lesser Dali -
      I could not guess what the Rays would be willing to give up, but I think Span would do well playing at Tropicana Field. Fake turf, a controlled environment. I would guess his average would increase along with his power numbers. Also we might actually see a 30 stolen base season out of him because of Maddon's style of play. What would be the return? Cobb or Archer? That seems like a stretch, but maybe grabbing one of those guys is within the realm of possibility. Anyone?
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Zodiac View Post
      I could not guess what the Rays would be willing to give up, but I think Span would do well playing at Tropicana Field. Fake turf, a controlled environment. I would guess his average would increase along with his power numbers. Also we might actually see a 30 stolen base season out of him because of Maddon's style of play. What would be the return? Cobb or Archer? That seems like a stretch, but maybe grabbing one of those guys is within the realm of possibility. Anyone?
      I would guess that the Rays will be looking to move James Shields and his $9M salary this offseason. I'm sure they wouldn't be willing to trade him straight-up for Span but if you add in a little something else to spice up the package, maybe it happens.
    1. Lesser Dali's Avatar
      Lesser Dali -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Zodiac View Post
      I could not guess what the Rays would be willing to give up, but I think Span would do well playing at Tropicana Field. Fake turf, a controlled environment. I would guess his average would increase along with his power numbers. Also we might actually see a 30 stolen base season out of him because of Maddon's style of play. What would be the return? Cobb or Archer? That seems like a stretch, but maybe grabbing one of those guys is within the realm of possibility. Anyone?
      I would guess that the Rays will be looking to move James Shields and his $9M salary this offseason. I'm sure they wouldn't be willing to trade him straight-up for Span but if you add in a little something else to spice up the package, maybe it happens.
      James Shields is a nice pitcher, but isn't he a Free Agent after the 2013 season? Would that really make sense to trade Span and a few others for one year of Shields? The Twins would really have to be confident they could seriously make a run at the whole Sha-Bang if they make that kind of move. I am sceptical about this concept, but I do appreciate you throwing something my way. I am assuming that you think that Archer or Cobb could not be had in a Span trade.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      I would guess that the Rays will be looking to move James Shields and his $9M salary this offseason. I'm sure they wouldn't be willing to trade him straight-up for Span but if you add in a little something else to spice up the package, maybe it happens.
      If they asked for more than Span, I'd politely tell them to piss off. Shields is under control for two years at a combined $21m. Span is under control for three years at a combined $20m. Shields is a good pitcher but he hasn't been lighting the world on fire this season. Shields is also two years older than Denard.

      If Tampa wanted something along the lines of a low upside PTBNL as organizational filler, sure, I'd do that deal. But if they want a player of any significance to the organization, I'd go elsewhere and look for someone with a lower price tag and more team control, even if it meant diving into the low minors and finding a guy who won't help until 2015.
    1. jimbo92107's Avatar
      jimbo92107 -
      Quote Originally Posted by JB_Iowa View Post
      It's good to form attachments with players -- but you also have to let them go sometimes.
      Yes, it's good to cheer for your favorite players. Just don't buy a jersey with a name on it. ;-)
    1. Wolfy's Avatar
      Wolfy -
      Quote Originally Posted by 70charger View Post
      These types of threads tend to devolve into trade him vs. don't trade him, but there's so much assumed that there really isn't any information there. I bet that even the hard core don't trade him types would swap him straight up for Verlander. Right?

      My position is that we should be fielding offers, asking for good pitchers, and just seeing what happens. If nothing worthwhile is on offer, keep him. (And I say that even though I think we could very well get some pretty good pitching in return.) We have to be agnostic about whether he gets traded, because we don't know what's out there. Generally we know what we need, but whether it's available - that's a different story.
      The Twins might be gun shy regarding a trade involving Span. IMO they just wouldn't get back in pitching what Span can give you night in and night out. But who knows?
    1. Siehbiscuit's Avatar
      Siehbiscuit -
      I think you have to look at moving Morneau and Span. The dropoffs from both to Revere and Parmelee would definitely be noticed. Morneau has been raking in the 2nd half and Span, whether you love him or hate him, is a very good leadoff hitter. Defensively, Revere is better than Span, but offensively there is a dramatic decline. The Twins have few positions of strength and 1B (because any good bat can be plugged in there) and OF. Our weaknesses (SS, 2B and SP) are REALLY weak throughout the organization.Trading Span for an elite middle infielder such as the 2B in the Reds system was talked about at the deadline. If the Reds fall apart in the playoffs due to continued poor leadoff hitting/table-setting for Bruce, Votto and Phillips the Reds may be willing to do that.

      Morneau HAS value, because he is showing that he is healthy and when healthy he can hit. All it takes is one GM to take a chance on Morneau. You have to admit that with the way Morneau has been hitting, it will be attractive to teams looking for an impact bat this off-season.

      Whether we trade it for pitching or middle infield help doesn't matter to me. The Twins need GOOD players everywhere and trading players when their values are highest is the best way to build in both the short and long term.

      The pitching depth in free agency is much better than any middle infield FA we could sign. Best player available (excluding OF's) for Span and Morneau. Our weaknesses are REALLY weak. They have to be addressed.
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