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  • Braves Signing Upton Hurts Twins' Trade Options

    Minnesota Twins fans finally have a mildly good reason to push the panic button.

    It wasn’t that Scott Baker was leaving the team – without an option year, his value the year after Tommy John isn’t particularly meaningful. It certainly isn’t that (gasp) other free agent starting pitchers are signing elsewhere – especially when only a handful have changed teams and there are an inordinate number of good starting pitchers on the market. And MOST OF ALL it isn’t that the Twins have dared to sign minor leaguers, which is business as usual for this time of year.

    But if you want to push it, go ahead. Because yesterday, the Atlanta Braves agreed to terms for center fielder BJ Upton. For Twins fans hoping for long-term upgrades to the Twins starting pitching staff, this is the worst news this offseason.

    The Braves have plenty of young (and affordable) pitching like that, and were in the market for 1) a center fielder and 2) right-handed power. What’s more, they had to be affordable, since the Braves are working on a corporate (inflexible) budget. Both Denard Span AND Josh Willingham had been floated in rumors from the Braves media entities, and it wasn’t out of the question that they could be attempting a blockbuster deal for both.

    Upton IS both. He’s a centerfielder, who hits right-handed and has hit 51 home runs over the last two years. And they got him for about $14M/year, which is just a couple of million more than Span and Willingham would have cost. Upton was the linchpin of the offseason for the Braves; he was the one player available to fill both needs at a reasonable price without trading away their starting pitching.

    The Twins and their fans will need to take solace in the cliché of the other broken-hearted: there are lots of other fish in the sea. There are. The Rays will need to replace Upton, the Phillies are actively courting center fielders and the Reds have been mentioned as a possible landing place for months.

    But the Braves represented the big one that got away. They were the single best option this offseason when trading for major-league-ready, affordable, young, top-half-of-the-rotation starting pitching. If the Braves had missed out on Upton, the Twins and Braves would have made stunningly good fits for each other. Without them interested, the Twins didn’t just lose one name from the “demand” side of the equation, they also lost their best trading partner.

    But at least Twins fans have found a reason to push the panic button in 3 …. 2 .... 1 ….

    This article was originally published in blog: Braves Signing Upton Hurts Twins' Trade Options started by John Bonnes
    Comments 53 Comments
    1. raindog's Avatar
      raindog -
      Or we could remain level-headed. There is no evidence that the Braves were willing to give up much of value to the Twins for Span. Hopefully the Reds are willing.
    1. AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS's Avatar
      AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS -
      Quote Originally Posted by raindog View Post
      Or we could remain level-headed. There is no evidence that the Braves were willing to give up much of value to the Twins for Span. Hopefully the Reds are willing.
      Im really just not that interested in trading with the Reds. Im hoping The Rays...but they have a pretty smart front office and likely will say no to the Twins demands for Span similar to the Braves.
    1. Alex's Avatar
      Alex -
      Might the Phillies be looking for a CF as well?
    1. raindog's Avatar
      raindog -
      Quote Originally Posted by AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by raindog View Post
      Or we could remain level-headed. There is no evidence that the Braves were willing to give up much of value to the Twins for Span. Hopefully the Reds are willing.
      Im really just not that interested in trading with the Reds. Im hoping The Rays...but they have a pretty smart front office and likely will say no to the Twins demands for Span similar to the Braves.
      I would be happy with the Rays, as well. But like you siad, they have a very smart front office. Probably best in baseball. I don't see us getting the better end of that deal.
    1. AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS's Avatar
      AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS -
      Quote Originally Posted by raindog View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by raindog View Post
      Or we could remain level-headed. There is no evidence that the Braves were willing to give up much of value to the Twins for Span. Hopefully the Reds are willing.
      Im really just not that interested in trading with the Reds. Im hoping The Rays...but they have a pretty smart front office and likely will say no to the Twins demands for Span similar to the Braves.

      I would be happy with the Rays, as well. But like you siad, they have a very smart front office. Probably best in baseball. I don't see us getting the better end of that deal.

      I honestly think if we trade Span most people are going to be upset at what we receive for him. Right now the Twins I have heard are asking for a haul for Span.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      As your options shrink, your return usually shrinks. It's simple economics.....so ya, this is another bump in the offseason.
    1. Twins Twerp's Avatar
      Twins Twerp -
      Nooooooooooooooooo myself
    1. birdwatcher's Avatar
      birdwatcher -
      Allhope,
      you've mentioned that the Twins are asking for a haul foe Span, and you've mentioned that the Braves turned down the Twins based on their demands for Span.

      Just curious. Who's your source? thrylos?
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      The Braves don't have to be out of the running with the signing of Upton. They still have an OF need and value is still value. Does it knock down the need for an OF'er? Yes but Span would still be a nice leadoff hitter fit for the Braves... Upton is not a leadoff guy.

      The other side of the coin obviously. It takes one option off the table for all the other teams that could use a CF.

      Yes... I'd like some of that Atlanta pitching but as names come off the board... Theoretically... Spans value should increase.

      Theoretically means nothing because I'm making these theories from North Dakota.
    1. clutterheart's Avatar
      clutterheart -
      Did Ryan wait too long here?

      Seems like he did. I am sure the Braves offered some folks to him as they had incentive to save the 8 Million difference that Span would have brought them.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Alas we will never know what was asked for and what was offered. These kind of details often get leaked, but never with the Twins. I'd still like to know what the snag was in the Span to the Reds deal last July.
    1. Cris E's Avatar
      Cris E -
      It's also been mentioned that ATL may still be in the market for Span even though Upton was signed. It sounds unlikely, but given Span's team friendly deal, he could be attractive enough to make it a Span for middle IF deal instead. ATL has some stellar young SS.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      The ATL ship has set sail folks, and the Twins still haven't acquired any pitching.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      Atlanta still needs offense and a LF'er so this ship hasn't completely sailed although it might be Willingham that gets traded. I don't have a problem with that as long as it's a decent return.
    1. Alex's Avatar
      Alex -
      Quote Originally Posted by birdwatcher View Post
      Allhope,
      you've mentioned that the Twins are asking for a haul foe Span, and you've mentioned that the Braves turned down the Twins based on their demands for Span.

      Just curious. Who's your source? thrylos?
      Ken Rosenthal reported that the Braves were interested in both Upton and Span but talks with Twins failed to progress.
    1. RodneyKline's Avatar
      RodneyKline -
      This is no reason to hit the button. The Braves are out for Span but Upton is now off the market, so the other teams interested in Upton are now more interested in Span. The number one thing the team needs is a true Ace. A number one starter is essential. I am on the sign Grienke bandwagon. I hope people jump on this wagon and get the cheapest GM in the business to go out and sign Grienke or he is going to pick up 3 or 4 bottom of the rotation guys and we will lose 90 plus again. An ace for the staff turns this from a 90+ loss to a 90+ win team. It is sooooo important to have a true ace on the staff. We cant let TR get away with 5 mid level starters or we will never compete in our division.
    1. Top Gun's Avatar
      Top Gun -
      Why trade pitching when you can sign a free agent? Twins will just have to wait on Span.
    1. PseudoSABR's Avatar
      PseudoSABR -
      The fact that Upton was an FA (along w Bourn) hurt Span's trade value. That Upton signed with a potential Span suitor was always a given! Another way to look at it is that those other teams in search of a CFer have fewer options. Span's value is at the very least nebulous.
    1. Top Gun's Avatar
      Top Gun -
      Rodney you are so right! we need a ace for the long-term, so do it now, why put if off?
    1. AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS's Avatar
      AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS -
      Quote Originally Posted by Top Gun View Post
      Rodney you are so right! we need a ace for the long-term, so do it now, why put if off?
      Because there is no way the Twins will shell out the money in order to get that true ACE!
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