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  • Twins trade Denard Span for Nationals' 2011 first round pick

    The Twins announce that they have have traded Denard Span to the Washington Nationals for pitcher Alex Meyer, a 2011 first round draft pick (23rd overall).

    The big-bodied Meyer, 6'9" and 220, spent last year split between A and High-A, striking out 26.6% of batters faced, walking just 8.6% and produced a 2.86 ERA which led to an invite to the Futures Game.

    Fangraphs.com had an excellent write-up on Meyer, noting that his 97-98 MPH fastball is very impressive in addition to his slider - which Baseball America considered the system's best after the 2011 season. From the Fangraphs.com's article, here's Mike Newman's (Scouting the Sally) scouting report on Meyer's secondary stuff:

    Meyer mixed in an upper-80′s slider with tight, late break. At its best, his arm action was identical to that of his fastball and it profiled as at least an above-average pitch. However, Meyer’s inconsistent mechanics caused him to intermittently drop his elbow or collapse his back leg leading to at least a handful of “hangers” up in the zone. Repetition and experience may help to iron these issues out, but once again, Meyer’s size and previous track record leaves questions as to how seamless those adjustments will be.

    The most surprising aspect of Meyer’s outing was a changeup which was significantly better than expected. At 87-88 MPH, it was a harder change, but his arm action and late drop leaves the projection of an average third pitch — a key for projecting a starting pitcher. Once again, his command was inconsistent causing him to leave the pitch up and out to right-handed hitters too often, but it’s a strong starting point to build from.
    Newman went on to say that the name that popped into his head the most was "Matt Clement" - a promising pitcher who never lived up to the hype.

    Following his draft in 2011, Baseball America's Aaron Fitt said this about the right-hander, noting caution of mechanical issues which plagues taller pitchers:

    Talk about a guy with huge upside, that is Alex Meyer. I saw him at the Houston College Classic this year. I believe the Nationals director of scouting, Kris Kline, was there also. His fastball was hitting the mid-90s and he can run it up to 97-98 mph with life, and he has an explosive breaking ball.

    It was a power knuckle-breaking ball. He called it a knuckle-curve. It really looks more like a slider most of the time. It is a mid-80s mph pitch that can just be a wipeout offering. It is one of the better breaking balls that you will see out there when he has got it going.

    He is making progress as a pitcher. There is risk with this guy. He is 6-foot-9 and like many tall pitchers there are a lot of moving parts. There is a lot going on in that delivery. It takes a lot for those guys to put it all together.

    He reminded me a lot of Andrew Brackman, who was a basketball player at N.C. State who also played baseball. When Brackman was on in college, he was dominant. But again, there is a lot you've got to harness with those tall guys."

    Clement and now Brackman? Uff. Not the most impressive comparables. Still, as Fitt said, there is high-upside there, potential to be a top-of-the-rotation guy - something the Twins don't have now, nor deeper in the farm system. Given his age (23 in January), there's an outside possibility that Meyer could be ready to join the rotation sometime in 2014.

    In trading Span, the Twins free themselves of a $4.75 million commitment for 2013 and $7 million in 2014 ($6.5M plus a $500,000 buyout).
    Comments 321 Comments
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Probably B-
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
      Where is Seth?

      I want to read what Seth has to say about this trade!
      First and Foremost, I really like Span. Terrific player and a better person. However, I am often guilty, like many of us, for over-valuing our Players and Prospects and what we can get for them. For me, Span was worth a high-ceiling pitching prospect like Meyer, although I hoped they could get a couple of C-level prospects with Meyer.But, my assumption was that if the Twins really wanted a major-league ready starter for Span, it would have been more like a #4 or #5 type of starter. So, there is risk with Meyer since he's only got one year of time. There is risk because he hasn't seen AA yet. We can look at his numbers and say they're pretty solid. But Meyer is all about projectability, not about stats at this point. Guys that tall often take a little bit longer to develop, especially control, because for whatever reason, it's more difficult to find a consistent release point. After Gibson's first full season, he was up in AAA. Meyer got to Hi-A (which is where Gibson started). That speaks to polish. Gibson is polished. But when it comes to upside, Meyer's is certainly higher due to the extra mph. We'll see what happens ,but I'm excited that TR didn't just take MLB ready guys. Instead he got a high-upside potential guy.
    1. jun's Avatar
      jun -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      Alex Myers the name James Shields gives himself when he wears his high heels? Otherwise, reality strikes again. In a good way I might add - a solid prospect that slots to be coming to the majors about the same time as our best young talent? Sounds like the right kind of trade to me. Now to see if it pans out.
      I don't think anyone is claiming Myers is some sorta of sure deal, but he is certainly the best pitching prospect the Twins have had since Matt Garza. (Gibson could be close if it weren't for the injury)

      When was the last time the Twins had a guy in the system who could throw 98 AND get it over the plate?
      Not long ago, remember Jim Hoey? I wonder where Mr Hoey is now. I hope the Twins scouts did their homework this time, I would not say trading traditional leadoff guy and a very good center fielder for a power pitcher with high risk is a good move. After all Span is our best trading chip, he is cheap and plays good defense. Morneau is expensive. Hamilton cannot play defense. I am disappoined!Span is irreplacable, Revere has no arm, look at his OBP, anyone who thinks Revere can replace Span must be daydreaming.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
      Where is Seth?

      I want to read what Seth has to say about this trade!
      First and Foremost, I really like Span. Terrific player and a better person. However, I am often guilty, like many of us, for over-valuing our Players and Prospects and what we can get for them. For me, Span was worth a high-ceiling pitching prospect like White, although I hoped they could get a couple of C-level prospects with White.But, my assumption was that if the Twins really wanted a major-league ready starter for Span, it would have been more like a #4 or #5 type of starter. So, there is risk with White since he's only got one year of time. There is risk because he hasn't seen AA yet. We can look at his numbers and say they're pretty solid. But White is all about projectability, not about stats at this point. Guys that tall often take a little bit longer to develop, especially control, because for whatever reason, it's more difficult to find a consistent release point. After Gibson's first full season, he was up in AAA. White got to Hi-A (which is where Gibson started). That speaks to polish. Gibson is polished. But when it comes to upside, White's is certainly higher due to the extra mph. We'll see what happens ,but I'm excited that TR didn't just take MLB ready guys. Instead he got a high-upside potential guy.
      "White"?
    1. twinstalker's Avatar
      twinstalker -
      I had hoped he wouldn't draw any attention prior to my draft that starts this weekend. Meyer was in my sights, and now I suppose he's in everyone else's, too.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      If true, you have to like this move. The market on Denard was unfortunately weak (and for no good reason, really). Receiving a fireballer like Meyer is a huge get.
      This looks better than going to the Reds for Cingrani... I like it. A lot...
    1. rico7961's Avatar
      rico7961 -
      Read Dave Cameron's headline at FANGRAPHS. Nuff said.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      This is called "rolling the dice", but then so is the draft. I believe that this trade indicates a change in philosophy from PtoC. Likely he will look like an early Garza with FBs that often beget foul balls rather than outs. He will need to improve his off-speed stuff, but that is generally said of most pitchers at his level. Mechanics? Unless you have actually seen him pitch (ex. Liriano) I would take someone else's opinion with a grain of salt. Blaming mechanics for a "gopher ball"?--isn't that the expected reason for said "cookie" anyway? It does appear as if 2013 may have fewer wins than 2013 but many have posted that: a) Willingham had a career year (so sell high!); b) Mauer wasn't injured; c) the bullpen was basically solid and d) Morneau had a much more productive year than 2011. Unless there is a substanial influx of major league talent by April we should expect "a step back".
      Let's give this Myers guy a chance before we "Hoey" him.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by SirLoin View Post


      Not to get all "Deadspin" on you Dave, but +1. How is a team's #2/#3 prospect be considered a "C" prospect???
      They play for Chicago or Detroit?
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Inevitable yes, but this is what I was afraid of, the inevitable reprecussions from the media:

      http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index...an-from-twins/


      Seth, per your edit:

      The following is portions of 3 paragraphs from the 10 paragraph article. If this is too much copy, it can be edited again, but these are the cogent points to the ongoing debate:


      Nationals Steal Denard Span from Twins

      by David Cameron

      "To be honest, I’m a bit surprised at the price at which Minnesota was willing to sell Span off. I get that they’re rebuilding and they feel like Ben Revere can handle center field in the short term, but Span is the kind of player they could have kept as they rebuilt..... and the Twins sold him off for an A-ball pitching prospect who may end up in relief.

      I don’t mean to downplay Meyer’s value as a prospect, as any 6’9 kid who throws in the upper 90s and throws a wipeout slider is a legitimately interesting return, but no one is yet certain that he’s going to stick in the rotation long term. He had a successful debut season between the South Atlantic and Carolina Leagues, but he was a 22-year-old college arm facing batters with significantly less experience. He’s yet to get to Double-A, and the questions about his mechanics haven’t yet been entirely answered. There’s some real upside here, but there’s also a chance that the command regresses and he ends up as a closer rather than a starter.

      Meyer’s a bit of a lottery ticket. Legitimate upside, legitimate concerns about his future role, and at least another year of development before he’s ready to contribute in Minnesota. Meyer’s a Top 100 prospect, and if you think he’ll stick as a starter, probably a Top 50 guy. The Twins got a real talent back in return for Span, but it’s a talent with too many question marks to be the piece they’re getting back in return for a three win player under team control at a fraction of his market price. "
    1. twinstalker's Avatar
      twinstalker -
      Here's why Meyer is a much better return than Mike Leake. Mike Leake has no more upside than what he's shown, and if Meyer doesn't pan out, you can find FAs who are basically as good as Leake. Top prospects for average guys when you're a losing team is absolutely the most cost-efficient and talent-optimal way to do business. And I really dislike Terry Ryan.
    1. puckett1992's Avatar
      puckett1992 -
      This is my first post at the site after perusing the many articles over the last several months. This is a great site for Twins fans and I like getting the Twins Centric articles away from the Strib web site. So, props to the braintrust of the site that launched it and continue to maintain it.

      I found the Fangraphs title of "Nationals Steal Denard Span from Twins" by Dave Cameron to be funny, if not ridiculous. Obviously, the success of this trade from the Twins' perspective will be determined in 2014, 2015, and beyond. Meyer could be a complete bust or be leading the Twins rotation within the next few years. The Nationals benefit from the trade immediately and Span will be a key asset towards their quest for a World Series appearance and maybe championship. Good for Span to get this opportunity even though I'm sure he's torn about leaving the Twins.

      I personally like the trade because it addresses a need for young pitching while dealing from a position of strength, even thought the pitching won't contribute to the major league team in 2013. To me, this doesn't mean the Twins are necessarily rebuilding next year. Span can be replaced by Revere to some extent and there are other options in the outfield. If Revere cannot handle the job offensively over an entire full season, then Hicks and others may be able to push him.

      Let's see what happens during the Winter Meetings and throughout December and January. If adequate starting pitchers are signed or traded for, then there is hope for next year without a miracle like the Orioles experienced in 2012. If Ryan deals away Willingham and/or Morneau for lower tier MLB starting pitchers or A-level prospects, then it's safe to assume they're rebuilding. Based on comments from Ryan on 1500espn on Monday and earlier in the offseason, he doesn't want to enter a prolonged rebuilding operation, so I would assume other moves are coming. Other than just possibly re-signing Liriano.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kwak View Post
      This is called "rolling the dice", but then so is the draft. I believe that this trade indicates a change in philosophy from PtoC. Likely he will look like an early Garza with FBs that often beget foul balls rather than outs. He will need to improve his off-speed stuff, but that is generally said of most pitchers at his level. Mechanics? Unless you have actually seen him pitch (ex. Liriano) I would take someone else's opinion with a grain of salt. Blaming mechanics for a "gopher ball"?--isn't that the expected reason for said "cookie" anyway? It does appear as if 2013 may have fewer wins than 2013 but many have posted that: a) Willingham had a career year (so sell high!); b) Mauer wasn't injured; c) the bullpen was basically solid and d) Morneau had a much more productive year than 2011. Unless there is a substanial influx of major league talent by April we should expect "a step back".
      Let's give this Myers guy a chance before we "Hoey" him.

      Mechanics? This guy's release point covers all points of the map in the Lower 48 States. Here you go:

      http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index...-report-video/

      It has become painfully clear that this is a high-risk/high-reward/potential crashing downside trade that desperate clubs have to make if they want to get back in the game. That and it insures the club continues marching towards its inexorable drop to a $65M payroll in 2014, which sadly appears to be the club's prime imperative at this point.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by rico7961 View Post
      Read Dave Cameron's headline at FANGRAPHS. Nuff said.
      Then read Keith Law's thoughts.

      There can and will be lots of opinions about the deal. Reality is no one will know if it's a good idea for 5 years.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Deleted.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post

      "White"?
      Seth mixed up his Alex's when typing fast.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      That and it insures the club continues marching towards its inexorable drop to a $65M payroll in 2014, which sadly appears to be the club's prime imperative at this point.
      Yeah, that simply isn't true nor will you provide one shred of evidence stating such.
    1. Top Gun's Avatar
      Top Gun -
      So what's new Twins get's ripped off agin!
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by kab21 View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post

      "White"?
      Seth mixed up his Alex's when typing fast.
      Correct... I blame the Big Bang Theory too.
    1. E. Andrew's Avatar
      E. Andrew -
      Salary dump, Twins fans understand. Start over on the cheap, roll the dice and wait for Yahtzee, like in '82 and '02.
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