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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. ghostofgleemansflab's Avatar
      ghostofgleemansflab -
      all you clowns are simply missing the point on why this trade happened. Now Terry Ryan can follow organization philosophy. Step one: Draft/acquire power pitcher. Step 2: trade for Delmon Young.

      We're comin!
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Quote Originally Posted by Willihammer View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      I'm not so sure what is so ridiculous about that, if anything it shows how high of value a major league ready #2 has. Gonzalez was one of the best 5 pitchers in the game this year. Span highly likely won't even be one of the top 5 CF in baseball this year (if that is the comparison you are trying to draw)
      I had to read that twice, because I wasn't sure if you were referring to Gonzalez or Millone as the MLB ready #2 (You're referring to Gonzalez, right?)

      edit: because, at the time, they were both MLB ready no. 2's, even if BA didn't include Millone in their rankings.

      Gonzalez had a great year. Bill James thinks he will regress back into that no. 2.

      So, Peacock, Cole, Norris - they were all just gravy for the A's, along with the 3 extra years of team control on their new no. 2 starter.

      edit 2: again i don't have an angle. I'm not trying to grill JR or anything, I just can't get over how some of these deals come to pass and others don't.
      Milone isn't a #2, he's more like Slowey or Blackburn type. Was never a big time prospect. Benefits greatly from pitching in Oakland (has horrible h/r splits). Cole and Peacock were the better prospects although Peacock struggled a ton this year and some prospect guys (KLaw) thought he was a bullpen arm. Meyer has a better ceiling than both of them.
    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kwak View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Is there an ignore feature on this site? Serious question.
      No, but I've thought about looking into it, if only for my own sanity.
      Whew, I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels that way.
      I'd pay a membership fee for that feature! That and a "blowhard" warning.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Top Gun View Post
      I understand that we don't need Span. Doesn't Span have alot more value than Meyer? Doesn't Span have more value than Benson, Hicks, ect,?
      Why the rush to trade him? Would not Benson or Hicks for Meyer be better? Could we make the same or better deal next fall?
      Benson would not land you anything close to Meyer, his value is about as low as it could be currently.
      Sure the Twins could have maybe traded Hicks for Meyer, but it would have been a mistake. As nice as 3 years of Span would be, 6+ years of Hicks (for even cheaper overall) is the superior choice to keep for a rebuilding team like the Twins.

      It should be noted that Hicks has a greater upside then Span had/has as he is a better fielder, has more speed on the basepaths, has more power, has a better arm and a better eye at the plate. The main question with Hicks at this point is will he be able to continue to hit for averag and continue to increase his power.
      Vodkadave... You should also mention that the Nationals would rather have Span right now because Span will be of more use in 2013.
      I mean that is probably true, but I'm not sure the Nats would have told the Twins "we have no interest in Hicks". There is a decent to good chance that Hicks can contribute in 2013 and even though the Nats are set up very nicely for 2013, they are set up even more nicely for 2014-2015.I

      I guess what I am saying is it wouldn't have killed the Nats to bring in Hicks and keep Harper in CF for another half season. I'm just personally glad the Twins traded Span rather then Hicks.
      The point is moot as the Nats already have their own Hicks in Brian Goodwin. Span has just become his placeholder.
      Goodwin is a nice prospect, but lets not say he is "their Hicks" he has exactly 100 games in his professional career and struggled quite a bit in AA. Hicks is a easily a superior prospect to Goodwin at this time, ntm Goodwin still might be a corner OF instead of a CF anyways.
      Let's go to the "source", the guy we all agree has it right on Meyer, John Sickels:

      http://www.minorleagueball.com/2012/...evision-update

      John Sickels Top 120 Prospects (2012 Mid-season Updated Edition)

      #12 Miguel Sano (MN Twins)

      #45 Eddie Rosario (Mn Twins)


      #64. Oswaldo Arcia (MN Twins)
      #65 Brian Goodwin (Wa Nats)
      #74 Alex Meyer (Mn Twins)


      #120-----------


      Players under consideration who didn't make the top 120

      Aaron Hicks (MN Twins)
    1. Twins Twerp's Avatar
      Twins Twerp -
      More people viewed this page than bought lottery tickets last night...fact based analysis.
    1. ScottyB's Avatar
      ScottyB -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Is there an ignore feature on this site? Serious question.
      No, but I've thought about looking into it, if only for my own sanity.
      Double click on the icon (or name and choose view profile) of the person you want to ignore and choose the option "Add to ignore list".
    1. Top Gun's Avatar
      Top Gun -
      Meyers & Hicks are prospects and nothin more, who is to say he can replace Span, could easily be someone else. The same goes for Meyers. The Twins could play like the Orioles next season why the rush to trade Span now for a prospect when we can do it when we are 10 games out and in last place. The fans need a team this year too, not in 4 or 5 years. I won't even be around to see it by then.
    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      If Ryan had made this move at the trade deadline everybody would have lauded it, to get a relatively high ceiling pitching prospect for a guy like Span is more than acceptable and is an appropriate direction to take. The two biggest needs identified by the majority of posters here are either major league ready starting pitching and starting pitching depth on the farm, seems to me TR just helped to address the latter and he addressed it from a position of organizational depth.

      To categorize this as a salary dump is just taking the extreme cynical view. To profess these types of moves are necessary for the team to move forward and criticize Ryan for not having the foresight to make them, only to turn around and accuse him of dumping salary when he does, is at best disingenuous.

      Unless you just want to be one of those who see fit to convince themselves that Meyers will ultimately be a bust, I don't see the problem with this move.
    1. Bark's Lounge's Avatar
      Bark's Lounge -
      Quote Originally Posted by Top Gun View Post
      Meyers & Hicks are prospects and nothin more, who is to say he can replace Span, could easily be someone else. The same goes for Meyers. The Twins could play like the Orioles next season why the rush to trade Span now for a prospect when we can do it when we are 10 games out and in last place. The fans need a team this year too, not in 4 or 5 years. I won't even be around to see it by then.
      Top Gun. I cannot guess on your health status, but in my deepest heart of hearts, I hope you are around to see the next Twins World Championship.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Top Gun View Post
      I understand that we don't need Span. Doesn't Span have alot more value than Meyer? Doesn't Span have more value than Benson, Hicks, ect,?
      Why the rush to trade him? Would not Benson or Hicks for Meyer be better? Could we make the same or better deal next fall?
      Benson would not land you anything close to Meyer, his value is about as low as it could be currently.
      Sure the Twins could have maybe traded Hicks for Meyer, but it would have been a mistake. As nice as 3 years of Span would be, 6+ years of Hicks (for even cheaper overall) is the superior choice to keep for a rebuilding team like the Twins.

      It should be noted that Hicks has a greater upside then Span had/has as he is a better fielder, has more speed on the basepaths, has more power, has a better arm and a better eye at the plate. The main question with Hicks at this point is will he be able to continue to hit for averag and continue to increase his power.
      Vodkadave... You should also mention that the Nationals would rather have Span right now because Span will be of more use in 2013.
      I mean that is probably true, but I'm not sure the Nats would have told the Twins "we have no interest in Hicks". There is a decent to good chance that Hicks can contribute in 2013 and even though the Nats are set up very nicely for 2013, they are set up even more nicely for 2014-2015.I

      I guess what I am saying is it wouldn't have killed the Nats to bring in Hicks and keep Harper in CF for another half season. I'm just personally glad the Twins traded Span rather then Hicks.
      The point is moot as the Nats already have their own Hicks in Brian Goodwin. Span has just become his placeholder.
      Goodwin is a nice prospect, but lets not say he is "their Hicks" he has exactly 100 games in his professional career and struggled quite a bit in AA. Hicks is a easily a superior prospect to Goodwin at this time, ntm Goodwin still might be a corner OF instead of a CF anyways.
      Let's go to the "source", the guy we all agree has it right on Meyer, John Sickels:

      http://www.minorleagueball.com/2012/...evision-update

      John Sickels Top 120 Prospects (2012 Mid-season Updated Edition)

      #12 Miguel Sano (MN Twins)

      #45 Eddie Rosario (Mn Twins)


      #64. Oswaldo Arcia (MN Twins)
      #65 Brian Goodwin (Wa Nats)
      #74 Alex Meyer (Mn Twins)


      #120-----------


      Players under consideration who didn't make the top 120

      Aaron Hicks (MN Twins)
      The argument has gone from Span/Meyer to Hicks/Goodwin and when I wake up tomorrow morning It will probably move furthur down the line into calculating electron cloud shapes.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinsnorth49 View Post
      If Ryan had made this move at the trade deadline everybody would have lauded it, to get a relatively high ceiling pitching prospect for a guy like Span is more than acceptable and is an appropriate direction to take. The two biggest needs identified by the majority of posters here are either major league ready starting pitching and starting pitching depth on the farm, seems to me TR just helped to address the latter and he addressed it from a position of organizational depth.

      To categorize this as a salary dump is just taking the extreme cynical view. To profess these types of moves are necessary for the team to move forward and criticize Ryan for not having the foresight to make them, only to turn around and accuse him of dumping salary when he does, is at best disingenuous.

      Unless you just want to be one of those who see fit to convince themselves that Meyers will ultimately be a bust, I don't see the problem with this move.
      This is an agressive move that helps the team move forward. It officially acknowledges that the Twins are in rebuilding mode, as they should be. They made an attempt at going for, at best, a future #1-2 starter, or at worst, a closer/set-up guy. It does cut payroll in the short run, to set the team up better as the next wave emerges in 2014-15-16. Span was the #1 logical trading chip to acquiring a front-end SP and still maintain the semblance of a strong positional lineup to have a chance to make a run in 2013. If anyone can show evidence that the Twins are going to go all-in on signing Greinke and another top #2 FA pitcher, it's time to present the evidence or admit the truth. Any move coming up at the Winter Meetings or later can only serve to weaken the positional lineup and/or to further cut payroll in the short run (trading of one or more of the Big 3), to set up a stronger push in 2014 or 15.

      I can't speak for other posters, but I was certainly hoping a move like this was multi-player to better address the multi-needs. It's unfortunate and disappointing that Span (with or without a package) couldn't have garnered more than just one pitcher currently at A level and with mechanical issues in a tall pitcher that in the past have appeared to be beyond the Twins level of expertise in fixing.
    1. Otwins's Avatar
      Otwins -
      Quote Originally Posted by spycake View Post
      You can see Meyer's college stats here:

      http://www.thebaseballcube.com/playe...P=alex-meyer-3

      His previous high innings total was 101, so perhaps he tired later this season in high-A. He was "shut down" at 129 innings, Strasburg-style. I like that he's already made progress with control -- hopefully the Twins can keep his K rate up.

      Here's a cool article about him and his pitches:

      http://www.milb.com/news/article.jsp...milb&fext=.jsp
      Thanks for the links. Meyer said he needs to refine his circle change. Sounds like Cuellar has another spring training assignment
    1. jcphitman's Avatar
      jcphitman -
      Longtime reader ... first time poster.

      When I first read about the trade, I shook my head and figured here we go again. The Twins trade their best tradeable asset for one minor leaguer. After I started reading about, Meyer, I changed my mind.

      I think Ryan's quote in the strib article sums it all up:
      "These guys are hard to get, and if you are going to get them, it's going to be in the low-to-mid minors. Once they get up to Double A or Triple A, they are almost impossible to get." (http://www.startribune.com/sports/twins/181434491.html)

      We all knew we weren't going to get an ace or number 2 for Span in the majors, AAA, or AA. The best we could hope for might be a number 4. TR had to go to high A to get the best pitcher he could for Span.

      I'm glad we didn't use Span and other prospects to get Shields. Why waste Span and currency (prospects such as Rozario, Hicks, etc.) in our minor league system for 2 years of Shields before he commands top dollar to stay and further hurt payroll? Rolling the dice on Meyer is the way to go. No guarantees he'll be good, but the Twins at least gave themselves a chance at a strong pitcher by bringing him in.

      I'd rather have taken Meyer (I'll say "B" level prospect) then hope for two C prospects or a C and a few D prospects in return for Span. The Twins probably could have taken a quantity of lesser prospects, but they sacrificed more pieces coming back for quality. They put all their Span eggs in one basket for Meyer, but he has the best chance at producing vs. any other number of lesser prospects the Nats may have agreed to send.

      I think it's silly fans (especially on the strib) are ripping the Twins for the move (the early replies of what I read). They don't understand baseball and how valuable young pitching is. You don't just buy young pitchers for 3 million like you do NBA draft picks. You need to either hit them right on the draft or trade impact players away to get the prospects. Span brought us the best pitcher he could. I'm satisfied based on Meyer's potential alone. Let's hope he's blessed enough to avoid Tommy John and cash in for a long MLB career with the Twins!
    1. old nurse's Avatar
      old nurse -
      Quote Originally Posted by Twins Twerp View Post
      More people viewed this page than bought lottery tickets last night...fact based analysis.
      Half of the views are from Dave and joking going back and forth.
    1. old nurse's Avatar
      old nurse -
      Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
      I'm wondering if people upset with the trade are more upset with the return or how far away the return seems? Had the Twins gotten Tijuan Walker, who is far away but a top ten prospect, would some of you folks still be disappointed? Serious question not trying to provoke.
      Yes they would have. Based on what they complain about they appear to have expected as sure thing front end starter for Span.
    1. Top Gun's Avatar
      Top Gun -
      Bark's L thanks for your well wishes. Nothin would be better than to see the Twins win. Twins winning is happiness.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by jcphitman View Post
      Longtime reader ... first time poster.

      When I first read about the trade, I shook my head and figured here we go again. The Twins trade their best tradeable asset for one minor leaguer. After I started reading about, Meyer, I changed my mind.

      I think Ryan's quote in the strib article sums it all up:
      "These guys are hard to get, and if you are going to get them, it's going to be in the low-to-mid minors. Once they get up to Double A or Triple A, they are almost impossible to get." (http://www.startribune.com/sports/twins/181434491.html)

      We all knew we weren't going to get an ace or number 2 for Span in the majors, AAA, or AA. The best we could hope for might be a number 4. TR had to go to high A to get the best pitcher he could for Span.

      I'm glad we didn't use Span and other prospects to get Shields. Why waste Span and currency (prospects such as Rozario, Hicks, etc.) in our minor league system for 2 years of Shields before he commands top dollar to stay and further hurt payroll? Rolling the dice on Meyer is the way to go. No guarantees he'll be good, but the Twins at least gave themselves a chance at a strong pitcher by bringing him in.

      I'd rather have taken Meyer (I'll say "B" level prospect) then hope for two C prospects or a C and a few D prospects in return for Span. The Twins probably could have taken a quantity of lesser prospects, but they sacrificed more pieces coming back for quality. They put all their Span eggs in one basket for Meyer, but he has the best chance at producing vs. any other number of lesser prospects the Nats may have agreed to send.

      I think it's silly fans (especially on the strib) are ripping the Twins for the move (the early replies of what I read). They don't understand baseball and how valuable young pitching is. You don't just buy young pitchers for 3 million like you do NBA draft picks. You need to either hit them right on the draft or trade impact players away to get the prospects. Span brought us the best pitcher he could. I'm satisfied based on Meyer's potential alone. Let's hope he's blessed enough to avoid Tommy John and cash in for a long MLB career with the Twins!
      Excellent first post. Hopefully first of many.

      I concur in going for gold over tin. But I still wish they could have poked around to get a better deal from favorable trading parteners like Cincy, Tampa or Texas. The Twins got fleeced once by the Nats already and they are primed to essentially "stand pat" and tinker with their roster as they prepare for a likely World Series run in 2013. It seems like the Twins might have been able to coax another piece or two currently blocked at the Major League level.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by old nurse View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
      I'm wondering if people upset with the trade are more upset with the return or how far away the return seems? Had the Twins gotten Tijuan Walker, who is far away but a top ten prospect, would some of you folks still be disappointed? Serious question not trying to provoke.
      Yes they would have. Based on what they complain about they appear to have expected as sure thing front end starter for Span.
      After being teased in the media about going after guys like Shields and Cingrani, can you see why expectations had to be adjusted?
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Late to the party here tonight, but I'll chime in that this is the kind of trade I was hoping for - a high ceiling pitcher in exchange for an average MLB-proven CFer. I was kind of hoping for a second prospect (maybe in exchange for a throw-in by the Twins), but this is OK. As always, I have no fundamental insight into prospects so as armchair GM I have to trust "my" scouts on the choice of the pitcher to trade for.

      The loss of Span frees up a little money that can be spent (with money already earmarked) on pitching to keep 2013-14 from being a disaster that would harm cashflow for when they are ready to compete again in 2015 or so. Should be an interesting winter, with this as the opening salvo.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by ashburyjohn View Post
      Late to the party here tonight, but I'll chime in that this is the kind of trade I was hoping for - a high ceiling pitcher in exchange for an average MLB-proven CFer. I was kind of hoping for a second prospect (maybe in exchange for a throw-in by the Twins), but this is OK. As always, I have no fundamental insight into prospects so as armchair GM I have to trust "my" scouts on the choice of the pitcher to trade for.

      The loss of Span frees up a little money that can be spent (with money already earmarked) on pitching to keep 2013-14 from being a disaster that would harm cashflow for when they are ready to compete again in 2015 or so. Should be an interesting winter, with this as the opening salvo.
      Salvo #2 hot off the wires at MLBTradeRumors:

      In an interview with 1500 ESPN Twin Cities radio (via Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN), Twins assistant GM Rob Antony said his team will likely pursue free agents over trades at the Winter Meetings. "We probably don't have a lot of pieces that we do have to trade for starting pitching [with Denard Span now gone]," Antony said. "We'll probably be a little more aggressive and spend our time at the winter meetings talking to agents rather than clubs."


      This could get interesting............................or it could mean Joe Saunders and that other Myers guy is their definition of "a little more agressive".
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