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  • In Terry I Trust

    If you were surprised in any way by return in the Denard Span trade, you shouldn't have been. Terry Ryan told us this was coming four months ago.

    Back in July, with the trade deadline approaching, Ryan spoke about his approach:

    As desperate as the Twins are to find starting pitching for 2013, a Liriano or Denard Span trade might not even address that specific need. Speaking only generally Thursday, GM Terry Ryan said, "When you're out there looking around, I think it's important you're always looking for the high-ceiling guy, whether he's major league-ready or whether he's in A-ball."

    To focus solely on the 2013 rotation "would be a terrible mistake," Ryan said.

    Ryan said the best target might be a Class A pitcher, who's further from the majors.

    "You can go get a marginal Triple-A guy who might be here next year," he said. "Are you going to be satisfied passing up a high-ceiling guy? I wouldn't be, but everybody has their own philosophy on that."
    The general manager's recent quotes after trading Span to the Nationals for Alex Meyer reflect the same mindset:

    "This guy, even though he's been in pro ball a short time, has first-round status," Ryan said. "He's out of the University of Kentucky, highly touted. 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."
    This is what I love about Terry Ryan, particularly in contrast to his tight-lipped predecessor, whose initials were fittingly "B.S." With TR, you know what you're getting. While I don't necessarily always agree with his methods, I trust the man.

    That's why I feel good about this trade. Given that the Twins were known to be talking to the Nationals back in July, when Ryan was describing a "high-ceiling guy" who might be in A-ball, there's a good chance he was targeting Meyer who fits that bill exactly. (Worth noting that Meyer could not technically be traded then as he was less than a year removed from signing, but could have been shipped as a PTBNL.)


    Back around the deadline, a source (from the Nats?) told Jon Heyman that the Twins were "asking a ton" for Span, who didn't end up getting moved.

    Many people seem disappointed or at best unenthused about the return for Span. But it seems clear that one side finally relinquished in this long-time haggling over the center fielder, and the timing would suggest it was Washington's Mike Rizzo. After all, just days earlier he'd watched division rival Atlanta sign center fielder B.J. Upton to a huge five-year deal. That's pressure.

    My take is that Ryan coveted Meyer highly and the Nationals were very reluctant to give him up, even in a one-for-one swap that brought back a very valuable established player. And why not? Meyer has a first-round pedigree, a fastball that registers in the high-90s and a physical build that could portend dominance. Legitimate top-of-the-rotation potential.

    No prospect is a sure thing, which is the scary part of all this, but if Meyer develops even into a quality No. 3, six cost-controlled seasons of his service at a time where the price of free agent pitching is escalating will make this a knockout victory. If he turns into a true front line guy, Ryan's trade will be a success of franchise-altering proportions.

    Span was a largely underrated player and the Twins will miss him, but their long-term outfield depth made him relatively expendable. Ryan could have probably flipped Span for multiple lesser prospects or an ordinary major-league talent, but instead turned in his chip for the high-upside play.

    Just as he's said he would all along.
    This article was originally published in blog: In Terry I Trust started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 146 Comments
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by gunnarthor View Post
      Maybe, maybe not. But that's getting away from the first point when you said Upton rates as above average in every single defensive statistic out there. That is clearly not the case.

      His UZR has fallen considerably over the last five years. Over the last 3 years, it has been pretty bland. Additionally, bWAR's defensive metric has never liked Upton, making him negative for his career.
      Exactly...
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Excuses
      The fact is Upton has outperformed him significantly over the last 3 years. Poll 30 GMs in the league and ask them who a btter player is and you will get 30 Upton answers. If Span was considered the better player you would have seen a lot more rumors in regards to the trade and a lot larger names being thrown around.
      Jesus Christ, Dave. I said that if you factor in injuries, the pendulum swings heavily into Upton's favor. Or did you also miss the sentence that read " It's hard to separate the player from the injuries in this case." We were talking hypotheticals, not actual reality. In reality, Span's injury history is a massive drag on his value.

      *headdesk*
      He was healthy in 2010 yet posted an OPS about a 100 points less, you write it off as pretty miserable overall, yet still say that taking injuries out of it you'd prefer Span. I was showing you that even when healthy Upton is outperforming him.
      For their careers, Upton has a 105 OPS+, Span a 104. Over the last 5 years, both have a 104. In the same time, Span has a 105 wRC+ to Upton's 106. They are different type of players but about equal in offensive rate stats. (Durability is a different issue).
    1. Jim Crikket's Avatar
      Jim Crikket -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Jim Crikket View Post
      So when I read media reports that Ryan may be looking at a Pohlad-imposed limit near the $90 million mark, it disgusts me.
      Why don't we wait and see how much he actually spends before getting disgusted? I agree with your overall viewpoints about payroll but this seems like needless hand-wringing to me.
      Sorry, I keep forgetting that TD is only for discussion regarding what has actually transpired.

      The $90 million figure is not something just being floated out there online by us know-nothings, it's been appearing in "real" media reports, including the beat writers who supposedly have some level of insight (not to mention contacts within the organization itself) that the rest of us don't.

      Of course, the Twins do have years of history where they've had ownership approval to dive right in to the free agent market to get top pitching, so why would anyone doubt them, right?
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      either you are not reading what I am saying, I said it badly, or something else is going on. Because I never once said what you are saying I said. Sometimes I wonder if people are willing to listen to people they do not agree with at all. Because it sure does not feel that way a lot on this site.
      Well, I just had someone say I don't know much about baseball cause I posted an opinion he disagreed with so, yeah, there are people like that here.
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      First, I have no problem with this trade. I really hope that the Twins are rebuilding.

      Second, it is FAR too early in TR2 to reach any conclusions about TR's performance - good or bad. As for trusting him... Trust him for what? trust that he is being honest? I don't think he lies but I do think he is pretty closed lipped (I'm not saying that's bad) and he also knows how to bluff (at least with the public). Trust that he will turn this team around? The jury is still out on that one.

      Third, there is not one iota of doubt in my mind that the primary reason why Terry Ryan replaced BS as the Twins' GM is because Terry Ryan is fiscally conservative (a/k/a cheap). THAT is probably the one thing about Terry Ryan that I TRUST absolutely.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Excuses
      The fact is Upton has outperformed him significantly over the last 3 years. Poll 30 GMs in the league and ask them who a btter player is and you will get 30 Upton answers. If Span was considered the better player you would have seen a lot more rumors in regards to the trade and a lot larger names being thrown around.
      Jesus Christ, Dave. I said that if you factor in injuries, the pendulum swings heavily into Upton's favor. Or did you also miss the sentence that read " It's hard to separate the player from the injuries in this case." We were talking hypotheticals, not actual reality. In reality, Span's injury history is a massive drag on his value.

      *headdesk*
      He was healthy in 2010 yet posted an OPS about a 100 points less, you write it off as pretty miserable overall, yet still say that taking injuries out of it you'd prefer Span. I was showing you that even when healthy Upton is outperforming him.
      You mean his 2nd full season? Yeah, it's unusual to see a player drop some in his second full season...seems they have a name for that...
      LOL, he had 411 PA his "rookie" season. If anything 2010 was closer to his "third year". He dropped off from 2008 to 2009 as well.

      Heck I am not even bringing up his injury situation with you. Factor that in and it isn't even close.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      He was healthy in 2010 yet posted an OPS about a 100 points less, you write it off as pretty miserable overall, yet still say that taking injuries out of it you'd prefer Span. I was showing you that even when healthy Upton is outperforming him.
      You're being intentionally obtuse. 2010 Target Field was merciless to Denard, just like it was every lefty on the Twins. Morneau OPSed a whopping .300 points lower at home in 2010 while Mauer OPSed .120 points lower. Denard just had a bad year across the board. His BABIP was .020 lower than 2012 (and WAY lower than 2009) and nothing was going right for the guy. It happens.

      With the move to the NL and Washington, it wouldn't surprise me one bit to see Span breakout in 2013 (and I hope he does, he deserves to be on a winner).
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by gunnarthor View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Excuses
      The fact is Upton has outperformed him significantly over the last 3 years. Poll 30 GMs in the league and ask them who a btter player is and you will get 30 Upton answers. If Span was considered the better player you would have seen a lot more rumors in regards to the trade and a lot larger names being thrown around.
      Jesus Christ, Dave. I said that if you factor in injuries, the pendulum swings heavily into Upton's favor. Or did you also miss the sentence that read " It's hard to separate the player from the injuries in this case." We were talking hypotheticals, not actual reality. In reality, Span's injury history is a massive drag on his value.

      *headdesk*
      He was healthy in 2010 yet posted an OPS about a 100 points less, you write it off as pretty miserable overall, yet still say that taking injuries out of it you'd prefer Span. I was showing you that even when healthy Upton is outperforming him.
      For their careers, Upton has a 105 OPS+, Span a 104. Over the last 5 years, both have a 104. In the same time, Span has a 105 wRC+ to Upton's 106. They are different type of players but about equal in offensive rate stats. (Durability is a different issue).
      Teams don't career about what Upton and Span were doing 5 years ago, it's a what have you done for me lately league. Teams look at: What did you do last year? What did you do the last 3 years.

      The point is, at this stage who is the more valuable player.
      Upton in the last 3 years has significantly better offensive numbers in both OPS and OPS+, Upton has value on the basepaths and Upton is much less of a "health risk" defensively we can go back and forth on various metrics, but overall the past 3 years and even before that rate both as above average CF's.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Span had a nice bounce back year last year but only started to get strong in the 2nd half. I believe a full heathy Span, which I believe he will be next year after seein his 2nd half the last season.

      Span's WAR was 3.9, Upton's was 3.3. Seems close when you see it that way. Then when you look at qualifying players and see Span tied for 43rd while Upton is tied for 61, it's a little bit different.

      Upton hits HRs...that's his positive. Very low BA, low OBP, LOTS of Ks, below average defensive CF. But he's flashy...that and his 20Hr power gets him a big contract
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      He was healthy in 2010 yet posted an OPS about a 100 points less, you write it off as pretty miserable overall, yet still say that taking injuries out of it you'd prefer Span. I was showing you that even when healthy Upton is outperforming him.
      You're being intentionally obtuse. 2010 Target Field was merciless to Denard, just like it was every lefty on the Twins. Morneau OPSed a whopping .300 points lower at home in 2010 while Mauer OPSed .120 points lower. Denard just had a bad year across the board. His BABIP was .020 lower than 2012 (and WAY lower than 2009) and nothing was going right for the guy. It happens.

      With the move to the NL and Washington, it wouldn't surprise me one bit to see Span breakout in 2013 (and I hope he does, he deserves to be on a winner).
      Um in 2010 Span actually had an OPS 160 points HIGHER at home on the road and besides so um....what?

      If you are saying that Target Field rated as a pitchers park in 2010, you are correct, however Tampa Bay rated as a pitchers park as well, actually quite a bit more, and more overall in its existence.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      Span had a nice bounce back year last year but only started to get strong in the 2nd half. I believe a full heathy Span, which I believe he will be next year after seein his 2nd half the last season.

      Span's WAR was 3.9, Upton's was 3.3. Seems close when you see it that way. Then when you look at qualifying players and see Span tied for 43rd while Upton is tied for 61, it's a little bit different.

      Upton hits HRs...that's his positive. Very low BA, low OBP, LOTS of Ks, below average defensive CF. But he's flashy...that and his 20Hr power gets him a big contract
      So now we are moving this argument all the way down to a 2nd half argument? Well in the 2nd half last year Upton improved quite a bit as well (actually quite a bit more then Span) .819 OPS vs .783, and Upton upped his by 140 points vs Spans 80 points (not that any of this really has anything to do with anything)

      You bring up WAR, which is very flawed anyways, but it should be noted that Upton posted a 4.1 and 4.1 in 2010/2011 while Span posted a 2.6 and 2.2. So over those three years Upton had a WAR almost 3 wins total higher then Span during that time.

      Additionally, again you say below average CF and you are wrong.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      The point is, at this stage who is the more valuable player.
      Upton in the last 3 years has significantly better offensive numbers in both OPS and OPS+, Upton has value on the basepaths and Upton is much less of a "health risk" defensively we can go back and forth on various metrics, but overall the past 3 years and even before that rate both as above average CF's.
      You seem to keep moving your endpoints to suit you. You wanted to use 5 years for defensive stats b/c one year has a sample size issue but most stat guys say use three years for defensive stats. When 1 or 3 years are used, Span is the better defensive player and it isn't particularly close. So you pick 5 which coincides with Upton's best years and Span's worst and also the years defensive stats at the Dome were sorta fuzzy. And that way you get to ignore the downward trend Upton has shown in the defensive stats.

      For offense, you won't use 5 years b/c they include Span's best years, so we'll chop it to three, which include Span's injury affected years. But if we use one year or a 5 year time period, we see the offensive differences are basically nil.

      And all this was after you used hyperbole to support your nonsense claim that according to all stats, Upton was signficantly better defensively.

      You wonder why people are having trouble with your posts?
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      He was healthy in 2010 yet posted an OPS about a 100 points less, you write it off as pretty miserable overall, yet still say that taking injuries out of it you'd prefer Span. I was showing you that even when healthy Upton is outperforming him.
      You're being intentionally obtuse. 2010 Target Field was merciless to Denard, just like it was every lefty on the Twins. Morneau OPSed a whopping .300 points lower at home in 2010 while Mauer OPSed .120 points lower. Denard just had a bad year across the board. His BABIP was .020 lower than 2012 (and WAY lower than 2009) and nothing was going right for the guy. It happens.

      With the move to the NL and Washington, it wouldn't surprise me one bit to see Span breakout in 2013 (and I hope he does, he deserves to be on a winner).
      Um in 2010 Span actually had an OPS 160 points HIGHER at home on the road and besides so um....what?

      If you are saying that Target Field rated as a pitchers park in 2010, you are correct, however Tampa Bay rated as a pitchers park as well, actually quite a bit more, and more overall in its existence.
      Span had a higher OPS at home but his splits were so skewed and 2010 Target Field was so brutal to lefties that the only logical conclusion is that the stadium got into his head. Unless you think Adam Dunn suddenly turned into a piece of crap with the move to the White Sox. Guys struggle in new stadiums, new teams, etc. and it impacts them negatively everywhere. Span's peripherals stayed pretty true (LD, GB, FB, BB) while his IFFB actually dropped and, not surprisingly, his HR/FB plummeted to under 3%. His BABIP was also .060 lower than 2009. If that's not a case of "this stadium is ****ing me", I don't know what is. He was one really unlucky dude in 2010.

      Tropicana is a pitcher's park, no doubt about it. It's also turf, which helps a speedy guy when he puts it on the ground or lines it to the outfield (which Upton doesn't do often, but he does hit it on the ground 40% of the time). But that's a side argument... I think Upton is a fine player.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      Span had a nice bounce back year last year but only started to get strong in the 2nd half. I believe a full heathy Span, which I believe he will be next year after seein his 2nd half the last season.

      Span's WAR was 3.9, Upton's was 3.3. Seems close when you see it that way. Then when you look at qualifying players and see Span tied for 43rd while Upton is tied for 61, it's a little bit different.

      Upton hits HRs...that's his positive. Very low BA, low OBP, LOTS of Ks, below average defensive CF. But he's flashy...that and his 20Hr power gets him a big contract
      So now we are moving this argument all the way down to a 2nd half argument? Well in the 2nd half last year Upton improved quite a bit as well (actually quite a bit more then Span) .819 OPS vs .783, and Upton upped his by 140 points vs Spans 80 points (not that any of this really has anything to do with anything)

      You bring up WAR, which is very flawed anyways, but it should be noted that Upton posted a 4.1 and 4.1 in 2010/2011 while Span posted a 2.6 and 2.2. So over those three years Upton had a WAR almost 3 wins total higher then Span during that time.

      Additionally, again you say below average CF and you are wrong.
      yeah, you're right...Upton is much better than Span...ridiculous to think otherwise. Also ridiculous to think he's a below average defender when the metrics over the last three years shows all his negative defensive runs saved, his UZR a whopping combined .8 over the last three years ( well in the negative this year) and the Fielding Bible award voters completely leaving his name off their ballots the last two years. I'm the one who is wrong as to the kind of defender he is now.

      I'm done, you've completely turned me around...you're right, I clearly know very little about baseball..
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by gunnarthor View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      The point is, at this stage who is the more valuable player.
      Upton in the last 3 years has significantly better offensive numbers in both OPS and OPS+, Upton has value on the basepaths and Upton is much less of a "health risk" defensively we can go back and forth on various metrics, but overall the past 3 years and even before that rate both as above average CF's.
      You seem to keep moving your endpoints to suit you. You wanted to use 5 years for defensive stats b/c one year has a sample size issue but most stat guys say use three years for defensive stats. When 1 or 3 years are used, Span is the better defensive player and it isn't particularly close. So you pick 5 which coincides with Upton's best years and Span's worst and also the years defensive stats at the Dome were sorta fuzzy. And that way you get to ignore the downward trend Upton has shown in the defensive stats.

      For offense, you won't use 5 years b/c they include Span's best years, so we'll chop it to three, which include Span's injury affected years. But if we use one year or a 5 year time period, we see the offensive differences are basically nil.

      And all this was after you used hyperbole to support your nonsense claim that according to all stats, Upton was signficantly better defensively.

      You wonder why people are having trouble with your posts?
      Over the next three years, when considering the overall player ability and the contracts, who do you think will be more valuable to his club? Upton or Span?
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      Over the next three years, when considering the overall player ability and the contracts, who do you think will be more valuable to his club? Upton or Span?
      Yeah, this was never about the contracts as I never contended that part. But way to try to grossly skew the argument at the last second after I pointed out how Upton has been the superior player the past 3 years.
    1. tellis205's Avatar
      tellis205 -
      This trade will look pretty good in 2 years when Meyer looks dominating in a Twins uniform and Span is on the 15 day DL which turns into 60 days with a sprained foot.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      Over the next three years, when considering the overall player ability and the contracts, who do you think will be more valuable to his club? Upton or Span?
      Yeah, this was never about the contracts as I never contended that part. But way to try to grossly skew the argument at the last second after I pointed out how Upton has been the superior player the past 3 years.
      No, I was asking him a different question..a different question free of our debate...

      But, again, I'd still take Span...I've already said that more than once. I believe he's the better overall player. I don't back down from that.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by gunnarthor View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      The point is, at this stage who is the more valuable player.
      Upton in the last 3 years has significantly better offensive numbers in both OPS and OPS+, Upton has value on the basepaths and Upton is much less of a "health risk" defensively we can go back and forth on various metrics, but overall the past 3 years and even before that rate both as above average CF's.
      You seem to keep moving your endpoints to suit you. You wanted to use 5 years for defensive stats b/c one year has a sample size issue but most stat guys say use three years for defensive stats. When 1 or 3 years are used, Span is the better defensive player and it isn't particularly close. So you pick 5 which coincides with Upton's best years and Span's worst and also the years defensive stats at the Dome were sorta fuzzy. And that way you get to ignore the downward trend Upton has shown in the defensive stats.

      For offense, you won't use 5 years b/c they include Span's best years, so we'll chop it to three, which include Span's injury affected years. But if we use one year or a 5 year time period, we see the offensive differences are basically nil.

      And all this was after you used hyperbole to support your nonsense claim that according to all stats, Upton was signficantly better defensively.

      You wonder why people are having trouble with your posts?
      The only reason I brought up his 5 years prior of defensive stats was the fact that he was being called "below average" defensively because of one years worth of UZR data. I brought up the 5 years to show that when looking at advanced defensive metrics it is often foolish to just look at one year, hell If we still look at the two years prior to 2012 UZR data Upton still shows up as a positive. The fact that he didn't get a vote in the fielding bible this year means nothing to me.

      Also, I never said Upton was better defensively then Span, I just said that calling Span above average while Upton below average was disingenuous for the sake of an argument.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by tellis205 View Post
      This trade will look pretty good in 2 years when Meyer looks dominating in a Twins uniform and Span is on the 15 day DL which turns into 60 days with a sprained foot.
      I doubt the DL part, I don't think a player getting a concussion makes him injury prone, but I'm okay with the trade. It's a move for the future. I hope all other trades, if there are any more, go the same route.
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