• Nationals Should Not Be Lone Suitor For Denard Span

    Last year in Twins Territory, Denard Span was the hot topic as the trade deadline approached, much to Span’s dismay. This year, we’ve read that the Nationals are still interested in Span. They certainly should be, given their stopgap centerfield solution, Rick Ankiel, is hitting just .221.

    But they likely aren’t going to be alone. Span plays a premier defensive position competently, but more importantly he gets on base as a leadoff hitter. One can bet a few of the below teams will at least be calling at the trade deadline this year.

    Los Angeles Dodgers
    The Dodgers have a pretty fair centerfielder already, though Matt Kemp is out with a hamstring injury for at least a few weeks. What they don’t have is a leadoff hitter who doesn’t induce nausea. That job was speedster Dee Gordon’s to start the year, but he’s posted a .275 OBP, so they have turned it over to Tony Gwynn Jr. while he fills in for Kemp.

    Whether or not they need Span depends on whether you think Bobby Abreu, who was dropped by the Angels but has a 900+ OPS for the Dodgers in limited time, will turn back into a pumpkin. If Kemp stays out, Span can fill in for him. If Abreu grows old again, Span can play left field while leading off and Abreu comes off the bench. So stay tuned….

    Dodgers Top Prospects per BaseballProspectus.com
    Zach Lee – RHP – 4 stars
    Nathan Eovaldi – RHP – 3 stars
    Allen Webster – RHP – 3 stars

    Baltimore Orioles
    Like the Dodgers, the Orioles also have a center fielder having an MVP caliber year. But the Orioles also have big problems at their leadoff spot, with a combined OBP of just .253. Most of that can be blamed on Endy Chavez, though Robert Andino (.304 OBP) has done his share of damage, too.

    Again, the problem becomes finding a place for Span to play, though that doesn't appear to be a problem this year. A spot just opened up in right field where Nick Markakis was just put on the DL due to wrist surgery. There has also been a spot for a month in left field, where Nolan Reimold has been out with a bulging disk in his neck that has required multiple epidurals. Span could fit in with the Orioles long term there as Reimold is now 28 years old and has bounced between the majors and minors a bit in recent years.

    Orioles Top Prospects per BaseballProspectus.com
    Dylan Buncy – RHP – 5 stars
    Manny Machado – SS – 5 starts
    Jonathan Schoop – INF – 4 stars

    Cincinnati Reds
    The Reds lead the NL Cental with Drew Stubbs, a 27-year-old with a .300 OBP as their center fielder. He now has 1500 major league at-bats and a .249 career batting average. And believe it or not, he’s not the big problem.

    By the way, you’re warned – CAPS heavy sentence coming up.

    The big problem is the number .214. CUMATIVELY, that is the ON-BASE PERCENTAGE from the Reds LEAD-OFF hitters. It is as if every person they put atop the lineup becomes Drew Butera. Except that isn’t fair to Butera, whose career OBP is .231.

    I don’t know what to add to that. I’m a little stunned. How can they not get Joey Votto and Jay Bruce a little help? Let’s get to the prospects….

    Reds Top Prospects per BaseballProspectus.com
    Billy Hamilton – SS – 5 stars
    Devin Mesoraco – C – 5 stars
    Zach Cozart – SS – 3 stars (Huh. This is the guy who is leading off for the Reds, so let’s go one more...)
    Robert Stephenson – RHP – 3 stars
    This article was originally published in blog: Nationals Should Not Be Lone Suitor For Denard Span started by John Bonnes
    Comments 39 Comments
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      Quote Originally Posted by roger View Post
      The bullpen fixes he did have worked very well and there are four/five arms in Rochester about major league ready. The problem, the starting rotation including the health of Pavano/Baker. I think he sees a team that needs to add two solid starters and they can be back.
      Roger, I agree that Ryan is probably not in a hurry to give any of these guys away, least of all Span. He shouldn't be; the purpose of this story is to suggest there should be plenty of demand for him. (My god but the Reds could use Span badly.) And I've debated whether breaking up the top/middle of the lineup is a good idea, because rebuilding that is harder than people think.

      But Ryan cannot be thinking this team is a starting arm or two away from contention. Pavano and Baker are free agents and neither is certain, or even particularly likely, to be healthy enough to be effective next year. Blackie has been bad. Liriano will be gone. They're already scraping the bottom of the bucket with Cole DeVries and receiving way more than they can count on from Scott Diamond and PJ Walters. Gibson and Wimmers are huge question marks. They are actively resisting moving Swarzak and Duensing to the rotation, probably wisely.

      There MIGHT be enough options there to piece together 800-900 innings, but not enough talent to contend, at least not next year. Ryan has to see that.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      I do not understand the posts stating they should not trade him just to trade him. No on is making that argument. I still think Arizona should be the trade partner target....they have three pitchers in the top 18 prospects in all of baseball.
    1. twinswon1991's Avatar
      twinswon1991 -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      I do not understand the posts stating they should not trade him just to trade him. No on is making that argument. I still think Arizona should be the trade partner target....they have three pitchers in the top 18 prospects in all of baseball.
      Sorry pal but Gerrardo Parra is Arizonas 4TH OF and is a far better offensive and defensive player than Span. If a team really needs a good/cheap/young CF they will be after Parra not Span.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Span's a good trade chip but unless we get a Pence like deal for him, keep him. As others noted, there's no point in trading him for low level prospects. With the additional wild card, a lot more teams will be in playoff races, Span's deal is good enough that small market teams can afford him. Wait until the deadline and hopefully one team overpays. If no one is willing to make a good deal, keep Span.
    1. jmlease1's Avatar
      jmlease1 -
      If there's a real bidding war for Span and we can get some high-upside prospects for him, then I guess you have to seriously consider it. but considering Span's value as A) a lead-off hitter and B) a good CF, and C) a guy who has proven to be a superior defensive player at LF, and D) has a good contract I don't want him dumped near the trade deadline. Span should only get moved for the right trade.

      I agree with John, there should be multiple teams interested in dealing for Span for all of those factors. But I don't know if there are enough teams willing to give up serious prospects to make it a value move for the twins. I understand that the twins have some serious rotation issues and 1 arm isn't going to fix it...but the team should also have money to spend on more than one in free agency, and if guys like Diamond prove it over the course of the season, we're not quite as far back as one might think, especially since the offense seems to be solid.

      The Twins are in an interesting and difficult position in their rebuild. They don't want to tear the whole thing down because they have some nice pieces, they just moved into a new stadium and don't want to crash the attendance, and they don't want to become KC/Pittsburgh rolling the dice on prospects for a decade. At the same time, they're not well-constructed to win in the short-term because the starting rotation has collapsed through age & injury & ineffectiveness.
    1. roger's Avatar
      roger -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
      But Ryan cannot be thinking this team is a starting arm or two away from contention.

      There MIGHT be enough options there to piece together 800-900 innings, but not enough talent to contend, at least not next year. Ryan has to see that.
      John, I believe they are two good starters away from competing. We are seeing that Scott Diamond will be an effective starter, one capable of filling one of the #3-#5 spots in the rotation. If you read my stuff every week, you know I believe that Liam Hendriks is going to be very good and should be back and pitching well later in the year. That is two, lets say #3 and #4. The fifth starter can come from a combination of Walters, DeVries, Blackburn, Gibson and Baker. I believe that at the end of the year (October) when he is beginning to throw, the Twins will work out something on Baker's contract and he will be back. Will he be ready on opening day, unlikely. Gibson could, but both should be ready during the season to fill in if one of the starting five fails or is injured.

      That leaves two spots open. Yes, they are #1 and #2 which he will have to fill. As I look at the rest of the team, it is solid for next year. Fill those two spots and the Twins should be very good. Can they possibly do that by trading someone like Span for a young stud who will fill one of those two spots...maybe. In that case Mr. Ryan will have to evaluate what he has in the outfield and at the top of the order. Another option would be to package Liriano for a young starter in July...assuming the Frankie we saw the last two times out keeps showing up for another 7-8 starts!
    1. cr9617's Avatar
      cr9617 -
      Quote Originally Posted by roger View Post
      John, I believe they are two good starters away from competing. We are seeing that Scott Diamond will be an effective starter, one capable of filling one of the #3-#5 spots in the rotation. If you read my stuff every week, you know I believe that Liam Hendriks is going to be very good and should be back and pitching well later in the year. That is two, lets say #3 and #4. The fifth starter can come from a combination of Walters, DeVries, Blackburn, Gibson and Baker. I believe that at the end of the year (October) when he is beginning to throw, the Twins will work out something on Baker's contract and he will be back. Will he be ready on opening day, unlikely. Gibson could, but both should be ready during the season to fill in if one of the starting five fails or is injured.

      That leaves two spots open. Yes, they are #1 and #2 which he will have to fill. As I look at the rest of the team, it is solid for next year. Fill those two spots and the Twins should be very good. Can they possibly do that by trading someone like Span for a young stud who will fill one of those two spots...maybe. In that case Mr. Ryan will have to evaluate what he has in the outfield and at the top of the order. Another option would be to package Liriano for a young starter in July...assuming the Frankie we saw the last two times out keeps showing up for another 7-8 starts!
      That is wishful thinking, at best. I sure hope the FO doesn't see it this way. That rotation you just named has a lot of IFs, and even IF all of those thing fall in place...it's still a below average rotation.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinswon1991 View Post
      Sorry pal but Gerrardo Parra is Arizonas 4TH OF and is a far better offensive and defensive player than Span. If a team really needs a good/cheap/young CF they will be after Parra not Span.
      I was not talking about Span per se.
    1. Winston Smith's Avatar
      Winston Smith -
      We've been hearing for a week from Coomer how the Twins can get back in the race. But does anyone really think this is a playoff team. They had the worst record in the AL last year and for the first third of this year. Right now the Rangers have the best record at .579 and if the Twins were to play Ranger quality ball the rest of the way they'd finish with 83 wins. Let's hope Ryan is realistic, not dreaming and will work hard before the trade deadline to rebuild the talent level on this team.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
      There MIGHT be enough options there to piece together 800-900 innings, but not enough talent to contend, at least not next year. Ryan has to see that.
      That's the problem, it IS enough to contend in most years in the AL Central and Ryan knows it. The division is weak year in and year out and Ryan knows he just needs a couple of servicable arms to compete for the Central title. Cleveland's rotation is pretty poor and of similar talent caliber to the Twins. Unfortunately, the Indians somehow got enough effort out of their crappy starters to stay in games while the Twins pitchers, with a similar historically mediocre track record got destroyed and pulled before they got out of the 4th inning. It easily could have gone the other way in which case the Twins would have been around .500 and the Indians in the cellar. Before the season started, no one would have said the Indians rotaion of Lowe, Jimenez, Gomez, Tomlin and Masterson was significantly better than Pavano, Liriano, Blackburn, Marquis and Diamond/Hendricks/Walters. They are even composed of the same mixtures of Vets, high upside/high bust, and arbitration eligible pitch to contact guys.

      But being able to contend next year is a problem. We know all too well this approach only gets you to the playoffs but does not help to advance in them. If Ryan indeed thinks the Twins can contend again next year, it means he thinks he can patch together another 1st round exit caliber playoff team with "servicable" innings eaters. It would take a mulity year overhaul if he has set his sights higher. So personally, I hope they make some drastic changes. Signing an over-acheiving, end of the line vet like Derek Lowe sure as hell isn't going to get the Indians anywhere if they make the playoffs. The Twins need to think bigger and put together a staff the right way next time they plan on competing.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinswon1991 View Post
      Sorry pal but Gerrardo Parra is Arizonas 4TH OF and is a far better offensive and defensive player than Span. If a team really needs a good/cheap/young CF they will be after Parra not Span.
      Um, well Parra is younger but that's about it. Career OPS+ 104 v 94, career WAR 13.2 v 4.5. More of the same this year. Not sure why you'd even think that unless you're just blinded by some anti-Twin rage.
    1. Blackjack's Avatar
      Blackjack -
      Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post

      But being able to contend next year is a problem. We know all too well this approach only gets you to the playoffs but does not help to advance in them. If Ryan indeed thinks the Twins can contend again next year, it means he thinks he can patch together another 1st round exit caliber playoff team with "servicable" innings eaters.
      If I had to pick, I'd rather have a contending team that has a chance to to win every night, plays .500 ball, and makes the playoffs vs the horrible team that we watched the first month and half of the season. Thats what you're going to have for years if you trade every decent player you have for unproven prospects.
    1. cr9617's Avatar
      cr9617 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Blackjack View Post
      If I had to pick, I'd rather have a contending team that has a chance to to win every night, plays .500 ball, and makes the playoffs vs the horrible team that we watched the first month and half of the season. Thats what you're going to have for years if you trade every decent player you have for unproven prospects.
      So, if the upside for a team is to hover around the .500 mark, in a bad division, with an outside chance to make the playoffs...you think this should be the goal? Striving for mediocrity should never be the goal.
    1. shs_59's Avatar
      shs_59 -
      John, great thread I LOVE you're mention of Zach Cozart, though i'm not sure the Reds would be willing to part with him.

      In general though, i think Denard Span should not be traded at all. He and Mauer are my 2 guys to build around, along with Dozier, Gibson, Diamond, Burton, Duensing, Perk, and hopefully Revere, Plouffe.

      but of all those names Span and Mauer have to be at the top 1.B and 1 . A ......right?

      If we're going to trade him we have to get a HUGE haul something like the Nats already gave up to get Gio Gonzalez.
      (not quite that massive but close)
    1. ltwedt's Avatar
      ltwedt -
      No one will bite on Span because he continues to show that he has no idea what he should do on the base paths once he gets on.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Quote Originally Posted by roger View Post
      John, I believe they are two good starters away from competing. We are seeing that Scott Diamond will be an effective starter, one capable of filling one of the #3-#5 spots in the rotation. If you read my stuff every week, you know I believe that Liam Hendriks is going to be very good and should be back and pitching well later in the year. That is two, lets say #3 and #4. The fifth starter can come from a combination of Walters, DeVries, Blackburn, Gibson and Baker. I believe that at the end of the year (October) when he is beginning to throw, the Twins will work out something on Baker's contract and he will be back. Will he be ready on opening day, unlikely. Gibson could, but both should be ready during the season to fill in if one of the starting five fails or is injured.

      That leaves two spots open. Yes, they are #1 and #2 which he will have to fill. As I look at the rest of the team, it is solid for next year. Fill those two spots and the Twins should be very good. Can they possibly do that by trading someone like Span for a young stud who will fill one of those two spots...maybe. In that case Mr. Ryan will have to evaluate what he has in the outfield and at the top of the order. Another option would be to package Liriano for a young starter in July...assuming the Frankie we saw the last two times out keeps showing up for another 7-8 starts!
      Giving you credit for a very good post here, as I generally agree. Even ONE top or near top of the line starter would go a long way next year, as long as people are healthy. Ideally they sign one such pitcher and trade (not Span, but a package) for one B+ or better SP prospect who is no lower than AA this year.
    1. Dilligaf69's Avatar
      Dilligaf69 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Loosey View Post
      I agree with whoever mentioned that we shouldn't just trade Span to trade him. He is under contract for a few more years and is a pretty good leadoff hitter and center fielder. If you can't receive some top prospects for him in return then why bother making a trade. The reason for trading established players is to build for the future, and you aren't going to improve in the future if you trade away the better players you have now for fringe prospects unless you have a younger player in your system who is ready to take the place of the guy you are trading. And I don't believe the Twins have that guy in place yet, Revere isn't ready and doesn't have the arm for CF and Hicks is still toiling in AA. Stand pat on Span unless they are blown away.


      Keep him unless your getting something more then a fringe prospect...we have enough of them. Revere has been much a much better hitter this yr and IF Span is traded he will be the CF bad arm or not and the leadoff hitter but you don't GIVE Span away!
    1. sotafan's Avatar
      sotafan -
      Ok, there are a lot of different things people are throwing out there in regards to contending or rebuilding. There are pieces the Twins need to hang on to and there are piece that need the boot in the worst way. The 3-4 players that should be actively shopped at the deadline are the players that will not be here next year, Pavano, Capps, Doumit and Liriano. Just trade them for whatever you can get!!! We can save the money from their contracts the rest of 2012. As for trading Span, Morneau, and Willingham, C’mon MAN!!! They are the heart of this team and the main reason we are returning to respectable baseball. If you can get a haul for them then by all means, thanks for playing.

      The main question that really needs to be analyzed and discussed is “what are the options for 2013 via free agency?” There are people saying we are one good arm away, or two away from contention. Well we are at least two away IMO but check it. In 2013, the payroll that is committed is roughly 65-70 mil. Now, if Ryan has a similar budget as this year, there is about 30mil to spend in FA. How can that money be used? TWO Starting pitchers!!!! Here is who is available in the 2013 free agency class.
      Cole Hamels
      Zach Greinke
      Anibal Sanchez
      Shaun Marcum
      Erik Bedard
      Edwin Jackson
      Colby Lewis
      Carlos Zambrano

      The top 3 will be getting nice 5-7 year deals and they should because they are #1 pitchers. So pick one of the three—I like Greinke and he doesn’t like large market teams so we could make a run at him. I also like Sanchez for the #2 starter. Greinke will likely be in the 16-20mil range for 5 years. Sanchez would be in the 8-12 mil range for maybe 3 years. Hamels is a pipe dream, he will be way to expensive. The other five all can be that #2 starter and will likely be the in 5-12mil on 3 years deals.

      Let’s play this out.
      Greinke for 6 years at 18.5mil per
      Sanchez for 4 years at 11.5mil per
      Total is 30mil
      With those two starters at the top of the rotation, and Diamond/Walters/Blackburn/Hendirks/Gibson fighting for the other three spots, would you consider the Twins a playoff contender and a good chance at getting pass the first round?? You would have to keep Willingham, Span and Morneau.

      Will the FO be that bold and spend some money is the other question.
    1. TopGunn#22's Avatar
      TopGunn#22 -
      Sotafan hits the nail on the head! No matter what we do trade-wise this year at the deadline or in the off season, we need to pony up the CASH to sign TWO starters for the rotation. The pitchers he lists are the caliber we need to go after. Hamels is a pipe-dream. He'll either stay with Philly or sign with the Dodgers. Zambrano is a head case. Colby Lewis has shown he can pitch in the A.L. Sanchez, E. Jax and Marcum would all make a decent #2. Greinke is the target for #1. I could even see keeping Liriano around for the #5 spot if we can't get a decent prospect for him. Baker and Pavano gone. Trade "Blackie" to an N.L. team where he has at least a 10% chance of survival. He can't pitch in the A.L.
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