• Looking Ahead to the Deadline

    It would be nice if the Twins kept up their recent winning pace through late July, climbing back into the AL Central picture after being left for dead in May. Unfortunately, their lack of starting pitching makes that difficult to realistically envision.

    In the more likely event that the Twins are firmly out of contention when the trade deadline rolls around, they'll find themselves in an unfamiliar position.Only once in the past decade has the club behaved as a seller at the deadline; in 2007, seven games out in the AL Central, they traded Luis Castillo and his remaining salary to the Mets for two prospects. Even then they were confident that the heir apparent Alexi Casilla could step in and replace Castillo's modest production.

    If the Twins' current 8.5-game deficit in the standings hasn't shrunk significantly within a month, most would agree that it will be time to see what kind of value they can get for their movable assets.

    But who should they be looking to deal? The most obvious candidates are the guys in the final years of their contracts such as Matt Capps, Ryan Doumit and Carl Pavano but none are likely to make a large impact for a contender so it's doubtful any GM is going to give up much for two months of service. The best the Twins can hope for by trading these players would be payroll relief and a B-prospect.

    Quality players with team-friendly contracts extending past this year such as Denard Span and Josh Willingham may do more to entice bidders, but the stakes are raised. In trading players with long-term value, returning good prospects is a must. Given the organization's spotty track record evaluating players from other teams in recent years, one can't help but worry about that a little.

    As I look over the roster, I see one player who could become an appealing, fungible trading chip at the deadline: Francisco Liriano. He's almost surely gone after this year, so shipping him out would be a no-brainer in a seller scenario. His current 1-7 record and 6.45 ERA aren't going to blow anyone away but opposing clubs might be more inclined to focus on his numbers since a bullpen demotion in early May: 25 IP, 3.24 ERA, 32-to-13 K/BB, .198 opponents' batting average, zero homers allowed.

    If the inconsistent lefty can maintain his improved production from the past month over the next month, he may actually become a legitimate commodity as the deadline looms, giving the Twins leverage that they probably won't have with any of the other walk-year players.

    It's something to root for even if the usual June winning spell comes to an end.
    This article was originally published in blog: Looking Ahead to the Deadline started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 38 Comments
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      It will be a shame for the Twins if Liriano gets traded and ends up as some other team's ace. But maybe a change of scene is what he needs.
    1. Land Of 10,000 Beasts's Avatar
      Land Of 10,000 Beasts -
      The Twins need to find and identify their core by picking a group of players that are essentially unmovable. Mauer really is the only guy who makes that list at this point. Once they have a group of players who they want as their long term nucleus, trade anyone who has value that they feel won't be in their long term plans. Maybe it's Morneau, maybe Willingham, maybe like you said Liriano. I know what I'm saying is kind of obvious but it's the blatant truth that the front office needs to look at and decide in the next month or so. Lest they panic and make moves that make us fans scratch our heads and think, "what the hell were they thinking?"
    1. old nurse's Avatar
      old nurse -
      I did not go back and look but I recall teams making deals for relievers at the deadline. It is entirely possible that one of the Twins middle relievers will go. Sort of a McDonald for Dotel deal is possible, Pittsburg didn't get an ace, but he appears to be a solid starter for them. Some team thinking an upgrade will get them over the top will make a foolish trade. Ryan is capable of doing that. Krivisky is around now. When Ryan and Krivisky were a pair they pulled of great deals. Not Capps or Perkins, but one of the other relievers could be that kind of trade bait. Burton the most likely, the others less so.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      I see no reason why Matt Capps wouldn't be viable trade bait for a team looking for bullpen depth heading into the playoffs. Teams always pick off closers to put into setup roles like that. Burton is more questionable. Duensing is also very possible.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Quote Originally Posted by glunn View Post
      It will be a shame for the Twins if Liriano gets traded and ends up as some other team's ace. But maybe a change of scene is what he needs.
      I have the same feelings, but as Nick says it's unlikely we'll keep him anyway. It would be foolish to sign him to a long term extension and he makes 5.5 million this year. Arbitration is an option, but after such a crappy season from him, it would be nuts to sign him for any more than 5 million a year through that process. So that's also not realistic. Although, there would be a chance to sign him in free agency, but that's probably a possibility even if they trade him. The odds don't look good then as it's the Twins vs. 29 teams. I strongly doubt the Twins would have any motivation regardless though. On a positive note, we could get something decent in return and get rid of the biggest headache of the past decade. If he does get traded and becomes an ace, there is absolutely no way that anyone can criticize the Twins for how they handled him. They have waited, and waited, and waited for this guy to produce and he just REFUSES to be consistent in any way.
    1. Twinsoholic's Avatar
      Twinsoholic -
      Quote Originally Posted by shanewahl View Post
      I see no reason why Matt Capps wouldn't be viable trade bait for a team looking for bullpen depth heading into the playoffs. Teams always pick off closers to put into setup roles like that. Burton is more questionable. Duensing is also very possible.
      I agree that Capps should be viable (and valuable) trade bait if he continues to pitch well. A team looking for another set up guy to get them to their closer could do a lot worse than trading for Capps to fill that set up role and to be insurance should something happen to the closer. I think Capps could net the Twins at least one strong prospect (likely someone currently at AA) and a slightly lesser A ball prospect under the conditions I've spelled out.

      The Twins should not trade Doumit. The Twins have an amazingly high octane offense, and Doumit is a part of that. Plus, he's a switch hitter. The Twins could trade Span and move Revere to center, but then the Twins will need someone to play right field--how's Wilken Ramirez doing at AAA? Span could net the Twins two very good AA prospects (at least one being a starting pitcher). If Span is hitting .300 by the trading deadline with some more rbis, then he could net stronger prospects.

      The Twins might be able to trade Liriano if he learns how to pitch effectively and can sustain the effectiveness.

      If the Twins' offense continues to assault other teams, then the Twins are really looking for a couple of more starters for the 2013 season, and one of the two might be Hendricks and another might be Gibson if he comes back healthy from his surgery. Just a thought.
    1. TopGunn#22's Avatar
      TopGunn#22 -
      Twinsaholic makes good points. I would trade Pavano, Capps and Liriano for sure. Pavano could help a National League team. It's time to remove the frustrating inconsistency of Liriano, the better he pitches over the next month, the more intense the bidding will be for his services. Capps will surely bring something of value. I would also look to move Blackburn to a National league team. Last night, typical Blackie effort. We score 11 and hang on to win. I'm sooo sick of watching him pitch. I think Revere is ready. Time to move Span for some solid prospects. If we trade Pavano, Capps, Liriano and Span and get good to decent prospects, and then sign 2 free agent pitchers this off season (Greinke, Edwin Jackson?) we can be a contender next year in the mediocre A.L. Central.
    1. Blackjack's Avatar
      Blackjack -
      With a change of scenery, Liriano WILL develop into somebody else's ace, theres no doubt in my mind, but the Twins may as well get what they can for him because once he becomes a free agent, other teams will outbid the Twins for him, just on potential.

      I don't know why everybody wants to trade Span?? Until Hicks, Benson, etc. develop to the point where you need to find a place for them, keep him - unless you're overwhelmed with an offer.

      Ryan has made more positive moves than negative moves, I have faith that he'll do the right thing at the trade deadline.
    1. IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
      IdahoPilgrim -
      I agree that, unless we get offered a solid starting pitcher ready to go now (not a "prospect"), we keep Span. Revere is ready for center, but we need someone in left & right too. Our OF prospects are stuck right now and there is no guarantee they will get to the point they are ready to play everyday in the show. It's all fine and good to say we should trade our veterans for prospects, but let's not trade everybody. Prospects don't always pan out, and if all we have are prospects and some don't work, we'll be in the same boat 3 years from now - with half a team and no idea how to fill out the rest. Not to mention that there was to be somebody marketable to sell tickets, which is not by any means an unimportant consideration.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      I think Liriano is likely to have a very good-great 2013 with another team. And then a mediocre 2014. And who knows in 2015 . . . and so forth.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by Blackjack View Post
      I don't know why everybody wants to trade Span?? Until Hicks, Benson, etc. develop to the point where you need to find a place for them, keep him - unless you're overwhelmed with an offer.
      .
      A couple of reasons: a. this team needs SPs really badly for 2013 and Span is probably the only piece who can get back a quality MLB-ready SP in a package and b. Revere is ready now and should be playing CF over Span anyways. You deal with RF in the offseason (and you have to, since they have no RF right now, just 2 CFs). Easier to find RFs than SPs.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Hyopothetically, what do the Twins do if someone starts asking about Trevor Plouffe? He can play all four corner spots, and it is quite possible his value will never be higher. Just asking if people here think his current production is telling of future success, or if it's unlikely to continue but the Twins have suddenly found themselves with a player who may bring back a pitcher more likely to contribute in the future.
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      What are the chances of Liriano signing a reduced contact with the Twins when he his free agency. Nil. I doubt the Twins will offer arbitration, which would put Liriano into the $8 mil range. That is also the downside to any team signing him...they need to sign him to something longterm. If they don't do that, they have to offer arbitration.

      Capps has a nice option year for 2013. He is very viable if a team is looking for a closer, beyond this year.

      Doumit...no one knows. He signed a one-year with the Twins for a reasonable rate. Is he looking to be a fulltime catcher, play somewhere as a DH -- he is not a first baseman or an outfielder. Tough call. How much will he demand. If the Twins can tie him up, more power to him, but they may be better served sticking with Butera and Hermann over the near future and getting a viable DH that can actually play another position on the field.

      Blackburn ash to pitch more than 5 innings and give up fewer runs. He;s Carlos Silva all over again. Nol one will want his contract, sorry.

      Casilla, Valencia...don't see them as future Twins beause of salary and attitude.

      And what can the Twins do with Toshi...the $3 mil embarassment. There is no room for him at Target Field, is there?
    1. Chance's Avatar
      Chance -
      Quote Originally Posted by thrylos98 View Post
      A couple of reasons: a. this team needs SPs really badly for 2013 and Span is probably the only piece who can get back a quality MLB-ready SP in a package and b. Revere is ready now and should be playing CF over Span anyways. You deal with RF in the offseason (and you have to, since they have no RF right now, just 2 CFs). Easier to find RFs than SPs.
      I agree that Span is replaceable now with Revere ready to step into center. Right field could be filled this year with Parmelee/Mastorianni/Doumit. Arcia should be promoted any day now. If he performs well in AA which he should, He could be a September callup and start next season in the MLB. It is possible. Otherwise, yes they can fill it easier in FA.
    1. boney's Avatar
      boney -
      Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
      Hyopothetically, what do the Twins do if someone starts asking about Trevor Plouffe? He can play all four corner spots, and it is quite possible his value will never be higher. Just asking if people here think his current production is telling of future success, or if it's unlikely to continue but the Twins have suddenly found themselves with a player who may bring back a pitcher more likely to contribute in the future.
      If it was me I'd hold onto Plouffe for a while unless you get knocked over with an offer, which probably will not happen. He's cheap and under team control for a while still, but the thing that really makes me want to keep him is that he's not just up there trying to pull everything right now and getting lucky. The base hit up the middle, and the drive off the wall in right center last night make it look like he can be a hitter at this level and not a pull happy kid on a hot streak. Hopefully he keeps that approach
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      To me Capps will not bring much--certainly less than Ramos who we gave up to get him. Liriano and Pavano will get us nothing but salary dump. The only tradeable asset we have is span. Yes, if we can get a starting pitcher for him, grab it, put Revere in CF, maybe bring back Valencia and put Plouffe in RF or put Parmalee there. This team is on a good run now, but I dont think they have enough to contend--the week before the ASB will prove that with 7 games vs Tiggers and Rangers.
    1. SweetOne69's Avatar
      SweetOne69 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Rosterman View Post
      What are the chances of Liriano signing a reduced contact with the Twins when he his free agency. Nil. I doubt the Twins will offer arbitration, which would put Liriano into the $8 mil range. That is also the downside to any team signing him...they need to sign him to something longterm. If they don't do that, they have to offer arbitration.

      Capps has a nice option year for 2013. He is very viable if a team is looking for a closer, beyond this year.

      Doumit...no one knows. He signed a one-year with the Twins for a reasonable rate. Is he looking to be a fulltime catcher, play somewhere as a DH -- he is not a first baseman or an outfielder. Tough call. How much will he demand. If the Twins can tie him up, more power to him, but they may be better served sticking with Butera and Hermann over the near future and getting a viable DH that can actually play another position on the field.

      Blackburn ash to pitch more than 5 innings and give up fewer runs. He;s Carlos Silva all over again. Nol one will want his contract, sorry.

      Casilla, Valencia...don't see them as future Twins beause of salary and attitude.

      And what can the Twins do with Toshi...the $3 mil embarassment. There is no room for him at Target Field, is there?
      Liriano doesn't have any arbitration years left, he will be a full fledged FA at the end of the season.

      With the way Nishioka is playing in AAA this year, my guess is that he will be released at the end of the season.

      Blackburn's issues may be attributed to loss of stamina. He was on the DL for 2 weeks and in his 2 rehab starts he went less than 3 innings each. In his 2 starts since coming back he has breezed through the 1st 3 innings, hit a wall in the 4th and battled through the 5th.
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      Quote Originally Posted by Rosterman View Post
      And what can the Twins do with Toshi...the $3 mil embarassment. There is no room for him at Target Field, is there?
      The Twins aren't stacked in middle infielders in the minor leagues, so it's not like Nishioka is blocking anyone. But he's sunk cost right now. The best the Twins can hope for is to trade him back to a Japanese team for some cash.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Revere needs to keep this up for me to be comfortable with any Span talk. Capps might bring about as much as Span at the deadline given the need teams often have for bullpen help. I do have to wonder how desperate the Reds might get with regard to Span, however. That lineup with a good leadoff hitter would be pretty dominant. I would still rather see the Twins spend money to get pitching, than trading key components of the lineup and defense for it.
    1. Blake's Avatar
      Blake -
      What about the possibility the Twins offer Liriano a contract at the end of the season and let him walk? Wouldn't the Twins then be eligible for compensation pick in the MLB draft?

      Also, it appears the Twins have some decent pitchers, but do not have that one starting workhorse that sets the tone.

      With the core of every day players currently on the roster and the salary that will be gone next year, I would think the Twins will take a long hard look at the free agent pitching market. Yeah, it goes against everything the Twins normally do, but isn't Willingham's contract already a signal that the Twins FO just might do things a little differently? (I have to wonder if the Twins are waiting until some salary comes off the payroll before spending any more money on free agent.)

      I cannot see the Twins trading any position players currently starting, unless it is a Pierzynski type of trade, because the Twins don't have anyone that can fill the void.
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