• Are Span's Days in Minnesota Numbered?

    Since he was first called up in 2008, Denard Span has been an integral cog for the Twins. He's also been a joy to watch. He plays hard, brings a great approach to the plate, offers very solid defense in center, and is good with the fans.

    Yeah, it's fair to say that I'm a big fan of Span. So I'm going to make sure to savor watching what will very likely be his final month in a Twins uniform.

    There are a number of factors that lead me to believe Span's departure from the organization is imminent.

    First and foremost, there's Ben Revere's emergence as a legitimate top-of-the-lineup asset. The Twins seem well aware that Revere isn't suited for right field, and at this point his production is almost identical to Span's. Moving Revere to center would create an opening in right field for Chris Parmelee, who's hopelessly buried at this point.

    Even as someone who thoroughly enjoys watching Span play, I must admit that trading him makes a lot of sense from a team-building standpoint. It would open opportunities for young players while hopefully returning talent at an organizational area of need.

    The fact that the Twins have floated Span to other teams in the past would also support the notion that they're open to moving him. Reports indicated that they were close to shipping him to Washington at the deadline last year, and those rumblings from what I heard did not sit well with the outfielder at all.

    Is there lingering animosity between player and organization? That certainly hasn't been on display this year. In fact, Ron Gardenhire recently said that Span "might've been our best player in the first half this year." I was struck by that statement, mainly because the center fielder's production hasn't been especially outstanding. A part of me couldn't help but wonder whether Gardy was taking that angle with reporters in an effort to increase Span's appeal to potential suitors.

    Presumably, finding interested trade partners won't be a huge challenge. Span's concussion issues appear to be a thing of the past, and although he's no longer the top-notch offensive force he was in his first two seasons, he's a very solid 28-year-old leadoff man who handles center field well.

    His team-friendly contract runs through 2014 (with a 2015 club option) and will pay him just $11 million over the next two seasons. That's a good value for what he brings to the table, but it's also money the Twins could stand to spend elsewhere. Opening up that payroll space, while also creating opportunities for younger guys and getting future assets back in return, is basically a no-brainer regardless of your feelings on Span.

    Terry Ryan and the rest of the front office brain trust surely realize this, which is why whispers of the center fielder's availability are already leaking out.

    It wouldn't surprise me if Gardenhire actually does feel like Span has been his best player up to this point. The guy's been a soldier, bouncing back from a tumultuous season and playing in 71 of the club's 77 games over the first three months, providing consistency and stability at the top of the lineup and in the middle of the outfield.

    Trading him just makes too much sense, however, regardless of whether the Twins are positioning themselves as a seller or not. I'll be very surprised if he's still on the team come August 1st.
    This article was originally published in blog: Are Span's Days in Minnesota Numbered? started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 69 Comments
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      The Twins offense has turned around not simply because Ben Revere and Trevor Plouffe have been such fantastic performers (with the 3 and 4 hitters too, obviously). Just as much has to do with Span and Revere at the top together with .350 OBP. Even if Revere can "replace" Span, that doesn't mean that it is a good idea to mess with the top of the lineup, especially with no Joe Benson involved in the OF picture until probably 2014. If it was guaranteed by Gardy (!!) that Mauer would move up to the second spot and the whole lineup would just shift up, that might be one thing. But who knows if we wouldn't see Carroll/Casilla/Dozier batting there instead as Gardy goes with his "heart" or "gut" or whatever, instead of a simple statistic like OBP.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      And I cannot get my head around the notion that Denard Span is blocking Chris Parmelee. That's absurd. Chris Parmelee needs to actually perform well SOMEWHERE for an extended period of time this year before he should be appointed the next anything. He should have about 150 more PAs at Rochester by now, but alas . . .
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by wagwan View Post
      Agreed The Twins will not get value for Span.
      What are you basing this off of?
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      The Twins shoudln't trade Span to trade him. That's why Bill Smith got fired. He bashed his players publicly, destroyed their value, and then traded them for crap. If those are the offers on the table for a above average, cost controlled CF, then you keep him and consider retooling for next year (assuming we can get 3 starts in FA).

      If not, you trade him for two very good starting pitching prospects. Ryan isn't the best GM out there, but in this I know that he isn't going to trade a guy simply to do it. He's going to want value.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by shanewahl View Post
      And I cannot get my head around the notion that Denard Span is blocking Chris Parmelee. That's absurd. Chris Parmelee needs to actually perform well SOMEWHERE for an extended period of time this year before he should be appointed the next anything. He should have about 150 more PAs at Rochester by now, but alas . . .
      Um, I don't think anyone is claiming that Span is blocking Parmelee.

      The whole point of trading Span has been:
      A. The Twins are rebuilding
      B. Span could have a lot of value on the trade market due to his skill set and team friendly contract.
      C. The Twins think they have a CF replacement (at least in the near term) for Span in Ben Revere.
      D. By trading Span the Twins can fill other areas of need (Starting pitching, MI) while possibly getting younger/cheaper.

      As finding someone to handle RF isn't exactly a hard proposition, if Parmelee can't handle it the Twins can continue to look for internal options for 2013 (Benson, Arcia, etc) or can go out and sign a veteran stop gap for a year to handle RF (Hunter?)
    1. CDog's Avatar
      CDog -
      Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
      That's why Bill Smith got fired. He bashed his players publicly, destroyed their value, and then traded them for crap.
      When did Smith ever bash a player publicly?
    1. chopper0080's Avatar
      chopper0080 -
      You make a deal that improves your organizations pitching or middle infield depth. If you can't upgrade either of those areas, you hold onto Span until next year and shop him again. We hold all the cards to get the best deal possible.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Quote Originally Posted by CDog View Post
      When did Smith ever bash a player publicly?
      Dude, he's on a roll. Don't stop him with things like facts.
    1. old nurse's Avatar
      old nurse -
      Gardy goes with his "heart" or "gut" or whatever, instead of a simple statistic like OBP.[/QUOTE]

      Without decent starting pitching it does not matter what statistic Gardy uses. The more the "advanced" statistic will not change the caliber of Twins player. When Gardy has enough starting pitching his gut feelings done by observing what the player does has won enough games to win some pennants.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by CDog View Post
      When did Smith ever bash a player publicly?
      The Perkins, Liriano and Slowey situations come to mind.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by CDog View Post
      When did Smith ever bash a player publicly?
      You are correct, Smith himself never did that. The PR machine under smith did this all the time, and he did nothing to stop it. JJ Hardy was a fairly recent one, as was Delmon, Perkins, Baker, Slowey, Neshek, etc. It happened quite a bit, and its only purpose was to lower the value of the guys he wanted to get rid of.
    1. CDog's Avatar
      CDog -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      The Perkins, Liriano and Slowey situations come to mind.
      And what did Bill Smith say of them that was considered "bashing?"
    1. CDog's Avatar
      CDog -
      Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
      You are correct, Smith himself never did that. The PR machine under smith did this all the time, and he did nothing to stop it. JJ Hardy was a fairly recent one, as was Delmon, Perkins, Baker, Slowey, Neshek, etc. It happened quite a bit, and its only purpose was to lower the value of the guys he wanted to get rid of.
      When and how were these players bashed? And do you really think that was the purpose?
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Quote Originally Posted by CDog View Post
      When and how were these players bashed? And do you really think that was the purpose?
      Do you not read the papers? Do you not watch FSN Twins telecasts?

      If you don't think it's readily apparent when we're getting PR through JoeC/LEN, or from Dickbert, then I don't know what to say.

      They all but accused Slowey of child molestation last year.
    1. CDog's Avatar
      CDog -
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      Do you not read the papers? Do you not watch FSN Twins telecasts?

      If you don't think it's readily apparent when we're getting PR through JoeC/LEN, or from Dickbert, then I don't know what to say.

      They all but accused Slowey of child molestation last year.
      You could actually provide an example.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Quote Originally Posted by CDog View Post
      You could actually provide an example.
      They all but accused Slowey of child molestation last year.
    1. CDog's Avatar
      CDog -
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      They all but accused Slowey of child molestation last year.
      That's your version of an example? And another piece of the puzzle falls into place.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      All I remember in most cases were "rumors" bandied about by the "access" journalists. And then one time the camera caught Slowey yawning in the bullpen and Blyleven lit into him with no class whatsoever.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by CDog View Post
      That's your version of an example? And another piece of the puzzle falls into place.
      Seriously? Thanks for the input Dr. Doofenshmirtz.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by shanewahl View Post
      All I remember in most cases were "rumors" bandied about by the "access" journalists. And then one time the camera caught Slowey yawning in the bullpen and Blyleven lit into him with no class whatsoever.
      That carried on for several days, including his KFAN appearance.
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