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  • 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. jay's Avatar
      jay -
      Quote Originally Posted by jorgenswest View Post
      Bourn comps better than Span so it is unlikely they will do better.
      Agree than Bourn might comp a little better on the surface. However, I think the main difference here is that Bourn only had one year of control left (this year) at ~$7M. Span has next year at ~$5M, plus '14 and the option for '15. So, any team dealing for him is getting at least an extra year and likely 2. This alone gives Span more trade value in my eyes.
    1. biggentleben's Avatar
      biggentleben -
      Quote Originally Posted by jay View Post
      Agree than Bourn might comp a little better on the surface. However, I think the main difference here is that Bourn only had one year of control left (this year) at ~$7M. Span has next year at ~$5M, plus '14 and the option for '15. So, any team dealing for him is getting at least an extra year and likely 2. This alone gives Span more trade value in my eyes.
      Except Bourn has no possibility of hitting the trade market.
    1. jay's Avatar
      jay -
      Quote Originally Posted by jorgenswest View Post
      Bourn comps better than Span so it is unlikely they will do better.
      Agree on the comp part, but I think the main difference is that Bourn only had one year of control left (this year) at ~$7M. Span has next year at ~$5M, plus '14 and the option on '15. That extra year (likely two) of control at reasonable salaries is crucial and gives Span a little more trade value in my eyes.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Quote Originally Posted by jimbo92107 View Post
      Denard Span's skills could help some team score a lot of runs. He's one of the league's best lead-off hitters, has great speed in the outfield, steals bases and is a smart player. As others have observed, his real value will be as a right fielder on a team that already has a great CF, like the Yankees. Imagine a Span - Granderson one-two punch in that lineup, and then imagine the ground those two would cover on defense. Either one of them could bat first, and you'd still have a pitcher's nightmare.

      Span is a good CF, but from that position he doesn't get his shoulders turned enough to generate a powerful throw. From right field it's a different story. From there, he gets natural shoulder turn from having the bases to his right while reaching half the time to the left side of his body, where the glove in his right hand forces him to turn sideways. The result is a more powerful throw to second or third base. Combined with his great speed and smart positioning, this improvement in his throwing makes Span an All-Star caliber right fielder with an MLB average arm, good enough to gun down all but the fastest guys making the turn around first.

      It's kind of sad, because on the lowly Twins Denard Span will be stuck in center, where he really is their best option. Revere still doesn't have the arm to do much out there, while the minor league guys are still mostly a couple years away.

      Tell you what though: In a few years, with Benson, Hicks, Arcia and a few other guys up, this team will be loaded with fast OF's with serious guns for arms. With those prospects coming up, I can see why the Twins might be willing to deal Denard Span for a good pitching prospect or three. Especially in a year where it just. isn't. going. to. matter.
      Jimbo... I love your breakdowns of the finer points of the game. Keep em coming. You do know your baseball!!!

      On the subject of arm strength... The Runner is gonna advance when he thinks he can make it and that includes situations when the ball is hit to Francour, Harper, Ankiel or Cuddyer. Arm Strength is a nice quality to have but it isn't a deal breaker. 20 Outfield assists led the league last year... 16 assists for 2nd place. Over 162 games, that isn't a big factor. Please understand that those throw outs are big moments and I don't diminish each time it happens but as long as they hit the cut to keep the trailing runner from advancing or throw to the correct base. Arm Strength would not be a deal breaker... in my opinion.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Quote Originally Posted by jay View Post
      Agree on the comp part, but I think the main difference is that Bourn only had one year of control left (this year) at ~$7M. Span has next year at ~$5M, plus '14 and the option on '15. That extra year (likely two) of control at reasonable salaries is crucial and gives Span a little more trade value in my eyes.
      Also consider the Market. Tons of buyers... Not many sellers and those that are sellers don't have leadoff guys to sell. Span, Crisp, Victorino... Those are your options at first glance. If the Dodgers pick up Victorino, The D-Backs and Giants will want Span even more and vice versa.
    1. twinstalker's Avatar
      twinstalker -
      I've been totally against trading Span, but I'm starting to wonder what they could get. I'd much prefer they trade Revere, even with the salary difference, but Revere might be a good stop gap to a finally-ready Hicks in 2/3 years.

      If the Twins could get a true prospect for Span (something better than they can get for Liriano), I would be on board, perhaps. Maybe something like Span and Carroll for Lombardozzi and Alex Meyer. Perhaps it wouldn't be horrible. Or Span for Sands and Webster from the Dodgers.
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      Quote Originally Posted by ltwedt View Post
      Parmelee - - - in right????? ........ Like EVERYDAY?????? YIKES!!!!! Please . . . not that . . . ANYTHING but that!!!
      I don't know if he would be terrible there, especially in Target Field. But I do have trouble seeing the Twins trust him with right field. I can also see him having trouble feeling comfortable there, and taking those problems to the plate.

      This year he's played just 4 (of 31) games in the OF. Last year it was 0. But in the minors he had 282 starts there. So it's not like it's totally foreign to him. But he's always been a 1B first, and a RF second.
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
      Also consider the Market. Tons of buyers... Not many sellers and those that are sellers don't have leadoff guys to sell. Span, Crisp, Victorino... Those are your options at first glance. If the Dodgers pick up Victorino, The D-Backs and Giants will want Span even more and vice versa.
      And if the Phils trade away Victorino, THEY could be interested in Span too as he's under contract in future years. Span might be some teams' preference for that reason over Crisp and Victorino.
    1. greengoblinrulz's Avatar
      greengoblinrulz -
      You dont remember Terry Ryans track record on trades?
      Span will be dealt & Sept will see a Arcia/Benson/Hicks trio in Rf/cf/lf w/Revere & Josh DHin more
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      The funny thing is, if the Twins trade Span for a young ML ready pitcher(#2 upside) it could actually make the 2012 team quite a bit better (along with the 2013, 2014 etc)
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      The expectations on this board about what the Twins might receive in trade for Span seem so out of line with the midseason market in previous years. We will almost certainly be disappointed by the return we receive for Span.

      In response, I am certain someone is going to point to a previous trade like Blake for Santana. The Indians did a great job in finding Santana who was not a top prospect entering the season he was traded. We will have to trust the Twins scouting department to find a great player hidden among the B/C level prospects.
    1. Curt's Avatar
      Curt -
      What I found interesting was Dick and Bert discussing it on the telecast this weekend. As I perceive them as mouthpieces for the organization (knowingly or not), I conclude the team is actively shopping Span. D & B discussing it is preparing the fans for the inevitable.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by jorgenswest View Post
      The expectations on this board about what the Twins might receive in trade for Span seem so out of line with the midseason market in previous years. We will almost certainly be disappointed by the return we receive for Span.

      In response, I am certain someone is going to point to a previous trade like Blake for Santana. The Indians did a great job in finding Santana who was not a top prospect entering the season he was traded. We will have to trust the Twins scouting department to find a great player hidden among the B/C level prospects.
      As it has been stated time and time again Span should at least net a top 50 prospect, for comparisons sake that would mean the guy the Twins got back would probably rank right behind Sano and Buxton in the org chart. (Or possibly Arcia as well if you consider him a top 50 guy currently-which I am starting to believe)

      Beltran a rental got a stud like Wheeler back, there is no reason why the Twins can't do better than that with a cost controlled, very good CF/lead off guy.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
      I don't know if he would be terrible there, especially in Target Field. But I do have trouble seeing the Twins trust him with right field. I can also see him having trouble feeling comfortable there, and taking those problems to the plate.

      This year he's played just 4 (of 31) games in the OF. Last year it was 0. But in the minors he had 282 starts there. So it's not like it's totally foreign to him. But he's always been a 1B first, and a RF second.
      Agreed, I don't see why he can't be at least as defensively sound as Cuddyer in RF, also it should be noted that with Revere in CF Willingham and Parmelee would technically have less ground to cover since Revere has elite range in center.

      Ideally you want a guy like Arcia or Benson to step up and handle RF since both would be an obvious upgrade defensively, allowing you to move Parmelee to 1st/DH in the future, but for a season or two Parmelee won't kill you in RF IMO.
    1. DPJ's Avatar
      DPJ -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Beltran a rental got a stud like Wheeler back, there is no reason why the Twins can't do better than that with a cost controlled, very good CF/lead off guy.
      Love Span, but I don't think the Twins could get back a Wheeler type prospect back for him.

      Just cause one team does something stupid, doesn't mean that sets the bar for a trade.
    1. kemics's Avatar
      kemics -
      I think it's a terrible decision to trade Span unless you get pitching in return that can help now. It's clear that the twins won't compete this year, but 2013 shouldn't be written off. The bats are there, Span and Revere at the top of the order have been more than adequate in getting on base for Mauer, Ham, Morneau, Ploufe et al. you've finally found a lineup that works, that scores runs, and that is slowly but surely creeping up the team batting stats.

      Why not sit on Span, keep the order in tact, and try to make a splash with a Free Agent pitcher like Greinke.
    1. DPJ's Avatar
      DPJ -
      Quote Originally Posted by kemics View Post
      Why not sit on Span, keep the order in tact, and try to make a splash with a Free Agent pitcher like Greinke.
      Besides the fact that will be a cold day in hell before the Twins pony up the type of money Greinke is looking for. Greinke alone doesn't make this a playoff team.

      By the time this team is good again, Span is long gone so sell high while he's got alot left on a cheap contract.
    1. wagwan's Avatar
      wagwan -
      Agreed The Twins will not get value for Span. There would be a huge hole at the top of the order. What is needed is starting pitching. That will not come for Span.That will have to be bought If the Twins can get 2 legitimate starters they will win the division next year. Keep Liriano, Diamond, Hendriks add Greinke and one more they will win 90 games minimum
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      What team has ever added 2-3 starting pitchers, that are good enough to win divisions, in 1 year?
      Sure. The Viola trade and the AJP trade.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      Quote Originally Posted by jorgenswest View Post
      The expectations on this board about what the Twins might receive in trade for Span seem so out of line with the midseason market in previous years. We will almost certainly be disappointed by the return we receive for Span.

      In response, I am certain someone is going to point to a previous trade like Blake for Santana. The Indians did a great job in finding Santana who was not a top prospect entering the season he was traded. We will have to trust the Twins scouting department to find a great player hidden among the B/C level prospects.
      then the Twins shouldn't trade him. It's that simple. He's a really valuable player and he shouldn't be traded just because of this crappy 'we have Revere' argument. The Twins have had awful OF defense for years so there isn't any reason to trade Span just to make a move.
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