• The Stress of the Trade Deadline

    Last night in the 8th inning, Denard Span came out of the game because he was feeling dizzy. He wasn’t feeling well. Seeing Darin Mastroianni in the lineup set off a firestorm on Twitter.

    A night earlier, Trevor Plouffe was abruptly replaced by Brian Dozier as a pinch hitter. The question there was whether he was sick or injured.

    With Span, there was a far different discussion for one big reason. Rather than thinking that maybe Span wasn’t feeling well in the nearly-100 degree weather, the question jumped to “Has Span been traded?” Was he going to the Yankees, or the Rangers, or the Reds, or the Nationals? What would the Twins be getting in return?

    The trade deadline is in nine days. Denard Span and Francisco Liriano are the two names most frequently mentioned in trade rumors. The Twins are far out of playoff contention, and that means that they will be (and should be) in sell mode. That means that any veteran on the roster could be dealt, and that it could happen at any time, even during a game.

    The sad thing is that once people found out that he left the game because he felt dizzy, there were a few who thought, “Great! That will minimize what the Twins can get for Span!” Stay Classy!

    It’s sometimes important to take a step back at the trade deadline and realize that all these rumors and then any actual trades affect and stress players in ways that go far beyond the baseball field.

    Span came to the Twins when he signed in August of 2002 as the team’s #1 draft pick (20th overall). He gave up a college football scholarship to play with the Twins. He debuted with the Twins in 2008 and has been the team’s leadoff hitter ever since.

    Liriano came to the Twins following the 2003 season in one of Terry Ryan’s best trades. Liriano was traded to the Twins, along with Joe Nathan and Boof Bonser, in the AJ Pierzynski trade. He debuted with the Twins in September of 2005. Johan Santana won the AL Cy Young Award in 2006, but for a two month period, Liriano was the best pitcher in baseball. Unfortunately, he tore his UCL and had Tommy John surgery. It took until 2010 for Liriano to regain any semblance of his form. However, 2011 and the first two months of 2012 were very frustrating for the left-hander. However, in the last two months since rejoining the rotation, he has been one of baseball’s pitchers.

    A year ago, Denard Span was on the Disabled List with his concussion yet he still was involved in several trade rumors. Span did not want to get traded, and he really struggled with the rumors and the process. Although he has seen teammates come and go, Span has been in this organization for a decade. There is a comfort factor. There are relationships with teammates and coaches. Span has developed a great fan following due to his play on the field and his work in the community and his willingness to interact with fans at the ballpark and on Twitter. Although he lives in Tampa during the offseason, Span also knows that part of who he is is a Minnesota Twin.

    The life of a professional athlete may not be as great as we all assume in a number of ways. Yes, the money and the travel and the fame and those types of things are great. However, when a player is drafted, he has no choice in where he plays. In the minor leagues, players get paid very minimally and travel on buses. Once they hit the big leagues, they have almost no say in their income until they have almost three years of service time. They have no say in where they play for the first six years of their career. If they become a free agent, they finally have the power to choose where they will play based on factors from contract offered to cities in which they want to live. However, until a player has 10-5 rights (10 years of MLB service time, and the past five with the same team), he can be traded at any time whether he wants to be or not.

    Baseball is a business. It is a business that pays its performers very well. It provides them with many other perks, as well. But I also think that sometimes fans forget that these are people too. People with feelings. Some players outwardly handle rumors better than others.

    As a Twins fan, I like the fact that Francisco Liriano is saying that he wants to stay with the Twins. I have no problem with Denard Span being affected by the thought of leaving the organization that he has been with for a decade.

    Don’t get me wrong… It is Terry Ryan’s job as GM to not let that sentiment and emotion go into his decision-making as he is determining what needs to be done for the betterment of the Twins organization. I don’t want Denard Span to be traded either, but I also understand the he is the kind of player that can actually bring back some players that the organization needs to replenish its farm system. Hopefully, that will bring the Twins back to contention more quickly.

    In the same way, Terry Ryan needs to make a decision regarding Josh Willingham. How much return is enough to make up for the hit the team could take for trading a guy they just signed to a multi-year contract. By all reports, Willingham is a great guy and he and his family have really fit in with the Twins and in the community.

    Regarding Jamey Carroll, Ryan must determine the value of freeing up the Carroll's contract versus what Carroll can bring as a mentor to the Twins infield next year, which could have Brian Dozier and Pedro Florimon in the middle?

    Like Span, Glen Perkins has the type of contract (and talent) that could make him very valuable to a contender. However, he is from here. His wife is from here and they live in Minnesota year-round. It would affect a lot of lives to deal Perkins. Yes, that is the business side of it, but the personal side makes it tough to do.

    Justin Morneau has the kind of contract that would be great to get off the books: $14 million for 2013. Morneau and his wife just had their second baby. She is from Minnesota and they have made Minnesota one of their homes. Morneau has done a lot for the Twins organization over the last 8-9 years, including winning an MVP, hitting a lot of home runs, driving in a bunch of runs, becoming a very good first baseman and much more. Loyalty comes into play when the thought of trading Justin Morneau comes up.

    The July trade deadline is a lot of fun for fans. It’s fun to read the rumors. It’s fun to think about what prospects the Twins could receive in return for various players. It’s exciting. From a team perspective, they need to do what is right short-term and long-term for the organization. For the players, it has to be difficult from so many standpoints. Loyalty. Being happy and comfortable in an environment. Family and Friends. Winning opportunity. Not the least of which is trying to feel like more than a trade chip to be dealt.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: The Stress of the Trade Deadline started by Seth Stohs View original post
    Comments 55 Comments
    1. edavis0308's Avatar
      edavis0308 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      I have no doubt in my mind that the Twins try to win every game they play.
      Except for the month of April, and getaway day games.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by edavis0308 View Post
      Except for the month of April, and getaway day games.
      I'm pretty much sure that, regardless of the lineup, the team is trying to win every game. Days off are part of the 162 game season. Has to be done. And, there have not been 'getaway day' lineups this year.
    1. edavis0308's Avatar
      edavis0308 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      I'm pretty much sure that, regardless of the lineup, the team is trying to win every game. Days off are part of the 162 game season. Has to be done. And, there have not been 'getaway day' lineups this year.
      Actually, I agree with you that they have done way better this year with afternoon game lineups. The April games and afternoon lineups just always seems to be a running joke. It seemed fitting.
    1. Paul's Avatar
      Paul -
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      Stress is having a couple young kids at home and being told your job won't be there Monday. Stress is learning your kid needs chemo and you don't have health insurance.

      Stress isn't the possibility that you'll have to move from one highly paid, pampered job to another, all expenses paid.

      Yes, ball players are human, but c'mon. Let's not pretend this is terribly "stressful."
      I applaud your good sense, Chief
    1. greengoblinrulz's Avatar
      greengoblinrulz -
      Team has been better with getaway lineups for sure.....more due to 3 person bench's than due to change of philosiphy from Gardy.
      As for Span & his stress, I lost repsect for him when earlier this year Gardy spoke of how 'devastated' Denard would be if he had to move to RF for Revere. The guy is mentally soft (not due to consussions either)
    1. drjim's Avatar
      drjim -
      Quote Originally Posted by greengoblinrulz View Post
      obviously they TRY to win every gm, but the decision to NOT use Jaret Burton on 3 consucutive days (when leading in late innings) is an example of how they dont use everything they have to win every day....hope to win, but resting Jaret is more important than winning....that particular day.
      Twins often consider resting someone 'more important IMO' to winning (obviously they try to win tho). They havent done it last 2 yrs due to injuries, but the day game B squad out there in the series finale is another example. Trevor not playing today (when theyve said he COULD) to rest an injury 1 more day (tho this is farther down my list). That's what Im talkin bout.
      There is a balance in this situation. You need to rest players so they will be good and able to perform over the long haul of a season and the years they are part of the team. If they pitch Burton, a guy who has been injured most of the past couple of seasons, too much and too frequently he will break down again. Slightly increasing the odds of one victory is not worth the risk of the player breaking down for the second half of the year, or being able to contribute next year. These are the tradeoffs managers need to make every year.

      I often thought that this was a hidden strength of Gardy in the past decade. They would rest players in a manner that seemed excessive, but they were always a team that finished the regular season strong (and then get smoked in the playoffs). Obviously the last two seasons have rendered this moot.
    1. drjim's Avatar
      drjim -
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      Stress is having a couple young kids at home and being told your job won't be there Monday. Stress is learning your kid needs chemo and you don't have health insurance.

      Stress isn't the possibility that you'll have to move from one highly paid, pampered job to another, all expenses paid.

      Yes, ball players are human, but c'mon. Let's not pretend this is terribly "stressful."
      I don't know. If I worked for a company for ten years and then knew I had to up and move at a time not of my choosing to work the same job for a different company, even if I was being paid well, that would still be a pretty stressful time in my life.

      Sure it's nowhere near the situations you mentioned, but I used to get stressed when I had a 10 page paper due in less than 2 days. Think how insignificant that is in the grand scheme of things.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Joe Mauer is perhaps the only player on this squad that can reasonably assume they are Twins for life.

      For everyone else...Trades... FA signings... Cuts... Are part of the game. Span may want to stay and thats great but I'm sure that Span knows that he could end up somewhere else. If trade talk effects him... We should move him for that reason. It wouldn't be good to have someone that unsteady on the roster.

      I don't believe for a second that Span can't handle trade talk.
    1. mnfireman's Avatar
      mnfireman -
      This team is 25-23 since bottoming out at 15-32 on May 27. The teams needs are glaring (starting pitching and middle infield), but I don't think they should blow the team up because, while it MIGHT strengthen an area of weakness, it WILL weaken another area. Span, Willingham, Doumit and Perkins are good players on good contracts, Nishioka and Blackburn are bad players on bad contracts. Morneau is still serviceable and showing signs of improvement, though he might struggle when he returns. Mauer's contract is what it is and he is a future HOF'er at his current rate of production. The rest of the roster is interchangeable in that they aren't going to help another team, but aren't really hurting the Twins and there are more just like them at AA and AAA. A slow start by just about everyone hurt this team more than anything, plus the various injuries. Unless they are overwhelmed in a trade offer (which it sounds like Ryan is holding out for), keep 'em together, add some kids and free agents next year, keep drafting well and maybe, just maybe Your Minnesota Twins will catch lightening in a bottle sooner rather than later.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      very rarely do teams get "blown up" at the deadline... it just doesn't happen... Dealing both Span and Liriano will take quite a bit of front office resources to accomplish, so I doubt the team will be completely blown up.
    1. greengoblinrulz's Avatar
      greengoblinrulz -
      Quote Originally Posted by drjim View Post
      There is a balance in this situation. You need to rest players so they will be good and able to perform over the long haul of a season and the years they are part of the team. If they pitch Burton, a guy who has been injured most of the past couple of seasons, too much and too frequently he will break down again. Slightly increasing the odds of one victory is not worth the risk of the player breaking down for the second half of the year, or being able to contribute next year. These are the tradeoffs managers need to make every year.

      I often thought that this was a hidden strength of Gardy in the past decade. They would rest players in a manner that seemed excessive, but they were always a team that finished the regular season strong (and then get smoked in the playoffs). Obviously the last two seasons have rendered this moot.
      How many times have we won back to back games rendering Burton unusable??? Im not saying he should be in 3 straight games, but NEVER?? Its cost em wins...which I thought were the goal. Burton & Perk have been unable to pitch due to overuse in a year when we are one of the worst teams in baseball. He's using these guys when behind & then rendering them out in a possible win. But again, when Gardy does it & wins...he's awesome, when he does & loses, its the players. He cant do any wrong with some.
    1. mnfireman's Avatar
      mnfireman -
      Trading Span and Liriano for starting pitching does what? Right now Liriano is pitching as good as any starting pitcher being made available so that would be a wash and Span is currently better better than Mastroianni, Tosoni, Benson, Hicks, Thomas, Parmalee, etc... so that would be a step backwards. Same with Willingham, none of the righthanded mashers, Sano, ????, ????, etc... are major league ready. Starting pitching is the teams biggest concern right now, so keep running bodies out there and hope for 6 innings so the BP can settle into their roles. All hands on deck!
    1. greengoblinrulz's Avatar
      greengoblinrulz -
      Quote Originally Posted by mnfireman View Post
      Trading Span and Liriano for starting pitching does what? Right now Liriano is pitching as good as any starting pitcher being made available so that would be a wash and Span is currently better better than Mastroianni, Tosoni, Benson, Hicks, Thomas, Parmalee, etc... so that would be a step backwards. Same with Willingham, none of the righthanded mashers, Sano, ????, ????, etc... are major league ready. Starting pitching is the teams biggest concern right now, so keep running bodies out there and hope for 6 innings so the BP can settle into their roles. All hands on deck!
      So trade nobody & stay status quo/lose Liriano after the season for nothing???
      I could be talked into taking the draft pick for Frankie if they prospects offerred arent high enough.
      Benson, Arcia, Hicks......DONT LIST THOMAS PLEASE....are very very close. Right now, maybe not...but nxt yr, sure.
      Denard is an ok player, dime a dozen type tho. Decent average, OBP, poor base stealer/baserunner...good CF but not better than Revere who's a better clone of Denard.....alwasys run into possibility of hurting Spans feelings also.
      Does all depend on who's offerred tho
    1. gil4's Avatar
      gil4 -
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      Stress isn't the possibility that you'll have to move from one highly paid, pampered job to another, all expenses paid.

      Chief, you work with people who move all the time. The shorter the notice, the more stress. More money doesn't necessarily reduce the stress, although they obviously have more resources to throw at the stressors. It's still difficult to pick up and move, whether you're an A1C with a wife and kid, a Major married to a Captain with no kids, or a ballplayer making $1M+.

      The military member is going to have a few days to take care of business; the ballplayer is going to be expected to be in uniform in Toronto (or wherever) the next night.
    1. mnfireman's Avatar
      mnfireman -
      I do not think Span is a great CF, but he is better than the alternatives at this point. If the team wants FA's to come here in the future they can't trade Willingham after a little more than half a season. Liriano brings the best return, but right now he is better than what the team has and they aren't getting another starting pitcher in return for him. If they are willing to offer him $12M and are currently paying Pavano and Baker upwards of $8M, I think they could offer $10-14M to 1 or 2 of the upcoming free agents and bridge the gap until the current prospects or draft choices are ready.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Frankie wants to play for the Twins and I want him to play for the Twins. What is coming between us?
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
      I don't believe for a second that Span can't handle trade talk.
      For what it's worth, I heard from people I trust that Span did not react well at all to his name being floated in rumors around this time last year.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Sometimes things in life don't go perfectly. If one of those things is being traded to another team (who has a better chance of winning now) while they still pay you multi millions a year, yeah I just don't see how that is really just that stressful.

      If you don't want to handle the "stress" that comes with being traded or speculated that you might be traded, then negotiate into your contract a no trade clause, I'm sure at the time the Twins would have been more than happy to grant Span a no trade clause if he would have accepted a couple million dollars less per season. I mean I imagine it would suck to be traded suddenly and would be an inconvenience to find a new place to live etc, but the nice thing is you would have plenty of money/help in order to get you situated quickly.

      I feel a lot worse for the throw in minor league guy who gets traded and is only making 50k a year.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      For what it's worth, I heard from people I trust that Span did not react well at all to his name being floated in rumors around this time last year.
      I don't doubt that. 2nd year of a 5 year deal and then the club falls apart around him while he sits out with a concussion.

      All of sudden he becomes the focus of a trade to the Nationals. He wasn't expecting a collapse of that nature when he signed that contract and his name is the one being tossed around in a trade.

      Time has gone by now... He's had enough time to come to grips with the business.

      When I say can't handle the trade talk... I say that he can still go out and function as a ballplayer. He might not like the trade talk but I don't believe that it lessens him as a player.

      If trade talk does diminish Denard on the field... Trade him tomorrow and don't look back cuz trades can become a shadow at any time. I give him the benefit of the doubt.

      My boss will throw his stapler in fits of rage. Shake it off and do his job.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by YourHouseIsMyHouse View Post
      Frankie wants to play for the Twins and I want him to play for the Twins. What is coming between us?
      I'd guess money...
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