• What if the Twins do Nothing Today?

    Today is the July trade deadline. At 3:00 this afternoon (central time), the non-waiver trade deadline will come and go. The Twins have already traded Francisco Liriano. That was a given. The Twins needed to deal him before July 31 regardless of the 10 (or more) things that we hate about the actual deal itself.

    What would your reaction be if the Twins did not make another trade before the 3:00 deadline? What if Terry Ryan does not get an offer for Denard Span, Josh Willingham or Glen Perkins that he deems worthy of accepting? What if the Twins have to eat $10 million or more from the Blue Jays in a deal for Justin Morneau?

    The Twins need to do something to acquire pitching, and with a weakened minor league system, they also just need to gain as much talent as they can regardless of position.

    So, is there a case for the Twins to do nothing at the trade deadline?

    The Twins are said to be looking for a lot in return for Denard Span. The same is true of Josh Willingham, if he is even available at all. This is smart, and the Twins are the team in control on these guys. Because both are signed for a couple more years at very reasonable dollar values, there is no hurry to trade them. In both cases, GM Terry Ryan should not accept anything less than a great return.

    First, both play pretty important roles on a team and are very valuable. Span is a terrific leadoff hitter and a solid centerfielder. Willingham may not be much defensively, but having his kind of power in the middle of the lineup is an asset.

    Second, because they are signed for at least two more seasons, the Twins could find that they could acquire more during the offseason, or even at next yearís trade deadline.

    Although the Twins would likely love to get out from under the $14 million they owe Justin Morneau, they should be smart about it as well. If they have to eat any of the contract, they need to make sure that they get enough return to make it worthwhile. Otherwise, they might as well just keep Morneau and hope that he can continue to improve, maybe even getting back to his MVP form. If so, he is a great middle-of-the-lineup threat, and as is seemingly a theme here, he could have even more value next July, or in the offseason.

    The same can be said for relief pitchers Glen Perkins, Brian Duensing and Jared Burton. Perkins is signed long term. Duensing has at least three years of arbitration-eligibility before he can become a free agent, and Burton has one more arbitration season. Relief pitching is something that seems to get traded at the trade deadline for more than they should. So, the Twins should explore deals for these three in hopes that they are offered a package they canít refuse. But the other side is that these are three strong building blocks that can provide stability in the Twins bullpen that they can hold on to for a couple of years. Again, all three could be traded in the offseason or at the deadline next July.

    Of course, other players could sneak through waivers and be traded in August. Players like Carl Pavano and Matt Capps would need to come off of the Disabled List and prove themselves to be healthy enough to get through the rest of the season first, but that could happen. Someone like Alexi Casilla could provide a bench bat or pinch-running capabilities for the right team for a playoff run as well.

    According to Twins mlb.com writer Rhett Bollinger, the Twins are 34-32 since May 16th. If not for a horrendous first six weeks of the season, the Twins could be in contention for a playoff spot. Maybe this team isnít as far away from contending for a playoff berth as we think?

    Maintaining status quo would mean that the Twins could have a 2013 lineup with Denard Span, Ben Revere, Joe Mauer, Josh Willingham, Justin Morneau, Trevor Plouffe and Ryan Doumit in it. Although Brian Dozier has struggled mightily in his rookie season, as most players do, there is still hope that he can be a league average middle infielder in time. They will need to figure out how the middle infield will play out, but with those first seven in the lineup, the middle infield can go back to being defense-first types.

    The question, as it always is, is in the pitching staff. Scott Diamond would appear to be the only sure-thing for a rotation spot coming into the season. It is unlikely that anyone that te Twins would acquire in a trade today would be able to step in to a rotation spot in 2013 and become a top starter, but the hope would be that the return on a great player would be some pitchers with great upside.

    But if the Twins decide not to make July trades or big offseason trades, that means that they have ever intention of competing right away in 2013. If that is the case, the Twins will have to spend on pitching in the offseason. I am fine with them ďcounting onĒ Liam Hendriks to step up in 2013. I even understand their need to continue giving Nick Blackburn opportunities because of his horrible contract (although I think once we get into the 2013 season, the Twins should feel like they can DFA him and just eat what is remaining). Kyle Gibson may be ready by June.

    That means that, at a minimum, the Twins need to bring in two quality starters. I would never advocate giving a $100 million contract to any pitcher, so I would not sign Zach Greinke, but Iím sure many of you might think differently. For me, I would much rather see the Twins sign two (or three?) $8-10 million types. I wouldnít mind seeing the Twins offer Edwin Jackson a three year, $27 million deal. I would like to see them offer Anibal Sanchez a four year, $36-40 million deal. Aces? Probably not. Quality starters who are still young enough to continue to improve and provide some stability to the staff? Certainly. I would not overpay for either of them, or any of the other free agent pitchers, and there is no way to know what other teams will offer them contracts or if the players would even be interested in coming to the Twins, but the Twins do need to reach out to them.

    And yes, if this is the direction, it will also require a commitment from the ownership because it will require that the payroll not go down any further, and likely go up a little bit.

    I would also bring back Scott Baker. He may not be able to pitch until midseason, so I would keep the year one contract low. However, I would offer a contract with a series of team options. Baker has always shown that, when healthy, he is a very good pitcher. If think it would be wise to bring him back at the right price.

    Regarding the need to bring more talent into the Twins farm system, the team will need to find ways. Again, trades could come in the offseason. The Twins should use their high waiver claim to pick up talent. They should look at the Rule 5 draft as a means to bring in players. They also should feel good about several of their prospects. Aaron Hicks and Oswaldo Arcia have both taken big strides forward this year. Miguel Sano and Eddie Rosario remain top prospects. The Twins used the draft to acquire high-ceiling young talent like Byron Buxton and J.O. Berrios, along with some very hard throwers. It isn't like the Twins minor leagues are completely void of talent.

    So, if the trade deadline passes at 3:00 today, and we learn that the Twins did not make another trade (or more), it will likely feel somewhat disappointing. However, we will never know for sure what offers Terry Ryan received for these various players. I do know that I would be far more disappointed if the Twins traded one of their valuable pieces who are not free agents at the end of the season for a package that we deem less than appropriate.


    photo from Twins Now
    This article was originally published in blog: What if the Twins do Nothing Today? started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 83 Comments
    1. DPJ's Avatar
      DPJ -
      If for the second year in a row the Twins do nothing at the deadline (except save the Pohlads some cash on the Liriano trade) I'm going to lose my mind.
    1. BobH's Avatar
      BobH -
      Great article
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      They needed to trade Liriano since he won't be part of next years team. They can move Span or anyone else in the offseason if they wanted to. If they aren't blown away for Span or Willingham, I don't expect them to make a trade. They still might make a small waiver trade involving Pavano or Capps in August.

      I would like them to look at moving Perkins though. LH relievers might be over valued by some.
    1. crarko's Avatar
      crarko -
      If you get a great offer, take it. If you don't, wait until the offseason. I'm actually far more interested in seeing if they can get anything for Pavano and Capps, which is going to take a bit of time to develop.
    1. Blackjack's Avatar
      Blackjack -
      Good article Seth!!! Always enjoy reading your posts!! TR did what he needed to do, got something out of Liriano, a free agent at the end of the season. Yes it would have been nice to get more but obviously other teams didn't want the head case that badly.

      TR has had bad luck in the fact that his other two prime free agents, Pavano and Capps, are both hurt. I fully expect both of them to still be traded if they come back and pitch at all and prove they're healthy. Again, get something for the free agent at the end of the season.

      I think the signing of Dumait tipped TR's hand, he thinks with his everyday lineup, the addition of a couple of pitchers, and the Twins can be contenders next year. Theres also the Target Field factor, without at least a contending team, attendance is down, less $8 beers and $6 hotdogs are sold. If they had a fire sale, fans will stay away in droves.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by gunnarthor View Post
      I would like them to look at moving Perkins though. LH relievers might be over valued by some.
      Agreed!! I hope that Terry Ryan is on the phone all day long, and if they can get tremendous value for anyone, I hope he pulls the trigger. However, if he doesn't get a great deal for those guys who aren't free agents at the end of the year, there are options.
    1. Cap'n Piranha's Avatar
      Cap'n Piranha -
      This team is 2-3 starting pitchers away from competing next year (and had Pavano, Baker, and Gibson not been injured this year, who knows where we'd be). It makes zero sense to trade a bat unless you're getting a king's ransom in return, because a top 7 of Span, Revere, Mauer, Willingham, Morneau, Plouffe, and Doumit is as good as any top 7 in the AL Central, and can hold their own against any top 7 in the league.

      The Twins took the pu-pu platter for Liriano because they are clearing space to sign starting pitching in the offseason (I hope). They couldn't risk offering Liriano 12m+ and having him jump on it, eating up money for other free agents. Therefore, getting something is better than getting nothing. It's also worth remembering that most of us were pretty upset when we traded Billy Bullock for Scott Diamond prior to last year. Thus far, that's looking like a pretty good trade.
    1. twinswon1991's Avatar
      twinswon1991 -
      How will the twins get better without improvisations. the farm system? TR should look at the great work the Cubs and Astros have done this summer to build for the future. It looks like TR would rather have a poor/mediocre product than to build a team that can win in the postseason.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinswon1991 View Post
      How will the twins get better without improvisations. the farm system? TR should look at the great work the Cubs and Astros have done this summer to build for the future. It looks like TR would rather have a poor/mediocre product than to build a team that can win in the postseason.
      sigh. You can rebuild without trading Span. Moves like Bullock for Diamond are also effective. Obviously, if Ryan gets a great offer he should take it but there's no reason for him to make a move - today - unless he likes it. If the 2013 Twins have this same rotation then there's something wrong but the FO has plenty of time before next April to make changes.

      And your last sentence is just stupid.
    1. wavedog's Avatar
      wavedog -
      I guess to answer if I would be dissapointed - not really. I would prefer doing nothing to making a bad trade. We hope to use the pressure of the deadline to force a contending team to give up prize prospects that are "worth" more than we are dealing. If that doesn't happen we still have the offseason and next year. We will likely have to address our needs in Free Agency.
    1. minn55441's Avatar
      minn55441 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Blackjack View Post
      Good article Seth!!! Always enjoy reading your posts!! TR did what he needed to do, got something out of Liriano, a free agent at the end of the season. Yes it would have been nice to get more but obviously other teams didn't want the head case that badly.

      TR has had bad luck in the fact that his other two prime free agents, Pavano and Capps, are both hurt. I fully expect both of them to still be traded if they come back and pitch at all and prove they're healthy. Again, get something for the free agent at the end of the season.

      I think the signing of Dumait tipped TR's hand, he thinks with his everyday lineup, the addition of a couple of pitchers, and the Twins can be contenders next year. Theres also the Target Field factor, without at least a contending team, attendance is down, less $8 beers and $6 hotdogs are sold. If they had a fire sale, fans will stay away in droves.
      Nice article Seth.

      I agree with you Jack. I also think TR tipped his hand by upping Doumit. As we have discussed all season. Pitching is the problem. If there isn't a boat load of pitching coming back in a trade, it is better to just hang onto our assets. Span and the rest have value and will continue to have value for years to come. Liriano had a ticking clock on his deal and that value ended at 3:00pm today. I'm glad TR took care of that, but the rest of the moves can happy, today, in the offseason or next year at the trade dealine. No move may and probably will be better than a desperate move.
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      But if the Twins decide not to make July trades or big offseason trades, that means that they have ever intention of competing right away in 2013.

      This is incredibly depressing to me. Because to me it means that rather than taking some risks and being patient enough to obtain high-ceiling pitching prospects, the organization will be content to return to being "competitive in the Central" without any realistic expectations of going beyond that.

      I realize that watching the cr*p we've watched the last 2 seasons hasn't been fun. But it still hasn't been as low a point for me as that day in October 2010 when I finally accepted that there was no way in the world that this team would advance in the playoffs unless some major changes were made.

      NOTHING that is happening now leads me to believe that the organization has accepted that major changes need to be made. As long as they are good enough to keep the money coming into the coffers, this organization will be content with mediocrity -- never aiming for excellence.

      Bah, humbug.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by JB_Iowa View Post
      But if the Twins decide not to make July trades or big offseason trades, that means that they have ever intention of competing right away in 2013.

      This is incredibly depressing to me. Because to me it means that rather than taking some risks and being patient enough to obtain high-ceiling pitching prospects, the organization will be content to return to being "competitive in the Central" without any realistic expectations of going beyond that.

      I realize that watching the cr*p we've watched the last 2 seasons hasn't been fun. But it still hasn't been as low a point for me as that day in October 2010 when I finally accepted that there was no way in the world that this team would advance in the playoffs unless some major changes were made.

      NOTHING that is happening now leads me to believe that the organization has accepted that major changes need to be made. As long as they are good enough to keep the money coming into the coffers, this organization will be content with mediocrity -- never aiming for excellence.

      Bah, humbug.
      Even if they're eyeing competing in 2013, that does not exclude them trading Span and/or Willingham... It just means that they probably won't be doing it today or this offseason.

      The Twins moved AJ in the middle of contending when they felt they had the assets to make the move and not miss a step. Considering how long Willingham and Span are under contract, it's not hard to envision that scenario happening again (possibly minus the "contention" part).

      It's not something I advocate doing but it's a real possibility and not necessarily a terrible idea.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      I would be disappointed if they do not deal more.
    1. minn55441's Avatar
      minn55441 -
      Quote Originally Posted by JB_Iowa View Post

      I realize that watching the cr*p we've watched the last 2 seasons hasn't been fun. But it still hasn't been as low a point for me as that day in October 2010 when I finally accepted that there was no way in the world that this team would advance in the playoffs unless some major changes were made.

      Bah, humbug.
      What? Losing sucks. We won 94 games in 2010. As St. Louis showed us last year, if you get to the playoffs you have a chance. Yes, our weaknesses were exposed during the 2010 series with the Yankees but I would much rather be in the playoff hunt right now and be looking at making trades that could put us over the top for this years wild card or division title.
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      The Twins are 34-32 since May 16th?

      The first six weeks of the season are inextricably tied to the team's record. A bad six-week stretch can't be overlooked because of a mediocre eight-week stretch.

      The 2011 Twins during that same period from May 16th to July 30th were 38-30.
    1. Top Gun's Avatar
      Top Gun -
      I don't expect the dead ass Twins to make a trade, because they never work at it.
    1. Winston Smith's Avatar
      Winston Smith -
      111-157 over the last two years and we are ok? If you keep lowering the goal, now play .500 so we can be in it in the central, then i guess we are ok.
    1. Chance's Avatar
      Chance -
      With regards to the lineup, if Danny V has more games like last night I think it's not out of the question to move Plouffe to 2nd. Then we would be set for 8 spots. Plouffe filled in a little at 2nd this year and I thought he looked pretty comfortable there. I know that many will say he just got comfortable at third but given the full time starting 2nd base job I think he can hold that down.

      Clearly we need pitching but I can only seeing TR signing one pitcher with a 4.00 or higher again that is an inning eater. By mid season we have Devries Walters/Deduno back up here.
    1. UCLA_YANKEE_COLA's Avatar
      UCLA_YANKEE_COLA -
      This teams needs way too much help to stand pat at the trade deadline. We don't need Span and Willingham to help us win a playoff series in 2017 or whenever. They've lowered the payroll enough that if they have to eat some of Morneua's contract to get a decent prospect they need to.

      I'll be very disappointed if they stand pat this year. (Understanding, of course, that if the offers aren't there you don't make a move. That will just shift my frustrations from the FO to the Universe)
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