• 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. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Honestly, I'd be dissapointed is if they don't trade Carroll today, or if you won't trade Carroll trade Alexi for anything you can get.

      I'd prefer we trade Span for some great package today as well but I just don't think it is out there at this point, maybe the trade market in the off-season will be better.

      I'd like to hold onto Willingham and Morneau on into next season, unless we are blown away by an offer.

      Pavano and Capps should both be dealt in August
    1. UCLA_YANKEE_COLA's Avatar
      UCLA_YANKEE_COLA -
      Quote Originally Posted by Chance View Post
      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.
      But what would make us think that Danny V is going to have more nights like that? He's just not a very good baseball player who has gotten worse over the last 2 years.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Honestly, I'd be dissapointed is if they don't trade Carroll today, or if you won't trade Carroll trade Alexi for anything you can get.

      I'd prefer we trade Span for some great package today as well but I just don't think it is out there at this point, maybe the trade market in the off-season will be better.

      I'd like to hold onto Willingham and Morneau on into next season, unless we are blown away by an offer.

      Pavano and Capps should both be dealt in August
      Pretty much this. Take what you can get for either Alexi or Carroll today.

      Aggressively push Willingham, Span, and Perkins. Trade if the right deal comes along.

      Listen to offers on Morneau.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by UCLA_YANKEE_COLA View Post
      But what would make us think that Danny V is going to have more nights like that? He's just not a very good baseball player who has gotten worse over the last 2 years.
      Unless Danny V turns it around in a big way I can't see him being apart of this org heading into 2013.
    1. Jim Crikket's Avatar
      Jim Crikket -
      On the nose, Seth!

      People get some kind of "fever" at the end of July and think everything has to be done NOW. It's simply not true. The reason you make a big deal now, as a seller, is that the deadline is when contending teams tend to overpay for talent. If you're the GM of a seller, you do exactly what TR is doing... wait for someone to offer to overpay for your guys. If you don't get a home run of an offer, there's no reason to make a deal right now. The offseason will see more teams interested in improving for 2013 when they can all start fresh. (Think the Mariners and Cubs won't be interested in hitters during the offseason?)

      I also don't see why it should be depressing if TR indicates a belief the team can be built to compete within the Division in 2013. That doesn't preclude improving enough to go deeper in 2014 when you'd hope some of the Twins prospects are closer to stepping up. You're more likely to go deeper in 2014 if you've at least rebuilt a sense of competitiveness in the clubhouse in 2013.

      There's simply no rush to dismantle your offense just because your pitching needs improvement. If TR isn't allowed to spend the money to improve pitching in the offseason, THEN fans can legitimately complain (as we did last offseason for the same reason).
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      I think that here is part of the root of the problem with this team:
      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?
      a. you cannot cut the season in chunks look at the best chunk and hope that what happened then is the "truth". They did that last season, stayed put at the deadline and ended up losing 99. Lesson not learned?

      b. if we are ok with them making the post-season instead of being competitive in the post-season and making and winning the World Series, it will never happen.


      Back to the original premise, if they do nothing, it will reinforce my belief that for the Twins to win (see b. above - which have not done until MacPhail was the GM) this whole front office team needs to go from the top to the bottom and new blood needs to come...
    1. mikeee's Avatar
      mikeee -
      Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
      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.
      They had a lot of players in and out of the lineup during that time that are gone now.
      Sean Burroughs is gone, Luke Hughes, Clete Thomas, Jason Marquis.
      Ben Revere was in the minors then too. I think they did a lot of experimenting and it all failed.
      Now they have solidified the lineup. Capps and Pavano have not been a part of this winning, so we can see they
      are not needed.

      2011, they sure put together a big steak. I do remember that.
    1. strumdatjag's Avatar
      strumdatjag -
      This is a Twins team witt one glaring weakness: Starting Pitching. Fix that and their won loss record turns aroundf fast. They have a great line-up, adequate defense (it could be better) and decent relief pitching. Despite their record, this is not a time to completely blow up the roster with bad trades (but they should always be open to improve the team through good trades, there should be very few untouchables on this team). The formula for success in the next five years is to add to the starting pitching staff now and add one or two rookies a season to maintain adequacy to excellence. Add one or two free agent starters (or thru trades) and hope for Baker to bounce back, and Hendrix and Gibson to provide some help sometime next year. The Twins will just have to eat Blackburn's contract if they are fortunate enough to put together a decent rotation which makes Blackie expendable.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by mikeee View Post
      They had a lot of players in and out of the lineup during that time that are gone now.
      Sean Burroughs is gone, Luke Hughes, Clete Thomas, Jason Marquis.
      Ben Revere was in the minors then too. I think they did a lot of experimenting and it all failed.
      Now they have solidified the lineup. Capps and Pavano have not been a part of this winning, so we can see they
      are not needed.

      2011, they sure put together a big steak. I do remember that.
      They put together a big streak right before the deadline causing them to only be like 5 or so games out of first place at the time.

      Also I think you are forgetting Plouffe as anohter guy who really wasn't playing at the start of the season, also Mauer and Morneau both started rather slow coming back from injuries.

      I have said it before and will say it again, with this current roster the Twins are basically a .500 team, the hitting, defense and bullpen are all good enough to compete (could upgrades be made? Sure), its going to all come down to the starting pitching moving forward into 2013 onwards.

      I'd say this team is 3 SP away from competing next year, ideally Gibson and Hendriks could be two of those pitchers and Ryan can go out and spend his money on a guy like Sanchez for the third.
    1. Obie's Avatar
      Obie -
      Excellent article, Seth, you nailed it. No need for a fire sale today. Nice to see that folks have mostly walked back from jumping off the cliff, and the comments are more reasonable today and less visceral (with a couple of exceptions).

      I like the suggestion of leaving Valencia at 3rd and putting Plouffe at 2nd when he returns. May not work out, but it has tremendous upside; why not use the next couple of months to make a determination for next year.
    1. jctwins's Avatar
      jctwins -
      If they do nothing, put Gardy on waivers and see if anyone will claim him.
    1. Jim Crikket's Avatar
      Jim Crikket -
      Frankly, there is NOTHING Ryan can do that will satisfy some people, short of pulling off highway robbery deals. If he makes deals, he isn't getting enough... or the right guys... or the best guys... or... or... or. If he makes no deals, he's a bum. By the way. the great MacPhail has pretty much been considered MacFAIL by the fan base of every organization he's gone to since he left the Twins.

      I'm constantly amazed that some people think the answer to every challenge is to trade/fire everyone and then magically the team will go from sellers at the deadline to the World Series without having to bother first working their way back in to contending status.

      If only all the world's problems could be solved this way.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      They put together a big streak right before the deadline causing them to only be like 5 or so games out of first place at the time.

      Also I think you are forgetting Plouffe as anohter guy who really wasn't playing at the start of the season, also Mauer and Morneau both started rather slow coming back from injuries.

      I have said it before and will say it again, with this current roster the Twins are basically a .500 team, the hitting, defense and bullpen are all good enough to compete (could upgrades be made? Sure), its going to all come down to the starting pitching moving forward into 2013 onwards.

      I'd say this team is 3 SP away from competing next year, ideally Gibson and Hendriks could be two of those pitchers and Ryan can go out and spend his money on a guy like Sanchez for the third.
      Yeah, I mostly feel like this too. I think we need more improvement from first base but I'm all right with giving Morneau the at bats to get back into shape. Obviously, the MI is still a problem but with good starting pitching, I think this team could compete for the central. But with Arcia/Hicks somewhat close, I really hope the Twins get a great deal for Span.
    1. savvyspy's Avatar
      savvyspy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Top Gun View Post
      I don't expect the dead ass Twins to make a trade, because they never work at it.
      As you watch other teams improve rosters today the Twins will be left with this overpriced underachieving junk heap of a roster that wouldn't contend if you contracted half the American League.

      The most ridiculous thing ever written has to be, "If not for a horrendous 6 weeks." This is one of the 3 worst teams in the majors. You can't ignore all the losses and call them a contender. For 2 years they have proved their pitching is horrible, Mauer doesn't make them better, Morneau is never going to be the player he was, they don't have infielders that can bat over .250, they have a glut of outfielders, they can't develop players, get worked at the trade deadline, and they absolutely REFUSE to spend money on what any championship team needs, an ace starting pitcher.

      It is what it is. They are no more a contender than the Vikings are. the only difference is it doesn't appear the Twins even understand what their plan is to get better.
    1. J-Dog Dungan's Avatar
      J-Dog Dungan -
      Honestly, Liriano was the only piece the Twins had that they HAD to move. If they don't get what they are asking for for anybody else, well then, sucks.
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      They put together a big streak right before the deadline causing them to only be like 5 or so games out of first place at the time.

      Also I think you are forgetting Plouffe as anohter guy who really wasn't playing at the start of the season, also Mauer and Morneau both started rather slow coming back from injuries.

      I have said it before and will say it again, with this current roster the Twins are basically a .500 team, the hitting, defense and bullpen are all good enough to compete (could upgrades be made? Sure), its going to all come down to the starting pitching moving forward into 2013 onwards.


      I'd say this team is 3 SP away from competing next year, ideally Gibson and Hendriks could be two of those pitchers and Ryan can go out and spend his money on a guy like Sanchez for the third.
      If a team has offense, defense and bullpen that are good enough to compete, and still needs three starters, I don't think they're quite a .500 team.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      I am pretty tired of the attacks on people on this site, rather than their ideas. Is there a reason we cannot disagree reasonably, without exaggerating everything the "other side" says?
    1. mikeee's Avatar
      mikeee -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      They put together a big streak right before the deadline causing them to only be like 5 or so games out of first place at the time.

      Also I think you are forgetting Plouffe as anohter guy who really wasn't playing at the start of the season, also Mauer and Morneau both started rather slow coming back from injuries.

      I have said it before and will say it again, with this current roster the Twins are basically a .500 team, the hitting, defense and bullpen are all good enough to compete (could upgrades be made? Sure), its going to all come down to the starting pitching moving forward into 2013 onwards.

      I'd say this team is 3 SP away from competing next year, ideally Gibson and Hendriks could be two of those pitchers and Ryan can go out and spend his money on a guy like Sanchez for the third.
      yeah, I didn't get all the details.
      I won't feel that bad if they don't make any moves here. Maybe getting rid of a little more salary with Capps and Pavano will
      give them some to spend on a SP.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
      If a team has offense, defense and bullpen that are good enough to compete, and still needs three starters, I don't think they're quite a .500 team.
      They have been playing like a .500 team ever since Mauer/Morneau started preforming, Plouffe was given playing time, Diamond was moved into the rotation etc.

      Coming into the year I thought they would win anywhere between 78-83 games, I didn't expect the rotation to be this bad, but the offense and bullpen have been better than what I thought. They still have a shot to win 78 games.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by thrylos98 View Post
      I think that here is part of the root of the problem with this team:


      a. you cannot cut the season in chunks look at the best chunk and hope that what happened then is the "truth". They did that last season, stayed put at the deadline and ended up losing 99. Lesson not learned?

      b. if we are ok with them making the post-season instead of being competitive in the post-season and making and winning the World Series, it will never happen.


      Back to the original premise, if they do nothing, it will reinforce my belief that for the Twins to win (see b. above - which have not done until MacPhail was the GM) this whole front office team needs to go from the top to the bottom and new blood needs to come...

      a. This is true, but at the same point, I think your outlook also obfuscates the truth. That turn around coincided with dumping a number of players and having others move into those roles... Since then, they've been a much better team. I don't think anyone is saying "stand pat," but they do recognizes that there are some legitimate pieces to build with.

      b. I agree 100% with this. I don't like the "well let's just get there" attitude. The playoffs are a stepping stone to achieving a goal. I do think that they need to be realistic about it in that they need to be adding pitching big time... A decent rotation and suddenly they are in contention. It doesn't account for all the holes on this team, but it's one piece... and a big one that needs fixing.
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