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  • 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 year’s 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 can’t 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 isn’t 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 “counting on” 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 I’m 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 wouldn’t 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. Winston Smith's Avatar
      Winston Smith -
      In 2006 they were a very good team and went 0-3 in the playoffs. Since that time, the 2007 season thru now the Twins are 455-459, 914 games not a small sample size. When you consider they play in the Central which tends to be a weaker division, that isn't a record of a great franchise. (73-127 against the East)
      To think things are ok and we aren't that far away is silly at best and the record over the last 5 plus years points to a team content with being mediocre.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by Winston Smith View Post
      In 2006 they were a very good team and went 0-3 in the playoffs. Since that time, the 2007 season thru now the Twins are 455-459, 914 games not a small sample size. When you consider they play in the Central which tends to be a weaker division, that isn't a record of a great franchise. (73-127 against the East)
      To think things are ok and we aren't that far away is silly at best and the record over the last 5 plus years points to a team content with being mediocre.
      What was there record from 2007 to 2010?

      These random numbers you are throwing out are next to pointless seeing how the Twins had several good seasons (some great) followed up by two clunkers in 2011, 2012.

      The record they had in 2008 has zero to do with their 2012 record.
    1. Jim Crikket's Avatar
      Jim Crikket -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      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.
      I'm really not too concerned with whether the Twins win 78 games this year or 58. At this point, their final record is immaterial. August should be about getting marginal players enough innings to fairly evaluate whether they should be part of the plans for 2013 and September should be about giving some young players some opportunities to show they should get some consideration next year, too. If that means you lose more games than you would with your A line up out there every day, so be it.

      I know losing 100+ games will just give some folks more ammunition to blast the front office and field management, but the decision makers will know it was still the right approach.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      I'd like to see the Twins push to move Burnett and hope that some GM likes his 1.16 WHIP and 2.90 ERA. I'd move him for just about anything, I don't want him in the bullpen going forward. He's getting the job done now but I don't know how. I think going forward he's going to do more harm than good with the awful K/9 rate.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Listen, no one is saying that this is a playoff team as is. No one is saying that the first six weeks of the season didn't matter. It does. But so do that last 65 games. Add some pitching, and they may not be all that far from being much improved and contending. Not this year, but next year, if certain things happen.

      Also, I 100% agree that the Twins should be going after high-ceiling pitching prospects in any trades... the question is whether or not teams are even making those types of talents available. That's the question. If they could get Dylan Bundy from the Orioles, or Jameson Taillon or Gerrit Cole from the Pirates, they would.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jim Crikket View Post
      I'm really not too concerned with whether the Twins win 78 games this year or 58. At this point, their final record is immaterial. August should be about getting marginal players enough innings to fairly evaluate whether they should be part of the plans for 2013 and September should be about giving some young players some opportunities to show they should get some consideration next year, too. If that means you lose more games than you would with your A line up out there every day, so be it.

      I know losing 100+ games will just give some folks more ammunition to blast the front office and field management, but the decision makers will know it was still the right approach.
      On this, we agree 100%
    1. James's Avatar
      James -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      Listen, no one is saying that this is a playoff team as is. No one is saying that the first six weeks of the season didn't matter. It does. But so do that last 65 games. Add some pitching, and they may not be all that far from being much improved and contending. Not this year, but next year, if certain things happen.

      Also, I 100% agree that the Twins should be going after high-ceiling pitching prospects in any trades... the question is whether or not teams are even making those types of talents available. That's the question. If they could get Dylan Bundy from the Orioles, or Jameson Taillon or Gerrit Cole from the Pirates, they would.
      Seth, I don't think you understand, the Twins could have all three of those guys. TR is just not trying hard enough to get them.

      (I really hope the sarcasm came through on that one).

      I get a lot of weird vibes from some posters on this site that really think that other teams are just going to give up those types of prospects to get Span or Willingham. Is it possible, not without a lot of extras thrown in there. Starting pitching prospects with #1 type stuff are the most coveted pieces in an organization now. It takes a lot to pry one away from a team.
    1. Winston Smith's Avatar
      Winston Smith -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      What was there record from 2007 to 2010?

      These random numbers you are throwing out are next to pointless seeing how the Twins had several good seasons (some great) followed up by two clunkers in 2011, 2012.

      The record they had in 2008 has zero to do with their 2012 record.
      It does go to the point over an extended period of time this has been a mediocre team. These are not random numbers this is the actual record of games played. I did not cherry pick from May 16th.... If you are happy with mediocre fine, I am not. Time for a change!
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by Winston Smith View Post
      It does go to the point over an extended period of time this has been a mediocre team. These are not random numbers this is the actual record of games played. I did not cherry pick from May 16th.... If you are happy with mediocre fine, I am not. Time for a change!
      88, 87, 94 is the number of wins they had in 2008,2009 and 2010. That is medicore??

      The Twins had 3 very nice seasons (one great) followed up by the 2nd worst in franchise history. Again 2012 has nothing to do with what happened in 2007/2008.

      Again, you throwing out their record from 2007 onwards is pointless.
    1. DPJ's Avatar
      DPJ -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Again, you throwing out their record from 2007 onwards is pointless.
      Like throwing out that the Twins have been a .500 team from some random meaningless date in May.
    1. SeanS7921's Avatar
      SeanS7921 -
      I think the Twins should move Morneau if someone will eat the 14 million due to him next year and the Twins eat this year. With that I'm be giddy with a B prospect but a Player to be named would work to. If the Twins lose that 14 million they will have salary flexbility going forward and Morneau has brought no value to the Twins for that money. .5 WAR, lost his defensive value and he can't hit lefties. The Twins probably won't complete in 2013 and at that point Morneau is free agent. The lineup has been solid with Span, Revere, Mauer, Willingham, Plouffe & Doumit. They don't need Morneau and Parmelee could probably do what Morneau has done (AAA numbers exciting) for 13.5 million less.
    1. 70charger's Avatar
      70charger -
      Winston Smith and DPJ:

      There is an enormous difference between the time periods quoted. That difference is: team members. I would argue that dismissing the first several weeks of the season is absolutely warranted, simply because the Twins had a totally different lineup. Plouffe wasn't playing, Dozier wasn't up, Valencia was still whiffing at the major league level, Sean Burroughs was on the roster, Jason Marquis was putting up an 8 ERA, Pavano was still pitching, etc. Beginning in mid- to late-May, the Twins were a different team, and that's why quoting the record since then is not cherry picking.

      On the other hand, your quoting the record over the last five years is entirely moot, because the teams are all so different among those five years. Hell, even over the last two years, look at the differences!

      Between 2010 and 2012, here are the changes. First base is the same, but second, third, and short are all different. Center field is the same, but left and right are both different. Catcher is technically the same, but now Mauer is half-time. DH is different. 3 out of the 5 starting pitchers are gone. The reliever corps is quite different too, but that's expected, so we'll leave them out of the total count.

      That means that, total, the 2010 team and 2012 team have about 5 and a half players in common, out of a possible 14. Adding up the stats for the last five years means adding up stats for teams that are radically different. That's why your point doesn't hold.
    1. SeanS7921's Avatar
      SeanS7921 -
      As for Dozier I know he is a Seth guy and a Gardy guy but his numbers are atrocious even for a Rookie. The one thing I'd say his his fielding errors have been pronounced but overall he hasn't been terrible at the position. But a 272 OBP .2 WAR with average Defense creates no optimism. His minor league numbers don't back up that this is just an adjustment to the majors either. He's 25 as well, at that age if you were actually a prospect you would expect way better numbers. If this team had two quality starters to go with Diamond (Guys who could pitch 200 innings 2-4 WAR and K rates at 6 or above) along with a SS or 2B (Carroll outstanding Utility guy) who could give them 1-2 WAR they probably would be close to a playoff team. They never would have started so bad and would probably be around 500 if not better.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by 70charger View Post
      Winston Smith and DPJ:

      There is an enormous difference between the time periods quoted. That difference is: team members. I would argue that dismissing the first several weeks of the season is absolutely warranted, simply because the Twins had a totally different lineup. Plouffe wasn't playing, Dozier wasn't up, Valencia was still whiffing at the major league level, Sean Burroughs was on the roster, Jason Marquis was putting up an 8 ERA, Pavano was still pitching, etc. Beginning in mid- to late-May, the Twins were a different team, and that's why quoting the record since then is not cherry picking.

      On the other hand, your quoting the record over the last five years is entirely moot, because the teams are all so different among those five years. Hell, even over the last two years, look at the differences!

      Between 2010 and 2012, here are the changes. First base is the same, but second, third, and short are all different. Center field is the same, but left and right are both different. Catcher is technically the same, but now Mauer is half-time. DH is different. 3 out of the 5 starting pitchers are gone. The reliever corps is quite different too, but that's expected, so we'll leave them out of the total count.

      That means that, total, the 2010 team and 2012 team have about 5 and a half players in common, out of a possible 14. Adding up the stats for the last five years means adding up stats for teams that are radically different. That's why your point doesn't hold.
      Here is the point:

      the 2011 team was awful. Not enough was done before the 2012 season to improve it enough to be a contender. The 2012 team is awful. So you got to fix it. If you sit on your rear end and do nothing, it is not going to fix itself. That's why Ryan should be on the phone trying to get new players here.

      Or, you can say "we cannot compete in 2013 and look towards 2014-5" and sell everyone who will be over their primes by then and acquiring new talent so you can compete when you plan to compete.

      Sitting on your rear end, waiting for Godot or divine intervention does not work. Gotta have a plan and execute it.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      Listen, no one is saying that this is a playoff team as is. No one is saying that the first six weeks of the season didn't matter. It does. But so do that last 65 games. Add some pitching, and they may not be all that far from being much improved and contending. Not this year, but next year, if certain things happen.

      Also, I 100% agree that the Twins should be going after high-ceiling pitching prospects in any trades... the question is whether or not teams are even making those types of talents available. That's the question. If they could get Dylan Bundy from the Orioles, or Jameson Taillon or Gerrit Cole from the Pirates, they would.
      I think this is part of the issue in deviding everyone on this board in regards to the talent the Twins got for Liriano and may get for other players. No one expects those kinds of players, but high upside does not necessarily mean high ranking. A team may have a pitcher ranked 15th in the system pitching in AAA and ready to contribute. The 16th player in their system may be in A ball, very raw, but with strikeout potential. It's a tough decision, but I want the A baller.
    1. twinswon1991's Avatar
      twinswon1991 -
      Quote Originally Posted by thrylos98 View Post
      Here is the point:the 2011 team was awful. Not enough was done before the 2012 season to improve it enough to be a contender. The 2012 team is awful. So you got to fix it. If you sit on your rear end and do nothing, it is not going to fix itself. That's why Ryan should be on the phone trying to get new players here.Or, you can say "we cannot compete in 2013 and look towards 2014-5" and sell everyone who will be over their primes by then and acquiring new talent so you can compete when you plan to compete.Sitting on your rear end, waiting for Godot or divine intervention does not work. Gotta have a plan and execute it.
      Exactly right. It appears the FO has no plan or direction. Being stuck between rebuilding and mediocre is the worst place for a sports team to be.
    1. Paul's Avatar
      Paul -
      This is off point but, the voices in my head are telling me to mention it. The picture in this article is perfect for a caption contest.

      I'll start it off. "Jesus H. Christ Terry. None of these fockers can pitch! Please. Quit playing with your ball and got me some pitchers!"
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      Should the Twins trade Morneau, Span, Revere or Willingham--absolutely if they can get a top-notch pitching prospect. I doubt teams will give them up for 2 guys with concussion histories, an OF with no arm, or an OF who should be a DH. These are the Twins top 4 players--but they are not all-stars. I love Span but not sure he could bring a top prospect.

      There is no need to make a trade just to make a trade. Stick to your guns--get value for one of these guys or wait till off-season. In the meantime, play Parmalee to see whether he can play 1B everyday.
    1. nokomismod's Avatar
      nokomismod -
      I see what the Twins did before this season as positive (Carrol, Willingham, Doumit, and Burton). After the lousy start, we are seeing what we hoped for (better defense, decent offensive production, improved bullpen, and bad starting pitching).
      I don't see a reason for the negativity surrounding the Liriano trade personally. I think it's a miracle that we got two guys that could contribute after seeing how up and down this guy has been for the past 5 years.
      As far as more trades go, I don't see anything until Pavano and Capps come back and then hopefully we can get something for them.
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      We have to give Ryan credit. This is a tough job, being a general manager.

      First off, the Twins option for Liriano was (1) sign him to a multi-year contract (2) offer him $12.5 million and if he doesn't take it, we get a draft choice (3) let him walk. They traded him...which means they can still offer him a multi-year contract depending on how he increases/decreases his market value, and we got two prospects in return. Both are basically major league ready. One ahs a pitching upside. The other can be that extra guy i the infield, replacing one of two higher priced guys next season.

      We all talk the talk about getting stuff for our stuff, Span, Willingham, Morneau, Perkins, etc.

      We forget that our next door neighbor has equally tantalizing stuff and may offer incentives (payroll givebacks) or has different needs and desires. Reading the list of potential players that can be had for some price (i.e. non starting pitching), the Twins may very well pull a zero. It was actually looking more and more like Janey Carroll would be out biggest trading chip.

      Most teams are going to deal from areas of strength in the minors, or those guys on the cusp of being minor free agents that they don't have 40-man roster room for, or guys like we got from the White Sox, a couple of players that the Sox feel would be replaceable by guys already in their system. I would say the Twins got similar to Florimon and Bromberg, two players that may be ignored by the Twins because there is stuff like them coming up in the system and the Twins really don't see them contributing to the team in palce of, say, otehrs in the system, or otehr minor league free agents that could also be available.

      Free agency. The Twins need to keep Willingham just to prove that they don't rent free agents. The Twins are also liable to attract more highly regarded minor free agents (The Bowdens, for example) next year because players will see an opportunity.

      There are a lot of those promising 24-25 roster players out there, as there also are the 41st/42nd that get cut when people on the 60-man must return. Teams have to move guys not just because they ain't good, but they are blocked and treading water and someone else is at the back door knocking for attention.

      The Twins have to try the free agent market, and hopefully someone wants to come here. Hey, Doumit and Willingham came here. And Doumit wants to stay, too. That's good p.r.

      Should the Twins ersign Baker? He's a perfect example of a competitive marketplace. I doubt that the Twins will be alone in offering him a 2-3 year back-ended contract, the guy does have talent. Again, have bridges been burned because of the way Baker was handled for the disabled list? Is he worn out pitching for Minnesota and jsut wants to try somewhere different? Does he truly love us and wants to stay and end his career (a la Nathan and Cuddyer sic).

      Good piece, Seth. I do think Terry Ryan is looking towards 2013 as more than rebuilding. Staying competitive.

      Yes, eliminate those early starts by Balckie, Pavano, Liriano, Marquis and the horrible era and think if they were just pitched by someone who didn't give up as many runs (i.e. Deduno and DeVries...although our sample is still too small) in which we won one and lost one....the Twins would be at least a .500 team with promise and might actually be looking to buy and trading one of our hot young guys like Hicks, Benson, Arcia or Sano for a Grienke in the stretch run.

      Baseball is a game. Someone has to win. Someone has to lose.

      But the price of beer always remains the same.

      We aren't alone if offering players for trade. Although I would salivate if I could obtain a Willingham, Morneau, Span or Perkins with decent-price years on their contracts for unknowns that, in 2-3 years would be replaced by others in my system.
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