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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. Fire Dan Gladden's Avatar
      Fire Dan Gladden -
      With all the screaming, there is another thing to remember. The Twins are leading all of baseball in runs scored for the month of July. All of the position players are signed through next season. The position players as a groups have shown regular improvement since the beginning of the year, I can understand why TR is willing to give that away.

      Of course the pitching is bad, but robbing Peter to pay Paul isn't the answer either.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      How do you get better without trading?
    1. ltwedt's Avatar
      ltwedt -
      Wow - Great picture - but it has to be 10 years and 40 pounds ago for Gardy!
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      They have 3-5 outfielders that could be ready next year, why would you not trade from a position of strength, to fill tje holes in the middle infield and starting pitching
    1. birdwatcher's Avatar
      birdwatcher -
      Lots of really good (and civil) arguments today. We would probably all agree that GM's have a tough job, and that occasionally they will make a judgment call that doesn't work out. We can then rightfully holler about their "poor judgment". I'm fine with that type of criticism. But the criticism I absolutely despise is that the Twins " are sitting on their butts doing nothing", and that "they are fine with mediocrity". These are just unfair and patently untrue criticisms. They reflect irrationality and ignorance.

      Give Terry Ryan and the others credit for trying hard to fix things, and if you accuse them of accepting mediocrity, please supply a quote. Thank you.
    1. twinswon1991's Avatar
      twinswon1991 -
      Terry figures he can fix pitching by resigning Marqui and Pavano in offseason.
    1. Blake's Avatar
      Blake -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      They have 3-5 outfielders that could be ready next year, why would you not trade from a position of strength, to fill tje holes in the middle infield and starting pitching
      Mike, the outfielders in the minor leagues are unproven at the MLB level.

      I expect the Twins understand that if they don't make a good trade this year, they will have to sign a couple of big name free agent starters in the off season. If signing a couple of FA pitchers doesn't work next year, the team is blown up at the trade deadline and the Twins start over for 2014.

      I think blowing up the team this year is one year too soon.
    1. Highabove's Avatar
      Highabove -
      Where no longer on the clock with players such as Span. Whats the Rush!

      This afternoon, we do not need instant gratification.
    1. LastOnePicked's Avatar
      LastOnePicked -
      Yes, good comments today. I'm a bit puzzled about how folks think the Twins will try to "stay competitive" in 2013. They haven't really been competitive for a championship in quite some time. But TR's job IS tough, no doubt. I wish him good health -- it seems the job can wear on him a bit.

      Like a lot of folks, I have been irrational in my some of posts the last few years. But I do believe that the Twins are comfortable with mediocrity, and I think their actions, more than any one of their FO quotes, provide evidence. When they have faced obstacles to a title (say, a dominant Ace), they have failed through free agency or trading to acquire one. They consistently avoid risk and play it safe, all in the hopes to nibble out another Central Division title during years when the division is weak. Their philosophy from the White Sox is markedly different, and the real difference, from where I sit, is that one of those teams has postseason victories and a World Series title to their credit, and the other does not.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      The offseason BETTER be good.
    1. Winston Smith's Avatar
      Winston Smith -
      Quote Originally Posted by LastOnePicked View Post
      Yes, good comments today. I'm a bit puzzled about how folks think the Twins will try to "stay competitive" in 2013. They haven't really been competitive for a championship in quite some time. But TR's job IS tough, no doubt. I wish him good health -- it seems the job can wear on him a bit.

      Like a lot of folks, I have been irrational in my some of posts the last few years. But I do believe that the Twins are comfortable with mediocrity, and I think their actions, more than any one of their FO quotes, provide evidence. When they have faced obstacles to a title (say, a dominant Ace), they have failed through free agency or trading to acquire one. They consistently avoid risk and play it safe, all in the hopes to nibble out another Central Division title during years when the division is weak. Their philosophy from the White Sox is markedly different, and the real difference, from where I sit, is that one of those teams has postseason victories and a World Series title to their credit, and the other does not.
      I agree with this. The twins last won a playoff game in 2004 since that time the White Sox have won the world series. The Indians have been to a game 7 of the AL champ series and the Tigers have been to an AL champ series and to a world series.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      That was disappointing for me. Actually, I think blowing up this team this year is one year too late, so we just fundamentallly disagree....
    1. boney's Avatar
      boney -
      If Ryan wasn't given what he thought was a fair offer for any Span/Perkins/Willingham etc I guess you can't blame him for not making a move. The problem to me is the thinking that they can just address the issues in the offseason. I'm not sure what the team has done recently to give anyone hope that this is what will happen.

      So the team is just 2or3 starting pitchers from contending? When have they ever spent money on starting pitching and maybe more importantly how much would they have to outspend legitimate contenders to get a big name pitcher? Saw a conversation on here the other day where people were already talking about what pitchers the team could get on 2or3 year contracts. That may get them to the point where they can compete for division titles again but they would still be a million miles away from being a world series contender imo.

      As much as I appreciate what TR has done in the past and he's proven with the last offseason that he can still find a bargain but maybe he's not the guy to make the big trade. I guess we'll find out this offseason.
    1. Monkeypaws's Avatar
      Monkeypaws -
      Good article - I agree, there is no need to trade good players with affordable contracts. With just one or two pitchers, this team can compete in the Central. Like the idea of going after mid-range ML quality starters.
    1. savvyspy's Avatar
      savvyspy -
      The Twins did exactly what they set out to do. Sit on their hands and prepare to ditch payroll next year. There is still a majority of fans who believe the fantasy that this team is competitive while ignoring the fact that they've been horrible for 2 years. Why would anyone named Pohlad invest when the fans don't even demand it??? They didn't make their money being stupid. If people are willing to make excuses for the front office, the manager, the hometown "superstar", and the rest of the organization why not see how much more salary they can get away with cutting?? Its still a nice semi-new ballpark and a great place to watch a game but don't fool yourselves into thinking this team is interested in competing. They've done nothing to suggest that's the case.

      Let the excuses begin the rest of the way on why none of this is Gardy's fault and how Anderson really is the greatest pitching coach of all time if anyone bothered to listen to him. I'm sure they "aren't going to make changes for the sake of making changes" again next year.

      Good times.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Out of curiousity, has any team in the last 10 years signed two legit starting MLB pitchers in one offseason?
    1. Winston Smith's Avatar
      Winston Smith -
      Well Mike they have 67+ mill tied up in 8 players and 2 lost causes. With a 90 mill payroll they'd have 23 mill to spend on 17 players. Any solid starter will cost at least 10 so do the math kind of hard to fit 2 in there isn't it. Now if they trade Morneau without paying much and or raise the payroll, which I doubt, 1 solid pitcher would be the max. More likely 2 dumpster dives.
    1. amjgt's Avatar
      amjgt -
      In general I am unhappy, but I will give it an "incomplete" and reserve judgement until I see whether the Twins go get a couple decent pitchers in the offseason. This non-trade clearly makes us better in 2013, but probably not as good in 2014 and beyond. So if we try to do something next year, I can accept not doing anything this trade deadline. If we see a typical offseason this year from the Twins then I would deem this trade deadline a total failure
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      I'm not talking about if the Twins will or won't, I'm just curious if it has ever happened before. Heck, outside of teams with payrolls way higher than the Twins, has any team ever signed two players to multi year deals worth more than $8-10MM per year in one offseason, regardless of position, in the last 10 years?

      edit: I'm asking because I don't know, but if no one has, I want to manage my expectations for next offseason, and not get my hopes up too much. Nothing more or less.
    1. pbrezeasap's Avatar
      pbrezeasap -
      I have a different question for all the people hell bent on selling off all of the good valuable players for high-upside prospects. When has a selling team ever gotten prospects in return that have directly translated into success for that team a few years down the road?

      I did a quick scan of in-season trades from 2005-2009 and the only one that I saw that meets that criteria would be Texeira to the Braves for Andrus, Feliz, Harrison, and Saltalamacchia. But that's just one out of hundreds.

      I am with the group that thinks a couple quality starting pitchers makes us competitive next year. I would rather hold out hope that the FO makes that happen then see them sell off Willingham, Span, whoever and watch the team lose 100+ games for the next however many years while we wait for the prospects who don't amount to squat 99 times out of 100.
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