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  • Trade Flatline

    Tuesday's 3:00 PM trade deadline came and went with Minnesota, for a second consecutive year, standing pat.

    There's a lot of frustration being directed toward the Twins, who – unlike other cellar-dwellers around the league – weren't able to unload assets for impact prospects. Their only trade sent Francisco Liriano to the White Sox for a meager return. In short, the franchise did very little to aid its rebuilding effort.

    But, in reflecting on these past days, there's one very important point to keep in mind: no trade is better than a bad trade.

    Dealing away Liriano was essentially a no-brainer, given that he'll be a free agent at year's end. Shipping out Carl Pavano and Matt Capps would have also been obvious moves, even if there wasn't much coming back, but unfortunately both are sitting on the disabled list indefinitely (and still could be traded in August).

    The rest of the team's trade candidates, from Denard Span to Josh Willingham to Justin Morneau to Jared Burton to Glen Perkins, are all under control beyond this year. These aren't guys you trade just to trade. Given that every single one of those names has appeared in reported trade rumors over the past few days and weeks, it seems clear that Terry Ryan was busily working to assess their markets and find a sensible deal.

    In the end, he didn't get the kind of offers that he felt merited giving up pieces with long-term value. It's tough to blame him for that. There will be other opportunities to shop these players in the future (in fact, I suspect we'll see Span and Morneau's names floated quite a bit during the offseason).

    Earlier this week I wrote about a hard truth that became evident in the Liriano trade and also through some of the quotes surfacing from rival general managers about the the Twins' sky-high asking prices for their trade chips. For various reasons, despite the increased number of buyers, teams around the league just weren't willing to pay up for what the Twins were selling.

    In a situation like that, standing pat was really the only logical course of action. And it leaves Ryan with plenty of options during the offseason.
    This article was originally published in blog: Trade Flatline started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 45 Comments
    1. savvyspy's Avatar
      savvyspy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Fire Dan Gladden View Post
      Voices of reason? Posting comments?? Where is all the fire and brimstone?

      When the Twins a strong in a couple of years, I hope that all the naysayers will post videos on Youtube eating crow. (But I know they won't).
      But I want to know what your definition of "when the Twins are strong" is. If you are talking about winning playoff series and going to a World Series then I will gladly eat crow on Youtube. If you are talking about patching together a team that edges the Tigers at the end of the season to win the weakest division in baseball and gets swept by the Yankees, then we don't agree on what a "strong" baseball team is.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      I would say at least with some of these guys "trading just to trade" isn't quite accurate. There are very valid reasons why dealing Span, Willingham, and Burton now would have been prudent. We probably won't know until the word gets out about what was offered, but those three have significant red flags about sustaining their current pace. If we got offers anywhere near a "sell high" value we may have made a serious mistake holding on to them.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Of all the non-moves yesterday, I'm most disappointed that we didn't move Burton. Span has been pretty consistent when healthy and Willingham's contract is so good that it didn't make sense trading him unless someone overpaid.

      But Burton is a bit of journeyman having a career year and the Twins have a bunch of potential bullpen arms (heck, it might help Hendriks to pitch out of the pen for a month before starting again, ala Santana or Liriano). I know he's cheap but it would have been nice if he could have brought back something. Oh well, I expect Ryan will make some offseason moves.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      I just think that teams are so not willing to deal prospects, even for really good players. Ryan fully understands the need to build from within to sustain success, and so do all the other GMs.
      But the other GM's learned this FROM Ryan. Early this century, the Twins were always hailed as the model franchise of building from within and not giving away your top guys for rentals. Now every other GM has pretty much adopted the same philosophy and Ryan has lost his advantage when it comes to this stratagy.
    1. DPJ's Avatar
      DPJ -
      Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
      But the other GM's learned this FROM Ryan. Early this century, the Twins were always hailed as the model franchise of building from within and not giving away your top guys for rentals. Now every other GM has pretty much adopted the same philosophy and Ryan has lost his advantage when it comes to this stratagy.
      NTM the drafting and development of players has taken a nose dive.
    1. boney's Avatar
      boney -
      I understand not making a trade yesterday if the offers weren't there but I don't want to hear the same thing after this offseason. At the end of the day it's not about how much you tried to get something done. Terry Ryan has shown this year that he can still find a bargain, what he has to prove next is that he can still make a deal. I don't want to see a trade just for the sake of a trade but I would like to know that I have a GM/front office of a bad team that can take advantage of guys like Span,Perkins, and Willingham being at their peak value.
    1. old nurse's Avatar
      old nurse -
      Quote Originally Posted by boney View Post
      I understand not making a trade yesterday if the offers weren't there but I don't want to hear the same thing after this offseason. At the end of the day it's not about how much you tried to get something done. Terry Ryan has shown this year that he can still find a bargain, what he has to prove next is that he can still make a deal. I don't want to see a trade just for the sake of a trade but I would like to know that I have a GM/front office of a bad team that can take advantage of guys like Span,Perkins, and Willingham being at their peak value.
      Print a copy of Nygard's top 50 prospects. In a few years see where the players are at. You can trade players for prospects, but will they develop into better players than what you had? In the meantime you have to field a team. A competitive team is preferable to an outfield with Hosken Powell and Willie Norwood. If they had traded outfielders, there would not be adequate replacements. Two years from now maybe. Perkins might be replaceable but I don't think there was even a b type player offered. The current minor leagues have plenty of c players in the lower levels.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      I would say at least with some of these guys "trading just to trade" isn't quite accurate. There are very valid reasons why dealing Span, Willingham, and Burton now would have been prudent. We probably won't know until the word gets out about what was offered, but those three have significant red flags about sustaining their current pace. If we got offers anywhere near a "sell high" value we may have made a serious mistake holding on to them.
      There's some truth to this point but the thing to keep in mind is that the pressure to trade at the deadline was not on the Twins – it was on the teams they were talking to. If the desperation of loading up for the stretch run didn't prompt opposing GMs to overpay, then there's little harm in waiting. It's possible the value of guys like Willingham and Burton will drop significantly in the next two months but probably not.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      There's some truth to this point but the thing to keep in mind is that the pressure to trade at the deadline was not on the Twins – it was on the teams they were talking to. If the desperation of loading up for the stretch run didn't prompt opposing GMs to overpay, then there's little harm in waiting. It's possible the value of guys like Willingham and Burton will drop significantly in the next two months but probably not.
      Yep. The Twins were in a position of power this deadline and it takes two to tango. If the other side of the table isn't willing to offer up quality for quality, you hold on to your assets. They're the ones who are in a position of weakness and have an immediate need to improve, not the Twins. The Twins can hold on to their chips for another day when conditions are more favorable.

      Would anyone here have been happy with what the Giants gave up for Pence? I sure wouldn't. What they gave up wasn't much more than what the Twins got for Liriano.
    1. StormJH1's Avatar
      StormJH1 -
      I really don't think the Twins are alone in this delusion - the media and even well-informed bloggers (and blog posters) buy into it also. The "delusion" I'm talking about is that players on a last-place team with pedestrian (or worse) numbers garner significant trade interest around the league. I realized this the past few days in two examples. First, I was listening to Mad Dog Radio on Sirius, and he basically ran through all of the MLB teams for possible trade activity. Yeah, it's Mad Dog shooting from the hip, and it wasn't particularly researched or pre-prepared. But he got through about four or five other outfielders on the market (including Pence and Victorino), and when he got to the Twins he said "they don't have anyone you'd really WANT". That may be an overly simplistic view, but I think that was the prevailing wisdom. Span could help a lot of clubs, but he was never as desirable as some of the other names being openly shopped. Plus, Terry Ryan didn't really want to move him (and I do like him as a Twin, this was never about him personally).

      The second moment was when I turned on the Liriano game last night and FSN North put his stats up. His record was something like 3-10 with an ERA in the mid 5.00's. Now, we as Twins fans remember what he was in '06, how he came back in 2010, and how he's been one of the best pitchers in the AL for short stretches this year. But when you put that all together and put up numbers like THAT, and then remember that you're trading a rental, not even the full player, should we really be surprised he didn't draw even a "B" level prospect? Probably not.

      Now, I do think that guys like Willingham and, to a lesser degree, Morneau, Burton, and Perkins might have had some degree of value to other teams (and were not rentals). But I'm not at all surprised that TR didn't see enough value to move any of those guys, even though I'm sure there were offers. I can't "fault" him for making that decision, but it's frustrating when you hear TR reiterate over and over that he doesn't really believe in free agency, and doesn't seem to believe in the trade deadline either...yet the team continues to slide.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by DPJ View Post
      NTM the drafting and development of players has taken a nose dive.
      And the identification and acquisition of players in trade and FA- as well, conversely misidentifying the value of those already in the org, has taken largely a turn to the crapper, as well:

      1) Nishioka
      2) Marquis
      3) Young
      4) Capps
      5) Ramos
      6) Thome (Twins got $20,000, Phillies got 2 prospects)
      7) Garza
      8) Lohse
      9) Dickey (has been a mainstay SP for the Mets since Twins tendered him in 09)
      10) Santana
      11) Hardy
      12) Hoey
      13) Thinking that the opening day 2012 SP core staff was, at best, anything close to MLB-average-level.
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      Quote Originally Posted by greengoblinrulz View Post
      just get ready for TRyan to talk about the Aug waiver trades that can be made......am/was a fan of his the first run, but just think the game 'may' have passed him by. Conservative approach/not lovin youth combo is gonna leave this franchise in ruins
      didnt bill smith deffer all trades and transactions to his advisor? terry ryan....and isint this the same guy who claimed we were not in a rebuilding year but competing for the title?
      isnt this the same guy who traded jim thome for 20,000 dollars then 1 year later the phillys got baltimores #3and #8 prospect ?
      isnt this the guy that got go-go for 2 time cy young winner johan santana?
      terry ryan has not made 1 good trade ever , he did make 1 lucky trade in aj ....terry ryan felt and stated boof bonser was the key player in that trade...and he has lived on that 1 trade since..
      terry ryans drafts always comes down to this "who can we draft that will take less money? who is hurt? who has slipped in the rankings?
      terry ryan and radke need to go along with the rest of the 3 stooges and the @ss clown posse....they draft soft tossing controll pitchers ...why? they are cheaper to sign ....
      they draft toolsly outfielders why cheaper to sign .....they draft hurt players,why they are cheaper to sign....

      time for new blood new leadership and maybe a new owner....
    1. boney's Avatar
      boney -
      [QUOTE=old nurse;41116]Print a copy of Nygard's top 50 prospects. In a few years see where the players are at. You can trade players for prospects, but will they develop into better players than what you had? In the meantime you have to field a team. A competitive team is preferable to an outfield with Hosken Powell and Willie Norwood. If they had traded outfielders, there would not be adequate replacements. Two years from now maybe. Perkins might be replaceable but I don't think there was even a b type player offered. The current minor leagues have plenty of c players in the lower levels.

      I'm not saying that they need to move every tradeable player, and of course prospects (like every other sport) are just prospects until proven otherwise, and I understand the whole field a competitive team idea but this team has to figure out who they are and that is one of the 3 worst teams in the league for the last year and a half. IMO, it's going to be very easy for this org to fall into the trap of wanting to find bargain type players to stay competitive but they still won't have the pitching. As much as I appreciate TR I also remember the 90s
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      There's some truth to this point but the thing to keep in mind is that the pressure to trade at the deadline was not on the Twins – it was on the teams they were talking to. If the desperation of loading up for the stretch run didn't prompt opposing GMs to overpay, then there's little harm in waiting. It's possible the value of guys like Willingham and Burton will drop significantly in the next two months but probably not.
      I may have muddled my point a bit - I don't disagree that we need a willing partner to pull this off. None of us know what was or wasn't on the table yet. But I am not so confident in JR that I would dismiss the idea that we left worthy offers on the table. Yes Pence fetched garbage but Broxton damn near fetched gold. I wouldn't endorse trading for the sake of it but I also don't endorse placing such a high value that nothing but absurdity is good enough. I want to believe we'd have jumped at one of those Cincy specs but I just don't have confidence in that.

      If Hammer stays healthy he might still have this value in the offseason but I can't believe Burton will ever have been this valuable again. We will probably be able to look back in a year and know for sure, but it sure feels like we just whiffed on selling high again.
    1. Loosey's Avatar
      Loosey -
      Quote Originally Posted by gunnarthor View Post
      Of all the non-moves yesterday, I'm most disappointed that we didn't move Burton. Span has been pretty consistent when healthy and Willingham's contract is so good that it didn't make sense trading him unless someone overpaid.

      But Burton is a bit of journeyman having a career year and the Twins have a bunch of potential bullpen arms (heck, it might help Hendriks to pitch out of the pen for a month before starting again, ala Santana or Liriano). I know he's cheap but it would have been nice if he could have brought back something. Oh well, I expect Ryan will make some offseason moves.
      I agree with you in theory, but in actuality what sort of return would Burton bring? He's a bullpen arm having a career season with a history of injuries. I'd rather keep the solid bullpen arm than take a middling double A reliever they'd get in return.
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      Burton, as a "non-closer" with limited back-to-back days usage, likely wouldn't have significant value. I'd rather keep him around on the cheap for next year than deal him away for a pittance.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by johnnydakota View Post
      didnt bill smith deffer all trades and transactions to his advisor? terry ryan........
      really, where did you hear this?
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by johnnydakota View Post
      didnt bill smith deffer all trades and transactions to his advisor?
      In a word, no.

      So the rest of your post is kind of pointless.
    1. RIP BYTO's Avatar
      RIP BYTO -
      Quote Originally Posted by johnnydakota View Post
      didnt bill smith deffer all trades and transactions to his advisor? terry ryan....and isint this the same guy who claimed we were not in a rebuilding year but competing for the title?
      isnt this the same guy who traded jim thome for 20,000 dollars then 1 year later the phillys got baltimores #3and #8 prospect ?
      isnt this the guy that got go-go for 2 time cy young winner johan santana?
      terry ryan has not made 1 good trade ever , he did make 1 lucky trade in aj ....terry ryan felt and stated boof bonser was the key player in that trade...and he has lived on that 1 trade since..
      terry ryans drafts always comes down to this "who can we draft that will take less money? who is hurt? who has slipped in the rankings?
      terry ryan and radke need to go along with the rest of the 3 stooges and the @ss clown posse....they draft soft tossing controll pitchers ...why? they are cheaper to sign ....
      they draft toolsly outfielders why cheaper to sign .....they draft hurt players,why they are cheaper to sign....

      time for new blood new leadership and maybe a new owner....
      I agree. If you take away the AJ trade from TR's resume what do you have left? He's a bum for a GM.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      He's plucked quite a bit of talent through obscure trades. Buchanan, who he later flipped for Bartlett, Ortiz, etc. The AJ trade made him famous, but it wasn't as if he got lucky. He's done it before.
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