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.