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SD Buhr/Jim Crikket

"Hello, Good-bye" Poll

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I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello

This is the time of year when, like it or not, there’s a lot of discussion going on about who will or will not be wearing a Twins uniform a week or two… or a month or two… from now.

The reality is, when your favorite Major League Baseball team is not a contender in July, there will almost certainly be changes made. Maybe you’ll see a managerial change. You will see player changes.

Fans will be saying “hello” to some new faces… and they’ll be saying “good-bye” to some favorite familiar faces. That’s baseball, especially when your team is in the middle of its third consecutive losing season.

(This article was originally posted at Knuckleballsblog.com)

Let’s try to make a few predictions concerning who we’ll be saying “good-bye” to.

Ron Gardenhire and Tom Brunansky

The easiest off-season prediction to make relative to the Twins was that manager Ron Gardenhire’s job status would be a hot topic by the end of July. Gardenhire’s Twins have lost almost 100 games in each of the past two seasons and it would seem almost inevitable that the total will be at least 90 losses in 2013.

That was predictable. Since the losing season was predictable, so was Gardenhire’s hot seat.

Of course, the reason the losing season was predictable is that the roster that General Manager Terry Ryan and the rest of the front office assembled for Gardenhire before the season started was underwhelming.

I’ve never been overly impressed with Gardenhire’s game management philosophies, but I also believe that the job of a manager is a lot more about managing the clubhouse than managing individual games.

A manager is only as good as the players he’s given to work with and I think pretty much everyone, including his boss, now knows Gardenhire was dealt a pretty lousy hand this season.

If the manager has lost the clubhouse… if the players have tuned him out and no longer respect his voice… then he should be replaced. I’ve not heard nor read any indication that such is the case, however.

Given that, I not only expect Gardenhire to remain the Twins manager through the end of this season, but also to be brought back for 2014 and beyond.

There are plenty of other possible changes to the Twins worthy of discussion that are far more likely to take place, however.

This time of year, trades are at the top of the list of discussion topics.

Terry Ryan

A year ago, I published my list of top five most likely Twins to be dealt before the end of August. At that time, the list was, in order from first to fifth, Franicisco Liriano, Denard Span, Danny Valencia, Alexi Casilla and Josh Willingham.

In a poll we attached to that article, our readers agreed with my top three choices, but felt Matt Capps was more likely to be traded during the season than Casilla and Willingham. In fact, almost nobody agreed with me on Willingham being a trade target.

In the end, the Twins had almost nobody that anyone really wanted to trade for a year ago. Liriano and Valencia were traded during the season, Span was dealt in the off-season and Casilla parted after the season, as well.

The Twins are sellers this year, once again, but is Ryan likely to see any greater interest among his fellow GMs than he did a year ago?

I’m not sure Ryan will trade more than just a couple of players, again, but the level of interest… and thus the ultimate return for those players… should be greater this season.

Here’s my list of the five Twins players most likely to be wearing another team’s uniform by the end of August this year:

  1. Justin Morneau: He’s in the last year of his contract with Minnesota and there reportedly are teams calling about him. He’s not going to bring the return he would have if he were his old home run hitting self, but if the Twins will pay a chunk of his remaining salary (and there’s absolutely no reason they shouldn’t), there are contenders that may be willing to give up a prospect with some talent. If they end up just giving Morneau away as a salary dump, Twins fans should justifiably be enraged.
  2. Jared Burton: He’s had a few struggles and hasn’t been as reliable as he was a year ago, but there are a lot of teams that could use relief pitching and Burton is likely drawing interest.
  3. Ryan Doumit: The Twins like his versatility. Other teams will like that, too.
  4. Glen Perkins: If it were me, I wouldn’t trade Perkins unless someone agreed to way overpay for a “proven closer.” Unfortunately for the Twins, most teams (other than the Twins themselves, historically) are not inclined to overpay for a proven closer. If you want an indication of whether Terry Ryan believes the Twins can contend next year or whether it will be at least 2015, watch what he does with Perkins. If he’s traded, it may indicate Ryan expects the All-Star Game to be the biggest Target Field highlight of 2014.
  5. Trevor Plouffe: Is Terry Ryan ready to annoint Miguel Sano as the Twins’ starting third baseman beginning in 2014? If so, Trevor Plouffe could be dealt.

Others: Could Kevin Correia or Mike Pelfrey be traded? Maybe, but I think not.

Pelfrey is pitching better and if that continues, he may have some value, but he’s making little enough that if he isn’t dealt in July, he could be “blocked” by teams claiming him to prevent a waiver trade in August. I also could see the Twins extend Pelfrey for another season before this summer is over.

I think Ryan feels vindicated by Correia’s season and intends to keep him for the second year of his contract.

What do you think?

Who do you think will no longer be wearing a Twins uniform by the end of August?

Because I have no idea how to imbed a poll here at TwinsDaily, you're going to have to click here to head over to our blog at Knuckleballs to share your views in the poll.

We’ll add Ron Gardenhire to the list to choose from in the poll so if you really believe he’s likely to be axed this summer, you can reflect that in your choices.

SD Buhr covers the Cedar Rapids Kernels for MetroSportsReport.com. His alter-ego, Jim Crikket, opines about the Twins and Kernels at Knuckleballsblog.com.

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  1. beckmt's Avatar
    Expect Morneau to be traded, would not be surprised if Casey Fien was also (time to sell high on him). Burton could be. Doumit is not having a good enough year to bring a decent return. Do not expect teams to overpay for Perkins, though I hope if the offer is good enough TR trades him.
  2. howieramone's Avatar
    Agree with you on Correia. I would trade any and all members of the bullpen for starting pitching prospects. So much of the future depends on accumulating pure numbers, and I don't see another opportunity until the 2014 draft. I sense the price for Perkins is rising almost daily and would be very happy with 2 starting pitching prospects in return. If not, wouldn't mind keeping a Gopher.
  3. old nurse's Avatar
    There is not a Twin player that is not available for another team to trade for. The limit becomes value to the Twins vs what is offered in trade. Very few players may be more valuable to the other team than they are to the Twins.
  4. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
    I would definitely put Duensing higher than Perkins and Plouffe. Jamey Carroll is another name people have been tossing around. Regarding #5, I don't think there is any real competition between Sano and Plouffe. They play the same position, but either (likely Plouffe) could be moved somewhere else.
  5. Jim H's Avatar
    I think the following are the most likely to be traded, in large part because they don't figure in the future for the Twins. Doumit, Thomas, Carroll, Duensing, and possibly Burton. Some that you mentioned could be as well. Certainly if the deal is there, Morneau could be traded. None I mentioned are likely to bring a big return, but only Burton and maybe Doumit figure to help much next year and there are possible replacements.

    Morneau is likely to be traded because of the expiring contract, not so much that there is a ready replacement. I have a hard time seeing Perkins traded, I can't see anyone offering enough to make Ryan let him go. But it could happen, I suppose. It makes little sense to trade Plouffe right now. Sano won't be ready for awhile, Plouffe could easily be worth a lot more if he can establish himself a little more. His versatility means that he can help at different positions if Sano gets to the majors sooner that I expect.

    Pelfrey could also gather enough interest to be traded. I kind of think that the Twins might just offer him a contract for next year. If he doesn't sign one, he is a little more likely to be traded.
    Updated 07-23-2013 at 08:22 PM by Jim H
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