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Article: Central Intelligence: Chicago White Sox

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#1 Nick Nelson

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Posted 26 March 2017 - 08:13 PM

Following an incident last summer where White Sox ace Chris Sale busted out a pair of scissors and cut up a uniform he didn't want to wear, he was suspended and fined. It appeared that the relationship between him and the team was reaching a perilous point.

They didn't fire Sale, but during the offseason they did trade him, setting off a roster fire sale that saw Chicago trade away its pitching and position WAR leaders for hefty prospect hauls while also making a managerial change.2016 At A Glance

Record: 78-84
Runs Scored: 686
Runs Allowed: 715
Pythag W/L: 78-84
Pitching WAR Leader: Chris Sale
Position WAR Leader: Adam Eaton

Season Recap

The 2016 campaign qualified as Chicago's best in four years, but that wasn't saying much. Another sub-.500 finish spelled the end of Robin Ventura's tenure, which produced only one finish above fourth place, back in 2012.

The story for the Sox was much the same: offensive mediocrity and a pitching staff that lacked superior quality beyond the undoubtedly stellar 1-2 rotation punch of Sale and Jose Quintana. Finally, the front office grew fed up with a formula that seemed to be going nowhere.

During the offseason, Chicago committed to an approach that many have lamented Minnesota's avoidance of during a half-decade of ineptitude: they tore it down. Sale was shipped to Boston in exchange for a premium package headlined by Yoan Moncada, arguably the game's top prospect. Adam Eaton, who was worth more than twice as many wins as any other position player on the team according to FanGraphs, went to Washington with three young pitchers coming back.

Outside of the returns in these blockbusters, the White Sox made no significant additions other than signing Derek Holland – a mid-rotation starter at best – to a one-year deal.

Why They'll Be Better

Well, anything can happen I suppose. They didn't set a particularly high bar last year and it's not like the White Sox are lacking in talent. Moncada is Baseball America's No. 2 prospect, and he's basically MLB-ready after debuting for Boston last September. The second baseman will start the year in Triple-A (mostly for service time reasons) but should be up quickly to partner with shortstop Tim Anderson for one of the game's best young keystone combos.

Right-hander Lucas Giolito, the hard-throwing centerpiece in the Eaton deal, is 25th on BA's prospect list and could soon join Quintana and Carlos Rodon for a potent trio atop the rotation.

If the youth movement can push things along and jell in a hurry, the White Sox have a chance to surprise this summer.

Why They'll Be Worse

It goes without saying that when you take away a team's top two contributors, it's probably going to take a step backward. Chicago doesn't really have anyone on hand to replace Eaton in center field (the presumed starter, Charlie Tillson, has a stress reaction in his foot and is out indefinitely). Of course, no pitcher is going to match the departed dominance of Sale.

In fact, the starting corps is shaping up to be a big old mess. With Rodon experiencing ominous biceps soreness, Chicago figures to open the season with a rotation featuring Quintana and then Holland, James Shields, Miguel Gonzalez and... Dylan Covey?

The expectation is that GM Rick Hahn will shop Quintana around in his continuing efforts to rebuild, especially if things go south early. Closer David Robertson is also potentially on the table. If the White Sox take away the few remaining standout veterans and leave it all in the hands of inexperienced youngsters and marginal players, they could be looking at 100 losses.

It probably wouldn't be the worst outcome. Part of rebuilding, and the part where the Sox have lagged with their habit of being bad-not-awful, is accruing high draft picks and hitting on them. Chicago has selected higher than eighth in the draft only once in the past decade, even with all of those non-competitive seasons. They used that pick (third overall in 2014) to take Rodon, who might be their best starter by year's end.

They'll get the 11th selection this June, but could be on the clock much earlier in 2018. In fact, they're probably counting on it.


~~~

Check out the rest of our Central Intelligence series previewing Minnesota's division rivals:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals

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#2 ThejacKmp

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 08:49 AM

I'm not sure anyone has lamented the Twins not having a firesale. Who was there to trade? Outside of maybe Santana and for sure Dozier, the Twins haven't had any good players to trade over the past 7 years or so. They've moved some relievers when it made sense to but that's not a fire sale. They had no market for Dozier so that hasn't been an option. Maybe you say trade Santana but he'll likely have as much value at the deadline this year.

 

 


#3 Vanimal46

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 09:23 AM

The thing is, the White Sox didn't really do a "fire sale" per say. They still have All-Star 3B Todd Frazier, slugger 1B Jose Abreu, All-Star closer Dave Robertson, 2 young, good to very good pitchers in Quintana and Rodon.  

 

They sold 2 great assets and filled up the cupboards in the minors acquiring their top 4 org prospects this off-season. 

 

Their "fire sale" could still happen in July if they choose to sell off the names mentioned in the first paragraph. Until then, they could actually be decent. 

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#4 Mike Sixel

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 09:28 AM

I'd probably move Moncada to CF already....and have him in AAA nearly all year, unless they are good somehow.

 

I predict they are bad, and Quintana and Robertson are dealt. Maybe Abreu, but if he's good, then maybe they aren't bad enough to sell it all off....

 

They'll pick in the top 5, imo, and their minors will be loaded. They'll just have to be good at development for this plan to work out.

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I don't know, it is a site to discuss sports, not airline safety.....maybe we should take it less seriously?


#5 Mike Sixel

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 09:29 AM

 

I'm not sure anyone has lamented the Twins not having a firesale. Who was there to trade? Outside of maybe Santana and for sure Dozier, the Twins haven't had any good players to trade over the past 7 years or so. They've moved some relievers when it made sense to but that's not a fire sale. They had no market for Dozier so that hasn't been an option. Maybe you say trade Santana but he'll likely have as much value at the deadline this year.

 

I more lament not just calling up the young RPs and SPs sooner, and letting them sink or swim over two years, than not making trades.

 

But, if you can get a legit number 5 starter for Nunez, you should be able to get something for others in the last 7 years, I'd think.....so, I'm not sure they had no one to deal.

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I don't know, it is a site to discuss sports, not airline safety.....maybe we should take it less seriously?


#6 Nick Nelson

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 09:32 AM

 

The thing is, the White Sox didn't really do a "fire sale" per say. They still have All-Star 3B Todd Frazier, slugger 1B Jose Abreu, All-Star closer Dave Robertson, 2 young, good to very good pitchers in Quintana and Rodon.  

I mean it sounds nice when your put those descriptors in front of their names, but they aren't really accurate. Todd Frazier was not an All Star last year, when he offered little offensive value outside of hitting a bunch of home runs. David Robertson was an All Star once, in 2011. Jose Abreu was a fairly average 1B last year. 

 

As I noted, there is still some talent on this roster, but I think it is apt to describe the offseason as a fire sale when they flipped their two leaders in WAR for a bunch of prospects who will all open the year in the minors.

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#7 Mike Sixel

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 09:34 AM

 

I mean it sounds nice when your put those descriptors in front of their names, but they aren't really accurate. Todd Frazier was not an All Star last year, when he offered little offensive value outside of hitting a bunch of home runs. David Robertson was an All Star once, in 2011. Jose Abreu was a fairly average 1B last year. 

 

As I noted, there is still some talent on this roster, but I think it is apt to describe the offseason as a fire sale when they flipped their two leaders in WAR for a bunch of prospects who will all open the year in the minors.

 

Agreed.

I don't know, it is a site to discuss sports, not airline safety.....maybe we should take it less seriously?


#8 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 09:35 AM

 

I mean it sounds nice when your put those descriptors in front of their names, but they aren't really accurate. Todd Frazier was not an All Star last year, when he offered little offensive value outside of hitting a bunch of home runs. David Robertson was an All Star once, in 2011. Jose Abreu was a fairly average 1B last year. 

 

As I noted, there is still some talent on this roster, but I think it is apt to describe the offseason as a fire sale when they flipped their two leaders in WAR for a bunch of prospects who will all open the year in the minors.

The White Sox definitely had a fire sale but that doesn't mean they traded every player of value on their roster. Both ideas can exist simultaneously.

 

And besides, it's bloody hard to move ten guys in a single offseason. The White Sox moved their most valuable assets and got a crapton in return for them. I suspect there's a better than even chance we'll see some of those other guys go on the block in the next eleven months.

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#9 Vanimal46

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 09:36 AM

 

I'd probably move Moncada to CF already....and have him in AAA nearly all year, unless they are good somehow.

 

I predict they are bad, and Quintana and Robertson are dealt. Maybe Abreu, but if he's good, then maybe they aren't bad enough to sell it all off....

 

They'll pick in the top 5, imo, and their minors will be loaded. They'll just have to be good at development for this plan to work out.

 

Robertson should be traded for sure. It's similar to the Twins situation with Perkins back in 2012... No reason to have a very good closer on a bad team. 

 

Quintana still has 3 years left on his contract and potentially still could be on the next good White Sox team. Unless someone gives them a godfather offer from the farm, I think he stays. 

 

If there's one thing we know about the Sox, it's that they let their prospects sink or swim at the MLB level. One thing I'm very jealous about as a Twins fan. 

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#10 Vanimal46

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 09:39 AM

 

I mean it sounds nice when your put those descriptors in front of their names, but they aren't really accurate. Todd Frazier was not an All Star last year, when he offered little offensive value outside of hitting a bunch of home runs. David Robertson was an All Star once, in 2011. Jose Abreu was a fairly average 1B last year. 

 

As I noted, there is still some talent on this roster, but I think it is apt to describe the offseason as a fire sale when they flipped their two leaders in WAR for a bunch of prospects who will all open the year in the minors.

 

That's fair. I've heard descriptors for those guys before, and didn't look into it before typing. 


#11 Willihammer

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 09:48 AM

Article on Yoan Moncada from last week.

http://www.espn.com/...or-league-debut

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Well, there's that.

-Dark Star, RIP


#12 Nick Nelson

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 09:59 AM

I'll admit that I was motivated to use the term so I could include that "fire Sale / fire sale" wordplay in the intro. I'll also admit that I have no shame.

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#13 Vanimal46

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 10:04 AM

So now that we've gone through all of the teams, what's everyone's predictions for AL Central Standings at the end of the year? 

Mine would be:

Cleveland 90+ wins

Detroit 82-87 wins

Kansas City 75-80 wins

Chicago 70-75 wins

Minnesota 90+ losses 


#14 ThejacKmp

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 10:35 AM

 

I more lament not just calling up the young RPs and SPs sooner, and letting them sink or swim over two years, than not making trades.

 

But, if you can get a legit number 5 starter for Nunez, you should be able to get something for others in the last 7 years, I'd think.....so, I'm not sure they had no one to deal.

 

Let's time travel:

 

2016: who else would they trade last year? Dozier hadn't gone supersonic and there aren't any other real great options. You could have traded Kinzler I guess but with all the great bullpen arms moving, there likely wasn't a market. The Twins tried to trade Suzuki but no one wanted him. Plouffe was injured and thus untradeable.

 

2015: The Twins were competitive and thus would not be expected to have a fire sale.

 

2014: (1) The Twins dealt Kendrys Morales for a guy who went nowhere (that will happen a lot), a testament to the low value Morales had in a terrible year. (2) Sam Fuld was dealt for Tommy Milone, a pretty nice win for the Twins. (3) The Twins deal a struggling Josh Willingham for drivel. This is one you could say the Twins should have moved earlier after his career year but that's easy to say in hindsight - at the time Willingham seemed like the perfect power bat for Target Field and as their biggest free agent signing, isn't a guy you'd expect to trade after one great year. (4) There are no other position players who look decent. Phil Hughes could have been deal in a career year but it's hard to trade a top-end starter when you don't have one internally. Nothing else particularly exciting in the pen.

 

2013: (1) Drew Butera was traded at the deadline for Miguel Sulbaran who was traded for Nunez who was traded for Mejia. Drew Butera got us a useful MLB starter, it's amazing. (2) Morneau was traded for no one who became anything but he was a bench bat and thus not worth much. (3) There's really not much of anyone else worth trading with the exception of Glen Perkins, a fascinating case. He is the one top-end reliever the Twins have had since Nathan who might get a king's ransom. I'd say it's a mistake to not deal him at some point.

 

2012: (1) The Twins traded Francisco Liriano for Eduardo Escobar, a pretty great trade of a rental. (2) They also traded away Danny Valencia for a fringe prospect. (3) Other than that, hard to see Twins who were tradable. Jared Burton had a nice year and could have been dealt but I'm not sure he gets anything crazy back - relievers who are not elite late-inning guys are a dime a dozen and don't get much. 

 

2011: (1) The Twins traded an expiring Delmon Young for Lester Oliveros, who was at least an interesting arm for a while. (2) Other than that, not much to trade. The exception might be Cuddyer, who had a fine Cuddyer year. I'm not sure he would have gotten much as he profiled as more of a bench bat for a contender than a starting piece. No pitcher warrants trading.

--------------------
I stopped there because those years make me sad. I guess overall though, I'd say that the Twins have not had the pieces needed to have a meaningful fire sale - in order to do that you need to have a Chris Sale or an Adam Eaton. The Twins have not had guys that warranted much return. The exceptions would be Willingham, Hughes and Perkins. Perkins is a big miss and would likely have gotten a solid return but the other two seem like "hindsight is 20/20" things. Willingham was older and would not have gotten elite prospects and Hughes probably falls into the category of "prove it in 2015 and you'll be worth a ton".

 

There seem to be four things that clean up at a deadline:

 

(1) One of the best position players on the market. If you have a Prince Fielder or Cespedes, you can get some nice pieces. The Twins have not had that player for the past seven years. Mauer's contract was too massive and Willingham and Cuddyer fit more in "platoon OF or bench bat" territory.

 

(2) A lockdown starting pitcher a contender can slide into the #2 spot in their playoff rotation. Again, the Twins haven't had that guy. Liriano might have been the closest but he was so erratic it's hard to see someone giving up a ton for him. Hughes only did it for one season and wasn't the lockdown guy a contender wants.

 

(3) Elite relief pitchers. We've only had Perkins. Other guys like Burton or Jepsen or Rauch are nice but they don't get elite prospects back, more middling guys who at best replace they guy they were dealt for.

 

(4) A really nice utility guy. NL teams especially will sometimes pay for the Zobrist-types who can play three or four positions and are thus useful dealing with late-season injuries and playoff matchups. Nunez was a poor-man's version of this (and let's all remember that the Twins getting Mejia was a pretty major win).

 

TLDR; When you look at those Twins teams of the past 5-7 years, you don't see a lot of guys who are worth a fire-sale. The Twins have made the minor moves you'd expect with middling success and with the exception of not dealing Perkins, they have not had anything to do in the White Sox tear-it-down vein.

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#15 Oldgoat_MN

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 10:37 AM

 

Article on Yoan Moncada from last week.

http://www.espn.com/...or-league-debut

At 19 years old I was not the wisest of young men, but I cannot imagine I would have thought buying 10 cars sounded like a really good idea. It makes me wonder if such excess is indicative of potential issues.

I imagine his career will have a lot to do with how quickly he matures.

I would wish him good luck if he didn't play for the White Sox. (HT to Bat-Girl)

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#16 ThejacKmp

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 10:43 AM

 

So now that we've gone through all of the teams, what's everyone's predictions for AL Central Standings at the end of the year? 

Mine would be:

Cleveland 90+ wins

Detroit 82-87 wins

Kansas City 75-80 wins

Chicago 70-75 wins

Minnesota 90+ losses 

 

1. Cleveland - mid to late 90s wins (lots of games against Central, they might be #1 seed as a result)

2. Kansas City - 85 wins, in wild card hunt (one last year of Royals contention - they should firesale but won't)

3. Twins - 80 wins (the lineup will be fierce and deep, they have enough position player depth to cover most injuries and the pitching isn't as bad as last year - just below .500 will be a huge victory)

4. Detroit - 72 wins (I know they're popular at #2 but with Kinsler, Verlander and Cabrera getting old, injuries could devastate their weak depth. I also think this is the year Kinsler turns into a pumpkin.)

5. Chicago - 65 wins (Quintana gets dealt at the deadline and they tailspin)

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#17 ThejacKmp

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 10:45 AM

 

If there's one thing we know about the Sox, it's that they let their prospects sink or swim at the MLB level. One thing I'm very jealous about as a Twins fan. 

 The problem is that their prospects mostly sink. 538 had a great chat about how the White Sox are awful at developing position players. Abreu is their best one and they never really developed him, he's more of a free agent.


#18 ThejacKmp

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 10:49 AM

 

I more lament not just calling up the young RPs and SPs sooner, and letting them sink or swim over two years, than not making trades.

 

But, if you can get a legit number 5 starter for Nunez, you should be able to get something for others in the last 7 years, I'd think.....so, I'm not sure they had no one to deal.

 

I went long below but to be more to the point, that Nunez deal was a crazy win for the Twins (Giants bought super high on Nunez). The Twins just haven't had good players to deal, with the very notable exception of Glen Perkins, a huge miss. If they'd moved him three or four years ago at a deadline they might have gotten a couple very nice pitching prospects. Elite relievers clean up at the deadline.

 

And agreed on the young pitchers and I'll add players. I wish they'd dealt Santana (but I get he might have more value at the deadline so not upset - same thing with Hughes and Gibson as long as the Twins have a short leash and are looking to deal) and I wish that guys like JRM, Berrios, Chargois and co were going north this year.


#19 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 10:51 AM

 

So now that we've gone through all of the teams, what's everyone's predictions for AL Central Standings at the end of the year? 

Mine would be:

Cleveland 90+ wins

Detroit 82-87 wins

Kansas City 75-80 wins

Chicago 70-75 wins

Minnesota 90+ losses 

That looks about right to me, though I'd shift Detroit down a notch. But I do that every year and I'm always wrong about it so there you go.

 

Cleveland: 90+ wins

Detroit: 78-82 wins

Kansas City: 76-80 wins

Minnesota: 71-75 wins

Chicago: 70-74 wins

 

This division is bad but not terrible. I expect them to take a fair amount of their licks from the rest of the league, driving the entire division's win total (non-Cleveland edition) down a bit.

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#20 Mike Sixel

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 10:55 AM

 

Let's time travel:

 

2016: who else would they trade last year? Dozier hadn't gone supersonic and there aren't any other real great options. You could have traded Kinzler I guess but with all the great bullpen arms moving, there likely wasn't a market. The Twins tried to trade Suzuki but no one wanted him. Plouffe was injured and thus untradeable.

 

2015: The Twins were competitive and thus would not be expected to have a fire sale.

 

2014: (1) The Twins dealt Kendrys Morales for a guy who went nowhere (that will happen a lot), a testament to the low value Morales had in a terrible year. (2) Sam Fuld was dealt for Tommy Milone, a pretty nice win for the Twins. (3) The Twins deal a struggling Josh Willingham for drivel. This is one you could say the Twins should have moved earlier after his career year but that's easy to say in hindsight - at the time Willingham seemed like the perfect power bat for Target Field and as their biggest free agent signing, isn't a guy you'd expect to trade after one great year. (4) There are no other position players who look decent. Phil Hughes could have been deal in a career year but it's hard to trade a top-end starter when you don't have one internally. Nothing else particularly exciting in the pen.

 

2013: (1) Drew Butera was traded at the deadline for Miguel Sulbaran who was traded for Nunez who was traded for Mejia. Drew Butera got us a useful MLB starter, it's amazing. (2) Morneau was traded for no one who became anything but he was a bench bat and thus not worth much. (3) There's really not much of anyone else worth trading with the exception of Glen Perkins, a fascinating case. He is the one top-end reliever the Twins have had since Nathan who might get a king's ransom. I'd say it's a mistake to not deal him at some point.

 

2012: (1) The Twins traded Francisco Liriano for Eduardo Escobar, a pretty great trade of a rental. (2) They also traded away Danny Valencia for a fringe prospect. (3) Other than that, hard to see Twins who were tradable. Jared Burton had a nice year and could have been dealt but I'm not sure he gets anything crazy back - relievers who are not elite late-inning guys are a dime a dozen and don't get much. 

 

2011: (1) The Twins traded an expiring Delmon Young for Lester Oliveros, who was at least an interesting arm for a while. (2) Other than that, not much to trade. The exception might be Cuddyer, who had a fine Cuddyer year. I'm not sure he would have gotten much as he profiled as more of a bench bat for a contender than a starting piece. No pitcher warrants trading.

--------------------
I stopped there because those years make me sad. I guess overall though, I'd say that the Twins have not had the pieces needed to have a meaningful fire sale - in order to do that you need to have a Chris Sale or an Adam Eaton. The Twins have not had guys that warranted much return. The exceptions would be Willingham, Hughes and Perkins. Perkins is a big miss and would likely have gotten a solid return but the other two seem like "hindsight is 20/20" things. Willingham was older and would not have gotten elite prospects and Hughes probably falls into the category of "prove it in 2015 and you'll be worth a ton".

 

There seem to be four things that clean up at a deadline:

 

(1) One of the best position players on the market. If you have a Prince Fielder or Cespedes, you can get some nice pieces. The Twins have not had that player for the past seven years. Mauer's contract was too massive and Willingham and Cuddyer fit more in "platoon OF or bench bat" territory.

 

(2) A lockdown starting pitcher a contender can slide into the #2 spot in their playoff rotation. Again, the Twins haven't had that guy. Liriano might have been the closest but he was so erratic it's hard to see someone giving up a ton for him. Hughes only did it for one season and wasn't the lockdown guy a contender wants.

 

(3) Elite relief pitchers. We've only had Perkins. Other guys like Burton or Jepsen or Rauch are nice but they don't get elite prospects back, more middling guys who at best replace they guy they were dealt for.

 

(4) A really nice utility guy. NL teams especially will sometimes pay for the Zobrist-types who can play three or four positions and are thus useful dealing with late-season injuries and playoff matchups. Nunez was a poor-man's version of this (and let's all remember that the Twins getting Mejia was a pretty major win).

 

TLDR; When you look at those Twins teams of the past 5-7 years, you don't see a lot of guys who are worth a fire-sale. The Twins have made the minor moves you'd expect with middling success and with the exception of not dealing Perkins, they have not had anything to do in the White Sox tear-it-down vein.

 

This just shows, imo, what an awful job they did drafting and developing the end of Ryan's first term....and no, I'm not blaming RYAN, I'm talking about the entire organization there.

 

Willingham, imo, isn't hindsight. Many pushed for him to be dealt, and I recall reading on mlbtraderumors that the Twins wouldn't because "we aren't a farm team for others teams" or something like that. Or maybe I dreamed that, but I think not....

 

Perkins was a classic no brainer move, they didn't make. I still have no idea why.

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I don't know, it is a site to discuss sports, not airline safety.....maybe we should take it less seriously?