I think the debate on TD hasn't gone on longer than the sum total of about 3 minutes regarding the lack of signing the high end FA by the Twins. Only the rubest of rubes holds out some silly wanderlustic notion about a Greinke, Sanchez or Pujols signing in Minnesota. Do you consider the likes of Jackson, Blanton or Marcum, Myers, McCarthy "high end"? These are tier 2/3 guys, slightly above mediocre to good, and all better than anything the Twins envision in their rotation. What the heck, Francis and Lannan for peanuts would have been a huge depth upgrade at the back end of the rotation.
.You're conflating "marginal" talent with "serviceable" talent.
You talk about "marginal talent available", the Twins pitching staff depth chart has "marginal" written in the margins, and everywhere else on the roster page.
The Twins only have 4 returning pitchers from 2012 (Diamond, Duensing, Burton and Perkins) who were more than a sneezful above replacement level. With the exception of Hendriks, their bottom 7-in-terms-of-WAR pitchers (Blackburn, Swarzak, Deduno, Walters, Burnett and DeVries) could all come down with a case of career-ending River Blindness tomorrow and it would have no significant negative effect on the team's prospects, that's why they are termed (at, or below) "replacement level".
Remember, the Twins entire bullpen net WAR value for 2012 was only 2.5. The likes of a guy who couldn't even get a contract in the States like Padilla, could be the key to vaulting the 3rd worst bullpen in 2012, as rated by xFIP, into nearly the top quintile bullpen group in all of baseball (behind only 6 teams @ 6.0 WAR , for only $10M invested (net cost, $6-$7M). You don't even necessarily have to find another Burton, just 4 guys who would average out for you the 0.5 WAR score/man like Padilla rated in 2012.
Flippable assets created from a new-found position of strength? I think so.
Baltimore Orioles bullpen for example had a WAR somewher around 6. Are you really thinking in terms of WAR that 3.5 games is going to make a turnaround in a team? Some of the starters you mentioned did not even start last year for their teams. Do you really think that a Lannanor a Francis is going to make a differenceon the Twins? More # 5 starters? Do you even know what the teams need if that is what you want.
There are plenty on this board who think that Jackson, Marcum and McCarthy are all in the very good catefory. Very good doesn't necessarily want to pitch in a losing environment.
Doublecheck your trade ideas on flippable assests. What do you get in trade for your 1 WAR players.