Sunday, July 31, 2011

Neither a Buyer Nor Seller Be

The non-waiver trade deadline has passed, and the Twins have nothing to show for it. Nothing. However, that's not to say that Bill Smith and his boys weren't busy. It just means that they were probably stubborn.

The loudest buzz of the weekend surrounded Denard Span going to the Nationals for right-handed reliever Drew Storen. From what I gathered through sorting through hundreds of tweets on the topic, Washington pushed hard for Span, but his value caused Smith to ask more than what they were willing to give up. It hard to tell exactly how close this deal actually was; all the news came from the Nationals' side, and the Twins, as usual, were very secretive.

Storen's a good pitcher, and he would have been a very nice addition to the Twins' struggling bullpen, but Span is just too valuable to let go unless the return package blows everyone away. Span is a great on-base guy (an important asset for a leadoff hitter), hits for average, has some power, and his defense gets better every year. Plus, he's under contract at a reasonable price until 2014 (with a team option in 2015). He's a good clubhouse guy with a great attitude; he tends to let adversity fire him up rather than bring him down. There were also indications that his teammates would have been upset if he was traded.

This whole thing must have weighed on his mind as he read his name all over Twitter. He sent out a few tweets indicating that he hoped to remain a Twin and how much he appreciated the fan support. On Sunday evening, he expressed his relief and gratitude again. I certainly hope he can move on from all this chaos cleanly with no regrets or hard feelings.

Jason Kubel, Michael Cuddyer, and Kevin Slowey's names were also thrown around as trade candidates, but I never got the feeling that anything was serious or eminent with them. It seems that the Twins still consider themselves contenders, and Kubel and Cuddyer will be important pieces in achieving that goal.

Turns out, it's probably also wise that they hung on to Kevin Slowey. The rotation is scuffling, and the Twins may need him to take over for someone. Also, there is still a chance that he could be traded through waivers in August.

Not giving away helpful pieces is well and good and all, but the Twins didn't gain any helpful pieces either. Which is disappointing. There are wide holes in the bullpen and middle-infield that could use some quality help. The starting pitching is also leaving a lot to be desired lately. I wonder if all this focus on Span cost the Twins some opportunities to target other players.

Fortunately, it's still possible to acquire some guys; they just have to clear waivers first (and there are ways to get around that, too). Remember, Carl Pavano was added in August of 2009, and that worked out pretty well.


DL Update:

Denard Span has been activated from the DL after being out since June 9 with a concussion. He will meet up with the team in Anaheim and is scheduled to start Tuesday (Monday is an off day for the team). Infielder Luke Hughes was sent down to AAA Rochester (again!) to make room.

Justin Morneau might start a rehab assignment this week.


Don't forget to enter for the 1991 World Series Collector's DVD Set drawing. The deadline is Sunday night, so this is your last chance. I'll execute the drawing, with one of my kids, sometime after dinner on Monday (it is supposed to be taco night, so, you know, priorities).

One entry per person, so enter now if you haven't already. Just let me know any way you know how.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't think the Twins consider themselves contenders, but I don't think they see themselves as so far out that they need to desperately sell players for below their value (Cuddy, Kubel, Slowey).

In my eyes, the Twins see themselves as having a slim chance at making the playoffs if they keep the current roster, but don't think they have the trade chips to get that "one guy" who's gonna push them over the top. As much as the team needs bullpen help...they also need a MIFer to take pressure off the Plouffe, Casilla, Nishioka, warm body platoon. And there's the issue of Butera serving as backup on Mauer's time off.

In the end, to buy they'd had to have dump prospects they can't afford to at this point given the lack of depth that was exposed this season...but to sell they'd have to accept less than what those players would be worth to the team. I think they still see a chance of retaining at least Cuddy (and maybe Kubel) going into 2012. If not, they still have the waiver wire to work with.