• Span's Last Hurrah?

    Denard Span stepped into the box to lead off Tuesday night's game and turned on the third pitch he saw from left-hander David Huff, driving it into right field for a double and sparking a three-hit night. In six games since returning from the disabled list, the center fielder is now 9-for-25 (.360) with two doubles, a triple and four runs scored.

    His late-season success bodes well for Terry Ryan heading into an offseason where Span will likely be the club's primary trade chip.

    Following what will almost certainly be a second consecutive season with 90-plus losses, there's going to be plenty of pressure on Ryan to shake things up. The emergence of Chris Parmelee makes the Twins motivated sellers, and given that they have not-so-subtly dangled Span in back-to-back trade deadlines, the writing is on the wall.

    There's an extremely high likelihood that Span will be dealt this offseason. So the question is: what can they get for him?

    When it comes to assessing his trade value, he has several things working in his favor. He's an established leadoff man with a reputation as a strong defender. He'll be coming off a solid season in which he currently holds a .290 average (third among AL center fielders) and .350 OBP (fourth) with a career-high 34 doubles.

    It's also very much worth noting that the free agent crop for center fielders this offseason will be quite thin. Unless you count Josh Hamilton, the most appealing options are B.J. Upton, Shane Victorino and Michael Bourn. Not one of those players is clearly a better bet going forward than Span, whose three-year, $20 million remaining contract looks like a great value compared to what those three are likely to get on the open market.

    Then again, Span also has some things going against him. No one views him as the powerful force he was in 2008/09 anymore, and his missed time over the past two seasons has to weigh on the minds of interested general managers. Even if he plays every game the rest of the way, he will have missed 127 games over the past two years.

    Fortunately, last year's concussion is now an afterthought and his strong play since returning from this latest shoulder ailment will help erase concerns that this one could linger. That's why carrying his current hot streak through the end of the campaign would be a big positive for the Twins.

    Just one more thing to watch here in the final two weeks.
    This article was originally published in blog: Span's Last Hurrah? started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 37 Comments
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Given that Ben Revere's OPS continues to plummet, trading Span seems again to be completely foolish. Parmelee in RF is also not a good idea (for a full season). Ben Revere does not look like a top-of-the-order guy at all.
    1. jm3319's Avatar
      jm3319 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      Given that Ben Revere's OPS continues to plummet, trading Span seems again to be completely foolish. Parmelee in RF is also not a good idea (for a full season). Ben Revere does not look like a top-of-the-order guy at all.

      If we can get some MLB ready pitching as well as some pitching prospect(s) then I say we worry about defense in the outfield later. I'll easily trade a little offense and defense from a team that's absolutely terrible at pitching. Having said that, it still needs to be the right return and not just a trade for the sake of trading him.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Quote Originally Posted by jm3319 View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      Given that Ben Revere's OPS continues to plummet, trading Span seems again to be completely foolish. Parmelee in RF is also not a good idea (for a full season). Ben Revere does not look like a top-of-the-order guy at all.

      If we can get some MLB ready pitching as well as some pitching prospect(s) then I say we worry about defense in the outfield later. I'll easily trade a little offense and defense from a team that's absolutely terrible at pitching. Having said that, it still needs to be the right return and not just a trade for the sake of trading him.
      The Twins could also sign two pitchers for at most 20 million a year for 2/3 years combined and keep the offense intact.
    1. Montecore's Avatar
      Montecore -
      Don't trade him. He's a steadying presence, an unselfish, nice guy, and a good leadoff man. He has more value staying a Twin than leaving for what exactly?
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Another thread of do not trade him, he is good......how do you expect this team to get better if it will not trade good players? Remember, this year they cut payroll, and Willingham is their biggest free agent contract ever.
    1. IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
      IdahoPilgrim -
      We do have outfield prospects coming up so I would reluctantly agree to trading Span, but only if it immediately helps the rotaton. I would not trade him for prospects only.
    1. nokomismod's Avatar
      nokomismod -
      Since we only have ~1 starting pitcher that might be good next year, I agree that a Span trade for pitching has to be considered. Even if we sign two solid free agent starting pitchers, we need more.
    1. mk's Avatar
      mk -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Another thread of do not trade him, he is good......how do you expect this team to get better if it will not trade good players? Remember, this year they cut payroll, and Willingham is their biggest free agent contract ever.
      Who would bring back a greatest return in trade: Span, Revere, Willingham, Morneau, or Parmelee?
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      I like Denard Span and in reading tweets among him and the younger outfielders/outfield prospects in the past, it seems like he was probably a good influence on them.

      But I agree with this question from mikewantswins: how do you expect this team to get better if it will not trade good players?

      Thinking back to the Bill Smith tenure, it seems like one of the big problems was that they traded primarily for short-term "chips" to improve the immediate hand. That may have not been stupid in the sense that the rest of the team was good and they only need certain chips to keep them "contending" in the A.L. Central but it does seem to have hurt the long-term health of this team.

      Even though the Twins now have more money to spend than they did beforeTF, they still need to replace aging players with younger, less expensive players -- and the most significant place they have an opportunity to do so is the outfield. Replacing Span isn't a huge cost savings .... but trading him to fill more significant positions of need is important. I feel the same way about Willingham and Morneau (although the timing may be better for Morneau at the deadline).

      It's good to form attachments with players -- but you also have to let them go sometimes.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Span is my favorite Twin and that alone has enough merit for keeping him.
    1. Steve Penz's Avatar
      Steve Penz -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Another thread of do not trade him, he is good......how do you expect this team to get better if it will not trade good players? Remember, this year they cut payroll, and Willingham is their biggest free agent contract ever.
      I completely agree. Within reason, the teams needs to make whatever move in order to make this team better. I like Span, he has been a good player. But, I think there are some things that have been forgotten. We hear so many say he is a good guy and in general I would agree except for two things. Rumors were that he was not willing to play the corner outfield spot and that he kept quiet about an injury in July/Aug of this year. I am lacking details on both of these topics but didn't we hear that buzz? Towards the start of this year when many were saying Revere should take over center he was not willing to play LF or RF. Also, part of his extended absence was supposedly due not having a true idea of his injury. Many would want to put that on our medial staff but seems to me I heard Span did not help the situation by not being forthcoming.

      Setting that aside, if the team acquired a few pitchers or a middle infielder by making moves which involved other players and we were left with Span on the team I don't think that would be a bad thing. He is a nice player. However, we absolutely do NOT need to keep him. Soon he will be quite redundant if young outfielders continue to progress.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      My point was, in the morneau thread, people said do nit trade him, he is too good to trade. They said that in the Willingham threads earlier this year. Now in the span thread too. Do you really expect them to sign two free agent pitchers for more than they have ever spent on one free agent? If not, you have to be willing to trade someone of value to get value in return. They should have done that this year.
    1. Steve Penz's Avatar
      Steve Penz -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      My point was, in the morneau thread, people said do nit trade him, he is too good to trade. They said that in the Willingham threads earlier this year. Now in the span thread too. Do you really expect them to sign two free agent pitchers for more than they have ever spent on one free agent? If not, you have to be willing to trade someone of value to get value in return. They should have done that this year.
      I don't know about this year because we don't know what was on the table but in general I agree.

      Also, how can we expect young players to shine one day if they are not promoted and given the chance? That cannot be done if their spaces are full. The ages and contracts of Morneau, Span and Willingham will not allow them to be on the next relevant team. GGrulz is typing that same message at this moment.
    1. beckmt's Avatar
      beckmt -
      We have a glut of outfielders coming up and next year will probably not matter as to who we have. It is time to see what we have on the farm and trade for pitching prospects as the FA market is both going to be crowded and expensive. So any chips that do not cost a lot of money should be traded to teams that have a surplus of young pitching. That would mean that 2 out of 3 (Span, Willingham, and Parmalee) should be traded if the deal is right. We have both Arcia and Hicks who could be here next year and would not make a big difference in performance.
    1. Steve Penz's Avatar
      Steve Penz -
      Quote Originally Posted by beckmt View Post
      We have a glut of outfielders coming up and next year will probably not matter as to who we have. It is time to see what we have on the farm and trade for pitching prospects as the FA market is both going to be crowded and expensive. So any chips that do not cost a lot of money should be traded to teams that have a surplus of young pitching. That would mean that 2 out of 3 (Span, Willingham, and Parmalee) should be traded if the deal is right. We have both Arcia and Hicks who could be here next year and would not make a big difference in performance.
      Why is morneau not on your list? I have 14 million reasons why he should be.
    1. Twins Twerp's Avatar
      Twins Twerp -
      Span will bring back some decent pitching, no doubt about it. The question should be, what can Morneau bring back in a trade, and how ready is Parmalee to take over full time at 1st? Parmalee is not a RF. If anything, the Twins put Mastrianni at Right untill Arcia or Hicks come up.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      To me, the difference between trading Span and Morneau is that you'd be dealing Span with his value at a relative high point (I don't think he's looked this appealing to outside GMs in several years) whereas the same is not true for Justin. I'm a firm believer that Morneau has a big year on deck, but given his contract and lack of sustained success since injury, trading him right now would be little more than a salary dump.

      That doesn't really help the team much unless you're interested in stuffing Pohlad's pocket. Obviously Parmelee in RF is not ideal but I think you can live with lacking range in the corners, especially with a stud like Revere up the middle.

      Also, to the people who claim to be unwilling to move Span: you have got to be kidding me. I'm a huge fan of his, but he is the definition of expendable given this team's circumstances.
    1. Steve Penz's Avatar
      Steve Penz -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      To me, the difference between trading Span and Morneau is that you'd be dealing Span with his value at a relative high point (I don't think he's looked this appealing to outside GMs in several years) whereas the same is not true for Justin. I'm a firm believer that Morneau has a big year on deck, but given his contract and lack of sustained success since injury, trading him right now would be little more than a salary dump.

      That doesn't really help the team much unless you're interested in stuffing Pohlad's pocket. Obviously Parmelee in RF is not ideal but I think you can live with lacking range in the corners, especially with a stud like Revere up the middle.

      Also, to the people who claim to be unwilling to move Span: you have got to be kidding me. I'm a huge fan of his, but he is the definition of expendable given this team's circumstances.
      Agreed and this is why I feel that to hold on to Morneau and risk waiting until the 2013 deadline may be a solid move.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Definately trade Span now.
      Yes, Revere's OPS is dropping and yes there are questions on whether he is a long term option as a leadoff/starting CF. The nice thing though is he at least can be a decent stop gap until Hicks is ready to take over CF full time in 2014.

      Morneau has value, but his will only continue to go up if he stays healthy/productive into the 2013 season, in a perfect world a team gets desperate for a bat at the deadline and you have another Beltran/Wheeler trade on your hands.

      Parmlee in RF doesn't kill you, and more then likely he will get some starts at 1B and DH as well.
    1. 70charger's Avatar
      70charger -
      These types of threads tend to devolve into trade him vs. don't trade him, but there's so much assumed that there really isn't any information there. I bet that even the hard core don't trade him types would swap him straight up for Verlander. Right?

      My position is that we should be fielding offers, asking for good pitchers, and just seeing what happens. If nothing worthwhile is on offer, keep him. (And I say that even though I think we could very well get some pretty good pitching in return.) We have to be agnostic about whether he gets traded, because we don't know what's out there. Generally we know what we need, but whether it's available - that's a different story.
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