• Twins trade Denard Span for Nationals' 2011 first round pick

    The Twins announce that they have have traded Denard Span to the Washington Nationals for pitcher Alex Meyer, a 2011 first round draft pick (23rd overall).

    The big-bodied Meyer, 6'9" and 220, spent last year split between A and High-A, striking out 26.6% of batters faced, walking just 8.6% and produced a 2.86 ERA which led to an invite to the Futures Game.

    Fangraphs.com had an excellent write-up on Meyer, noting that his 97-98 MPH fastball is very impressive in addition to his slider - which Baseball America considered the system's best after the 2011 season. From the Fangraphs.com's article, here's Mike Newman's (Scouting the Sally) scouting report on Meyer's secondary stuff:

    Meyer mixed in an upper-80′s slider with tight, late break. At its best, his arm action was identical to that of his fastball and it profiled as at least an above-average pitch. However, Meyer’s inconsistent mechanics caused him to intermittently drop his elbow or collapse his back leg leading to at least a handful of “hangers” up in the zone. Repetition and experience may help to iron these issues out, but once again, Meyer’s size and previous track record leaves questions as to how seamless those adjustments will be.

    The most surprising aspect of Meyer’s outing was a changeup which was significantly better than expected. At 87-88 MPH, it was a harder change, but his arm action and late drop leaves the projection of an average third pitch — a key for projecting a starting pitcher. Once again, his command was inconsistent causing him to leave the pitch up and out to right-handed hitters too often, but it’s a strong starting point to build from.
    Newman went on to say that the name that popped into his head the most was "Matt Clement" - a promising pitcher who never lived up to the hype.

    Following his draft in 2011, Baseball America's Aaron Fitt said this about the right-hander, noting caution of mechanical issues which plagues taller pitchers:

    Talk about a guy with huge upside, that is Alex Meyer. I saw him at the Houston College Classic this year. I believe the Nationals director of scouting, Kris Kline, was there also. His fastball was hitting the mid-90s and he can run it up to 97-98 mph with life, and he has an explosive breaking ball.

    It was a power knuckle-breaking ball. He called it a knuckle-curve. It really looks more like a slider most of the time. It is a mid-80s mph pitch that can just be a wipeout offering. It is one of the better breaking balls that you will see out there when he has got it going.

    He is making progress as a pitcher. There is risk with this guy. He is 6-foot-9 and like many tall pitchers there are a lot of moving parts. There is a lot going on in that delivery. It takes a lot for those guys to put it all together.

    He reminded me a lot of Andrew Brackman, who was a basketball player at N.C. State who also played baseball. When Brackman was on in college, he was dominant. But again, there is a lot you've got to harness with those tall guys."

    Clement and now Brackman? Uff. Not the most impressive comparables. Still, as Fitt said, there is high-upside there, potential to be a top-of-the-rotation guy - something the Twins don't have now, nor deeper in the farm system. Given his age (23 in January), there's an outside possibility that Meyer could be ready to join the rotation sometime in 2014.

    In trading Span, the Twins free themselves of a $4.75 million commitment for 2013 and $7 million in 2014 ($6.5M plus a $500,000 buyout).
    Comments 321 Comments
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      I will never understand it... There are people who seem to hate (maybe too strong a word) Revere but love Billy Hamilton.

      Revere has things to work on... But he can play.

      If Hicks is what people say he is. When he arrives... The OF pairing of Hicks and Revere will be a thing of a beauty.

      With the Pitching staff that we had in 2012. Span in Between Parmelee and Willingham or Doumit and Willingham would have been terrible.

      If Arcia and Hicks come up this year and out play Ben. Great for us... Until they do... It's Ben's Job and he earned it. I will never understand why Ben is a problem.

      Trading Span we took a step back in Outfield defense... But the step back is only for awhile cuz Hicks is knocking on the door. When Hicks arrives... Our OF will be stronger... If Hicks is what people say he is...

      Meanwhile we gained a high ceiling Pitcher who could "God Willing" help us shore up the biggest organizational problem period. Maybe not now but Soon enough. Meyer is 22 and there is nothing above him to block him from advancing quickly. All he has to do is Pitch like some people think he can.

      I'll never understand the Revere fear that exists with some on this board.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
      I'll never understand the Revere fear that exists with some on this board.
      It's because players like Revere tend to have short careers that end brutally. I'm not against Revere as a stopgap; what I'm against is having him through his late 20s and then paying him a bunch of money just as he falls on his face (see Figgins, Chone). The Twins can keep Revere for a year or two but if they're smart, they'll ditch him the moment his value is high and they have someone else to play the position.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Quick Question for all...

      Can anybody think of a player that hasn't been drug threw the mud on this website. I believe every single Twins Player has been tarnished in some way by the posters on this site.

      Mauer... Too Big A Contract... not enough Power... Too tall for Catcher.
      Morneau... Concussions... Best days are behind him... Too Big a Contract.
      Carroll... Too Old... Too Light Hitting.
      Florimon... Can't make the routine play consistenly... Cast off by other teams... Can't hit...
      Plouffe... one good month... Can't field... Inconsistent throws... Poor Plate discipline...
      Willingham... Career year... Too Old and will obviously regress... Strikes out too much... no range in the OF...
      Span... No Power... Weak Arm... Injury Prone...
      Revere... no Power... Slap Hitting... Weak Arm...

      I don't need to go on... Everyone can surely recognize this stuff... We've been reading it...

      Everyone of these weaknesses is played up like it's costing us the championship and we can't win until someone else is brought in. My Point is that the perfect players are very few and they make a ton of money or they will very soon. As soon as they make a ton of money... That becomes a negative and they will be tossed under the bus like everyone else.

      The Twins have flaws and so does every other team.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
      I'll never understand the Revere fear that exists with some on this board.
      It's because players like Revere tend to have short careers that end brutally. I'm not against Revere as a stopgap; what I'm against is having him through his late 20s and then paying him a bunch of money just as he falls on his face (see Figgins, Chone). The Twins can keep Revere for a year or two but if they're smart, they'll ditch him the moment his value is high and they have someone else to play the position.
      They might do that but not today... We got OF'ers on the way... Ben can hear the footsteps behind him. Until then... We are lucky to have him. He's not a problem on this squad at all. The only way you can make him be a problem is by wishing he has a Ryan Braun skill set. That isn't fair... And wishing he has a Billy Hamilton skill set is comical cuz he does.
    1. Alex's Avatar
      Alex -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
      I'll never understand the Revere fear that exists with some on this board.
      It's because players like Revere tend to have short careers that end brutally. I'm not against Revere as a stopgap; what I'm against is having him through his late 20s and then paying him a bunch of money just as he falls on his face (see Figgins, Chone). The Twins can keep Revere for a year or two but if they're smart, they'll ditch him the moment his value is high and they have someone else to play the position.
      I like Revere, but I'd agree he has his drawbacks. He slugs below .700, and his OBP needs to improve. I'd choose Span over him for sure, but as mentioned, it's less about him than it is about depth in the outfield behind him.
    1. AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS's Avatar
      AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS -
      Quote Originally Posted by Alex View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
      I'll never understand the Revere fear that exists with some on this board.
      It's because players like Revere tend to have short careers that end brutally. I'm not against Revere as a stopgap; what I'm against is having him through his late 20s and then paying him a bunch of money just as he falls on his face (see Figgins, Chone). The Twins can keep Revere for a year or two but if they're smart, they'll ditch him the moment his value is high and they have someone else to play the position.
      I like Revere, but I'd agree he has his drawbacks. He slugs below .700, and his OBP needs to improve. I'd choose Span over him for sure, but as mentioned, it's less about him than it is about depth in the outfield behind him.

      Did you really expect Revere to hit 40 doubles and 10 home runs?
    1. AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS's Avatar
      AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS -
      Quote Originally Posted by Top Gun View Post
      So when we throw in the towel, all we got left is prospects. Mighty team you got us to watch!
      Did you really expect the Twins to be a playoff contender and win 90 games? If you did.....you need get some help.
    1. AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS's Avatar
      AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by ashburyjohn View Post
      Late to the party here tonight, but I'll chime in that this is the kind of trade I was hoping for - a high ceiling pitcher in exchange for an average MLB-proven CFer. I was kind of hoping for a second prospect (maybe in exchange for a throw-in by the Twins), but this is OK. As always, I have no fundamental insight into prospects so as armchair GM I have to trust "my" scouts on the choice of the pitcher to trade for.

      The loss of Span frees up a little money that can be spent (with money already earmarked) on pitching to keep 2013-14 from being a disaster that would harm cashflow for when they are ready to compete again in 2015 or so. Should be an interesting winter, with this as the opening salvo.
      Salvo #2 hot off the wires at MLBTradeRumors:

      In an interview with 1500 ESPN Twin Cities radio (via Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN), Twins assistant GM Rob Antony said his team will likely pursue free agents over trades at the Winter Meetings. "We probably don't have a lot of pieces that we do have to trade for starting pitching [with Denard Span now gone]," Antony said. "We'll probably be a little more aggressive and spend our time at the winter meetings talking to agents rather than clubs."


      This could get interesting............................or it could mean Joe Saunders and that other Myers guy is their definition of "a little more agressive".
      Yeap Joe Saunders, Marcum, and Myers here we come. And honestly I wouldnt mind that at all. If they turn out to be decent and our team is still horrible we can just flip at the deadline for a few prospects.
    1. Top Gun's Avatar
      Top Gun -
      Yes I do expect the Twins to win every year. I do not expect the money that we have freed up to go to line the owners pockets.when we get the extra 25M, Maybe let Justin go, then Winny, then Perk, then Mauer, the new ball park. I do not expect the Twins to be the Marlins. I did expect to get Alot more help than that for Span, But I can live with the Meyes trade. If we spend that money and put a better produce on the field this year and every year. I expect winning baseball, a mlb team every year.
    1. AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS's Avatar
      AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS -
      Quote Originally Posted by Top Gun View Post
      Yes I do expect the Twins to win every year. I do not expect the money that we have freed up to go to line the owners pockets.when we get the extra 25M, Maybe let Justin go, then Winny, then Perk, then Mauer, the new ball park. I do not expect the Twins to be the Marlins. I did expect to get Alot more help than that for Span, But I can live with the Meyes trade. If we spend that money and put a better produce on the field this year and every year. I expect winning baseball, a mlb team every year.
      There is nothing wrong with thinking the Twins will win every year. Just look at this team though.....They likely arent goingtogo after pitchers that we(the people at Twinsdaily) Are all saying they should go after. Pohlad fleeced the state of MN, and no its pocketing all that money. He will then sign former 15 minutes of fame pitcher Byung-yung Kim and say hey what do you mean im not spending any money? I would love if the Twins sign 2-3 big name pitchers but its just not the TWINS WAY.
    1. Alex's Avatar
      Alex -
      Quote Originally Posted by AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS View Post


      Did you really expect Revere to hit 40 doubles and 10 home runs?
      Not sure what you're getting at.

      No, I don't really expect that of him, but that's why I said he has his drawbacks (referring to why people are critical of him). In 553 PA, he had 13 doubles...I've got no problems with him replacing Span for now, but I'd like more than a .700 OPS out of an outfielder and hitting .294, he should have a better OBP than he's got. I think he can hold down a starting spot on the Twins as they currently stand. Whether he's something you want long term out there may be another question, but his defense and at least acceptable bat allowed for the Twins to get something out of Span and not throw in the towel for next year (as some are saying they've done).
    1. Top Gun's Avatar
      Top Gun -
      I do not hate the Polhads, or Ryan or Gardy, but I do expect them to get us a very good major league starting pitcher. Maybe even two. I expect mlb pitchers on the field. I expect Gardy to run a tight ship. Not shovelin waiver wire falley in and out. You can't fool the fans, you lose the customer.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by Alex View Post
      He slugs below .700
      Most guys not named Barry Bonds do. (OK, OK, you just made a typo and meant OPS.)

      Quote Originally Posted by Alex View Post
      and his OBP needs to improve.
      Ironically, a lack of SLG likely affects the OBP. Without power, he surely faces more pitches in the strike zone, since his opponents will think "why risk walking him, if he gets a hit he's only on first base anyway." I'm sure stats exist that confirm or disprove that guess. Admittedly, guys like Jamey Carroll have the same profile and do manage to work pitchers for some walks, so Ben would do well to pick Jamey's brain, but I have to believe there's a limit when you absolutely won't hit it over the fence when the pitch is down the middle and even ringing doubles are scarce.

      Honestly, with his speed he should be getting doubles just through hustle, so it's evident that the ball is coming off his bat so weakly that no pitcher has to fear giving him pitches in the strike zone.

      Span is no masher, but demonstrates enough power that pitchers must be careful, and his OBP reflects this, making him a very valuable major league hitter.

      Quote Originally Posted by Alex View Post
      I'd choose Span over him for sure, but as mentioned, it's less about him than it is about depth in the outfield behind him.
      Exactly. This isn't like the AJ trade that was made in order to get an even better player into the lineup. This is to accept a hopefully small downgrade at one position in exchange for a larger upgrade elsewhere - in this case the "where" being "elsed" is also along the time dimension as well as the playing position.
    1. Dilligaf69's Avatar
      Dilligaf69 -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
      This is the kind of trade with which I trust Terry Ryan. Trading an established guy for a lower level minor league guy with some upside. I don't know if Meyer is more than a "C" prospect at this point, and his real test should come when he gets to AA next year, but that may be why he's available.

      I am disappointed that the Twins didn't get any pitching or middle infielders to help them next year.

      I just think people tended to overvalue Span, especially the last couple yrs with his injuries. After 2009 I think you would have gotten much more for him obviously but with his injuries in 2011/12 he's been really an avg player. He has very little power thus doesn't drive in alot of runs and has hit .300 once. I think this is about what you could expect to get. I'm OK with this trade.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dilligaf69 View Post
      I just think people tended to overvalue Span, especially the last couple yrs with his injuries. After 2009 I think you would have gotten much more for him obviously but with his injuries in 2011/12 he's been really an avg player. He has very little power thus doesn't drive in alot of runs and has hit .300 once. I think this is about what you could expect to get. I'm OK with this trade.
      I'd argue that you're underrating him by looking at all the wrong stats. The injuries are definitely a concern and that's what drove down Denard's price... But it doesn't matter if he hit .300 or .280. RBIs are mostly irrelevant for any hitter but they're completely irrelevant for a leadoff man. He gets on base 36% of the time. He plays good defense at an up-the-middle position. That's what you want from your leadoff guy, batting average be damned.

      Plus, once he's away from Target Field, I expect to see his slugging percentage go up a fair amount as 3-5 more balls leave the park off his bat.
    1. amjgt's Avatar
      amjgt -
      For me, I guess the trade boils down to a couple key things....

      a) I don't think Denard is that great of a leadoff hitter. If my leadoff hitter is going to hit 280 without much power and without a particularly high BB rate, he damn sure better be a terror on the bases. (See: Revere, Ben). Denard had many more doubles than Revere, but how many of Revere's singles did he turn into doubles with a SB? The answer is, Revere basically made up the difference in doubles with his +31 vs +11 on the bases (and at a more sustainable success rate). Other than doubles (advantage, Span) and SB (advantage, Revere) they were almost identical offensively.

      b) I don't know what the defensive metrics say, but I know that my eyes tell me that Revere is a much better CF that Span is.

      c) Revere costs about 10% of what Span costs (as does the person that will move into the OF to replace Span)

      d) There was no realistic path towards playoff contention in 2013.

      e) Almost all non-pitching prospects in the organization project as outfielders.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by amjgt View Post
      For me, I guess the trade boils down to a couple key things....

      a) I don't think Denard is that great of a leadoff hitter. If my leadoff hitter is going to hit 280 without much power and without a particularly high BB rate, he damn sure better be a terror on the bases. (See: Revere, Ben). Denard had many more doubles than Revere, but how many of Revere's singles did he turn into doubles with a SB? The answer is, Revere basically made up the difference in doubles with his +31 vs +11 on the bases (and at a more sustainable success rate). Other than doubles (advantage, Span) and SB (advantage, Revere) they were almost identical offensively.
      Denard and Ben had nearly the same number of PAs in 2012. Denard took about 25 more total bases than Revere (not the stat, actual bases). This is using Total Bases (on hits) + Walks + HBP + SB - CS. Revere also went into a serious tailspin after a hot streak that may or may not be repeated (.627, .595 OPS in Aug/Sept) while Denard was on par with his career norms.

      Span is the better player by quite a bit. More reliable to perform (if healthy) at the very least.
    1. amjgt's Avatar
      amjgt -
      I'm not saying Denard is a bad player especially with his very reasonable contract taken into consideration, but for me personally, I like a leadoff hitter more like Revere than Span. Neither of them are perfect, but I'd tend toward Revere.
    1. Alex's Avatar
      Alex -
      Quote Originally Posted by ashburyjohn View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Alex View Post
      He slugs below .700
      Most guys not named Barry Bonds do. (OK, OK, you just made a typo and meant OPS.)

      Quote Originally Posted by Alex View Post
      and his OBP needs to improve.
      Ironically, a lack of SLG likely affects the OBP. Without power, he surely faces more pitches in the strike zone, since his opponents will think "why risk walking him, if he gets a hit he's only on first base anyway." I'm sure stats exist that confirm or disprove that guess. Admittedly, guys like Jamey Carroll have the same profile and do manage to work pitchers for some walks, so Ben would do well to pick Jamey's brain, but I have to believe there's a limit when you absolutely won't hit it over the fence when the pitch is down the middle and even ringing doubles are scarce.

      Honestly, with his speed he should be getting doubles just through hustle, so it's evident that the ball is coming off his bat so weakly that no pitcher has to fear giving him pitches in the strike zone.

      Span is no masher, but demonstrates enough power that pitchers must be careful, and his OBP reflects this, making him a very valuable major league hitter.

      Quote Originally Posted by Alex View Post
      I'd choose Span over him for sure, but as mentioned, it's less about him than it is about depth in the outfield behind him.
      Exactly. This isn't like the AJ trade that was made in order to get an even better player into the lineup. This is to accept a hopefully small downgrade at one position in exchange for a larger upgrade elsewhere - in this case the "where" being "elsed" is also along the time dimension as well as the playing position.
      Yeah, you caught me. Meant OPS

      Lack of SLG AND lack of OBP affect OPS, as you mention both directly and indirectly. If he were a .350 OBP guy (Span's range) his OPS looks a little better, but I really just use OPS (or meant to) as a reference point. If he adds either doubles (like 20-30 of them) or walks to his repertoire, his value becomes much improved, and they would certainly go hand in hand.
    1. jun's Avatar
      jun -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Top Gun View Post
      It's not what the Twins loss, but waht did they gain in the next 4 years? Nothing!
      A guy who has a chance to become our best in house pitcher since Matt Garza is "nothing"?

      They also added a bit of payroll flexibility and opened up Arcia and Hicks (both of who could be better then Span) paths to the majors.
      I think I have a chance to win the jackpot as long as I buy a ticket.
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