• 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. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      For 2013, this makes the major league team significantly worse than they were at the end of the season. I'm not very confident that Ryan will put together a rotation that will both improve on the 2012 version and compensate for the loss of Span.

      With that in mind I really think they should trade off some more players. The 2013 Twins have been all but mathematically eliminated.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by kab21 View Post
      This Boras complaint is ridiculous. He's not even in the majors and unless he's on the opening day roster in 2014 he's not going to be a FA for 8 years. let's worry about this Boras thing 8 years from now.
      Whatever Kab, I certainly am worried about the state of the 2021 Twins.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by kab21 View Post
      I think it's a little early to write the Royal's great system off. It's taking longer than SOME expected but that is an organization that has a lot of talent. Unfortunately none of the young pitchers have worked out.
      No, it's definitely too early to write them off entirely but the Royals should be a shining example of why burning down the franchise and rebuilding with prospects can be a mistake. The Royals did nothing wrong; they drafted smartly, traded smartly, and put together a stellar farm system... One of the best we've seen in baseball in two decades.

      And what has that gotten them? So far, a whole lot of nothing. If a team can draft that well and build a minor league system that strong and still accomplish nothing at the Major League level, why should the Twins follow suit?
    1. Top Gun's Avatar
      Top Gun -
      So when we throw in the towel, all we got left is prospects. Mighty team you got us to watch!
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      My wife asked last night why teams always traded stars for prospects.....I pointed out that if she lived in other cities, sometimes you would see stars come here, like on the other side of the Twins trades....that is how the casual fan sees the Twins, always trading good players away.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      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!
      Trading an outfielder when you have four outfielders on the current roster and two breakout outfielders in AA does not qualify as "throwing in the towel". That's called "smart management". Use a surplus to fill a need. Most of us liked Span and wish he was still on the team but at the end of the day, he was the most expendable player with a high enough value to get what the Twins wanted in return.
    1. Alex's Avatar
      Alex -
      One thing is clear from this trade, and that's what Span's actual value is to GMs around the league. Those thinking that he was going to get a young but MLB ready mid-front of the rotation starter are disappointed. I'm actually surprised he got the pitching prospect he did as I didn't think he'd be valued enough to get even that. He might have been able to get an older, more expensive starter that would have been solid for the Twins, but that wouldn't have made sense.

      So, from my perspective, assuming they got the best young player they were offered, I think this was a solid trade from that alone. Provided they also use that $4M on more pitching, I think it's a good move for the Twins. Additional benefits are that it frees up spaces for other players to get at-bats, we assume Parmelee right away but also more time for some of those young OF that might get called up later this season.

      That said, I think it's a fair perspective to say that if that's the best offer they got, they should have kept Span. I don't agree, but I think it's a fair perspective.

      What I don't think is fair, or realistic, are the opinions I've heard more from fans at large but a bit less here, is that what the Twins and Ryan "should" have gotten for Span (IE "A middle infielder AND a prospect, a young ML ready front of the rotation starter). From the rumors it sounds like the Twins were asking for more, but teams weren't willing to pay it. Span just wasn't worth what those folks thought -- that's not really Ryan's fault.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      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!
      This is precisely why you don't do a complete firesale and get rid of everyone that is somewhat old. It's also why the Twins should go after some mid tier FA's this winter. At the same time you try to trade your most valuable players that will be gone in 1-3 yrs to add to the farm system.

      I really hate how the Royals constantly get brought up as a reason not to rebuild. Despite being terrible and having high draft picks they had terrible farm systems until recently and they have made almost zero competent moves involving MLB players.
    1. Top Gun's Avatar
      Top Gun -
      I say load up on one top tier FA every year. Then you got yourself a team.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
      For 2013, this makes the major league team significantly worse than they were at the end of the season. I'm not very confident that Ryan will put together a rotation that will both improve on the 2012 version and compensate for the loss of Span.

      With that in mind I really think they should trade off some more players. The 2013 Twins have been all but mathematically eliminated.
      I don't think the team will be significantly worse. Much of Span's value came from defense and Revere will surpass that. Offensively, it allows us to potentially put a power bat in RF (Parmelee will get first shot but Plouffe and/or Hicks/Arcia will probably get looks there too).
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Top Gun View Post
      I say load up on one top tier FA every year. Then you got yourself a team.
      It's one way of building a really expensive team, that's for sure. Even the Yankees can't survive on free agents alone; trying to do just that was the main reason they failed to win a World Series for almost a decade.
    1. ericchri's Avatar
      ericchri -
      I'm torn. Span was my favorite Twin, and I hoped we could do a little better in trade, but they got the kind of thing back I was hoping for. A starting pitcher prospect with a high upside. We desperately needed some of those in the system. BJ Hermsen may be a contributor to the team some day but he can't be one of your top prospects at the position, he just doesn't appear to have much upside. The Twins are unlikely to ever "buy" a top-tier starter from FA, so if they're ever going to have some it's going to be by developing them from prospects.
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      Quote Originally Posted by gunnarthor View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
      For 2013, this makes the major league team significantly worse than they were at the end of the season. I'm not very confident that Ryan will put together a rotation that will both improve on the 2012 version and compensate for the loss of Span.

      With that in mind I really think they should trade off some more players. The 2013 Twins have been all but mathematically eliminated.
      I don't think the team will be significantly worse. Much of Span's value came from defense and Revere will surpass that. Offensively, it allows us to potentially put a power bat in RF (Parmelee will get first shot but Plouffe and/or Hicks/Arcia will probably get looks there too).
      It's not like Revere should have had a death grip on RF last year in the first place. The Twins could have put either Parmelee or Plouffe out there last year.

      So defensively, the outfield is substantially worse. Offensively, you're trading Span for Parmelee. Plouffe was in the lineup already anyways.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by gunnarthor View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
      For 2013, this makes the major league team significantly worse than they were at the end of the season. I'm not very confident that Ryan will put together a rotation that will both improve on the 2012 version and compensate for the loss of Span.

      With that in mind I really think they should trade off some more players. The 2013 Twins have been all but mathematically eliminated.
      I don't think the team will be significantly worse. Much of Span's value came from defense and Revere will surpass that. Offensively, it allows us to potentially put a power bat in RF (Parmelee will get first shot but Plouffe and/or Hicks/Arcia will probably get looks there too).
      It's not like Revere should have had a death grip on RF last year in the first place. The Twins could have put either Parmelee or Plouffe out there last year.

      So defensively, the outfield is substantially worse. Offensively, you're trading Span for Parmelee. Plouffe was in the lineup already anyways.
      It's worse, but not as bad as some people are making it out to be.

      Revere in CF >>>>>>>>>>>>> Span in CF

      As long as Parmelee can hold his own (I see no reason why he can't) the Twins should be fine out there.
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by gunnarthor View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
      For 2013, this makes the major league team significantly worse than they were at the end of the season. I'm not very confident that Ryan will put together a rotation that will both improve on the 2012 version and compensate for the loss of Span.

      With that in mind I really think they should trade off some more players. The 2013 Twins have been all but mathematically eliminated.
      I don't think the team will be significantly worse. Much of Span's value came from defense and Revere will surpass that. Offensively, it allows us to potentially put a power bat in RF (Parmelee will get first shot but Plouffe and/or Hicks/Arcia will probably get looks there too).
      It's not like Revere should have had a death grip on RF last year in the first place. The Twins could have put either Parmelee or Plouffe out there last year.

      So defensively, the outfield is substantially worse. Offensively, you're trading Span for Parmelee. Plouffe was in the lineup already anyways.
      It's worse, but not as bad as some people are making it out to be.

      Revere in CF >>>>>>>>>>>>> Span in CF

      As long as Parmelee can hold his own (I see no reason why he can't) the Twins should be fine out there.
      I'll agree that Revere is a better defensive center fielder than Span, but not >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> better.

      I'm just making the point that losing Span and getting no major league players for him makes the 2013 major league team worse than they were at the end of the season.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Let's not get lost in the plight of the Royals and say this rebuilding thing is garbage. Can any of the "Royals example people" say that we don't want the products of the Royals Farm. Would you disapointed if Perez showed up in a Twins uniform... Hosmer, Moose, Butler, Gordon are fine examples of a thriving farm system. We'd love to have Colon in our system. Even with our outfield Glut... We'd love to have Wil Myers.

      The Royals have failed so far for a couple of reasons in my mind.

      A. Pitching... The Royals have never had a decent pitching staff during this entire run of bad luck. Who are the pitching prospects that have born fruit. Odorizzi, Montgomery, Lamb, Dwyer haven't arrived yet. The Majority of Arms from the Farm with the big club are bullpen guys. That's why they are talking about trading Wil Myers and names like Lester and Shields are popping up. If they acquire Lester or Shields... That's a product of the Farm System as well.

      B. Front Office... The Royals are overstocked on the Farm and the Front Office hasn't yet traded the excess for Major League Talent(PItching). It's one thing to stock your farm... It's another thing to not harvest it in the many ways that you can harvest it.

      C. The Royals can hit... They can't pitch... Playing from behind sucks... No Vibe yet with the club when you are playing from behind.

      Don't think for a second that the Royals can't be one of those teams that comes out of nowhere and surprises you. I won't be surprised when it happens... Others will but I won't.

      Like the Twins... They need Pitching and they need it bad. Acquiring pitching is how you fix it.

      I won't write them off and the Barbecue is great in Kansas City BTW.

      Also... If you are going to use the Royals as an example... Please try to consider using the Rays as an example as well. It's only fair.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      Parmelee might start the season in RF but Hicks or Arcia will end the season there. I can also almost guarantee that one of Mauer/Morneau/Doumit/Willingham/Parmelee will be injured at some point freeing Parmelee to play DH/1B.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Revere/Hicks OF would be freaking awesome.
    1. Alex's Avatar
      Alex -
      Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post

      It's not like Revere should have had a death grip on RF last year in the first place. The Twins could have put either Parmelee or Plouffe out there last year.

      So defensively, the outfield is substantially worse. Offensively, you're trading Span for Parmelee. Plouffe was in the lineup already anyways.
      It's easy to forget because of what he did late in the season, but Parmelee wasn't playing well early in the year. Revere needed at-bats as well and had done more to deserve a more permanent promotion. Revere was hitting well much of the season, so I think he had earned it for the full season. Revere was also the safer bet because his defense would have made up somewhat for a lack of offense and can play any OF position. Parmelee has no such fallback or utility (yes he can play 1B, but so can Doumit and Mauer).
    1. jun's Avatar
      jun -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinstalker View Post
      Here's why Meyer is a much better return than Mike Leake. Mike Leake has no more upside than what he's shown, and if Meyer doesn't pan out, you can find FAs who are basically as good as Leake. Top prospects for average guys when you're a losing team is absolutely the most cost-efficient and talent-optimal way to do business. And I really dislike Terry Ryan.
      Top prospects for average guys? Are you out of your mind? Span is an average guy? He is one of the best lead off hitters in the league and he plays good defense. He is incredibly cheap. He is our best trading chip. Morneau is way too expensive. Hamilton cannot play defense.
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