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  • 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. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by h2oface View Post
      i just don't get the mentality of trading a major league good centerfielder with a great value contract for someone who may never make it to the bigs at all. span should have been traded for a proven pitcher, and one that can help now, not "maybe" in a few years. what a waste of trading chip. and still no pitching for the twins 2013 season.
      Please name these proven pitchers teams were lining up to give away
    1. darin617's Avatar
      darin617 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
      I guess this is the right direction.

      How many years before Meyer gets a September call-up?
      ETA 2015 or so for MN
    1. darin617's Avatar
      darin617 -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      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.
      How could you call Meyer a "C" prospect, the guy hits 98 MPH as a starter and looks to have 3 plus pitches (not to mention size, good minor league results etc)? He was widely considered the 2nd best prospect heading into 2013 of the Nats farm class.

      Meyer is clearly the best pitching prospect the Twins have and ranks somewhere between Hicks and Arcia but ahead of Rosario and Gibson, you wouldn't call those guys C prospects right??
      Not to rip him but he may be ranked high in their organization because of the Gio Gonzalez trade that took some good arms to acquire him.
    1. The Greatest Poster Alive's Avatar
      The Greatest Poster Alive -
      may have been said already, but Meyer was drafted about 8 spots ahead of the Twins' pick in the 2011 draft... Wonder if the Twins were hoping he'd drop to them.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      Of course it would have been nice to get a little more but this is exactly the type of move the Twins need to make to fix the franchise long term. Perhaps Meyer is a bust but you need a lot of good arms in your system to produce good starters. This also gives the Twins a little more room to sign FA's this winter.

      I think people also need to be realistic about how difficult it is for two teams to exactly match up with needs. The Twins got a borderline top 25 pitching prospect and very few teams are willing to give this up. Very few teams also need a CF'er.
    1. h2oface's Avatar
      h2oface -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by h2oface View Post
      i just don't get the mentality of trading a major league good centerfielder with a great value contract for someone who may never make it to the bigs at all. span should have been traded for a proven pitcher, and one that can help now, not "maybe" in a few years. what a waste of trading chip. and still no pitching for the twins 2013 season.
      Please name these proven pitchers teams were lining up to give away
      all anybody does here is guess. how am i supposed to "know" that? how are you? that question can only be answered by the ones privy to the conversations. apparently some teams were lining up for a proven centerfielder, eh? so the twins are the ones that give it away? what's the difference? the teams that always are building for the future, are always building for the future. rarely does that envisioned future arrive. personally, i never like a deal that is a proven for a best guess. best guesses litter the minor league rosters. and that is what this is. span is not a guess. i just don't like it. not at all. and oakland already got the nat's best young arms last year.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      Quote Originally Posted by darin617 View Post
      Not to rip him but he may be ranked high in their organization because of the Gio Gonzalez trade that took some good arms to acquire him.
      He's a borderline top 50 prospect so this is a pretty weak Devil's Advocate position.
    1. darin617's Avatar
      darin617 -
      Deleted.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Terry Ryan and PPMPPPP

      In the category of "Payroll Paring Moves of Proven Players at Premium Positions", Ryan definitely has Smith beaten and deserves some credit. Hardy for Hoey ranks near an all-time low in Twins trading annals. Span for Meyer looks somewhat better, on paper anyways.

      Let's look at some comparable numbers:

      Jim Hoey 6'6"/205#s
      Hoey combined numbers at age 23 playing at 3 levels (A/A+/AA):

      IP 51/ERA 2.28/WHIP 1.11/K^9 12.9/BB^9 3.2

      Alex Meyer 6'9"/220#s
      Meyer combined numbers at age 22 at 2 levels (A/A+):

      IP 129/ERA 2.86/WHIP 1.10/K^9 9.7/BB^9 3.1

      Obviously, Meyer achieved the bulk of his numbers as a starter, so the comp is less than exact, but still... both pitchers come advertised with major mechanics issues.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Quote Originally Posted by The Greatest Poster Alive View Post
      would a few scrap heap relievers/MIF'ers really have changed your perseption of the trade? This organization is LOADED with scrap heap reclamation prospects. Twins need top end talent... not longshot prospects
      Well not really, it just would have made it look better. I don't like straight up trades and I think it's important to squeeze out every last bit of value you can get.

      Meyer has a ton of upside, but being age 23 in A ball doesn't impress me.
    1. Bark's Lounge's Avatar
      Bark's Lounge -
      There were not going to be any miracle returns in a Span trade. Did I expect a trade like this, probably not. Am I disappointed in the trade, not really. Who knows, this guy could be a #1 or #2 starter in 4-5 years, he could also be pitching in Independent Ball or working for a construction company in that same time frame.

      I am however very happy for Denard Span. He is leaving a severely crippled franchise and heading to a team that has everything going for it. My guess is that Span flourishes in his new environment and has great team and personal successes.

      Viva Denard Span!!!
    1. Roaddog's Avatar
      Roaddog -
      I honestly think this was the best he could do. I have more faith in Ryan making these kind of deals as opposed to trading for MLB talent
    1. lee_the_twins_fan's Avatar
      lee_the_twins_fan -
      This feels a lot like when you know your car payment is due, but you have to get gas, and you cannot afford both. The Twins went the car payment route – giving up a good player for the potential of a top-of-the-line starter down the road. It won't help them in the immediate future, but it may help later.

      On the other hand, I checked and Meyers is not on the Twins 40-man roster. As it's only his second year, he doesn't have to be. So the Twins now have two slots open on their 40-man roster, for the Winter meetings. Can we SHOUT trades or Rule 5 Drafts?

      Meyers was in high A ball. If he starts in AA this spring, and does real well, he could always be a mid-year call-up. It's a real long shot, but a possibility.

      Actually, I hope the Twins don't trade Willingham. he is built for Target Field. And as far as the outfield goes, I think Hicks will go north with the Twins this spring, and may be their starting left fielder.

      If the Twins trade anyone else among their top players, I see Morneau going. I would hate that almost as much as Willingham leaving. Mauer is not going anywhere.

      I would actually rather they trade Parmelee or Plouffe instead of Morneau. Give Morneau one more year with Mauer with the Twins.
    1. rico7961's Avatar
      rico7961 -
      Wow. An A-ball pitcher for Span. I hope the fans respond and stay away in droves for our tax-payer funded stadium. The Pohlad's are really shrewd businessmen and look at the money they are making. To bad we won't have much of a baseball team to watch for year's to come.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      I like Myers, in fact I thought he'd be off limits as the Nats recently dealt most of their pitching talent. That being said, the reports were that Ryan was asking too much for Span, though no one had the courage to say what the demand was.

      I don't think the Twins fleeced the Nats on this deal,so the question is, were the people saying that Ryan was asking too much undervaluing Span, or did Ryan come down off of his price overnight.
    1. rico7961's Avatar
      rico7961 -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      1. Sano
      2. Buxton
      3. Hicks
      4. Meyer
      5. Arcia
      6. Gibson
      7. Rosario

      Not a bad farm system.
      Only 1 in 7 makes a major league impact. Where does that leave us?
    1. The Greatest Poster Alive's Avatar
      The Greatest Poster Alive -
      Quote Originally Posted by lee_the_twins_fan View Post
      I would actually rather they trade Parmelee or Plouffe instead of Morneau. Give Morneau one more year with Mauer with the Twins.
      I don't see any trade market for Parmalee or Plouffe. what do you think the Twins could get in return?
    1. rickyriolo's Avatar
      rickyriolo -
      i believe that the fans will stay away from Target Field next year, as we all saw that late in the season this year....are the Twins looking to compete in year 2105?? because we will stink again in 2013..Thank you Astros for joining the American league next year, the Twins will not finish with the worst record for 3 straight years now
    1. The Greatest Poster Alive's Avatar
      The Greatest Poster Alive -
      Quote Originally Posted by rico7961 View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      1. Sano
      2. Buxton
      3. Hicks
      4. Meyer
      5. Arcia
      6. Gibson
      7. Rosario

      Not a bad farm system.
      Only 1 in 7 makes a major league impact. Where does that leave us?
      as ****ed as any team that has that low of a minor league success rate.
    1. twinstalker's Avatar
      twinstalker -
      Geez, John, Meyer is anything but a C prospect. He's the guy I was hoping we'd go for if we couldn't figure out how to pull Minor for Span. He's a B prospect, maybe a B+, according to Sickels, I'm sure. I'm disappointed the Twins didn't get more, but if they couldn't get more out of the Nats, this is a guy they couldn't walk away from. He starts at A+ and moves to AA this year.
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