• 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. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      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.
      Yeah, and that team is the Chicago Cubs.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post

      After being teased in the media about going after guys like Shields and Cingrani, can you see why expectations had to be adjusted?
      I'm not sure about the teasing, Meyer is a far better option than either of these two. Cingrani projects to be a 2/3 type pitcher and Sheilds has 1 year left on his deal. The Twins need depth at pitching just as much as they need it at the major league level. This was a smart move. They have a nice core of hitters coming up through the system which will complement a decent core of hitters that are currently here. But with no pitching, they will be mediocre.

      I have no idea if Meyer will make it, but they've added some desparately needed talent to the pitching pool to complement the nice core of hitters they already have.
      Getting a Meyer, with a very spotty college record, dominating kids younger than himself in A ball, short on fluid pitching mechanics on the come is far riskier than either Shields or Cingrani, but admittedly with a bigger potential payoff far down the road. I think it is incumbent on Parker Hageman to do an in-depth video/statistical comp on Randy Johnson's career at the same point to provide some vision to Twins fans on what may or may not be in store 5 years from now.

      Obviously, a trade for Shields would have to have involved some kind of contract extension implicit in the trade, perhaps that's why the deal was never consumated. Cingrani has a lower ceiling than Meyer to be sure, but he could have been penciled into the desperately-seeking-arms-rotation sometime in 2013. Meyer is looking like a 2015 impact SP if everything plays out perfectly.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post

      Getting a Meyer, with a very spotty college record, dominating kids younger than himself in A ball, short on fluid pitching mechanics on the come is far riskier than either Shields or Cingrani, but admittedly with a bigger potential payoff far down the road. I think it is incumbent on Parker Hageman to do an in-depth video/statistical comp on Randy Johnson's career at the same point to provide some vision to Twins fans on what may or may not be in store 5 years from now.

      Obviously, a trade for Shields would have to have involved some kind of contract extension implicit in the trade, perhaps that's why the deal was never consumated. Cingrani has a lower ceiling than Meyer to be sure, but he could have been penciled into the desperately-seeking-arms-rotation sometime in 2013. Meyer is looking like a 2015 impact SP if everything plays out perfectly.
      2015 is probably a worst case. He's going to likely start in FTM and get promoted to NB in 2013. He might even go the Garza route and hit Rochester next year too. He will likely be in AAA in 2014 and if all goes well, will get the call if the team needs him. I for one would rather have the ceiling at the moment. The Twins will probably go after one long term FA signing that could be penciled into the rotation for the forseable future (crossing fingers and hoping for A. Sanchez) along with a couple of 1/2 year prove it type guys. I half expect them to take a college pitcher next year too.
    1. Brandon's Avatar
      Brandon -
      The more I think about it, the Twins should have recieved a throw in to the deal. Maybe a c proscpect in a ball or a reliever, or lambardozzi or something as Span is a bargain at 21 million for 3 years compared to what Bourn will cost when he signs. Meyer is a great prospect and does a great job headlining the deal but he is still in A ball and we should be able to get something else to mitigate that risk so we still end up with some value should Meyer flop.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post

      Getting a Meyer, with a very spotty college record, dominating kids younger than himself in A ball, short on fluid pitching mechanics on the come is far riskier than either Shields or Cingrani, but admittedly with a bigger potential payoff far down the road. I think it is incumbent on Parker Hageman to do an in-depth video/statistical comp on Randy Johnson's career at the same point to provide some vision to Twins fans on what may or may not be in store 5 years from now.

      Obviously, a trade for Shields would have to have involved some kind of contract extension implicit in the trade, perhaps that's why the deal was never consumated. Cingrani has a lower ceiling than Meyer to be sure, but he could have been penciled into the desperately-seeking-arms-rotation sometime in 2013. Meyer is looking like a 2015 impact SP if everything plays out perfectly.
      2015 is probably a worst case. He's going to likely start in FTM and get promoted to NB in 2013. He might even go the Garza route and hit Rochester next year too. He will likely be in AAA in 2014 and if all goes well, will get the call if the team needs him. I for one would rather have the ceiling at the moment. The Twins will probably go after one long term FA signing that could be penciled into the rotation for the forseable future (crossing fingers and hoping for A. Sanchez) along with a couple of 1/2 year prove it type guys. I half expect them to take a college pitcher next year too.

      Re: Sanchez, you and me both, brother! (Not holding my breath).

      Regarding Meyer, I used a qualifier, it's possible he gets a call in 2014, but more likely that he has any kind of significant impact as an SP in 2015. The Twins generally proceed at a snail's pace in moving up prospects, with a prized prospect such as Meyer, they most likely would choose to protect their investment physically (don't you think there is still long institutional memory of what happened to Liriano in '06???) and also delay the arbitration clock as long as possible.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brandon View Post
      The more I think about it, the Twins should have recieved a throw in to the deal. Maybe a c proscpect in a ball or a reliever, or lambardozzi or something as Span is a bargain at 21 million for 3 years compared to what Bourn will cost when he signs. Meyer is a great prospect and does a great job headlining the deal but he is still in A ball and we should be able to get something else to mitigate that risk so we still end up with some value should Meyer flop.
      Brandon, I concur, see my quiz post above for more evidence.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brandon View Post
      The more I think about it, the Twins should have recieved a throw in to the deal. Maybe a c proscpect in a ball or a reliever, or lambardozzi or something as Span is a bargain at 21 million for 3 years compared to what Bourn will cost when he signs. Meyer is a great prospect and does a great job headlining the deal but he is still in A ball and we should be able to get something else to mitigate that risk so we still end up with some value should Meyer flop.
      Throw-in = minor leaguer who became what the Twins received for Young, Hardy, or Liriano. It's quality not quantity.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kwak View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Brandon View Post
      The more I think about it, the Twins should have recieved a throw in to the deal. Maybe a c proscpect in a ball or a reliever, or lambardozzi or something as Span is a bargain at 21 million for 3 years compared to what Bourn will cost when he signs. Meyer is a great prospect and does a great job headlining the deal but he is still in A ball and we should be able to get something else to mitigate that risk so we still end up with some value should Meyer flop.
      Throw-in = minor leaguer who became what the Twins received for Young, Hardy, or Liriano. It's quality not quantity.
      Lombardozzi, while not great, would have been a throw-in better than anything the Twins have now in the MI.
    1. Top Gun's Avatar
      Top Gun -
      Strasburg would have been better.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kwak View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Brandon View Post
      The more I think about it, the Twins should have recieved a throw in to the deal. Maybe a c proscpect in a ball or a reliever, or lambardozzi or something as Span is a bargain at 21 million for 3 years compared to what Bourn will cost when he signs. Meyer is a great prospect and does a great job headlining the deal but he is still in A ball and we should be able to get something else to mitigate that risk so we still end up with some value should Meyer flop.
      Throw-in = minor leaguer who became what the Twins received for Young, Hardy, or Liriano. It's quality not quantity.
      I'd point out that Liriano was the throw in prospect in the AJ trade... just saying. Yes, a throw in would have been nice, and I have no doubt that the Twins asked for one, but I'm guessing Meyer was the most the Nats would pay. Front line starting pitchers are not cheap. If they are still front liners by the time they get to AA, they are untradable. Meyer did pretty good in A+ and will likely be in AA at some point next year, so we got about as good as we can get. I'd have loved the throw in too, but it wasn't going to happen.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Throw ins?

      I think it's possible that Rizzo and Ryan have been talking for a long time.
      I think that Rizzo has wanted Span for awhile.
      I think it's possible that Terry Ryan has been asking for Meyer in return since the trade deadline for Span and Rizzo has been saying that's too much.
      I think it's possible that Ryan has been talking to a lot of clubs besides the Nats about Span but no team had risen to what Terry was asking.
      I think it's possible that after the Braves signed Upton... Rizzo called Ryan and said,.. Alright Terry... Damn it.. I'll give you Meyer and a trade was agreed upon.


      I do not believe that Upton signing with the Braves spurred Terry Ryan to call Rizzo in a panic and settle for this Meyer Kid before the meetings. That signing would be more likely to cause the Nats to come up and finish a deal.


      Therefore I believe asking for a throw in... Is ridiculous. But I could be wrong on all of these things that I believe.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      Quality over Quantity

      Throw ins = pedro Hernandez and Eduardo Escobar types. Liriano might have been the 3rd player in the big trade but he was fairly well thought of except he was injury prone. If getting a Liriano type throw in downgraded Meyer to a lesser pitcher then I would be upset.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
      Throw ins?

      I think it's possible that Rizzo and Ryan have been talking for a long time.
      I think that Rizzo has wanted Span for awhile.
      I think it's possible that Terry Ryan has been asking for Meyer in return since the trade deadline for Span and Rizzo has been saying that's too much.
      I think it's possible that Ryan has been talking to a lot of clubs besides the Nats about Span but no team had risen to what Terry was asking.
      I think it's possible that after the Braves signed Upton... Rizzo called Ryan and said,.. Alright Terry... Damn it.. I'll give you Meyer and a trade was agreed upon.

      I do not believe that Upton signing with the Braves spurred Terry Ryan to call Rizzo in a panic and settle for this Meyer Kid before the meetings. That signing would be more likely to cause the Nats to come up and finish a deal.

      Therefore I believe asking for a throw in... Is ridiculous. But I could be wrong on all of these things that I believe.
      This is my thinking as well.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brandon View Post
      The more I think about it, the Twins should have recieved a throw in to the deal. Maybe a c proscpect in a ball or a reliever, or lambardozzi or something as Span is a bargain at 21 million for 3 years compared to what Bourn will cost when he signs. Meyer is a great prospect and does a great job headlining the deal but he is still in A ball and we should be able to get something else to mitigate that risk so we still end up with some value should Meyer flop.
      I expected the Span deal to be multi-player, where the other team added a second legitimate (but lower-tier) prospect and the Twins added an even lower-tier prospect to provide a fig leaf. And if the other team really would not add anything, then just swap two equally questionable prospects to pad out the deal. That kind of thing lowers the pressure somewhat. It's brave, IMO, of Ryan to accept one-for-one and avoid this bit of game playing. Meyer simply has to make good, and Ryan is not worried about his job. So, maybe "brave" isn't quite the word, but something close, the calm that comes with being near the end of one's career but still fully engaged.
    1. 70charger's Avatar
      70charger -
      Quote Originally Posted by ashburyjohn View Post

      I expected the Span deal to be multi-player, where the other team added a second legitimate (but lower-tier) prospect and the Twins added an even lower-tier prospect to provide a fig leaf. And if the other team really would not add anything, then just swap two equally questionable prospects to pad out the deal. That kind of thing lowers the pressure somewhat. It's brave, IMO, of Ryan to accept one-for-one and avoid this bit of game playing. Meyer simply has to make good, and Ryan is not worried about his job. So, maybe "brave" isn't quite the word, but something close, the calm that comes with being near the end of one's career but still fully engaged.
      At this point in the Twins' history, I'd rather have that kind of calm confidence in scouting than a skittish ultra-conservatism. You're not going to get to the playoffs without a serious shakeup, and yes, that entails risk. I'll take it.

      I might regret being on record here, but I like this trade.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      When I saw the trade announced... I remembered Meyer ranked high on Prospect lists but I didn't recall any details about him and his ranking. I just thought I remembered him and was pretty sure he was highly ranked. The name rung a big bell and I was excited.

      I thought to myself. Interesting... I think they got someone.

      I then jumped on the computer and immediately went to his stats... I saw he was over a strikeout an inning. ERA below 3.00

      I thought to myself... Looks Good.

      Than I noticed one year in A Ball.

      I thought to myself... Shoot!!! only A ball... I was seriously hoping for closer to MLB ready... I felt a little concerned.

      Than I noticed his age... 22 and one year in A ball.

      I thought to myself... College Kid... That explains it. He could move up quick.

      Than I read the scouting reports... Most reports are projecting top of the rotation. Upper 90's fastball and big time slider. He turned down 2 million to pitch in College and got 2 million again to sign after so he got his 2 million anyway.

      I thought to myself... Multiple teams were willing to spend to sign this guy... Alright... Let's pray for health! I think Terry has done good! Can't wait to see him for myself.

      I haven't seen him pitch yet... Based on what I've read and my trust in our Front Office. I think we got a good deal! I'm happy.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Just another minor point to make, but these are the types of trades that TR has traditionally done very well on... I'm not quite sure about the angst here, a lot of us would have been thrilled to get Delgado or Cingrani who are closer to the show but have lower ceilings. Honestly, I'd have been fine for any of those. Ryan clearly wanted a high ceiling... hopefully that is what he takes next year in the draft too.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by 70charger View Post
      At this point in the Twins' history, I'd rather have that kind of calm confidence in scouting than a skittish ultra-conservatism. You're not going to get to the playoffs without a serious shakeup, and yes, that entails risk. I'll take it.
      Just in case I was unclear, I'm a big Terry Ryan supporter and (as John Bonnes said succinctly on the very first page of these comments) I trust him on deals like this.
    1. Fire Dan Gladden's Avatar
      Fire Dan Gladden -
      Media claims are about as close to reality as Thyrloss's last scoop.[/QUOTE]

      We have a winner!
    1. Fire Dan Gladden's Avatar
      Fire Dan Gladden -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      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?
      Attention all followers of the "Burn and Build" philosophy. Please read this post. Then read it again. And again. Commit it to memory. Remember it the next time you feel like typing something idiotic like "trade all veterans for prospects so we will be good in 2015"
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