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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. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      [QUOTE=jokin;65602]Inevitable yes, but this is what I was afraid of, the inevitable reprecussions from the media:

      . "
    1. NoCryingInBaseball's Avatar
      NoCryingInBaseball -
      I like the trade, but it seems that the Twins are still short about three pitchers for the starting rotation. I assume the Twins will be in the market for a decent Free Agent and a 3rd tier type but the names we hear in rumors are scary. Liriano and Pavano? Say it ain’t so!

      I am now beginning to wonder if Terry Ryan might be planning another trade and dump most of Morneau’s salary this season for a starter. That would mean Parmelee would play 1st and one of the two guys (Oswaldo Arcia and Aaron Hicks) that are expected to see major league action this year would earn a starting role in the outfield.
      Looks like next week will be interesting!
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Obviously this move was made with 2014+ in mind, and that is fine, especially since we took upside over "sure thing". But looking further into it, does this really hurt the Twins that much in 2013?

      Span no doubt is a good player, who the Twins will miss but his production it appears is entirely replaceable. On the defensive side of things, Revere is at least as good of an overall defensive player as Span at CF and there is a very good chance that he has significantly better range in the position (quite possibly top 2 or 3 in all of baseball) Obviously his arm is garbage, but in CF I think it is "hidden" a bit and his range more then makes up for it.

      Span certainly had a solid bat, but I don't think we are going to miss it as much as people think. Even with his best season in 3 years Span still posted the 6th best OPS on the team behind Willingham, Mauer, Doumit, Morneau, and Plouffe. I think there is a very good chance all 5 post higher then Span again in 2013. Parmelee should be able to post a higher OPS as well, if he didn't I would be pretty disappointed/surprised. Some may argue that OPS isn't an end all be all and that since Span was a leadoff hitter OBP mattered more. Span finished 4th on the team behind Mauer, Willingham and Jamey Carroll (which is surprising). In addition he was only 9 points higher then both Morneau and Revere. A healthy Morneau should out produce that in 2013, while I actually think Revere regresses a bit. She you are looking at what would be the 5th best OBP guy on your team having to be replaced. IMO in an offensive standpoint Parmelee should be able to come close to that as well.

      In regards to speed, Span had it no doubt, but for every 2 steals he had it seems like he had one pick off. Revere is a better base runner no doubt, but overall the Twins will be hurt a bit on the "speed" category until a guy like Hicks comes up. Good news for the Twins is they didn't exactly run a whole lot anyways.

      All this isn't even factoring in that Hicks could very well be up sometime in 2012 and ultimately be a better fielder, hitter (especially in the power category) and runner then Span.

      So at the end of the day, while strengthening the team in the mid to long term I don't think it hurts the team much in the short term. Revere in CF is an upgrade defensively and it allows to get Parmelee a shot at playing every day. Additionally it makes Hicks and Arcia's path to the majors much easier.

      Pretty solid move and great timing by Ryan IMO as Spans value was unlikely to get any higher.
    1. AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS's Avatar
      AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by kab21 View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by twinstalker View Post
      Keith Law is more respected than Dave Cameron? I think that is probably true among people who don't understand sabermetrics as well. In the same way Souhan is probably more respected than Gleeman.
      I think sabermetrics would say that Dave Cameron is significantly overrated. And this is coming from someone that understands and uses sabermetrics a lot.
      +1

      Also Keith Law knows plenty about sabermetrics.... we aren't exactly talking about Joe Morgan here.
      I like Cameron and all, but I don't think he is even close to the end all be all on the subject, he puts a ton of personal bias into the majority of his articles, which is fine, but again like Kab says he is a over rated quite a bit.
      Im surprised KLAW liked the trade from the Twins perspective. Normally he isnt to high on the Twins in general. He definitely is a great scout.
    1. AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS's Avatar
      AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS -
      Quote Originally Posted by birdwatcher View Post
      Sickels ranked Meyer #28 among his pitching prospects in 2012. Detroit, Chicago, and Cleveland did not have a single name on the list of 50 prospects. The only AL West prospect on his list is KC's Jake Odorizzi, rated slightly higher than Meyer.
      Well that is some good news!
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by NoCryingInBaseball View Post
      I like the trade, but it seems that the Twins are still short about three pitchers for the starting rotation. I assume the Twins will be in the market for a decent Free Agent and a 3rd tier type but the names we hear in rumors are scary. Liriano and Pavano? Say it ain’t so!

      I am now beginning to wonder if Terry Ryan might be planning another trade and dump most of Morneau’s salary this season for a starter. That would mean Parmelee would play 1st and one of the two guys (Oswaldo Arcia and Aaron Hicks) that are expected to see major league action this year would earn a starting role in the outfield.
      Looks like next week will be interesting!
      Keep in mind its still very early in the off-season, no real 1st or 2nd tier pitchers have even been signed yet, and really there hasn't been a ton of chatter out yet anyways. Has there been any real rumors yet about Grienke, Sanchez, Jackson, Marcum? I don't recall seeing any.

      I'd prefer the Twins sign 3 solid pitchers or trade for them this off-season, but even if they get two they still at least look better then last year. It just depends on who the two are of course.

      I still think you can at the end of the day count on at least Gibson and Diamond next year, with one of Hendriks/DeDuno/Walters sticking around as a #5 as well.
    1. old nurse's Avatar
      old nurse -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      That and it insures the club continues marching towards its inexorable drop to a $65M payroll in 2014, which sadly appears to be the club's prime imperative at this point.
      Yeah, that simply isn't true nor will you provide one shred of evidence stating such.
      There is no need to provide any more shreds of evidence, it's already ubiquitously abundant, from the Twins own mouths and actions.
      Trying not to violate policy here. One trade of a player does not make for a salary dump. No FA signings when there have not yet been any significant FA signings does not mean the Twins are not going to spend any money. So what kind of thought process leads to jokin's statement?
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by old nurse View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      That and it insures the club continues marching towards its inexorable drop to a $65M payroll in 2014, which sadly appears to be the club's prime imperative at this point.
      Yeah, that simply isn't true nor will you provide one shred of evidence stating such.
      There is no need to provide any more shreds of evidence, it's already ubiquitously abundant, from the Twins own mouths and actions.
      Trying not to violate policy here. One trade of a player does not make for a salary dump. No FA signings when there have not yet been any significant FA signings does not mean the Twins are not going to spend any money. So what kind of thought process leads to jokin's statement?
      Its not even worth responding to him. I got reprimanded earlier for pointing out his "shenanigans" (After he went and cried to the site owners lol) Clearly the Twins dumping an effective player who was scheduled to make $5 million is "salary dumping" plain and simple meanwhile they hold onto Willingham, Mauer and Morneau who are scheduled to make about 50 million in 2013.

      Is there an ignore feature on this site? Serious question.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Is there an ignore feature on this site? Serious question.
      No, but I've thought about looking into it, if only for my own sanity.
    1. Steve Lein's Avatar
      Steve Lein -
      Hate that they had to deal one of my favorite's in Denard Span, but I'm glad he went to a team with colors where I can still get away with wearing my "Let's Get Denarded" T-shirt, and oh, I love the trade for 2 reasons.

      1) Twins were never going to spend the money on pitching or deal the prospects that they needed to in order to right the ship in 1 year, and
      2) This is the exact type of pitcher (even if it's only "potential" at this point) they need to acquire, one with top of the rotation stuff.

      If you wanted pitching that would contribute this year, you weren't going to get a top of the rotation guy for Span. You were going to get a #3 ceiling pitcher. Personally, I think the Twins have plenty of #3-#5 type's already. It would have taken Span+one of their top prospects, and probably another MLB-er to get a #1 or #2, and whatever money they had to pay him.

      Meyer has risk, but he's got everything else the Twins currently don't in a pitcher. This is a good thing.

      As a final note, I don't think it's out of the question for a 23-year-old pitcher with his stuff to move quickly through the minors if he's on. Let's hope he's on.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      2015 at the earliest...so that's what we are shooting for...
    1. Top Gun's Avatar
      Top Gun -
      It's not what the Twins loss, but waht did they gain in the next 4 years? Nothing!
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by old nurse View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      That and it insures the club continues marching towards its inexorable drop to a $65M payroll in 2014, which sadly appears to be the club's prime imperative at this point.
      Yeah, that simply isn't true nor will you provide one shred of evidence stating such.
      There is no need to provide any more shreds of evidence, it's already ubiquitously abundant, from the Twins own mouths and actions.
      Trying not to violate policy here. One trade of a player does not make for a salary dump. No FA signings when there have not yet been any significant FA signings does not mean the Twins are not going to spend any money. So what kind of thought process leads to jokin's statement?
      This isn't rocket science. The Twins had a full boat of in-their-prime players going into 2011 and went all-in at approximately $114M on the payroll. As we all know, the season ended up in disaster from early on, the Twins publicly profferred, while still in-season, that they were going to significantly cut payroll for 2012, even with a bevy of players still in their prime. Obviously, something happened between Smith and Ownership regarding philosophical and financial differences from Oct 1 to his dismissal in late November. Ryan re-entered the picture and continued the previously publicly announced payroll slashing while making incremental band-aid upgrades to keep the product cosmetically saleable to the the marketing department. Can anyone dispute the fact that the Twins were in a very healthy position financially to maintain their 2011 payroll in 2012 by acquiring one or two legitimate SPs? The Twins did the opposite, by not re-signing any of their FAs, they clearly chose to play a dual game, selling one concept of "fielding a competitive team" to the buying public- while quietly admitting to the press, "off the record", that payroll was going to be cut in 2012 (which happened) and possibly, 2013 (which they have admitted, could very well happen). Thus far, they are holding true to form for their quiet admissions to Lavelle, et al. The last step of the process is moving the remaining high-dollar 2013 expiring contracts now or in-season, or, letting them lapse at season's end. By trading one of your 2 best bargaining chips for a pitcher who likely won't be a significant factor until 2015, even with an appalling need for SP arms in 2013, tells you this is a team in rebuild mode, whether they admit it or not.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      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.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      2015 at the earliest...so that's what we are shooting for...
      Barring any setbacks and expecting a standard progression, Meyer will be in AA this season.

      So you expect him to pitch 1 1/2 seasons in Rochester?
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      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!
      4? Meyers will be up in 3 or less, imo. They also freed up money, that they can now use to sign two legit pitchers, instead of one. Let's see what they do with the money before totally giving up on this year....
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by TwinsFanInPhilly View Post
      Sickels had him as a B in his 2012 book - FWIW
      Yup, and that was prior to a very strong 2012 season with a 9.7 k rate, 1.101 WHIP and 2.86 ERA.

      He is a B/borderline B+ prospect at this point who has some nice upside.

      Sickles has an article on this here: http://www.minorleagueball.com/2012/...als-alex-meyer

      If you are curious, he rates him as a B+, which puts him in the same class as Arcia and Buxton. He thinks Meyer has a higher ceiling than Gibson too. That meas he should be in Sickle's top 50..
    1. Fire Dan Gladden's Avatar
      Fire Dan Gladden -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Obviously this move was made with 2014+ in mind, and that is fine, especially since we took upside over "sure thing". But looking further into it, does this really hurt the Twins that much in 2013?

      Span no doubt is a good player, who the Twins will miss but his production it appears is entirely replaceable. On the defensive side of things, Revere is at least as good of an overall defensive player as Span at CF and there is a very good chance that he has significantly better range in the position (quite possibly top 2 or 3 in all of baseball) Obviously his arm is garbage, but in CF I think it is "hidden" a bit and his range more then makes up for it.

      Span certainly had a solid bat, but I don't think we are going to miss it as much as people think. Even with his best season in 3 years Span still posted the 6th best OPS on the team behind Willingham, Mauer, Doumit, Morneau, and Plouffe. I think there is a very good chance all 5 post higher then Span again in 2013. Parmelee should be able to post a higher OPS as well, if he didn't I would be pretty disappointed/surprised. Some may argue that OPS isn't an end all be all and that since Span was a leadoff hitter OBP mattered more. Span finished 4th on the team behind Mauer, Willingham and Jamey Carroll (which is surprising). In addition he was only 9 points higher then both Morneau and Revere. A healthy Morneau should out produce that in 2013, while I actually think Revere regresses a bit. She you are looking at what would be the 5th best OBP guy on your team having to be replaced. IMO in an offensive standpoint Parmelee should be able to come close to that as well.

      In regards to speed, Span had it no doubt, but for every 2 steals he had it seems like he had one pick off. Revere is a better base runner no doubt, but overall the Twins will be hurt a bit on the "speed" category until a guy like Hicks comes up. Good news for the Twins is they didn't exactly run a whole lot anyways.

      All this isn't even factoring in that Hicks could very well be up sometime in 2012 and ultimately be a better fielder, hitter (especially in the power category) and runner then Span.

      So at the end of the day, while strengthening the team in the mid to long term I don't think it hurts the team much in the short term. Revere in CF is an upgrade defensively and it allows to get Parmelee a shot at playing every day. Additionally it makes Hicks and Arcia's path to the majors much easier.

      Pretty solid move and great timing by Ryan IMO as Spans value was unlikely to get any higher.
      A lot of valid points here. Let me add my two cents:

      1) I believe a lot of people, both GM's and fans, have underrated Span for a long time. While not exceptional in any one category, Span was above average in many. The ability to be decent in the leadoff spot is not just about numbers. It is about professional at-bats, table setting, and providing quality while leading the team in PA. Span does all of these things. His ability to play CF and low salary make him a wanted asset.

      2) Span could easily have been one of the nucleus for the next wave. More prospects burn out than excel. While we hope that the Hicks, Rosario, Buxton, et. al. group comes up and produces, the reality is that only 2-3 of them will have any real impact in the majors. Span is a proven MLB commodity that should still have a number of quality years left.

      3) I like the fact the Twins are looking more toward a hopeful 1-2, than another sure 4-5. I think it shows the Twins are willing to take a few risks, something they have been generally averse to in the past. I'm not sure this was exactly how I would have like to see it. I would have like to seen an additional MLB ready #4-5 starter, along with Meyer, to help the team today as well.

      4) Why is everybody convinced Parmalee will be productive at a major league level? He has not exactly torn it up for the Twins in the past. I think odds are better Hicks will be out there before him.

      This smells of a typical TR move, reminiscent of Pierzynski or Knoblauch. Trading a vet for low minors guys, "knowing" they will help you in the future. While we won't have an answer for a few years, I tend to give TR the benefit of the doubt on these types of moves. Span is the type of player that Twins fan's tend to gravitate to. Hard working, better than average, no public dust ups, by all account a stand up guy. I for one will be sorry to see him go.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by old nurse View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      That and it insures the club continues marching towards its inexorable drop to a $65M payroll in 2014, which sadly appears to be the club's prime imperative at this point.
      Yeah, that simply isn't true nor will you provide one shred of evidence stating such.
      There is no need to provide any more shreds of evidence, it's already ubiquitously abundant, from the Twins own mouths and actions.
      Trying not to violate policy here. One trade of a player does not make for a salary dump. No FA signings when there have not yet been any significant FA signings does not mean the Twins are not going to spend any money. So what kind of thought process leads to jokin's statement?
      Its not even worth responding to him. I got reprimanded earlier for pointing out his "shenanigans" (After he went and cried to the site owners lol) Clearly the Twins dumping an effective player who was scheduled to make $5 million is "salary dumping" plain and simple meanwhile they hold onto Willingham, Mauer and Morneau who are scheduled to make about 50 million in 2013.

      Is there an ignore feature on this site? Serious question.
      "Cried to the site owners"? Again with the personal attacks, pointing out that you are blatantly violating site policy and adding nothing to the debate, Seriously? "Shenanigans" for making no editorial comment on a post except "here come the inevitable negative reviews" about the trade and merely quoting said national scribe?

      Regarding the salary issue, the Twins traded a $5M entity that progresses to $9M in 2015 for someone who won't make the major league minimum for at least 1 or 2 years and puts not one, not two, but now 3 OF out of 4 all virtually making the MLB minimum.

      The Twins have hinted that they may cut payroll again in 2013. What is so controversial about considering them at their word.

      Would it really be so surprising to you if 2 out of the three 3 high dollar guys you mention are moved now or in-season? It can be argued that this is actually a good business strategy. It certainly doesn't call for your all-out frontal assault on fact-based opinion.
    1. Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Avatar
      Don't Feed the Greed Guy -
      Ladies and Gentlemen,

      2013 will be another season to study the minor league box scores, and leave my transistor radio at home when I go fishing on the walleye opener, May 10, 2013, because the Twins will already be out of it. Here's my dream trip for 2013:
      July 5 or 6: Twins at Toronto Blue Jays
      July 6 or 7: Pawtucket at Rochester (Twins AAA)
      July 8 or 9: Cooperstown Baseball HOF
      July 10: East/WestAll Star Game at New Britan, CT (Twins AA)
      July 11: Trenton at New Britan (Twins AA)
      July 12-14: Twins at New York Yankees
      July 15: MLB Home Run Derby, at Citi Field
      July 16: MLB All-Star Game, at Citi Field (NY Mets)
      658 miles (and another 229 to go see Baltimore, and Span's hometown team, the Washington Nats. and two more teams off the bucket list…) I'm glad for the move, and I will pay for the trip with the money I save by paying no more than $10 to see Twins home games.
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