• In Terry I Trust

    If you were surprised in any way by return in the Denard Span trade, you shouldn't have been. Terry Ryan told us this was coming four months ago.

    Back in July, with the trade deadline approaching, Ryan spoke about his approach:

    As desperate as the Twins are to find starting pitching for 2013, a Liriano or Denard Span trade might not even address that specific need. Speaking only generally Thursday, GM Terry Ryan said, "When you're out there looking around, I think it's important you're always looking for the high-ceiling guy, whether he's major league-ready or whether he's in A-ball."

    To focus solely on the 2013 rotation "would be a terrible mistake," Ryan said.

    Ryan said the best target might be a Class A pitcher, who's further from the majors.

    "You can go get a marginal Triple-A guy who might be here next year," he said. "Are you going to be satisfied passing up a high-ceiling guy? I wouldn't be, but everybody has their own philosophy on that."
    The general manager's recent quotes after trading Span to the Nationals for Alex Meyer reflect the same mindset:

    "This guy, even though he's been in pro ball a short time, has first-round status," Ryan said. "He's out of the University of Kentucky, highly touted. These guys are hard to get, and if you are going to get them, it's going to be in the low to mid-minors. Once they get up to Double A or Triple A, they are almost impossible to get."
    This is what I love about Terry Ryan, particularly in contrast to his tight-lipped predecessor, whose initials were fittingly "B.S." With TR, you know what you're getting. While I don't necessarily always agree with his methods, I trust the man.

    That's why I feel good about this trade. Given that the Twins were known to be talking to the Nationals back in July, when Ryan was describing a "high-ceiling guy" who might be in A-ball, there's a good chance he was targeting Meyer who fits that bill exactly. (Worth noting that Meyer could not technically be traded then as he was less than a year removed from signing, but could have been shipped as a PTBNL.)


    Back around the deadline, a source (from the Nats?) told Jon Heyman that the Twins were "asking a ton" for Span, who didn't end up getting moved.

    Many people seem disappointed or at best unenthused about the return for Span. But it seems clear that one side finally relinquished in this long-time haggling over the center fielder, and the timing would suggest it was Washington's Mike Rizzo. After all, just days earlier he'd watched division rival Atlanta sign center fielder B.J. Upton to a huge five-year deal. That's pressure.

    My take is that Ryan coveted Meyer highly and the Nationals were very reluctant to give him up, even in a one-for-one swap that brought back a very valuable established player. And why not? Meyer has a first-round pedigree, a fastball that registers in the high-90s and a physical build that could portend dominance. Legitimate top-of-the-rotation potential.

    No prospect is a sure thing, which is the scary part of all this, but if Meyer develops even into a quality No. 3, six cost-controlled seasons of his service at a time where the price of free agent pitching is escalating will make this a knockout victory. If he turns into a true front line guy, Ryan's trade will be a success of franchise-altering proportions.

    Span was a largely underrated player and the Twins will miss him, but their long-term outfield depth made him relatively expendable. Ryan could have probably flipped Span for multiple lesser prospects or an ordinary major-league talent, but instead turned in his chip for the high-upside play.

    Just as he's said he would all along.
    This article was originally published in blog: In Terry I Trust started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 146 Comments
    1. Fanatic Jack's Avatar
      Fanatic Jack -
      This is a good trade for the future but it does nothing to help the team compete in 2013. You must have missed the fan forum in late September when Ryan told season ticket holders the team was going to compete in 2013 and he wanted only Major League talent in return for any trade. Ryan also said he was going to use trades to improve the roster because the free agent market was very thin. He heads into the Winter Meetings not looking to trade anybody but to sign mediocre, cheap free agents. The dumpster diving method is not going to change things next year.
    1. Otwins's Avatar
      Otwins -
      Quote Originally Posted by Fanatic Jack View Post
      This is a good trade for the future but it does nothing to help the team compete in 2013. You must have missed the fan forum in late September when Ryan told season ticket holders the team was going to compete in 2013 and he wanted only Major League talent in return for any trade. Ryan also said he was going to use trades to improve the roster because the free agent market was very thin. He heads into the Winter Meetings not looking to trade anybody but to sign mediocre, cheap free agents. The dumpster diving method is not going to change things next year.
      If they use the money that was committed to Span ( 20 million next 3 years if you include his option) to sign a quality free agent pitcher, then this move definitely could help them next year. I think the Twins next move will tell us if they are serious about next year or are starting to rebuild. Personally I hope they rebuild.
    1. h2oface's Avatar
      h2oface -
      I don't trust in Terry at all. Why should anyone? Ryan stated in September to the season ticket holders one thing, and then did another. Trustworthy? Span has first round pedigree, too, and hey, so does Levi Michael. I'll be holding my breath on that one. On top of it all...... It was Rizzo that had coveted Span for a long time. Terry Ryan folded and got taken, and left cards on the table. It turns out that regardless of the contract, as reported today at MLB Trade Rumors, that Rizzo and the Nats wanted Span more than any of the center fielders available. Ryan made the weak play. There was a takeaway not played, and an additional player to be had that Ryan was not player enough to get. Washington DID get a proven player ready to help immediately and for several years, and the Twins got a hope.
    1. Chris in Osaka's Avatar
      Chris in Osaka -
      Let's hope that Morneau and Willingham are moved next. The team, which shouldn't pretend that it can compete in 2013, must turn its attention to 2014 and beyond.
    1. kirbyelway's Avatar
      kirbyelway -
      Quote Originally Posted by h2oface View Post
      i don't trust in terry at all. why should anyone? ryan stated in september to the season ticket holders one thing, and then did another. trustworthy? span has first round pedigree, too, and hey, so does levi machael. i'll be holding my breath on that one. on top of it all...... it was rizzo that had coveted span for a long time. terry ryan folded and got taken, and left cards on the table. it turns out that regardless of the contract, as reported today at mlb trade rumors, that rizzo and the nats wanted span more than any of the centerfielders available. ryan made the weak play. there was a takeaway not played, and an additional player to be had that ryan was not player enough to get. washington DID get a proven player ready to help immediately and for several years, and the twins got a hope.
      Obviously you think he should be able to work miracles. Give TR some time and you will see once again why he is a winner and he has this organization on the right path.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Nick, you touched on a point that I mentioned a few days ago but seems to have fallen by the wayside:

      I think Meyer was Ryan's target all along, dating back to last July. I think it was only after the Upton signing that Rizzo buckled to the pressure and gave up what Terry wanted for Span.

      Patience is a virtue. From an outside observer, this looks to be a classic example of letting the market come to you instead of forcing the issue. And I don't think Ryan could have done much better with this move. Meyer is exactly what Twins fans have been clamoring for since Santana left.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      I liked the trade even if it doesn't help next years team (unless Meyer explodes in AA ball but even then it would be unlikely).

      I'm also pretty sure the Twins aren't done so it's a bit early to say that Ryan isn't doing anything about 2013. It is possible that we have a repeat of last years team but I'll give Ryan time to fix the rotation.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Since this is pretty much what I asked for.....no issues with the trade. But I will not trust him on free agents until he actually signs one he is competing for, for real money. Still hopeful....
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by Fanatic Jack View Post
      This is a good trade for the future but it does nothing to help the team compete in 2013. You must have missed the fan forum in late September when Ryan told season ticket holders the team was going to compete in 2013 and he wanted only Major League talent in return for any trade. Ryan also said he was going to use trades to improve the roster because the free agent market was very thin. He heads into the Winter Meetings not looking to trade anybody but to sign mediocre, cheap free agents. The dumpster diving method is not going to change things next year.
      Who cares what he said in the conference call, Ryan still plans to compete in 2013 and if he signs 2-3 FA pitchers the Twins very well could compete. I'm sure he would have preferred major league ready talent in return for Span, but like he said, any guy with an Ace like upside is basically untouchable by the time they get to the higher levels in the minors. Ryan made the best trade possible, would you have been happier if they would have traded him for some #4 at the major league level or something?
    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      Quote Originally Posted by h2oface View Post
      i don't trust in terry at all. why should anyone? ryan stated in september to the season ticket holders one thing, and then did another. trustworthy? span has first round pedigree, too, and hey, so does levi machael. i'll be holding my breath on that one. on top of it all...... it was rizzo that had coveted span for a long time. terry ryan folded and got taken, and left cards on the table. it turns out that regardless of the contract, as reported today at mlb trade rumors, that rizzo and the nats wanted span more than any of the centerfielders available. ryan made the weak play. there was a takeaway not played, and an additional player to be had that ryan was not player enough to get. washington DID get a proven player ready to help immediately and for several years, and the twins got a hope.
      I think you need to throw some more water on your face. What cards were left on the table? Who was this additional player you speak of? What exactly are you talking about?
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Nick, you touched on a point that I mentioned a few days ago but seems to have fallen by the wayside:

      I think Meyer was Ryan's target all along, dating back to last July. I think it was only after the Upton signing that Rizzo buckled to the pressure and gave up what Terry wanted for Span.

      Patience is a virtue. From an outside observer, this looks to be a classic example of letting the market come to you instead of forcing the issue. And I don't think Ryan could have done much better with this move. Meyer is exactly what Twins fans have been clamoring for since Santana left.
      Brock, it sounds like you're praising TR because of the speculation that he waited out the Nationals in order to get Meyer. We don't know what was on the table, if anything, in July. As Nick mentioned, technically Meyer couldn't be traded back then, except as a PTBNL, and I don't think TR would have traded Span for a PTBNL.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Since this is pretty much what I asked for.....no issues with the trade. But I will not trust him on free agents until he actually signs one he is competing for, for real money. Still hopeful....
      Willingham doesn't count?
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Nick, you touched on a point that I mentioned a few days ago but seems to have fallen by the wayside:

      I think Meyer was Ryan's target all along, dating back to last July. I think it was only after the Upton signing that Rizzo buckled to the pressure and gave up what Terry wanted for Span.

      Patience is a virtue. From an outside observer, this looks to be a classic example of letting the market come to you instead of forcing the issue. And I don't think Ryan could have done much better with this move. Meyer is exactly what Twins fans have been clamoring for since Santana left.
      Brock, it sounds like you're praising TR because of the speculation that he waited out the Nationals in order to get Meyer. We don't know what was on the table, if anything, in July. As Nick mentioned, technically Meyer couldn't be traded back then, except as a PTBNL, and I don't think TR would have traded Span for a PTBNL.
      It's speculation but the timing is hard to deny. The Braves get better by signing the best FA center fielder and two days later, the Nats and Twins finally come to an agreement. The Twins weren't pressured to make the deal; they still had other options to deal Span. It was Rizzo feeling the heat and he's probably the one who caved.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Not for me. He was not outbidding anyone for Josh, and was a payroll cut. I want to see him replace a guy with guys a lot more expensive before I believe he will spend what it takes to win. Willingham was a great sign, but it was a budget cut that they then, shockingly pocketed....when he goes out and beats another team for a free agent, then I will believe he is trying to make the team better, not just cheaper. Ymmv.
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Nick, you touched on a point that I mentioned a few days ago but seems to have fallen by the wayside:

      I think Meyer was Ryan's target all along, dating back to last July. I think it was only after the Upton signing that Rizzo buckled to the pressure and gave up what Terry wanted for Span.

      Patience is a virtue. From an outside observer, this looks to be a classic example of letting the market come to you instead of forcing the issue. And I don't think Ryan could have done much better with this move. Meyer is exactly what Twins fans have been clamoring for since Santana left.
      Brock, it sounds like you're praising TR because of the speculation that he waited out the Nationals in order to get Meyer. We don't know what was on the table, if anything, in July. As Nick mentioned, technically Meyer couldn't be traded back then, except as a PTBNL, and I don't think TR would have traded Span for a PTBNL.
      It's speculation but the timing is hard to deny. The Braves get better by signing the best FA center fielder and two days later, the Nats and Twins finally come to an agreement. The Twins weren't pressured to make the deal; they still had other options to deal Span. It was Rizzo feeling the heat and he's probably the one who caved.
      You're giving TR way too much credit. The Braves signing Upton hurt the Nationals' options for obtaining a CF, certainly, but it also took the Braves out of the mix as a potential trade partner for the Twins, so it also hurt the Twins' leverage on any potential Span trade.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
      You're giving TR way too much credit. The Braves signing Upton hurt the Nationals' options for obtaining a CF, certainly, but it also took the Braves out of the mix as a potential trade partner for the Twins, so it also hurt the Twins' leverage on any potential Span trade.
      I disagree. The Reds may have still been in the mix along with other teams that need OF help. I think it's a little too convenient that Upton goes to the Braves (the Nats biggest rival) and then Rizzo suddenly pulls the trigger on Span. Ryan had no reason to feel the same pressure that Rizzo was undoubtedly feeling.

      Either way, the trade was not a steal for either side. It was fair value for both teams, IMO. This isn't a Pierzynski Redux.
    1. birdwatcher's Avatar
      birdwatcher -
      The Span/Meyer trade details are simply speculation. Why re-hash it? And it doesn't matter really.

      There is a range of expectations associated with what "fixing" the 2013 team means. I'd much rather hear your opinions about what you think Ryan's expectations are for 2013, and what your own expectations are. What would satisfy you for 2013? A .500 club? More?
    1. Jim H's Avatar
      Jim H -
      Lots of interesting speculation on this. I doubt if we ever know if one side "caved" on this trade or not. It is hardly in anyone's interest to reveal that. What is true, is that it will be years before this trade can be fairly evalulated. There is a pretty chance Span will continue to be largely what he has been. Meyer could turn into an ace, a good starting pitcher, a closer, a decent reliever or never reach the majors at all.
    1. jm3319's Avatar
      jm3319 -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Not for me. He was not outbidding anyone for Josh, and was a payroll cut. I want to see him replace a guy with guys a lot more expensive before I believe he will spend what it takes to win. Willingham was a great sign, but it was a budget cut that they then, shockingly pocketed....when he goes out and beats another team for a free agent, then I will believe he is trying to make the team better, not just cheaper. Ymmv.
      So if we had given Willingham something like 18M a year you would have been happier? Sounds like all you want is upgrades to the payroll and not worried about the return. Getting cheaper and better, like the Twins did by signing Willingham, is the ultimate win-win for a team.
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      We know about as much about the Span/Meyer trade talks as we do about Terry Ryan's role in Bill Smith's regime.
©2014 TwinsCentric, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Interested in advertising with Twins Daily? Click here.