• 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. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post

      It didn't hurt his value to remain committed to him CF, as well. Well played by the GM.
      Didn't hurt he was our best option at CF either
      Not sure about that, he was a terrific RF and I would have taken the trade-off at flipping the RF and CF (the new CFer's best position is CF, not right, which was his worst), if it would have mattered in the standings.
      He was rated as the 3rd best defensive CF in baseball this year. That's darn good. I'm comfortable in saying he was our best option. I know Revere has the speed, but I'm not quite comfortable with him reading the ball of the bat well yet. He misjudges a lot. RF is more forgiving in that regard due to less space to cover. His UZR was very high in RF mostly due to having a lot of bad RFs to compare him to
      I agree with you- Span is better than Revere in judging the wall and obviously has a better arm. He doesn't nearly cover the ground anymore that Revere does, but I still think with Span being better than Revere at both positions based on experience and arm, it would have been better to have Revere in CF--- but again, only because it would have maximized what Revere does best and minimize all the runners who advanced two bases on him (1st-3rd, 2nd to Home) that would have had much more respect for Span in RF. Again, this only would have mattered in my way of thinking if the Twins had had any chance of competing, and the opposite positioning being employed could have been evaluated within a month and just as easily proven you to be correct.
      Since you're still here...one more thing...concerning range. Span was rated as having the third best range of any CF and the 4th most plays made outside of zone. Again, the amount of plays might have had to do with the chances, but the range (RZR) was still top notch. Now I'm really out, I swear :-)
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post

      It didn't hurt his value to remain committed to him CF, as well. Well played by the GM.
      Didn't hurt he was our best option at CF either
      Not sure about that, he was a terrific RF and I would have taken the trade-off at flipping the RF and CF (the new CFer's best position is CF, not right, which was his worst), if it would have mattered in the standings.
      He was rated as the 3rd best defensive CF in baseball this year. That's darn good. I'm comfortable in saying he was our best option. I know Revere has the speed, but I'm not quite comfortable with him reading the ball of the bat well yet. He misjudges a lot. RF is more forgiving in that regard due to less space to cover. His UZR was very high in RF mostly due to having a lot of bad RFs to compare him to
      I agree with you- Span is better than Revere in judging the wall and obviously has a better arm. He doesn't nearly cover the ground anymore that Revere does, but I still think with Span being better than Revere at both positions based on experience and arm, it would have been better to have Revere in CF--- but again, only because it would have maximized what Revere does best and minimize all the runners who advanced two bases on him (1st-3rd, 2nd to Home) that would have had much more respect for Span in RF. Again, this only would have mattered in my way of thinking if the Twins had had any chance of competing, and the opposite positioning being employed could have been evaluated within a month and just as easily proven you to be correct.
      Since you're still here...one more thing...concerning range. Span was rated as having the third best range of any CF and the 4th most plays made outside of zone. Again, the amount of plays might have had to do with the chances, but the range (RZR) was still top notch. Now I'm really out, I swear :-)
      To me that's one of those eyeball-test-failure stats. Span to this naked eye anyway (perhaps it was my built-in assumption of his concussion-wariness), appeared to be much more conservative in his approach this year, back a step deeper and a little less relentless attacking the wall and he botched his fair share of sure outs into plays ruled as hits or errors, I also perceived some deferral to the RF at times, perhaps that's why both their scores might be a little artificially higher?
    1. mako83's Avatar
      mako83 -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Wookiee of the Year View Post
      Good find with those quotes.

      I wonder what level of pitcher Span would've brought in a trade for an established major league SP. I have to think at maximum value, not much better than a #4 with maybe #3 upside. And given the Twins likely won't be much good until Meyer hits the majors, anyway, there's no reason not to delay talent.

      That's probably the standard I'll hold Meyer to now--as long as he turns out to be at least a #4, I'll say we got full value for Span. I like Terry Ryan's approach of preferring upside over established mediocre guys, and I'd say early signs point to Span bringing a solid return.
      If we have to wait till 2014, 2015 (two, three seasons) and he's only a #4 pitcher, we got straight up robbed.
      If we wait two years and he is still a number four that means we have a better rotation right now De Vries looks like our number four
    1. 70charger's Avatar
      70charger -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Wookiee of the Year View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Wookiee of the Year View Post
      Good find with those quotes.

      I wonder what level of pitcher Span would've brought in a trade for an established major league SP. I have to think at maximum value, not much better than a #4 with maybe #3 upside. And given the Twins likely won't be much good until Meyer hits the majors, anyway, there's no reason not to delay talent.

      That's probably the standard I'll hold Meyer to now--as long as he turns out to be at least a #4, I'll say we got full value for Span. I like Terry Ryan's approach of preferring upside over established mediocre guys, and I'd say early signs point to Span bringing a solid return.
      If we have to wait till 2014, 2015 (two, three seasons) and he's only a #4 pitcher, we got straight up robbed.
      You really think there's any chance he debuts in 2013? Especially given the Twins' M.O. of slowly advancing prospects? I think 2014's a pretty good bet but 2015 strikes me as more likely than 2013.

      Will I be disappointed if Meyer ends up only a #4? Absolutely. But I don't think two years of Span, even with his team-friendly contract, was going to draw a return much larger than that in an MLB-ready player, anyway.
      Nope, I absolutely don't...I've been saying 2015 myself...but if he makes it, and I absolutely believe he will, I don't think he'll just be a number 4
      2015 is the most realistic DOA. Would love to see some combination of Johnson and Verlander from the new Staff Ace. To go with Gibson, Diamond, Wimmers and Berrios on the fast-track in June of that year to replace the latest Jason Marquis flop. We can still hope, can't we?
      DOA? Dead on arrival? God I hope not.

      Kidding aside, I think we might look for him in 2014. Maybe optimistic, but if he progresses as he should, it could happen.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      To me that's one of those eyeball-test-failure stats. Span to this naked eye anyway (perhaps it was my built-in assumption of his concussion-wariness), appeared to be much more conservative in his approach this year, back a step deeper and a little less relentless attacking the wall and he botched his fair share of sure outs into plays ruled as hits or errors, I also perceived some deferral to the RF at times, perhaps that's why both their scores might be a little artificially higher?
      I think it's cause he reads the ball of the bats so well, he's not making the super flashy play (which a lot of times are because you misjudged the ball to begin with). The guy has the range, reads the ball well, takes the best routes and has the smarts. Additionally, if he was deferring to RF, his RZR would be lower, not the 3rd best. My eye test seems to match what the defensive metrics say and the Fielding Bible award voters said...that he was the third best defensive CF in baseball this last season. But he's not flashy, that's for sure. He doesn't need to be.

      I'm gonna miss him playing for us.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      I am shocked that Ryan might be backing off spending money. Never would have predicted that....still hoping.
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