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  • 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 Ė or at best unenthused Ė 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 SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      The only reason I brought up his 5 years prior of defensive stats was the fact that he was being called "below average" defensively because of one years worth of UZR data.
      So when I mentioned the Fielding Bible award voters (who judge defenders for a living) not giving him a vote and his negative defensive runs saved in 2010 and 2011, I was just using one year of data...and ONLY UZR? That's Interesting. Maybe one needs to go back and look at that post. On top of that, are you or aren't you the one who said all defensive metrics show he's an above average defender? A combined UZR of .8 over the last three years and an average of -10 defensive runs saved over the last three years show he's above average?
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      His BABIP was also .060 lower than 2009. If that's not a case of "this stadium is ****ing me", I don't know what is. He was one really unlucky dude in 2010.
      I'm not going to debate your "TF is tough on lefties" because like I stated before, Span isn't your typical left handed batter.

      As far as you calling him a really unlucky dude in 2010 you may be only partiall correct. Couldn't it be argued that his BABIP in 2009 (.353) was in fact pretty "lucky"? Especially since he hasn't come within 35 pts of that number since then?
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      His BABIP was also .060 lower than 2009. If that's not a case of "this stadium is ****ing me", I don't know what is. He was one really unlucky dude in 2010.
      I'm not going to debate your "TF is tough on lefties" because like I stated before, Span isn't your typical left handed batter.

      As far as you calling him a really unlucky dude in 2010 you may be only partiall correct. Couldn't it be argued that his BABIP in 2009 (.353) was in fact pretty "lucky"? Especially since he hasn't come within 35 pts of that number since then?
      Oh, absolutely. His 2009 BABIP was extremely lucky. Six of one, half dozen of the other, which is why I initially referenced his 2012 BABIP, which was still .020 higher than 2010.

      If you're allowed to use Span's 2010 against him, it's only fair to come down hard on Upton for his 2012, where he didn't even get on base 30% of the time. Unless you're knocking 40 balls out of the park, that's awful. Weighting OBP at 1.5-1.8:1 versus slugging (about where it should be weighted depending on who you talk to), Span was considerably better in 2012 than Upton.

      Again, I don't think one player is significantly better than the other. I only stated that if injuries were no concern, I think I'd rather have Span because he makes less outs.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      His BABIP was also .060 lower than 2009. If that's not a case of "this stadium is ****ing me", I don't know what is. He was one really unlucky dude in 2010.
      I'm not going to debate your "TF is tough on lefties" because like I stated before, Span isn't your typical left handed batter.

      As far as you calling him a really unlucky dude in 2010 you may be only partiall correct. Couldn't it be argued that his BABIP in 2009 (.353) was in fact pretty "lucky"? Especially since he hasn't come within 35 pts of that number since then?
      Oh, absolutely. His 2009 BABIP was extremely lucky. Six of one, half dozen of the other, which is why I initially referenced his 2012 BABIP, which was still .020 higher than 2010.

      If you're allowed to use Span's 2010 against him, it's only fair to come down hard on Upton for his 2012, where he didn't even get on base 30% of the time. Unless you're knocking 40 balls out of the park, that's awful.
      and his BA under .250 and his 169Ks
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      The only reason I brought up his 5 years prior of defensive stats was the fact that he was being called "below average" defensively because of one years worth of UZR data.
      So when I mentioned his negative defensive runs saved in 2010 and 2011, I was just using one year of data? That's Interesting. On top of that, are you or aren't you the one who said all defensive metrics show he's an above average defender? A combined UZR of .8 over the last three years and an average of -10 defensive runs saved over the last three years show he's above average?
      I already mentioned that I prefer to use UZR, and also pointed out that within the last 3 years Span had a negative RS as well. Does that mean he is below average?

      Call him what you want, the fact is calling Span "Above Average" while dismissing Upton as "Below Average" was incorrect as it was stating that one player is significantly better defensively, when that just isn't the case.

      On the other side of things, I show how Upton is significantly more valuable as a runner and a hitter, and you just scoff and make snarky "well chicks dig the long ball derp" quips while ignoring that fact that he has outperformed him quite a bit OPS and OPS+ wise, and as far as base path value goes? It's not even close.

      Oh, and this doesn't even take into fact that Span has some health questions moving forward.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      His BABIP was also .060 lower than 2009. If that's not a case of "this stadium is ****ing me", I don't know what is. He was one really unlucky dude in 2010.
      I'm not going to debate your "TF is tough on lefties" because like I stated before, Span isn't your typical left handed batter.

      As far as you calling him a really unlucky dude in 2010 you may be only partiall correct. Couldn't it be argued that his BABIP in 2009 (.353) was in fact pretty "lucky"? Especially since he hasn't come within 35 pts of that number since then?
      Oh, absolutely. His 2009 BABIP was extremely lucky. Six of one, half dozen of the other, which is why I initially referenced his 2012 BABIP, which was still .020 higher than 2010.

      If you're allowed to use Span's 2010 against him, it's only fair to come down hard on Upton for his 2012, where he didn't even get on base 30% of the time. Unless you're knocking 40 balls out of the park, that's awful. Weighting OBP at 1.5-1.8:1 versus slugging (about where it should be weighted depending on who you talk to), Span was considerably better in 2012 than Upton.
      Funny I could have sworn you were one of the people saying the Twins should have kept Hardy around, while other people were crying about his .310 OBP.

      So now its all about OBP? Did Upton have his warts this year? no doubt. But if you look at everything all together with salary taken out of the picture its Upton in a landslide. If you take injuries out of the picture it's still Upton, even with your weighted OPS average Upton outperformed Span over the past 3 years.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      The only reason I brought up his 5 years prior of defensive stats was the fact that he was being called "below average" defensively because of one years worth of UZR data.
      So when I mentioned his negative defensive runs saved in 2010 and 2011, I was just using one year of data? That's Interesting. On top of that, are you or aren't you the one who said all defensive metrics show he's an above average defender? A combined UZR of .8 over the last three years and an average of -10 defensive runs saved over the last three years show he's above average?
      I already mentioned that I prefer to use UZR, and also pointed out that within the last 3 years Span had a negative RS as well. Does that mean he is below average?

      Call him what you want, the fact is calling Span "Above Average" while dismissing Upton as "Below Average" was incorrect as it was stating that one player is significantly better defensively, when that just isn't the case.

      On the other side of things, I show how Upton is significantly more valuable as a runner and a hitter, and you just scoff and make snarky "well chicks dig the long ball derp" quips while ignoring that fact that he has outperformed him quite a bit OPS and OPS+ wise, and as far as base path value goes? It's not even close.

      Oh, and this doesn't even take into fact that Span has some health questions moving forward.
      Oh, you prefer to use UZR...so you prefer to use stats that help your debate and discard those that don't. Even though Fangraph does both stats, only one has merit? UZR doesn't really help you though. Not for the last three years. And Span DOES NOT have a negative DRS over the last three years in CF. He had 20 this year, 9 in 2011 (while only playing half a season, BTW) and a -5 in 2010. That's not a negative, that's a big positive.

      And don't talk to me about snarky comments...you began our debate saying I didn't know baseball cause you didn't agree with my opinion. Doesn't get much snarkier than that. Or is it only okay when you do it?
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Funny I could have sworn you were one of the people saying the Twins should have kept Hardy around, while other people were crying about his .310 OBP.

      So now its all about OBP? Did Upton have his warts this year? no doubt. But if you look at everything all together with salary taken out of the picture its Upton in a landslide. If you take injuries out of the picture it's still Upton, even with your weighted OPS average Upton outperformed Span over the past 3 years.
      Are you ****ing kidding me, Dave? I wanted Hardy around because he's not goddamned awful and he plays shortstop (very well). Given the Twins history of middle infielders, who didn't want that? Hardy's OBP is not optimal but when your other options include All-Stars like (fill in name of god-awful Twins middle infielder here), I'd take the corpse of Honus Wagner over those guys.

      But when given an option, I'll always take the guy who makes less outs over the guy who can't get on base. Over the course of a season, that's the best way to win baseball games. I'm also the guy that constantly repeats "the most important thing in baseball is not getting out".
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Funny I could have sworn you were one of the people saying the Twins should have kept Hardy around, while other people were crying about his .310 OBP.

      So now its all about OBP? Did Upton have his warts this year? no doubt. But if you look at everything all together with salary taken out of the picture its Upton in a landslide. If you take injuries out of the picture it's still Upton, even with your weighted OPS average Upton outperformed Span over the past 3 years.
      Are you ****ing kidding me, Dave? I wanted Hardy around because he's not goddamned awful and he plays shortstop (very well). Given the Twins history of middle infielders, who didn't want that? Hardy's OBP is not optimal but when your other options include All-Stars like (fill in name of god-awful Twins middle infielder here), I'd take the corpse of Honus Wagner over those guys.

      But when given an option, I'll always take the guy who makes less outs over the guy who can't get on base. Over the course of a season, that's the best way to win baseball games. I'm also the guy that constantly repeats "the most important thing in baseball is not getting out".
      Carroll had a higher OBP then Span last year, and significantly higher then Hardy (and Hardy as a Twin). Does that mean you prefer Carroll at SS over Hardy?
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Funny I could have sworn you were one of the people saying the Twins should have kept Hardy around, while other people were crying about his .310 OBP.

      So now its all about OBP? Did Upton have his warts this year? no doubt. But if you look at everything all together with salary taken out of the picture its Upton in a landslide. If you take injuries out of the picture it's still Upton, even with your weighted OPS average Upton outperformed Span over the past 3 years.
      Are you ****ing kidding me, Dave? I wanted Hardy around because he's not goddamned awful and he plays shortstop (very well). Given the Twins history of middle infielders, who didn't want that? Hardy's OBP is not optimal but when your other options include All-Stars like (fill in name of god-awful Twins middle infielder here), I'd take the corpse of Honus Wagner over those guys.

      But when given an option, I'll always take the guy who makes less outs over the guy who can't get on base. Over the course of a season, that's the best way to win baseball games. I'm also the guy that constantly repeats "the most important thing in baseball is not getting out".
      Carroll had a higher OBP then Span last year, and significantly higher then Hardy (and Hardy as a Twin). Does that mean you prefer Carroll at SS over Hardy?
      Now you're being intentionally dense just to confuse the argument. I already stated how I felt OBP should be weighted compared to SLG.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      The Puck: To simplify this all a bit again:

      If Span was a free agent this off-season, would some team give him a 5 year/ 75 mil contract?

      I will hang up and listen at this point since you obviously aren't going to change your mind on this topic.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Funny I could have sworn you were one of the people saying the Twins should have kept Hardy around, while other people were crying about his .310 OBP.

      So now its all about OBP? Did Upton have his warts this year? no doubt. But if you look at everything all together with salary taken out of the picture its Upton in a landslide. If you take injuries out of the picture it's still Upton, even with your weighted OPS average Upton outperformed Span over the past 3 years.
      Are you ****ing kidding me, Dave? I wanted Hardy around because he's not goddamned awful and he plays shortstop (very well). Given the Twins history of middle infielders, who didn't want that? Hardy's OBP is not optimal but when your other options include All-Stars like (fill in name of god-awful Twins middle infielder here), I'd take the corpse of Honus Wagner over those guys.

      But when given an option, I'll always take the guy who makes less outs over the guy who can't get on base. Over the course of a season, that's the best way to win baseball games. I'm also the guy that constantly repeats "the most important thing in baseball is not getting out".
      Not to mention, even injured, Hardy had the best UZR/150 of any shortstop in his one year with us. Defense.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Funny I could have sworn you were one of the people saying the Twins should have kept Hardy around, while other people were crying about his .310 OBP.

      So now its all about OBP? Did Upton have his warts this year? no doubt. But if you look at everything all together with salary taken out of the picture its Upton in a landslide. If you take injuries out of the picture it's still Upton, even with your weighted OPS average Upton outperformed Span over the past 3 years.
      Are you ****ing kidding me, Dave? I wanted Hardy around because he's not goddamned awful and he plays shortstop (very well). Given the Twins history of middle infielders, who didn't want that? Hardy's OBP is not optimal but when your other options include All-Stars like (fill in name of god-awful Twins middle infielder here), I'd take the corpse of Honus Wagner over those guys.

      But when given an option, I'll always take the guy who makes less outs over the guy who can't get on base. Over the course of a season, that's the best way to win baseball games. I'm also the guy that constantly repeats "the most important thing in baseball is not getting out".
      Carroll had a higher OBP then Span last year, and significantly higher then Hardy (and Hardy as a Twin). Does that mean you prefer Carroll at SS over Hardy?
      Now you're being intentionally dense just to confuse the argument. I already stated how I felt OBP should be weighted compared to SLG.
      You were the one who just said "But when given an option, I'll always take the guy who makes less outs over the guy who can't get on base"

      JJ Hardy had a .286 OBP last year. Does that mean you will always take Carroll over him?
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Funny I could have sworn you were one of the people saying the Twins should have kept Hardy around, while other people were crying about his .310 OBP.

      So now its all about OBP? Did Upton have his warts this year? no doubt. But if you look at everything all together with salary taken out of the picture its Upton in a landslide. If you take injuries out of the picture it's still Upton, even with your weighted OPS average Upton outperformed Span over the past 3 years.
      Are you ****ing kidding me, Dave? I wanted Hardy around because he's not goddamned awful and he plays shortstop (very well). Given the Twins history of middle infielders, who didn't want that? Hardy's OBP is not optimal but when your other options include All-Stars like (fill in name of god-awful Twins middle infielder here), I'd take the corpse of Honus Wagner over those guys.

      But when given an option, I'll always take the guy who makes less outs over the guy who can't get on base. Over the course of a season, that's the best way to win baseball games. I'm also the guy that constantly repeats "the most important thing in baseball is not getting out".
      Carroll had a higher OBP then Span last year, and significantly higher then Hardy (and Hardy as a Twin). Does that mean you prefer Carroll at SS over Hardy?
      Well, hmm, him being one of the very best shortstops in baseball has to be factored in. Overall player ability. Not any one stat.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      You were the one who just said "But when given an option, I'll always take the guy who makes less outs over the guy who can't get on base"

      JJ Hardy had a .286 OBP last year. Does that mean you will always take Carroll over him?
      Seriously. Stop being a prick. You know exactly what I meant by that statement.

      But yeah, there's a chance I'd take 2012 Carroll over 2012 Hardy. JJ was pretty bad this year.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      I'm done with this debate. It's been, well, interesting
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      You were the one who just said "But when given an option, I'll always take the guy who makes less outs over the guy who can't get on base"

      JJ Hardy had a .286 OBP last year. Does that mean you will always take Carroll over him?
      Seriously. Stop being a prick. You know exactly what I meant by that statement.

      But yeah, there's a chance I'd take 2012 Carroll over 2012 Hardy. JJ was pretty bad this year.
      Actually I thought I knew what you meant, but now you are saying you would rather have had Carroll last year then Hardy so now I am confused.
      Ben Revere had a .333 OBP last year does this mean you would take him over Upton as well moving forward? (honest question)
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      I'm done with this debate. It's been, well, interesting
      I can't help but notice you didn't answer the question:

      If Span were a free agent this year, would he get a 5/75 contract?

      If you think he would, then I guess he has at least the same value as Upton, if you think he wouldn't, then I guess he wouldn't have as much value. Yes or no?
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Actually I thought I knew what you meant, but now you are saying you would rather have had Carroll last year then Hardy so now I am confused.
      Ben Revere had a .333 OBP last year does this mean you would take him over Upton as well moving forward? (honest question)
      If I knew Carroll would post the numbers he did and Hardy the numbers he did in 2012, there's a small chance I'd take Carroll. A 60 point OBP advantage is a lot but it still might be countered by Hardy's defense. I'd have to look into the numbers more closely. But speaking purely from an offensive perspective, Carroll had the better season by a considerable margin (as weird as that sounds to say).

      As for Revere vs. Upton, no way. Upton all day. Revere may have posted a .035 higher OBP but Upton slugged a full .100 higher.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post

      I can't help but notice you didn't answer the question:

      If Span were a free agent this year, would he get a 5/75 contract?

      If you think he would, then I guess he has at least the same value as Upton, if you think he wouldn't, then I guess he wouldn't have as much value. Yes or no?
      Just like I can't help but noticed you avoided this whole post completely :

      'Oh, you prefer to use UZR...so you prefer to use stats that help your debate and discard those that don't. Even though Fangraph does both stats, only one has merit? UZR doesn't really help you though. Not for the last three years. And Span DOES NOT have a negative DRS over the last three years in CF. He had 20 this year, 9 in 2011 (while only playing half a season, BTW) and a -5 in 2010. That's not a negative, that's a big positive.

      And don't talk to me about snarky comments...you began our debate saying I didn't know baseball cause you didn't agree with my opinion. Doesn't get much snarkier than that. Or is it only okay when you do it? '

      Why did you avoid that post, exactly?

      I also noticed you said you were done with it as well since my mind wasn't gonna be changed...

      To answer yours, I don't believe Upton deserved anywhere near that contract...and no I don't think Span would get it. But I do believe HRs are overvalued in ALMOST all contracts and defense basically ignored in today's game when contracts are given out. In other words, because a team decided to seriously overpay a guy who doesn't deserve it, doesn't mean that it's a true measure of his value.
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