• Twins Punting 2013? Not So Fast

    Ben Revere swingsTrading established players for prospects is the sign of a rebuilding team, and that is certainly what we've seen from Terry Ryan with his first few major moves this offseason. Many casual fans have expressed outrage over trades that sent Denard Span and Ben Revere – cornerstones in the Minnesota outfield – to the NL East for young pitching geared more toward the big picture than immediate improvement.

    The two prizes acquired in these deals, Alex Meyer and Trevor May, both have what it takes to become true assets in the rotation. In all likelihood it won't happen in 2013, which is understandably frustrating for fans who are tired of all the losing and are yearning for short-term gains. However, the presence of Vance Worley cannot be ignored. He's an established major-league pitcher, and while he's probably more serviceable than great, he fills one of the club's several rotation vacancies at essentially no cost.

    Assuming that ownership is serious about keeping payroll steady, that leaves Ryan with around $20-25 million to spend on starters who can make a more immediate impact. Adding a pair of $10 million pitchers on top of Diamond and Worley, even in this inflated market, would greatly change the complexion of the starting corps. The rotation is not going to suddenly become an asset -- that was never really a possibility -- but could be good enough to compete, and there's always the chance that Meyer or May will perform well enough in the minors to become a late-season option.

    To get themselves into this vastly preferable position with the pitching staff while retaining plenty of financial flexibility, the Twins had to part with a pair of valuable and likable players. But Darin Mastroianni ought to be an adequate placeholder and a guy like Aaron Hicks or Oswaldo Arcia could very well step in and make fans quickly forget about the previous tenants.

    Having lost nearly 200 games over the last two seasons, this team was in need of a major shake-up, and we're seeing it. There's no doubt that it hurts to lose players we've grown to love and appreciate, but at the end of the day the GM has dealt away from a position of depth to address a position of crippling weakness.

    I have held fast to my stance that the best approach for the Twins at this time is to make a modest but meaningful effort at returning to contention next year, with an eye toward the organization's long-term health. After two savvy trades, Ryan is in position to do just that.
    This article was originally published in blog: Twins Punting 2013? Not So Fast started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 121 Comments
    1. Dave T's Avatar
      Dave T -
      Nick - thank you for writing what I've been thinking. We're two pitchers and maybe a shortstop away from credibility as a contender in the AL Central. How much does R.A. Dickey want, again?
    1. Top Gun's Avatar
      Top Gun -
      It's not over tell the top pitchers sign.
    1. AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS's Avatar
      AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS -
      Quote Originally Posted by Top Gun View Post
      It's not over tell the top pitchers sign.
      True that Top Gun!
    1. ltwedt's Avatar
      ltwedt -
      yeah - Or until . . . it's over
    1. Mchans24's Avatar
      Mchans24 -
      I've noticed many casual fans calling this a disaster, I think these are very good moves that could turn great if May or Meyer turns into a front line guy down the road. Especially considering neither Span or Revere fit in past 2013. I'm hopeful we can sign an Edwin Jackson type to man the front of the rotation on maybe a 2-3 year deal. If not, I'm ok with picking up another arm at the deadline with Willingham or Morneau as trade bait!
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Great article, Nick, and definitely puts things into perspective. Until Greinke and Sanchez sign, we may not see that next tier sign, and I think this flexibility allows them to be in on the likes of Jackson, McCarthy, Marcum and others in the $8-12 million range.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      According to Mackey, the Twins cannot have their top 3-4 players make 50% of their budget. If Mauer makes $23MM, that means the next 3 can make $24MM combined. Now, that does not leave any room to sign any pitchers that make real money, even if they trade Morneau......Me, I'd sign Marcum and 1 other pitcher and call it a day. But I don't see how signing any legit player fits within Ryan's statement.
    1. pjnelly's Avatar
      pjnelly -
      I think your right, Nick. Better yet, I think TR is thinking the same way: http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?co...y_25519603&v=3
    1. strumdatjag's Avatar
      strumdatjag -
      Why sign two $10 million pitchers? The Twins should sign one of the top available free agent pitchers like Grienke, Jackson, McCarthy, or Dempster and fill out the rotation with Diamond, Gibson, Worley and allow someone to earn the fifth spot in training camp (if nobody earns the spot ofr someone is injured, take a cast-off from anther team at the end of Spring Training).
    1. tjsyam921's Avatar
      tjsyam921 -
      Jackson and Marcum to go along with Diamond, Worley, and either Hendriks, Walters, or Deduno would definitely be better than last year. Sure could use a SS or 2b that can hit.
    1. frightwig's Avatar
      frightwig -
      One important thing to keep in mind: Worley is recovering from surgery to remove a "loose body" and a bone spur from his elbow. Pitchers who have had similar offseason surgeries typically need 2-3 months of the next season to get back into shape, which means Worley probably isn't going to be in form until next June or July. And that means Worley isn't really going to help the Twins contend until 2014-16. I'd guess that's been factored into Terry Ryan's plan, anyway.

      I like this move for the long term. Even if Trevor May doesn't solve his control problems, I'd still rather have Vance Worley (assuming he gets healthy) over the next 4 years than Ben Revere. But it definitely does look like another sign of punting on 2013, unless Ryan is quietly planning to spend money on the lineup as well as starting pitching this winter. The lineup, as it stands, looks like it's probably going to be below-average, and possibly even really poor.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Drew Storen had surgery to remove bone chips in April of last season, came back in July and posted a 2.37 ERA with a sub-1.00 WHIP the rest of the way. Worley will have five months from the date of his surgery until pitchers and catchers report.

      It's certainly possible that Worley will have complications from the surgery but I don't see why you'd assume it. Plenty of guys bounce back in one offseason.
    1. one_eyed_jack's Avatar
      one_eyed_jack -
      The Twins are not punting, and should not be punting in 2013. Look at the state of this division. Not a powerhouse in it. It was the weakest in baseball in 2012, and I don't really see it being any better next year. If the Twins can upgrade their starting pitching and middle infield from godawful to competent, they'll be able to hang in the race for a while.
    1. Anorthagen's Avatar
      Anorthagen -
      Moneyball is one my favorite movies, and after watching that movie and seeing how billy bean made the A's into a contender. It is very easy to see how Terry Ryan is doing that same concept. He trades away good players to get other organizations top pitchers. Unfortunately, from a fan's point of view you would rather not see this, but you only know it will make the team better overall. Especially with how much the twins need starting pitching. If the twins can have diamond, Worley, Gibson, Hendricks, and whoever else in their rotation there is a good chance that they could finish as high as 3rd in the division. With the exception of everyone staying healthy.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      The Twins would be punting next season and future seasons if they weren't doing these deals. 2013 was already going to be a rough season but I'm becoming a little more optimistic each day. If they trade one or both of Willingham and Morneau for prospects then I would consider it punting though. there still won't be a lot of pitching and the offense would be looking pretty weak unless Hicks, Arcia, Parmelee and Plouffe significantly overachieved.
    1. h2oface's Avatar
      h2oface -
      Detroit was the American League representative in the World Series. Twins' fans like to cast aspersions on Detroit and Chicago, but to deny Detroit's talent is perhaps being a bit short sited.
    1. greengoblinrulz's Avatar
      greengoblinrulz -
      Love the 2 trades but any shot for success for this season will be dimished by having the worst double play combo in the majors.
      Also wasnt liking Ryan saying Blackburn & Duensing could be in the running for starting spots this yr.....groan
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      Quote Originally Posted by h2oface View Post
      Detroit was the American League representative in the World Series. Twins' fans like to cast aspersions on Detroit and Chicago, but to deny Detroit's talent is perhaps being a bit short sited.
      More importantly than this they need to show that they aren't the 2nd worst team (the Astros are truly awful) in the American league and get back to .500. Even if the division is weak they still have a lot of work to do to get out of the cellar.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by kab21 View Post
      The Twins would be punting next season and future seasons if they weren't doing these deals. 2013 was already going to be a rough season but I'm becoming a little more optimistic each day. If they trade one or both of Willingham and Morneau for prospects then I would consider it punting though. there still won't be a lot of pitching and the offense would be looking pretty weak unless Hicks, Arcia, Parmelee and Plouffe significantly overachieved.
      Right, they aren't punting but they also aren't putting their eggs in the 2013 basket. I think the most dangerous thing they could done was overreact to the needs of the next season at the expense of the organization's long-term strength. So far they have focused on getting pitching talent that aligns perfectly with our best minor league players and managed to add a 25 year old with some solid facets to his game.

      The problem is that their trade chips are pretty much gone unless they actually punt and we are seeing Ryan publically acknowedge that they are having difficulty signing players (for whatever reason). This team, as it is currently constituted after the trades, is not a whole lot better for next year. It all comes down to what they can do with the money they should have available.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by kab21 View Post
      The Twins would be punting next season and future seasons if they weren't doing these deals. 2013 was already going to be a rough season but I'm becoming a little more optimistic each day. If they trade one or both of Willingham and Morneau for prospects then I would consider it punting though. there still won't be a lot of pitching and the offense would be looking pretty weak unless Hicks, Arcia, Parmelee and Plouffe significantly overachieved.
      The defense is looking pretty shaky, too.

      All indications in the media are that they will move W, M, whoever- if- the return in trade is acceptable. They're apparently "shopping" them.

      "Chris Kluwe calling on Line 2"
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