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  • The Road to Rebuild: Trading Away Assets

    Yesterday was the first part of a series that will look at the road that lies ahead for the Minnesota Twins as they try to rebuild after back-to-back 90 loss seasons. The team has already started the rebuilding process by trading away two of their most valuable major league assets in Denard Span and Ben Revere. Today, “The Road to Rebuild” looks at trading away some of the team’s other assets - and fan favorites - to get players for the next time the team will be competitive.

    Denard Span and Ben Revere were two fan favorites over the last couple of years but the team jumped at the opportunity to trade these two players for young pitchers with upside. The Twins turned two former first round picks into three pitchers that should figure into the team’s equation over the next handful of seasons.

    It can be tough to trade away players that have been with the organization since they were teenagers. At TwinsFest, Terry Ryan made it clear that trading away Revere was one of the toughest decisions of his professional career when he said "Ben Revere is like a son to me." These are decisions that the front office has to make with their head and not with their heart.

    It seems that there will be plenty of other tough decisions for Mr. Ryan to make along the road to rebuild. There are a couple of other valuable pieces that the Twins could potentially trade in the next two years that could help add more depth to a farm system that is already considered one of the best in all of baseball.

    Two of the team's best players' contracts will expire before the end of 2014. The way the Twins are shaping their roster doesn't make it seem like the team will be competitive before the end of those deals. This could leave Justin Morneau and Josh Willingham on the trading block.

    Trading Morneau could be another tough decision for Ryan. Twins fans have cheered for Morneau through thick and through thin. The former MVP has had a couple of rough years in a row but the end of 2012 was a step in the right direction, when he hit .289/.354/.439 over the second half. If Morneau could get the 2013 season off on the right foot, he trade value could rise rapidly.

    Morneau is in the last year of a six-year, $80 million deal. With Chris Parmelee on the roster, the Twins have a possible replacement for Morneau waiting in the wings. Parmelee will be a much cheaper option since he has yet to reach arbitration. A team looking to add a powerful left-handed bat for the stretch run might be willing to give up some pieces to acquire Morneau.

    Last offseason, the Twins signed Willingham to a very reasonable three-year, $21 million contract. He more than lived up to the deal during his first season in a Twins uniform. MLB honored him with a Silver Slugger Award after he knocked 35 home runs, the most by a Twins player not named Harmon Killebrew since 1963. This tremendous season helped to add value to a player the Twins got for a good deal.

    Willingham's contract will run through the end of the 2014 season but he will be 36 years old by that point. He is closer to the end of his career than he is to the beginning, so it is hard to imagine him gaining any more value on the field. If the right deal is on the table from another club, the Twins might have to pull the trigger.

    For fans, it can be tough to watch their favorite players leave for another team. This is especially true when the players the Twins get back are still a couple years away from making an impact at the big league level. But trading away veteran players is part of the rebuilding process.

    And hey, fans can be rest-assured that Joe Mauer will be around for this rebuild...

    ...and maybe even the next one too.
    This article was originally published in blog: The Road to Rebuild: Trading Away Assets started by Cody Christie
    Comments 21 Comments
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      I think many posters are overvaluing Morneau's worth come next offseason. We are seeing this year that good players in their prime are struggling to find contracts after they've turned down qualifying offers. Justin will be turning 33, coming off of a few injury plagued years (obviously we have no idea what will happen in 2013), hasn't hit the ball particularly well in few years. I understand that many people think Justin will have a nice rebound year, I actually think he will as well, but the odds at this point of him being worthy of a qualifying offer are not great. The odds that he turns down said qualifying offer and another team is willing to forfeit a first round pick for him I think is very small.

      To me, if the Twins need to make a decision on his extension early in the season and if they decide to part ways he needs to be traded at the deadline. Of course I would also eat a large portion of his salary if that bring back more of value in return but we all know that is not the Twins way.
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