Earlier today I asked Twitter followers (and others) to tell me who they think the Twins will or should trade. I figured I could come up with some hypotheticals and the readers at TwinsDaily could weigh in on the different proposals. I’m not suggesting these are all trades I would make, but are deals I consider relatively fair (and that make sense) from both clubs’ views.
I immediately got a lot of suggestions: Justin Morneau, Kevin Correia, Trevor Plouffe, Jamey Carroll, Mike Pelfrey, Josh Willingham and Glen Perkins.
There were a few Joe Mauer suggestions, but I figured they were in jest, so we’ll stay away from that. There was also one that involved minor leaguers. Now, while I do think the Twins could deal away a prospect or two in the right package, they won't be dealing the “building blocks of the future”.
Today we’ll start out with the four easier decisions (in my opinion) and we’ll take a look at the three more difficult ones tomorrow.
Carroll is currently playing out his age-39 season and will, in all likelihood, be receiving a $250,000 buyout after the season. While he’s on pace to make the lowest number of plate appearances since his rookie season of 2002, he still provides versatility and a somewhat valuable glove at multiple infield positions.
Considering this may be Carroll’s final season, I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see the Twins deal him to a contender. At this point, it’s hard to say who, but the return would likely not be a prospect.
Would you trade Jamey Carroll and cash (likely the money to cover his buyout) for a PTBNL or cash?
The return would probably be the “buyout money” coming back, which would essentially mean that Carroll is given away solely to give him the opportunity to play in a pennant race (and maybe the Twins save a few hundred thousand on his remaining salary). It sounds fair to me and it also allows the Twins to give a few at-bats to James Beresford or Doug Bernier.
I thought that, when the Twins signed Pelfrey, there was potential for him to be a guy the Twins could deal at the deadline. (Off topic, they could have done much worse than signing Pelfrey. See: Baker, Marcum, Myers.)
Unfortunately, Pelfrey got off to a rough start before hurting his back. Now we’re looking at him getting only a handful of starts before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Pelfrey is on pace to finish right around 150 IP, which triggers the first of many incentives. (The first one is worth $100,000.)
I can’t imagine there is a huge trade market for a current fringe-#5 starter, so I see very little chance Pelfrey gets moved.
Given that Pelfrey’s agent is Scott Boras, we know that Pelfrey will hit the free agent market after the season. Call me nuts, but I think we have yet to see the best of Pelfrey. (In which case, let’s see what happens in late August.) To be completely honest, I would sign Pelfrey to the exact same deal next year that he has currently, but I think he'll get a better deal in the off-season.
Correia is an interesting case. He signed a 2-year/$10 million deal which fans and local media hated instantly. He then started out the season pitching much better than expected. Now he’s leveled off and isn’t doing anything to help the Twins or his trade value (though he was pretty good tonight).
Oh, then there’s the “you can’t trade a guy in the first year of a multi-year deal” thing you've gotta deal with.
I think Correia has less value than Pelfrey because of the $5.5 million owed him in 2014. Is Correia the piece that’s going to put a team over the top and into the playoffs? I don’t think so, Tim. Is there a team that would add Correia to help stabilize an overused bullpen? I don’t even think that’s a possibility.
But let’s pretend for a moment that the Rockies, who liked Correia last offseason and are a handful of games back, get hot and decide to become buyers. (I don’t think it’s likely, but just for the sake of saying…)
Would you trade Kevin Correia and cash for Christian Bergman, a AA starter who doesn’t throw hard but could be Kevin Correia in a handful of years?
I can’t imagine the Twins get much of anything after asking a team to cover all of next year’s salary. In this scenario, maybe the Twins cover $2 - $3 million and get a guy that would be a fringe Top 30 prospect. If you’re not okay with chipping in a couple million, replace Bergman with any AA relief pitcher with either control issues or one who is older than the competition.
It’s actually quite a simple question with Willingham. Are you okay with trading damaged goods for two low-level, limited-ceiling pitchers right now just to get out of his 2014 salary? Or would you rather see him get healthy and shop him at the winter meetings and hope to get something back with better value?
Listen, I like Willingham and given what the potential returns were last deadline (rumored to be not much), I’m glad the Twins didn’t deal him. It was a calculated risk, sure, and it didn’t work out the way the Twins had hoped.
There is a chance he can recoup some value and be traded still, whether by the August deadline, over the winter or next July. But being honest here, if the return value wasn’t going to be high in the midst of a career year, when is it?
Tomorrow we’ll look at Justin Morneau, Trevor Plouffe and Glen Perkins.