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  • The Stress of the Trade Deadline

    Last night in the 8th inning, Denard Span came out of the game because he was feeling dizzy. He wasn’t feeling well. Seeing Darin Mastroianni in the lineup set off a firestorm on Twitter.

    A night earlier, Trevor Plouffe was abruptly replaced by Brian Dozier as a pinch hitter. The question there was whether he was sick or injured.

    With Span, there was a far different discussion for one big reason. Rather than thinking that maybe Span wasn’t feeling well in the nearly-100 degree weather, the question jumped to “Has Span been traded?” Was he going to the Yankees, or the Rangers, or the Reds, or the Nationals? What would the Twins be getting in return?

    The trade deadline is in nine days. Denard Span and Francisco Liriano are the two names most frequently mentioned in trade rumors. The Twins are far out of playoff contention, and that means that they will be (and should be) in sell mode. That means that any veteran on the roster could be dealt, and that it could happen at any time, even during a game.

    The sad thing is that once people found out that he left the game because he felt dizzy, there were a few who thought, “Great! That will minimize what the Twins can get for Span!” Stay Classy!

    It’s sometimes important to take a step back at the trade deadline and realize that all these rumors and then any actual trades affect and stress players in ways that go far beyond the baseball field.

    Span came to the Twins when he signed in August of 2002 as the team’s #1 draft pick (20th overall). He gave up a college football scholarship to play with the Twins. He debuted with the Twins in 2008 and has been the team’s leadoff hitter ever since.

    Liriano came to the Twins following the 2003 season in one of Terry Ryan’s best trades. Liriano was traded to the Twins, along with Joe Nathan and Boof Bonser, in the AJ Pierzynski trade. He debuted with the Twins in September of 2005. Johan Santana won the AL Cy Young Award in 2006, but for a two month period, Liriano was the best pitcher in baseball. Unfortunately, he tore his UCL and had Tommy John surgery. It took until 2010 for Liriano to regain any semblance of his form. However, 2011 and the first two months of 2012 were very frustrating for the left-hander. However, in the last two months since rejoining the rotation, he has been one of baseball’s pitchers.

    A year ago, Denard Span was on the Disabled List with his concussion yet he still was involved in several trade rumors. Span did not want to get traded, and he really struggled with the rumors and the process. Although he has seen teammates come and go, Span has been in this organization for a decade. There is a comfort factor. There are relationships with teammates and coaches. Span has developed a great fan following due to his play on the field and his work in the community and his willingness to interact with fans at the ballpark and on Twitter. Although he lives in Tampa during the offseason, Span also knows that part of who he is is a Minnesota Twin.

    The life of a professional athlete may not be as great as we all assume in a number of ways. Yes, the money and the travel and the fame and those types of things are great. However, when a player is drafted, he has no choice in where he plays. In the minor leagues, players get paid very minimally and travel on buses. Once they hit the big leagues, they have almost no say in their income until they have almost three years of service time. They have no say in where they play for the first six years of their career. If they become a free agent, they finally have the power to choose where they will play based on factors from contract offered to cities in which they want to live. However, until a player has 10-5 rights (10 years of MLB service time, and the past five with the same team), he can be traded at any time whether he wants to be or not.

    Baseball is a business. It is a business that pays its performers very well. It provides them with many other perks, as well. But I also think that sometimes fans forget that these are people too. People with feelings. Some players outwardly handle rumors better than others.

    As a Twins fan, I like the fact that Francisco Liriano is saying that he wants to stay with the Twins. I have no problem with Denard Span being affected by the thought of leaving the organization that he has been with for a decade.

    Don’t get me wrong… It is Terry Ryan’s job as GM to not let that sentiment and emotion go into his decision-making as he is determining what needs to be done for the betterment of the Twins organization. I don’t want Denard Span to be traded either, but I also understand the he is the kind of player that can actually bring back some players that the organization needs to replenish its farm system. Hopefully, that will bring the Twins back to contention more quickly.

    In the same way, Terry Ryan needs to make a decision regarding Josh Willingham. How much return is enough to make up for the hit the team could take for trading a guy they just signed to a multi-year contract. By all reports, Willingham is a great guy and he and his family have really fit in with the Twins and in the community.

    Regarding Jamey Carroll, Ryan must determine the value of freeing up the Carroll's contract versus what Carroll can bring as a mentor to the Twins infield next year, which could have Brian Dozier and Pedro Florimon in the middle?

    Like Span, Glen Perkins has the type of contract (and talent) that could make him very valuable to a contender. However, he is from here. His wife is from here and they live in Minnesota year-round. It would affect a lot of lives to deal Perkins. Yes, that is the business side of it, but the personal side makes it tough to do.

    Justin Morneau has the kind of contract that would be great to get off the books: $14 million for 2013. Morneau and his wife just had their second baby. She is from Minnesota and they have made Minnesota one of their homes. Morneau has done a lot for the Twins organization over the last 8-9 years, including winning an MVP, hitting a lot of home runs, driving in a bunch of runs, becoming a very good first baseman and much more. Loyalty comes into play when the thought of trading Justin Morneau comes up.

    The July trade deadline is a lot of fun for fans. It’s fun to read the rumors. It’s fun to think about what prospects the Twins could receive in return for various players. It’s exciting. From a team perspective, they need to do what is right short-term and long-term for the organization. For the players, it has to be difficult from so many standpoints. Loyalty. Being happy and comfortable in an environment. Family and Friends. Winning opportunity. Not the least of which is trying to feel like more than a trade chip to be dealt.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: The Stress of the Trade Deadline started by Seth Stohs View original post
    Comments 55 Comments
    1. COtwin's Avatar
      COtwin -
      Thanks for helping put things into perspective. I think we have seen so many of "our" player walk and speak of it being a business. It's easy to forget that some actually do feel loyalty. Can't imagine what that would feel like if my employer traded me Trenton, NJ.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by COtwin View Post
      Thanks for helping put things into perspective. I think we have seen so many of "our" player walk and speak of it being a business. It's easy to forget that some actually do feel loyalty. Can't imagine what that would feel like if my employer traded me Trenton, NJ.
      Understood, but 99% of the non-players would not mind if their employer traded them to a team in Antarctica, if they were making a few million a year or even half a million minimum wage to play a kid's sport. Trenton is not too bad actually if you are in the right place during day time. And the ball park is pretty nice.
    1. COtwin's Avatar
      COtwin -
      Oh don't get me wrong. Getting Paid for Play makes me feel about as sorry as Michael Corrleone. It's just nice to think that some of them might share some of my sentiments. Probably a pipe dream.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      The stress of reading about trade speculation here is enough to make me crazy.
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      Sometimes, trade speculation makes one feel unwanted, but you are actually wanted by someone else. And all this trade talk is just trade talk. I love fan talk about trades, but it is so often one-sided...how can we get the greatest stuff in the world for our unwanted used and boring junk.

      You may ride busses, make little money and such playing ball in the minors...but msot of the players have received some sort of bonus (many $100,000+) and in the real world...how much did you make as a 19-year-old, or 20, or 22, or 24...or at 26 when you were still living at home in the basement cause your supposed high-tech job went south. You get to eat, drink and play ball every day, all day. If you don't spend money, you don't need to make a lot.

      Frankie is wise not to say anything bad about the Twins. He will still need offers in his free agent search, wherever he is...and you don't want to burn bridges.

      And Morneau...it is a business. Can the Twins be better served without his 2013 salary? He could still have the option of coming back (remember Rick Aguilera).

      Loyalty is such a BIG word in the sport. We all saw how well it worked with Nathan (coming off 1 1/2 years of Twins salary for Tommy John recovery) and Michael Cuddyer (who played his entire career with the Twins organization). It is still a business. I feel you are worth X$$$ and you fel y$$$$$.

      The tough part about this business is health and such...as we saw the Twins horizon for trading players for anything took a hit with Capps and Pavano going down...now the Twins can best hope to shed just some of their salary, if need be.

      And Trenton isn't bad...within driving distance of so many major league ballparks, plus lots of minor league clubs.

      And what is with the Astros...shedding four players and getting 10 or something back in return. We have to look at this Astro July in 2-3 years to see if it panned out.
    1. jimbo92107's Avatar
      jimbo92107 -
      I bought a Cuddyer jersey a couple years ago because I admired the guy and thought he'd be a Twin his whole career. What am I gonna do with my Lirano jersey in a couple weeks?

      From now on I'm only buying jerseys of retired players.
    1. greengoblinrulz's Avatar
      greengoblinrulz -
      A 'good' GM doesnt treat his players as humans with feelings, but as assets to the business.
      That's how you end up thinking your good friends like Torri Hunter will want to stay here & he instead chases the money & you end up with nothing.
      Gardy treats his players as buddies also instead of guys working for him/company....personally believe that thought process is why he's 5-22 in playoffs. He isnt hard enough on players prefers to be buddies.
      Teams talk of doin whats right for the players (pitch count, etc) when they shouldnt care about the player & do whats right for the team...ex MIL w/CC, pitching him 9IP every start to 150 pitches cause they knew they wouldnt resign him.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by greengoblinrulz View Post
      A 'good' GM doesnt treat his players as humans with feelings, but as assets to the business.
      That's how you end up thinking your good friends like Torri Hunter will want to stay here & he instead chases the money & you end up with nothing.
      Gardy treats his players as buddies also instead of guys working for him/company....personally believe that thought process is why he's 5-22 in playoffs. He isnt hard enough on players prefers to be buddies.
      Teams talk of doin whats right for the players (pitch count, etc) when they shouldnt care about the player & do whats right for the team...ex MIL w/CC, pitching him 9IP every start to 150 pitches cause they knew they wouldnt resign him.
      Right. Because if Gardenhire had only willed his players to play better, the Twins would have multiple championships.

      Let's just admit that the manager has very little sway on what happens on-field and get on with our days.

      PS. Good GMs treat their players like human beings, just like any good boss treats his/her employees like human beings. They just don't let their entire decision be swayed by emotion.
    1. IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
      IdahoPilgrim -
      Quote Originally Posted by greengoblinrulz View Post
      A 'good' GM doesnt treat his players as humans with feelings, but as assets to the business.
      That's how you end up thinking your good friends like Torri Hunter will want to stay here & he instead chases the money & you end up with nothing.
      Gardy treats his players as buddies also instead of guys working for him/company....personally believe that thought process is why he's 5-22 in playoffs. He isnt hard enough on players prefers to be buddies.
      Teams talk of doin whats right for the players (pitch count, etc) when they shouldnt care about the player & do whats right for the team...ex MIL w/CC, pitching him 9IP every start to 150 pitches cause they knew they wouldnt resign him.
      I can't speak to baseball in particular, but in general I have found the opposite to be true (and I have been in a position of leading an organization with employees several times). You ALWAYS treat your employees as humans with feelings. You don't try to be their friends, but you make sure that they know that you see them as more than just assets. That's the way you actually get the most production out of them. Yes, ultimately decisions have to be made as to what best enables the organization as a whole to be successful in whatever business it is in, and employees need to understand that (and most of them do), but employee morale is often a big component of overall success, and how you treat people is a big component of morale.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by sbknudson View Post
      I can't speak to baseball in particular, but in general I have found the opposite to be true (and I have been in a position of leading an organization with employees several times). You ALWAYS treat your employees as humans with feelings. You don't try to be their friends, but you make sure that they know that you see them as more than just assets. That's the way you actually get the most production out of them. Yes, ultimately decisions have to be made as to what best enables the organization as a whole to be successful in whatever business it is in, and employees need to understand that (and most of them do), but employee morale is often a big component of overall success, and how you treat people is a big component of morale.
      Understood and at the field manager level, that should be it. And promotions to the majors and to the higher levels in the minors should be merit based (Like in business. These guys make more $ when at the majors and at higher MiLB levels.) Alas, that is not the case with the Twins. Too many ridiculous promotions and too many inequalities on the way the manager treats players.

      That said, at the GM and FO level, because unlike in a business where you cannot trade your staff to your competitors and get some of their people in return to improve your business, you can trade players to other clubs. That is why should be seen as assets as well. At that level.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by greengoblinrulz View Post
      A 'good' GM doesnt treat his players as humans with feelings, but as assets to the business.
      That's how you end up thinking your good friends like Torri Hunter will want to stay here & he instead chases the money & you end up with nothing.
      Gardy treats his players as buddies also instead of guys working for him/company....personally believe that thought process is why he's 5-22 in playoffs. He isnt hard enough on players prefers to be buddies.
      Teams talk of doin whats right for the players (pitch count, etc) when they shouldnt care about the player & do whats right for the team...ex MIL w/CC, pitching him 9IP every start to 150 pitches cause they knew they wouldnt resign him.
      I don't thin that I could possibly disagree with a forum entry more than I disagree with this one.
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      Rosters decisions is another whole ball of wax. Decisions are made on need, player development, service time, and the supposed future of any and all players to the organization. Like this year, why give service time to non-40 man roster guys earlier than necessary. Right now, it would only contribute to a slight rise (if any) in the standings. Yes, rise up out of merit, but if there is nothing but a bench spot and you would be betetr served playing everyday or pitching every fifth day, why come up. You always have role players in this and most any other sport.
    1. greengoblinrulz's Avatar
      greengoblinrulz -
      I am talkin GM rather than field manager (couldnt stop not knockin Gardy who's buggin me again) when I talk of this & I do stand by it. I take the Billy Beane approach (Moneyball book rather than movie) in they are assets/employees first....can be friendly with them also, but not friends to the point of affecting your judgement.
      Does NOT mean you dont treat them well as people/players. May have gotten my point across wrong. Happy employees are harder working employees mostly. Think you may be getting that idea from me (was bein a tad sarcastic)....I am defiantely not against treating players well....very well in fact. Treat them better than other teams do.
      My comments are from a front office view....who's job it is to run the company. You cannot refuse to make a move due to personel feelings for a player/coach etc. However, you HAVE to look at the treatment of a player & what the repercussions will be (dont think you can trade Josh as it makes players weary of signing a longer deal/fear of bein dealt for ex). Any player that cannot look at player moves from a front office (good or Bill Smith type bad ones) as bein business & not personal doesnt get the business.
    1. greengoblinrulz's Avatar
      greengoblinrulz -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      I don't thin that I could possibly disagree with a forum entry more than I disagree with this one.
      I truly LOVE the way the Brewers handled CC that Aug/Sept. It was the teams job to win & they tried to win/go for the series. They did nothing intentional to injure CC or do something they have to appologize for, but why should they keep him healthy for the team he signed with the next yr. There is no proof either way that more/less pitches per game hurt him. It didnt. They actually tried to win (something I wish this team would try more) every game.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      I have no doubt in my mind that the Twins try to win every game they play.
    1. greengoblinrulz's Avatar
      greengoblinrulz -
      obviously they TRY to win every gm, but the decision to NOT use Jaret Burton on 3 consucutive days (when leading in late innings) is an example of how they dont use everything they have to win every day....hope to win, but resting Jaret is more important than winning....that particular day.
      Twins often consider resting someone 'more important IMO' to winning (obviously they try to win tho). They havent done it last 2 yrs due to injuries, but the day game B squad out there in the series finale is another example. Trevor not playing today (when theyve said he COULD) to rest an injury 1 more day (tho this is farther down my list). That's what Im talkin bout.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Stress is having a couple young kids at home and being told your job won't be there Monday. Stress is learning your kid needs chemo and you don't have health insurance.

      Stress isn't the possibility that you'll have to move from one highly paid, pampered job to another, all expenses paid.

      Yes, ball players are human, but c'mon. Let's not pretend this is terribly "stressful."
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      Stress is having a couple young kids at home and being told your job won't be there Monday. Stress is learning your kid needs chemo and you don't have health insurance.

      Stress isn't the possibility that you'll have to move from one highly paid, pampered job to another, all expenses paid.

      Yes, ball players are human, but c'mon. Let's not pretend this is terribly "stressful."
      Stress is based on perspective, not a rational examination of "this is how awful my life could be."

      So yes, being traded could be a very stressful situation for players.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by rocketpig View Post
      Stress is based on perspective, not a rational examination of "this is how awful my life could be."

      So yes, being traded could be a very stressful situation for players.
      Ummmm... this... life finds ways to put all things into proper perspective.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Stress is internal. We all control how we react to what life throws at us. I would hope that a multi-millionaire would find the proper perspective in life to realize that they have it easy compared to 99.99+% of the world, and that they should not get stressed about this. That said, it isn't that easy, and we have been conditioned by our society to worry about a lot of stuff that isn't really worth worrying about, so I would imagine that the trade deadline is stressful to these guys.
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