• Trade Flatline

    Tuesday's 3:00 PM trade deadline came and went with Minnesota, for a second consecutive year, standing pat.

    There's a lot of frustration being directed toward the Twins, who – unlike other cellar-dwellers around the league – weren't able to unload assets for impact prospects. Their only trade sent Francisco Liriano to the White Sox for a meager return. In short, the franchise did very little to aid its rebuilding effort.

    But, in reflecting on these past days, there's one very important point to keep in mind: no trade is better than a bad trade.

    Dealing away Liriano was essentially a no-brainer, given that he'll be a free agent at year's end. Shipping out Carl Pavano and Matt Capps would have also been obvious moves, even if there wasn't much coming back, but unfortunately both are sitting on the disabled list indefinitely (and still could be traded in August).

    The rest of the team's trade candidates, from Denard Span to Josh Willingham to Justin Morneau to Jared Burton to Glen Perkins, are all under control beyond this year. These aren't guys you trade just to trade. Given that every single one of those names has appeared in reported trade rumors over the past few days and weeks, it seems clear that Terry Ryan was busily working to assess their markets and find a sensible deal.

    In the end, he didn't get the kind of offers that he felt merited giving up pieces with long-term value. It's tough to blame him for that. There will be other opportunities to shop these players in the future (in fact, I suspect we'll see Span and Morneau's names floated quite a bit during the offseason).

    Earlier this week I wrote about a hard truth that became evident in the Liriano trade and also through some of the quotes surfacing from rival general managers about the the Twins' sky-high asking prices for their trade chips. For various reasons, despite the increased number of buyers, teams around the league just weren't willing to pay up for what the Twins were selling.

    In a situation like that, standing pat was really the only logical course of action. And it leaves Ryan with plenty of options during the offseason.
    This article was originally published in blog: Trade Flatline started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 45 Comments
    1. James Richter's Avatar
      James Richter -
      ...no trade is better than a bad trade.
      After watching Bill Smith over the last few years, nobody should understand that better than Twins fans.
    1. greengoblinrulz's Avatar
      greengoblinrulz -
      just get ready for TRyan to talk about the Aug waiver trades that can be made......am/was a fan of his the first run, but just think the game 'may' have passed him by. Conservative approach/not lovin youth combo is gonna leave this franchise in ruins
    1. LastOnePicked's Avatar
      LastOnePicked -
      There's always the element of what we couldn't see during the negotiations, but I don't begrudge fans for worrying that the same brain trust/scouting crew who brought us Nishioka might not have had a good sense of what offers included truly good ballplayers. With a bit of a prospect logjam in the outfield, trading an outfielder wouldn't likely have hurt the future, and it seems odd that no one was offering value for Span or Willingham. Fans have lost trust in the Twins FO, and for very good reasons.
    1. BrentMpls's Avatar
      BrentMpls -
      Quote Originally Posted by LastOnePicked View Post
      the same brain trust/scouting crew who brought us Nishioka
      For what its worth, I heard Ryan on the radio a few weeks back talking specifically about the scouting process for Nishi, saying that when 'they' went back to the tapes, 'they' still see a guy that they want and feel confident about the offer that was made. For whatever reason that guy never made the trip across the ocean.

      Clearly it was a huge failure, but it was interesting to hear that comment.
    1. BrentMpls's Avatar
      BrentMpls -
      It stinks to see the trend of getting nothing for the players the team deals continue, but in the case with Liriano I don't think there was much more that could be done. And its amazingly bad timing that Pavano and especially Capps go down on the DL when they did.

      The stinkage continues as the thing I think everybody wants to feel (I know I do) is that the club is making moves to turn things around, even if its holding out hope on some solid A and AA prospects, but so far nothing has really happened since 99 losses outside of Willingham. Doumit and Carroll have been great too, but they are temporary fixes that play multiple positions. We need to have people locked down in their roles, and, obviously, get some pitching. Now the wait for possible waiver moves begins, but I wouldn't count on that too much - I think winter meetings is the next likely step for a possible move in the right direction. Thats a long time to wait for the chance of a hope that maybe 2014 wont be terrible. Tough times.
    1. Mchans24's Avatar
      Mchans24 -
      I guess the game passed him by when he signed Willingham, burton, Doumit and carrol?
    1. Moistache's Avatar
      Moistache -
      I'm sure the Sox fans will have as much fun with Frankie as we've had the last several years (poor souls). As fun as it is to witness Liriano's (rare) glorious moments, I can't believe how many fans forget his countless, grotesque starts (his most recent for the Twins, a shining example).

      Considering that our offense (which had a pathetic April) is currently 6th in the league in both hits and OBP, I'm guessing that this is one of the more potent units we've had in some time (if only we can improve on our "clutch"). It's understandable to be a bit optimistic about our chances in the near future for these reasons. In addition, our overtaxed bullpen (currently 3rd in innings pitched amongst all league bullpens) is cheap and decent. There is nothing worse than going all in on a bullpen guy (Fuentes, Capps).

      It's far easier to focus exclusively on starting pitching in the offseason as opposed to trying to replenish lost position players that are both competent and cap-friendly (Morneau/Mauer aside), in addition to starting pitching. Writing off Liriano, Pavano, Capps, and Bakes gives us at least some wriggle room to sign 2 actual pitchers this offseason.
    1. Top Gun's Avatar
      Top Gun -
      It's a bull**** excuse and you know it. They could have sign Liriano long ago. If Span and Willy arn't wanted they could trade Buxton and Hicks. Parmelee instead of Justin. They can't even move a infielder for crying out loud!
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mchans24 View Post
      I guess the game passed him by when he signed Willingham, burton, Doumit and carrol?
      Yeah, this concept that Terry Ryan (or Mike Radcliff or the Twins scouts) are in over their heads and the game has passed them by is really a weak one. The game is the same. The scouting is the same. What they're looking for is the same. These guys are good, and they get the game and how it works to incredible detail. I have full confidence in Terry Ryan and Mike Radcliff. I don't know if they will be able to bring a World Series title, because that isn't something that's predictable, but I have full confidence that they'll get the Twins back to competing for division titles and into the playoffs, and once in the playoffs, see what happens.

      I just think that teams are so not willing to deal prospects, even for really good players. Ryan fully understands the need to build from within to sustain success, and so do all the other GMs.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Top Gun View Post
      It's a bull**** excuse and you know it. They could have sign Liriano long ago. If Span and Willy arn't wanted they could trade Buxton and Hicks. Parmelee instead of Justin. They can't even move a infielder for crying out loud!
      Buxton was drafted less than two months ago. He can't be traded for over ten more months.

      But hey, we shouldn't let those pesky rules get in the way of making completely nonsensical moves that destroy the franchise long-term.
    1. twinswon1991's Avatar
      twinswon1991 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      Yeah, this concept that Terry Ryan (or Mike Radcliff or the Twins scouts) are in over their heads and the game has passed them by is really a weak one. The game is the same. The scouting is the same. What they're looking for is the same. These guys are good, and they get the game and how it works to incredible detail. I have full confidence in Terry Ryan and Mike Radcliff. I don't know if they will be able to bring a World Series title, because that isn't something that's predictable, but I have full confidence that they'll get the Twins back to competing for division titles and into the playoffs, and once in the playoffs, see what happens.

      I just think that teams are so not willing to deal prospects, even for really good players. Ryan fully understands the need to build from within to sustain success, and so do all the other GMs.

      I think the game has changed considerably and Ryan/Radcliff will need to adjust big-time to be successful. You hit the nail on the head that teams are no longer willing to give up top prospects for good middle relievers or average big league bats. Because of this, the successful teams are the ones that draft and develop. Pulling off some good trades and strong international signings supplement the draft/develop aspect. It seems that the Twins have done a very poor job the last 10 years drafting and developing and now that they can't find a stupid GM to give them great MiLB prospects for their vets I hope TR realizes that he/they need to do a much better job drafting/developing than they have over the last 10 years or the franchise will be the new/old Pirates.
    1. mk's Avatar
      mk -
      Totally agree with "no trade is better than a bad trade." Remember Johan Santana, Matt Garza, J.J. Hardy, Wilson Ramos, etc?
    1. Fire Dan Gladden's Avatar
      Fire Dan Gladden -
      Finally an article on the front page showing a little bit of reason. So many ignorant overactions to the FO and the perceived lack of activity or intelligence.
    1. MWLFan's Avatar
      MWLFan -
      You have to love over reaction Wednesday. The day when the message boards whip around more then a tilt a whirl ride at the state fair with a three 17 year old boys in it. Very few moves made at the trade deadline make much of a difference in the scope of a season, some actually hurt a team. Frankie is gone, if most people had heard that this trade had been made two months ago I think they would have been giddy that we stuck the White Sox with him and got a couple of warm bodies in return. In typical former "Franchise" mode he rattled off some good games and made our ADD fan base forget how bad he truely was and how that really lead to the awful season we are stuck in right now. As far as the other "trades" not happening, as the Stones remind us Time is on our Side. Sano, Buxton, Rosario and company will not be ready for a couple more years so the arms can come in this winter to join them in A or AA ball or if we are lucky maybe join Hicks and Arcia in AAA. Does this mean we will be in the crapper next year too, maybe. But it takes awhile to rebuild a baseball system, more so then a football or basketball team. Different beasts. Chill folks. 2012 was not going to get better and 2013 can still be improved upon in the winter.
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      there's one very important point to keep in mind: no trade is better than a bad trade.

      When there's nothing good to talk about, I guess we can always resort to platitudes .... and while this is correct, it's not much comfort.
    1. Fire Dan Gladden's Avatar
      Fire Dan Gladden -
      Quote Originally Posted by MWLFan View Post
      You have to love over reaction Wednesday. The day when the message boards whip around more then a tilt a whirl ride at the state fair with a three 17 year old boys in it. Very few moves made at the trade deadline make much of a difference in the scope of a season, some actually hurt a team. Frankie is gone, if most people had heard that this trade had been made two months ago I think they would have been giddy that we stuck the White Sox with him and got a couple of warm bodies in return. In typical former "Franchise" mode he rattled off some good games and made our ADD fan base forget how bad he truely was and how that really lead to the awful season we are stuck in right now. As far as the other "trades" not happening, as the Stones remind us Time is on our Side. Sano, Buxton, Rosario and company will not be ready for a couple more years so the arms can come in this winter to join them in A or AA ball or if we are lucky maybe join Hicks and Arcia in AAA. Does this mean we will be in the crapper next year too, maybe. But it takes awhile to rebuild a baseball system, more so then a football or basketball team. Different beasts. Chill folks. 2012 was not going to get better and 2013 can still be improved upon in the winter.
      Voices of reason? Posting comments?? Where is all the fire and brimstone?

      When the Twins a strong in a couple of years, I hope that all the naysayers will post videos on Youtube eating crow. (But I know they won't).
    1. sorney's Avatar
      sorney -
      No gnews is good gnews says Gary Gnus.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by Top Gun View Post
      It's a bull**** excuse and you know it. They could have sign Liriano long ago. If Span and Willy arn't wanted they could trade Buxton and Hicks. Parmelee instead of Justin. They can't even move a infielder for crying out loud!
      Lol yes, let's trade a top prospect like Hicks for the hell of it, or Parmelee who has next to zero value since he doesn't get any major league playing time.

      That will fix things!
    1. savvyspy's Avatar
      savvyspy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Top Gun View Post
      It's a bull**** excuse and you know it. They could have sign Liriano long ago. If Span and Willy arn't wanted they could trade Buxton and Hicks. Parmelee instead of Justin. They can't even move a infielder for crying out loud!
      "No trade is better than a bad trade" is the weakest defense of this mess. By definition when you are the worst team in the majors doing nothing is malpractice. You can't be worse than this team is from a pitching and player development standpoint. You can't continue to say we aren't going to do anything at the trfade deadline because we're afraid we're going to make a bad trade then turn around and say signing free agents is "chasing your tail" like Ryan said yesterday.

      This is nothing but incompetence. Pure and simple.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by savvyspy View Post
      "No trade is better than a bad trade" is the weakest defense of this mess. By definition when you are the worst team in the majors doing nothing is malpractice.
      If this was 2011, I'd completely agree with you. The Twins were sitting on a handful of departing free agents and did very little with any of them until the waiver deadline.

      This season was different. There was Liriano and that's it. The rest of the team (non-DL edition) is signed through multiple seasons. There wasn't a good reason to make trades if teams weren't willing to part with equitable value. Those players will still be available to trade this offseason or next July.

      Fans need to take a deep breath and realize that baseball franchises are not fixed overnight. The Twins are not the Cubs, loaded with bad contracts and departing players. Their tradable assets are valuable and signed long-term. The front office needs to get value from them and if other teams aren't willing to give back good players in return, you hold onto those assets until the market is in your favor.
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