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One pitcher the Minnesota Twins should sell high

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Originally posted at The Tenth Inning Stretch

It is a weekend series with the Yankees away from the All Star break, and it is obvious that the 2013 version of the Minnesota Twins is not much better than the 2012, so understandable, they should be "sellers" in the fast approaching trading deadline. Several names of players, like Justin Morneau, Josh Willingham, even Trevor Plouffe and Glen Perkins have been mentioned as potential "trade bait". I strongly believe that non-contending teams with plenty of faults should rebuild by trading players at the last year of their contracts and trade veterans or players in their late 20s at their peak of their value ("selling high".)

From the aforementioned only Justin Morneau (last contract season) and Glen Perkins (value peak, plus friendly contract) fit the bill. I would like to examine whether there other potential players who the Twins should think about trading based on peak of their value. I have to mention that the Twins have been extremely bad about trading players at the peak of their value, and instead they sell low or give away. For every Bobby Kielty, AJ Pierzynski and Denard Span (3 examples of players sold high,) there is an army of Delmon Young, Fransisco Liriano, Jose Mijares, Kevin Slowey, Alex Burnett, Joe Nathan, Nick Blackburn, Mike Cuddyer, Carl Pavano etc who just rode into the sunset. Selling high and selling impeding free agents before the hit the market is how good teams, like the Tampa Bay Rays, keep themselves competitive year after year.

So the Twins should trade Justin Morneau and Glen Perkins (but not give them away.) Anyone else who according to this formula should be a candidate?

Enter Casey Fien.

Casey Fien will turn 30 this October and arguably he is on the peak value for his career. He has pitched in 42 games (36.2 innings), struck out 40 and walked 7 (2 intentionally), has a 3.19 ERA, 9.8 K/9, 5.7 K/BB and a miniscule 0.791 WHIP. And last season, he became a fixture in the Twins' pen in the second half appearing in 35 games (36.2 innings), struck out 32 and walked 9 (4 intentionally), with a tiny 2.06 ERA, and a 0.971 WHIP.

Why trade him? At first glance he appears as a pitcher who can be Glen Perkins' replacement as a closer potentially. Why not go that route? Here are the reasons:

  • He has been pitching over his head. This season his BABIP is .207; last season it was .229. This is not sustainable and expect a Diamond-like regression once balls start to go through.
  • His numbers are better than his stuff. He is mainly a fastball and cutter/slider pitcher with an occasional slurve he uses as a change of pace. His fastball is in the low nineties and the cutter in the high eighties. This season he lost 2-3 mph of velocity in all of his offerings. I do not want to speculate the reason.
  • RH middle relievers are the easiest players to replace. The Twins have a plethora of 6th starter/AAAA starters. It is very possible that conversion to the pen will have a Glen Perkins' like effect for them.

So I would add another name for the Twins to shop, that of (the mighty) Casey Fien.

Next: a few more players the Twins should consider trading

Updated 07-12-2013 at 02:05 PM by Thrylos

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  1. Chance's Avatar
    I have a problem with BABIP (luck) as a stat. If a pitcher isn't a strikeout pitcher he had better have a low BABIP or he is going to be out of the league. I like Jeremy Hellickson's take on this,

    Yea, I just got lucky on the mound, Jeremy Hellickson says dryly. A lot of lucky outs I hear it; its funny, Hellickson said, not quite sure of the acronym. I thought thats what were supposed to do, let them put it in play and get outs. So I dont really understand that. When you have a great defense, why not let them do their job? Im not really a strikeout pitcher; I just get weak contact and let our defense play I can either handle my business or I dont

    I pitcher is expected to get outs and alot of times that is by a hit ball. I love WHIP as a stat because it displays a pitchers effectiveness as in sticking to the strike zone while not throwing up pitches that players can easily detect and hit.

    One thing that could be added with BABIP is "the eye test." How hard were the out BIP? How great was the defense? The thing that makes Deduno so effective with the Twins is batters inability to get a clean hit on the ball, they usually result in grounders back to him or slow grounders in the infield. Is he lucky or just pitching well enough to keep hitters off-balance and from having the BIP hit clean and hard?
  2. Thrylos's Avatar
    Let's agree to disagree about the BABIP, because it will be a long discussion

    but here are a couple of interesting BABIP splits for Fien:

    In low leverage situations: BABIP .156
    In medium leverage situations: BABIP .250
    In high leverage situations: BABIP .316
  3. Chance's Avatar

    Those are very interesting numbers. I do tend to agree that Fien (if he could bring back a decent prospect/player) would be good to let go. Hopefully Tonkin would be able to take over his role for the rest of the year. I also like your take on letting some no-future starters take their 2 decent pitches to the pen and see what happens. They may save their career like Perkins.
  4. jorgenswest's Avatar
    Thanks. Great post.

    I am on board with trading Fien.

    My plan was to take a look at comps of trades of set up men and do a post about Fien and Burton like the Mujica for Cox deal last summer.
  5. stringer bell's Avatar
    I really like Fien and I also like Perkins, but I think if the Twins can get a good deal for either they should pull the trigger.
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