It makes logical sense. But it doesn't make emotional sense, and therein is the problem.
|Francisco Liriano: Let the trade speculation begin.|
One of the issues is the clubhouse. A team that expects to win -- and the Twins are one such -- can be expected to react poorly to excising a key component. If the trade is made in December or January, people have time to absorb it; if it's made in March or July, after the team has assembled, it's a shock.
I have nothing but contempt for the Steve Phillips trade-deadline philosophy that a contender has to make a deal simply to show the players that the front office is trying. That kind of thinking ultimately got Phillips fired as a general manager. But there's a difference between overpaying for a veteran in the stretch and moving a key piece of the roster with the future in mind.
All that said, it's certainly possible to envision a Liriano trade this spring that improves the club for 2011 and beyond. Let's say they get a young shortstop who offers less risk and higher reward than Alexi Casilla; a decent relief pitcher; and a couple of talented low-level arms. That's a deal I could applaud, and a deal that the clubhouse might quickly accept.
I don't know from whom that haul would come. I know it won't be the Yankees; they haven't a long-term shortstop option on their horizon (a fact that shadowed the Derek Jeter contract drama and the subsequent speculation of a position change for the Captain).