Monday, August 1, 2011

More on a trade that didn't happen

As has been well-chronicled by now — including in my Monday print column — the Twins did not trade Denard Span to Washington for relief pitcher Drew Storen.

As I said in the column, I'm pleased that such a one-for-one deal didn't go down.

But — and I don't think I'm contradicting myself here — there's reason for the Twins (and Nationals) to pursue such a trade during the winter.
Denard Span is signed though
2014 with a club option for 2015.

From the Twins viewpoint, there are two significant reasons, and some smaller ones, to do so. The big reasons:

  • Storen figures to be a four-year bullpen foundation. The Twins now lack that.
  • Span and Ben Revere both lack power, and that makes it very difficult to justify playing both regularly.

The smaller reasons range from the mystery of whether Span is vulnerable to repeat concussions to the potential wave of additional center field candidates making their way through the Twins farm system.

Storen plays for a weak team in the other league, so Minnesota fans aren't familiar with him, but he's the goods. A power arm with quality secondary pitches, he was the 10th overall pick in the draft two years ago, which is extremely high for someone who was always projected to be in the bullpen. He made the majors less than a year after he was drafted and pitched 55-plus innings for the Nats last season.

He would be a long-term bullpen piece, and the Twins haven't had that since Jesse Crain and Matt Guerrier emerged to join Joe Nathan and Juan Rincon. The only man in the current bullpen who can be regarded as a sure thing for 2012 is Glen Perkins, and he was arbitration eligible last winter.

If there's a closer worth trading a quality center fielder for even up, Storen's the guy. If.  I think a Span trade should require more sweetening than the Nats are apparently inclined toward at the moment. And that might be worked out in the offseason.

I would be OK, as I said in the column, with trading Revere for Storen. Revere's on-base percentage is never likely to be much higher than his batting average, and that makes him a lesser player than Span in my eyes. As long as the two are both Twins, Revere shouldn't be more than the fourth outfielder.

But if the Twins do trade Span, and find that Revere doesn't fill the bill as the full-time center fielder, Aaron Hicks is coming. Ahead of Hicks is Joe Benson, and he has the tools to play center. There are options beyond Revere down the road.

Which makes trading Span easier to swallow — but isn't a reason to dump him for less than high value. The Twins were right to hold out in July. If their price is met this winter, they would be equally right to make the trade.

1 comment:

  1. I've been thinking the same thing since yesterday. If both sides were not happy with this deal right now, there is nothing saying they can't revisit the proposition in the winter. Then the teams aren't rushed against the deadline and they can work out a deal that is best for both teams.