Span for Storen?

28 Jul

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Before We Begin

Scroll down to see last night’s Minor League Scoreboard. Also, I will be on the Paul Allen Show this morning on KFAN, I believe at 10:20. We will be taping the segment head of time because my morning is jam-packed, but be sure to listen in and let me know what you think!

By the way, the Twins got a very nice win over the Rangers last night. Brian Duensing was excellent again, keeping the Rangers’ hitters off-balance. It was great to see Joe Mauer turn on an inside fastball for his first home run of the year. It was nice to see Michael Cuddyer unload on a hanging slider. And then with a 4-1 lead with two outs in the top of the 9th, it was fun to see the Twins score three more times, on a long, bases-clearing double by Jason Kubel. Matt Capps and Glen Perkins were excellent out of the bullpen. After that 20-6 debacle, and then falling behind the Rangers 7-3 on Tuesday night, it was great to see the Twins come back and win that one and then play a really terrific game on Wednesday. With the win, the Twins climbed to six games back again in the Central. It could be an interesting next four days! The White Sox bolstered their bullpen, but to do so, they traded Edwin Jackson, who has an ERA below four, so I’m not sure what to make of that deal. Were they buying, or were they selling? They also benched Alex Rios for Alejandro de Aza, who was the Marlins Opening Day starting CF in 2007 and who, until last night, had never hit a big league home run in 86 games and 217 plate appearances. The AL Central will be a lot of fun to follow again the last two months of the season!

The Main Story: Span for Storen?

Where there is smoke, there is usually at least a little fire, right? For at least a week, we have heard that the Nationals are targeting Twins centerfielder Denard Span. Originally reports indicated that they wanted Span, but would be unwilling to deal relievers Tyler Clippard or Drew Storen. Yesterday came the report that the Nationals may be willing to include Storen in the package to get Span. That set off Twitter throughout Wednesday afternoon.

I am pretty sure that The Twins Geek is the only one who thinks that Span for Storen, straight up, would be a good idea. Check out his reasoning.

To get something, you have to give something up. I get that. I understand that.

I fully admit that part of the reason for my dislike in that deal, if one-for-one, is last year’s trade between the Nationals and the Twins. The Twins received a “proven closer” in Matt Capps for a Top 5 prospect at a demanding position. We all understood that Joe Mauer was signed for eight more years, but we also knew that the demands of the position meant that he would potentially move, or at the very least we would see the scenario where Mauer plays some 1B and DHs and having a talent like Ramos would sure be nice.

I agree with The Geek in that Drew Storen is not Matt Capps. When the Twins acquired Capps, he was the second worst closer statistically in all of baseball when looking at statistics other than “Saves.” If memory serves, Chad Qualls was the only worse closer in the game at the time. In fact, the Nationals were thrilled to trade Capps so that they could get Storen into the closer’s role. And to be fair, Matt Capps was very good in 2010. I admit that he is a good relief pitcher most of the time, but not the kind of guy that you give up a top prospect for. Drew Storen is 23 years old, is 5-2 with 25 saves and a 2.37 ERA and a WHIP of 0.93. He is very good. He was the 10th overall pick in the 2009 draft (in part due to the fact that the Nationals knew he would sign instantly). He made his big league debut less than a year later, on May 17, 2010. He has been in the big leagues ever since. I’m not sure why the Nationals didn’t wait an extra three weeks to call him up so he would not be a Super 2 after 2012, but that is a choice they made.

I really like Drew Storen and I would love for him to be the Twins closer for the next five years or more. However, there is also a reason that the Nationals have made Storen available (maybe) in a deal for Span. Span has a career line of .289/.366/.375. Most important as a leadoff hitter is that .366 on-base percentage. He posted OPS over .800 his first two seasons and struggled in 2010. He was mentioned as a Twins all-star representative this season until his concussion knocked him out. But the Nationals, like many teams, want a prototypical leadoff hitter. Span has good on-base skills, can steal 25 or more bases, and he can play a very good centerfield defense. And, as much as I like Storen, Span will play 145 or more games each year. Storen may pitch one inning in 60 games. Sure, in a dozen or so, that one inning may be coming in to a game with a one-run lead and no one on and no one out in the Bottom of the 9th.

Span is signed to a very team-friendly contract. He is set to make $3 million in 2012, $4.75 million in 2013, $6.5 million in 2014 and there is a club option at $9 million for 2015 (with a $0.5 million buyout).

Storen will make about $420,000 this year. He will make about $450,000 in 2012. He most likely will be a Super-2 free agent in 2013, and if he’s a successful closer until that time, he will likely jump to a price somewhere north of $3 million in 2014. He would then go up from there as he would be arbitration-eligible in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Trading a top prospect for a mediocre (at best) closer was crazy. Trading a proven, productive middle-of-the-field position player for a closer, even a good, exciting, talented one, is just too much for me. Especially for a guy like Span who, like Michael Cuddyer, represents the Twins very well, with class and dignity.

Now, as I discussed on Twitter, I am not against a deal. However, if the Twins are to consider trading Span, they should be blown away. I said that I would be OK with trading Span to the Nationals for Storen, RHP Brad Peacock, and 2B Steve Lombardozzi.

Yes, Lombardozzi is the son of the 1987 World Champion Minnesota Twins Steve Lombardozzi. The 22 year old was the Nationals 19th round pick in 2008 out of high school in Maryland, where he was also quite the basketball player. He has quickly risen through the Nationals’ minor league ranks. He began 2011 in Double-A where he hit .309/.366/.454 with 12 doubles, seven triples and four home runs in 65 games before being promoted to Triple-A. In 34 games at that level, he has hit .324/.368/.441 with eight doubles and three home runs. No, he’s not a shortstop, but the Twins inability to produce middle infielders tells me that getting one that can hit like this would be a good thing. Yes, Twins fans, I know it will take awhile, but this Lombardozzi can hit!

Brad Peacoack was the Nationals 41st round pick in 2006 out of high school in Florida. He’s had to work his way up through the system, but he has had a big year in 2011 and is still just 23 years old. He began this season in Double-A where he went 10-2 with a 2.01 ERA. In 98.2 innings, he walked just 23 and struck out 129. Last night, he made his third start at Triple-A Syracuse and carried a no-hiter into the 8th inning against Columbus. He gave up just one hit in seven innings and struck out seven. His fastball sits between 92 and 94 and frequently hits 96. I would say a Triple-A rotation including Kyle Gibson, Liam Hendriks, eventually David Bromberg, and Brad Peacock would be pretty exciting for Twins fans.

Obviously the Nationals aren’t trade Stephen Strasburg or Bryce Harper to get Denard Span. Catcher Derek Norris would be nice to get too. But I think a deal of Span for Storen, Lombardozzi and Peacock would be what the Twins should hope for. In fact, I’d even throw in a third-tier Twins prospect into the mix.

That said, I just have a hard time trading Denard Span unless you can get a package like the one I listed above. I like Ben Revere as much as anyone, and I think that in time, he will be a very good on-base guy for the Twins, Span is already there, plus with pop. My other fear is that if the Twins trade Span, will they keep Delmon Young? Does that deal mean anything in regard to potentially bringing back Michael Cuddyer and/or Jason Kubel?

However, if the Twins acquire Storen and make him their closer for the next five years, the team would not have to bring back Matt Capps and Joe Nathan’s option would not be picked up. That is a lot of money off of the books to be used other places. (Hat Tip to Travis Aune for pointing that out). That’s why I say, I’m not completely against trading Span if the Twins get Storen and more.

And, if Denard Span isn’t activated from the Disabled List before Sunday, he can’t be traded anyway, so all this angst may be for naught. (UPDATE – thanks to the comments section, I was reminded that a player on the DL can be traded with the commissioner’s approval. The example was Jake Peavy to the White Sox a couple of years ago.)

What do you think? E-mail me, or leave some Comments.


12 Responses to “Span for Storen?”

  1. T July 28, 2011 at 7:07 am #

    Seth, I thought players on the DL could be traded as long as the commissioner signed off on the deal. Remember, the White Sox aquired Peavy in 2009 while he was on the DL.

    • Seth July 28, 2011 at 8:04 am #

      You are correct. I will post an update… thank you!

  2. mini_tb July 28, 2011 at 7:34 am #


    I agree Span straight up for Storen would be disappointing, but your trade proposal of a young stud closer plus 2 potential blue chip prospects for Span and essentially a PTBNL leans way too heavily in the Twins’ favor.

    Maybe the Nats would throw in Jason Werth and eat 75% percent of his contract, too…

    • T July 28, 2011 at 7:41 am #

      That’s the thing though. The Nats have to blow the Twins away to get them to trade Span. Because realistically there is no reason for them tp move him.

      • mini_tb July 28, 2011 at 8:05 am #

        It’s Seth that needs to be blown away – not necessarily Bill Smith and the Twins. Remember, as Seth pointed out, this is the same Bill Smith who traded Ramos for Capps. That was a move made out of desperation (or just plain stupidity) because of a shaky bullpen.

        This year’s bullpen is shaky (at best), too. I fear that the Twins’ front office is ignoring the statistical difference between Span and Revere on offense and has decided that they are interchangeable enough that they can part with Span.

    • Seth July 28, 2011 at 8:05 am #

      nah, the Twins don’t want Werth… 🙂

      I guess that’s my point. The Nats, from all indications, instigated the discussions… and to trade someone like Span, I think the Twins need to get an offer they can’t refuse. This specific one may be too much, but I think asking for a lot is what they should do.

  3. Doug Thorson July 28, 2011 at 8:50 am #

    With his 6 errors Revere is already tied for the lead among all outfielders in the majors. Add the fact that he has a weanie arm. I get the fact that they love his speed but I would be happy to see him traded and Span stay.

  4. Jack Steal July 28, 2011 at 9:14 am #

    “Span can steal 25 bases a year, plays great defense in CF, and will be in 145 games a season”. Span is a terrible base stealer and is terrified of getting picked off..His defense is ok but he does not play with that reckless abandon like Revere, Hunter,Puckett in the outfield. He will not play in 145 games this year and in 2010 he was just plain bad.

    With all that being said, I would not trade Span for Drew Storen straight up..You are right the Twins need more and it was reported late last night the two were working on a multi-player deal. The Twins should ask for SS Ian Desmond in any deal because SS is a huge long-term need. I will say the Twins would love to get Wilson Ramos back so Joe Mauer could play 1B 150 games a year..Don’t overlook that as being possible.. Let me just say one more thing. Cuddyer will be re-signed and Young most likely let go after this season. I pray to GOD Kubel will be brought back and you have Benson and Hicks on the horizon. Let’s also not forget about the sweet swing of Rene Tosoni who might be ready next year.

    The bottom line is Span is expendable for the right package. I dream of a outfield of Span/Revere/Hicks but that might not be possible. Span might never have more value than he does right now..However, do we really trust GM Bill Smith to make the right move when he has been wrong so many times in the past.

  5. Grant July 28, 2011 at 11:05 am #

    The winter Santana was traded, many fans were suggesting it would make sense to trade Nathan (but the Twins signed him to an extension instead). At the time, I think he was signed for one season. I wonder what return Twins fans would have expected for an elite closer signed for one year, at a pretty high salary.

  6. mini_tb July 28, 2011 at 11:12 am #

    Just for fun, what do folks think about this as a low risk/decent reward move?

    The Twins could check with the Dodgers on what it would take for a Rafael Furcal rental at SS for the rest of the season. His season stats are pretty terrible, (on par with Nishioka), but he is 7 for his last 18 with 3 BBs, 1 K, and 2 SBs. It’s a tiny sample to be sure, but maybe he’s finally healthy and hitting like he’s capable of???

    I can’t imagine it would take much more than some cash and a PTBNL depending on his performance for the rest of the season to get Furcal (maybe a AAAA Luke Hughes type as a worst case scenario)…

    This would be a pretty solid lineup that could actually score some runs – especially if someone out of the Valencia, Young, Morneau, and Thome group could possibly get going for more than a few games.

    Morneau (call me an optimist) or Thome

    It’s not enough to put the Twins over the top without some help from Lady Luck, but it sure would be fun to watch Casilla, Revere, Furcal, and Span on the bases!

    And Mauer would get a lot more opportunities to hit into double plays!

  7. CK July 29, 2011 at 9:55 am #

    As much as I’d hate it, could this be the Twins’ solution to the upcoming logjam of outfield talent in the system? Sure it could be two years away, but will guys like Benson and Hicks be given the job so soon with Span traded away?

  8. cheddar braatz July 30, 2011 at 4:53 pm #

    i like your trade prosal but i’m not sure they woulde take it, what about if we were to throw in burnett slowley or mijares, do you think that they would be more willing to take the trade then?

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