After trading their centre fielder and leadoff man Dernard Span to the Nationals for Alex Meyer, in a trade that the number of supporters for both sides ‘winning the deal’ would indicate it was actually a pretty even swap, the Twins traded another outfielder today as they shipped Ben Revere to the Phillies for Vance Worley and Trevor May. Unlike the Span trade, it seems pretty clear that the Twins got the good end of this trade. Worley is a decent rotation piece and May appears to be a good but not great pitching prospect and that looks to be a good return for a centre fielder who, for all his speed and defensive ability, can’t really throw or hit.
The two trades boost the Twins pitching depth and indicate the team is going into full rebuild mode. Long-time frustration Aaron Hicks may now get a chance in centre field and a number of other young players will likely be asked to step in if the front office continues to clear out established talent in an effort to bring in younger, cheaper options with the intent to contend further down the line.
Looking over the Twins roster, there’s really only a handful of players left who are candidates to be moved in a rebuild:
A hard player to put a trade value on given his suddenly alarming platoon splits, .902 OPS vs righties, .569 OPS v lefties in 2012, and a recovery from a severe concussion that can probably be characterized as ‘ongoing’. The Twins could well be aiming to trade him mid-season after a strong start.
Isn’t going to bring much back. Most likely to be picked up by a club who just want a veteran backup infielder and aren’t too worried about his weak bat.
Of all the players on the roster, Willingham is the one who is most likely to bring back a significant return. He’s just put up a strong year and there’s a good chance a team will give up something of value to get hold of him.
This is where it gets a little strange. Signed to a huge deal when the team moved to Target Field, Mauer is linked to this franchise in a way few other players and teams are and it would seem to be an admission that his 8 year $184m contract was an error in judgement. Obviously few teams could afford to take on that deal, even if the Twins kicked in money to try and get some prospects back, but rather than try to construct elaborate trade scenarios, what might be more interesting is how this effects the relationship between Mauer and the club. One would assume that during negotiations for Mauer’s deal, there were discussions about the future direction of the club and plans banded about over how they would put a winning team on the field in the new stadium. Mauer remains an outstanding hitter who is still capable of catching, but his contract and standing make him incredibly difficult to move, and that’s before mentioning his no-trade clause.
If the Twins move Willingham and/or Morneau before Opening Day, Mauer will be more or less the last man standing on the club which is unlikely to be what he signed up for in 2010. It is entirely possible that Mauer is happy and settled enough in Minnesota that he can live with that, but it is a situation that may warrant monitoring if the Twins start shipping out everyone around him.