Wednesday, November 9, 2011

No Shortage of Options

As I mentioned Monday, Terry Ryan has a very impressive track record of making good trades. And with a roster that has has many holes and limited money to spend on free agents, it would seem that Ryan will be back at the trading table this winter. But, who exactly does he have that he can trade for some positive returns? Here are some options:

  • Scott Baker-In 2011, Baker was the Twins best starter. Problem was, he had a few stints on the DL. In just 21 starts, Baker carried a 8-6 record with a 3.14 ERA and had a impressive 8.2 strikeout per 9 innings rate. He is under contract in 2012 making $6.5 million and has a $9.25 million team option for 2013. A team looking for a solid #2 starter at a good price would be willing to give the Twins a good return for Scott Baker.
  • Francisco Liriano-Had the Twins traded Liriano last winter, they would of gotten a much better return than if they decide to move him this offseason. Liriano battled injuries in 2011, and saw his numbers pay the price for it as he had a 9-10 record with a 5.09 ERA. He also saw his strikeout per 9 innings rate drop from 9.4 (2010) to 7.5 (2011). He also carried an incredibly high 5.0 walks per 9 innings rate. Despite all the sour numbers, Liriano still has good potential and certainly someone would be willing to take a chance on him. He is in his last year of arbitration, so he will be a free agent in 2013.
  • Carl Pavano-The last two seasons, the righty has thrown at least 220 innings for the team, while posting a combined 4.02 ERA in those seasons. There are a lot of teams that could use a veteran pitcher that can eat up innings like Pavano does. Only problem is that he is due $8.5 million in 2012, and that could scare teams away from giving the Twins a good return on him, so they might have to eat some money to get a better return package.
  • Glen Perkins-Its a bit of a stretch to think that the Twins will trade Perkins, but he could get a nice return if they did decide to move him. In 2011, Perkins appeared in 65 games while posting a 2.48 ERA with 65 strikeouts. His fastball frequently found its way into the high 90s and a very effective changeup to go with it. Perkins is under team control for 2012 and 2013 and will only be making somewhere around $1.7 million for 2012.
  • Denard Span-For a while in July, it looked as if Span was going to be traded. But the deadline came and passed and Span remained a member of the Twins. He battled a concussion in 2011 and was limited to just 70 games, while Ben Revere handled the leadoff and centerfield duties. Span carries a .285 career average with a .361 on base percentage. He also plays a very good defensive centerfield. Span has a very team friendly contract ($3M in '12, $4.75M in '13, $6.5M in '14, and a $9 million team option for 2015), so teams would have to make a seriously good offer for Ryan to consider moving his centerfielder.
  • Danny Valencia-After a great 2010, Valencia saw his numbers drop in his first full season in the majors in 2011. He only hit .246, but was among the team leaders in home runs (15) and RBI (72). Defensively, he was a mess (.949 fielding percentage, 18 errors). But the good news is, he is still young with plenty of time to turn it around. And he is still under team control through the 2016 season.
With the big changes that Ryan hinted at making for 2012 and a limited budget to spend on free agents, you would have to assume that he is going to make some trades this offseason. Let's all hope that he can still work that magic, because the 2012 Twins are going to need some.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Terry Ryan, You Have Been Missed.

Today, the Twins shocked most in the baseball community and relieved Bill Smith of the GM duties, and put his predecessor Terry Ryan back in as the interim. The moves comes after the team lost 99 games in 2011, which followed back to back division titles in 2009 and 2010. The team said that there were "Philosophical Differences" between them and Smith, which lead to this decision. Ryan lead the Twins from the GM seat from 1994-2007 (Replacing Andy MacPhail), and shaped the teams that won division titles in 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2006.

Winning those division titles for Ryan and his staff was not easy. They had to do it, with the financial constraints of playing in the Metrodome. So, Ryan returns to the team now in Target Field and a 9 figure payroll. But, as we learned today, the payroll for next year will go down to somewhere around $100 million. So take in to account the fact the Twins have around $80 million spent on payroll next year already, it will make things tight for Ryan and company.

His free agent signees list wasnt the greatest. But his list of trades made was. Ryan was a genius at making a trade, and pulled off many that helped the Twins in more ways than one. Perhaps there is no better example of a trade Ryan made that benefited the Twins so well was the November 2003 trade that sent catcher AJ Pierzynski to San Francisco. In return for the catcher, the Twins recieved P's Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano, and Boof Bonser. Nathan went on to become the team's all time saves leader, Liriano was a stud until he had to undergo Tommy John surgery and has been inconsistent since, and Bonser was a serviceable starter/reliever until he battled various injuries and was released. Many times Ryan pulled off trades like this, and hopefully he can continue his magic going forward, especially if the team has just $20 million to spend on free agents, they will need to make some trades.

I guess the thing that excites me the most about seeing Ryan return to the GM chair, is the fact he wanted to come back and is willing to be the GM for many years going forward. He was one of the best back then, and he should still be one of the best going forward. He clearly has his work cut out for him as he tries to get a 99 loss team back to a 90+ win team. But, if he can duplicate his success from his previous stint, he can make the Twins a great team once again...