Twins Trade Rumors: Josh Willingham, Francisco Liriano, Matt Capps, Carl Pavano, Angels, and Dodgers

May 28, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins outfielder Josh Willingham (16) against the Oakland Athletics at Target Field. The Twins defeated the Athletics 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE

With just a couple of weeks until the non-waiver trade deadline, now seems like a good time for a refresher course on what the pulse of our Twins' tradebait could be. While the Twins haven't officially called themselves a seller quite yet, we all know it's only a matter of time. Let's get to it, kicking off with what we already knew: Carl Pavano won't be ready by July 31st.

  • In spite of that 6.00 ERA, Pavano's peripherals insist he's not nearly that terrible. While he wouldn't be the kind of pitcher that a contending team would shoot for in the hope that he'd push them over the top, it's very easy to see him acquired as a pitcher who can stabilize the back end of a rotation. He could still be moved in August, if a team is willing to take on somewhere between $3 and $4 million of his 2012 salary. I'm not sure that the Twins paying his salary in a trade would net them a significantly better player.
  • This isn't too big of a surprise, with the Angels (as of this writing) just four and a half out from the Rangers in the AL West and in the midst of a five-way tie for the two Wild Card spots. That's going to be a tight race; 11 teams are within 1.5 games of the two available slots. The Royals and Mariners join the Twins as teams who are effectively out of it.
  • In nine games since returning to the rotation Francisco Liriano has thrown 57.1 innings of 2.83 ERA baseball, striking out 67, walking 25, and allowing just two home runs. Everyone loves a hot hand, and here's the epitome of it.
  • Matt Capps, meanwhile, made his successful return to the hill last night for the Twins as he threw a solitary scoreless inning. Teams may want to see him throw a few times before they seriously bid for him. That or they'll try to get him for virtually nothing.
  • In addition to the Angels, Nick Cafardo says the Blue Jays, Yankees, and Braves have all scouted Liriano as well. A National League destination seems to make more sense, and worst of all I have visions of Liriano going to New York and revealing the Ace specter of himself that we all knew was there. The very idea makes me ill.
  • Cafardo also regurgitates what we've been hearing for weeks: Terry Ryan needs to be nuked off the planet by the offer that would net another team Josh Willingham. Theoretically I like the idea of trading high on Willingham, but it would be hard to sell that one to the general fan base. Even rebuilding teams need players to cheer for and players who they can see making a difference in the future, and it's difficult to imagine a package that meets those criteria. Everyone understands building for the future, but people still like to see their team win now. This would have to be one hell of a deal.
  • Add the Dodgers to the long list of teams who are also interested in Willingham. Much like the Angels, I do find it hard to envision what they might offer in return for the slugger. Can you imagine a Dodger outfield with Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and Willingham? Killer.
That's all for tonight, folks. See you in the morning!

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