"Heeeey brother." (Photo by Hannah Foslien /Getty Images)
In case you've missed it, the trade deadline hot stove is red hot, as we've seen Hanley Ramirez, Ichiro Suzuki, and Wandy Rodriguez switch locales over the past couple days with plenty of other good players possibly moving as well.
This brings me to the local nine, and today I'll handicap the chances they're dealt, and take a stab at to whom and for what if I think there's a chance they move.
SP Francisco Liriano - 3-10, 5.31 ERA, 9.8 K/9
Since returning to the rotation, Liriano has compiled a 3.68 ERA, .595 OPS against, and has fanned 79 hitters in 66.0 IP (10.8 K/9). That's vintage Liriano, and should endear him to a number of teams in the race even now that Ryan Dempster looks to be staying put for the time being (update: or headed to the Dodgers). I don't think Cole Hamels signing with the Phillies long-term changes much, but I think Liriano's value is that of a top-10 and a top-20 prospect from a team. In other words, decent value, but nothing to be blown away by. I think the Angels, Rangers, and Red Sox could all use Liriano on the junior circuit, and I think he could be joining Torii Hunter on the Halos in the next week.
Trade Likelihood: 75 percent
Team Prediction: Angels
Stab-in-the-dark return: David Carpenter and John Hellweg.
OF Denard Span - .280/.344/.384, 100 OPS+
While Span hasn't exactly returned to his 2008-09 form, he's still been a valuable player for the Twins. He can do a little bit of everything, including hit, run the bases smartly, take a walk, throw, and play very good defense out in center. In that way, Span is an era-transcending centerfielder, and he's probably good for three to four WAR per season. Those types of players don't grow on trees, and the Twins shouldn't -- and to their credit don't appear to be -- rush to give him away. My initial notion was the Nationals on this one, but with Jayson Werth on his way back, that is an outfield of Werth-Bryce Harper-Mike Morse, which is pretty much stacked. The idea was that Morse could play first, but Adam LaRoche has been rather good there, so I don't think Span's a fit in the nation's capital, even though I was positive the Twins would find a way to get Steve Lombardozzi 2.0. If Span is moved -- I'm not positive he will be -- I think the Reds are the next logical place for him to land. I think Span might be worth a B+ prospect and a couple Cs, to be honest.
CL Matt Capps - 1-4, 3.81 ERA, 1.06 WHIP
The Twins' much-maligned closer has been middle-inning good, and for a lot of people spoiled by the Joe Nathan reign in Minneapolis, that just isn't a good enough return on the Wilson Ramos deal. Those folks aren't entirely wrong, as Capps certainly hasn't been dominant, but rather acceptable. The problem for me stems from my theory of how a closer should be anointed. Capps would be a good pick for a closer in the sense that he's not necessarily the best reliever, but can get outs in the ninth. After all, the ninth isn't always the hottest pressure cooker in the game, and for that, you want guys like Jared Burton and Glen Perkins who have swing-and-miss stuff. But in that sense, a guy like Capps should be readily available as a free agent (Burton) or in a lower-caliber trade. It's never prudent to trade every day players for relievers, let alone pay them $7 million, and furthermore, forfeit draft choice compensation. It's just been a muddled situation from the get-go, and the Twins would do well to move Capps for something, but he's just not healthy right now. The Mets would seem to be a good location.
Trade Likelihood: 25 percent (7/31 deadline), 75 percent (8/31 deadline)
Team Prediction: Mets
Stab-in-the-dark return: One C prospect.
SP Carl Pavano - 2-5, 6.00 ERA, 1.39 WHIP
I'm not an 'I-told-you-so' type, but I will continue to emphasize how adamant I was that the Twins get out from this Pavanian relationship prior to 2011. To that point, Pavano had given the Twins 22 wins, a 3.97 ERA, and in-effect, an excellent return on Yohan Pino. Since then, Pavano's gone 11-18 with a 4.67 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, and 4.3 K/9. My contention was that the Twins could simply bring up Jeff Manship, Scott Diamond, or any other AAAA type of pitcher (Diamond at that time was such a type) and come close to matching that production. I think P.J. Walters and Sam Deduno have sort of bolstered this theory, and as a result, the Twins are left wondering what might have been had their budget been thinner the past two years. Pavano has been out just about the entire season -- he's only tossed 63 innings to-date -- but he's been bad and expensive enough that he should easily clear waivers prior to the 8/31 postseason roster deadline.
Trade Likelihood: 5 percent (7/31), 50 percent (8/31)
Team Prediction: Orioles
Stab-in-the-dark return: An organizational prospect.
1B-DH Justin Morneau - .249/.312/.432, 11 HR, 102 OPS+
Morneau's overall line looks rather underwhelming, but it's completely sabotaged by how rough his season has been against southpaws (.411 OPS/.925 v. RHP). So basically, it's the old Morneau against righties, and some sort of bargain-basement Jacque Jones against lefties. Nonetheless, Morneau seems to be on the right track on his comeback from concussions, and even if he never returns to even .800 OPS/25 home run territory, he'll probably be a Twin to the end of this contract, and maybe beyond that if you ask me. He's staying put.
Trade Likelihood: 5 percent
Team Prediction: -
Stab-in-the-dark return: To pre-concussion form.
OF Josh Willingham - .271/.384/.551, 23 HR, AL-leading 11 HBP
Willingham has been a revelation for the Twins this season. As the most expensive free agent the club has ever picked up -- seriously -- Willingham seems on his way to setting career-highs in home runs (previous high: 29 in '11), walks (51 currently, career-high 67), and bone bruises (11 HBP, career-high 16). He's already stated he's happy in Minnesota, and would even want to re-up after his three-year deal is done, so it remains unlikely that the Twins would move the right-handed slugger with the ink still wet on his contract. They'd have to be blown away.
Trade Likelihood: 5 percent
Team Prediction: -
Stab-in-the-dark return: 40 home runs.
Aside from these guys, it's really unlikely anyone like Ben Revere or Trevor Plouffe would be shipped out. While both young players would likely have ample trade value, they're also considered building blocks of what hopes to be a somewhat promising Twins future. Of those who remain, only Alexi Casilla or Jamey Carroll really make sense to be dealt, and I'd put each of them at under a five percent chance of moving.