July 30, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA: Minnesota Twins center fielder Denard Span (2) catches a fly ball hit by Chicago White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski (not pictured) in the seventh inning at Target Field. The Twins won 7-6. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE
About 17 months ago, Joe Christensen had the audacity to back certain members of the Twins front office who were open to trading Francisco Liriano. This was happening after a season where Liriano looked as close to the '06 version of himself as he ever did (or ever has since), and Christensen made the argument that while he pitched like a number one in 2010 he, just maybe, wasn't the ace he looked to be. He made some very salient points.
I disagreed in a piece I titled "A Dash of Truth About Francisco Liriano and the Minnesota Twins". Some people agreed with Joe, some people agreed with me, but it sparked some solid debate. When I wrote to Christensen to inform him of what I'd written he was very understanding and it was a solid back and forth.
Fast forward to today (or maybe a couple of days ago), and in terms of selling high or selling low Christensen nailed it. His article today reminded me of what I'd written, saying in one of his closing paragraphs:
Sometimes you have to make unpopular choices. Last winter, Oakland let Willingham leave via free agency and traded away three All-Star pitchers -- Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill and Andrew Bailey -- but the returns have made the A's surprising contenders this year.
And to be fair, I think they will. They've said all along that they're willing to move players for the right parts, and there's a big difference in what you could expect to be returned between a player like Liriano and players like Span or Willingham. Everything we've read announces that the front office would need to be blown away; sources have allegedly called Minnesota's asking prices "prohibitive". That's a good thing. The Twins have all the leverage.
Perhaps part of the issue, if there is one in dealing players like Span or Willingham, is that teams have seen the Twins sell pieces for underwhelming returns and are low-balling them in an attempt to get a favorable deal. Of course, that's just speculation.
I'm torn on Justin Morneau, but if the Twins get the right offers for Span and Willingham then I hope something gets done today.