As of just over an hour ago, there were 120 hours - exactly five full days - remaining until the MLB Trade Deadline of 3:00pm central on July 31. History and track record should always be the largest factors to consider, but front office personnel and human and as such they are subject to pressures. That means that a lot of times, "what have you done for me lately" can mean a lot more than it should. Here's how the Twins' trade chips have been trending.
Kurt Suzuki, C
335 PA, .309/.365/.393, 112 OPS+, w114 RC+
Suzuki is Minnesota's most valuable and tradable asset. If he hits the open market this winter, he's likely to be overpaid. Will he get the contract that MVP Sports is asking for from the Twins currently? That puts his value between $7 and $9 million per season, since they'd like a new contract to be commensurate with what was given to A.J. Pierzynski (one year, $8.25 MM), Carlos Ruiz (3 years, $26 MM), and Jared Saltalamacchia (3 years, $21 million).
Is that more than Suzuki is worth? It depends on your viewpoint. In terms of the value he's likely to provide the team, probably, but if a player makes that kind of money then he's clearly worth it to somebody. Still, if Suzuki does sign an extension with Minnesota I'd be surprised if the AAV touches even the bottom end of that scale. The question is whether that means the Twins are more likely, or more willing, to make a deal as a result.
Sources: #Twins’ field people pushing to keep Suzuki. Quick extension unlikely, but other catchers in organization much less advanced.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 25, 2014
So far in 2014, you can see that Suzuki is having a career year. In July he's only been better, hitting .344/.405/.406. If the right suitor comes along, Minnesota could be looking at two prospects in the 15-20 range, but with the Cardinals' signing of Pierzynski the list of known suitors is down to one: the Orioles.
Josh Willingham, LF/DH
223 PA, .213/.354/.421, 116 OPS+, 117 wRC+
Can strong walk rates and declining but lightning-strike power coax a contender into pulling the trigger? American League clubs who have room at designated hitter seem like the best fits, although if a team would be willing to stash him on the bench it could extend his circle of interest. But this was an interesting exchange between Puckett's Pond and Darren Wolfson:
PP: One guy that is almost guaranteed to be moved is Josh Willingham. Is it too late for the Twins to act as if he has value, or is he still a legitimate power bat for someone?
DW: I had a high-ranking Twins official tell me in March that Willingham was cooked. They knew it was dangerous to offer him 3-years. But it was the only way he’d come to Minnesota.
If the Twins thought their guy was cooked, is that what other clubs see? Read that entire Q&A, by the way. It's three days old now, but well worth your time as it's still very relevant.
Hammer has crushed a pair of home runs in his last four games, which has pushed his isolated power mark to a solid .208. He's slugging .467 since July 12, which is an upward trend. With a 16.1% walk rate and the ability to pull a massive home run at any time, somebody will be tempted.
Kevin Correia, RHP
117.1 IP, 4.58 FIP, 5.00 xFIP, 10.3 K%, 1.51 WHIP
What Correia provides a contending team is the ability to give innings to a veteran who has been around the game and who, as a result, is less volatile in his performance. That means he's more reliable, and we all know he's capable of pulling off a surprising streak of effective starts while taking pressure off of the bullpen with six and seven-inning performances.
Still, that's not worth a great deal at any time. Most teams would still be content to let a younger arm take the innings, or they'll have their own Quadruple-A players capable of giving a similar performance to Correia without the cost of even a marginal prospect.
Unfortunately, Correia's last two performances (8 IP, 11 R, 4 K, 5 BB) have taken all the air out of the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately balloon (which is a thing). If he's not moved by July 31, he's the ideal August waiver trade candidate, and even with the rash of injuries floating through the Twins' rotation the club would be well suited to audition other pitchers for 2015. Obligatory Alex Meyer and Trevor May reference.
Moving a non-closer at the trade deadline can be a bit anti-climactic, but contenders looking to bolster their bullpen will look at everyone who can make them better without costing an arm and a leg. The Twins also have a couple of arms in the minor leagues who could be worth an audition out of the bullpen, most notably Michael Tonkin but also guys like A.J. Achter, Edgar Ibarra, Deolis Guerra, or even Cole Johnson from Double-A. (Some of those are far more likely than others, particularly since only Tonkin and Ibarra are on the 40-man roster.)