This has been a conversation I've largely avoided to this point, because even though we didn't really expect the Twins to contend this season it did seem a bit premature to talk about which guys might be the most valuable or the most sought after trade chips. But today is June 1st, which is something of an unofficial beginning to the trade deadline speculation season, and we have to start talking about it sooner or later: who could the Twins move this year?
Last summer the front office failed to see the reality facing them, and kept the guys who could have been their most valuable commodities: Michael Cuddyer, Carl Pavano, Joe Nathan, Matt Capps, Jason Kubel. Of course they garnered draft picks in place of their departing free agents where applicable, but barring the risk of spending mega dollars there will be no such advantage for them this season. That change to the CBA more or less makes the Twins' decision for them: if they want to get any value for their departing free agents, they need to trade them.
Yesterday, Jon Heyman put together a list of players who could garner some interest in the coming weeks. Here's what Heyman has to say about a few of Twins.
We'll start with Liriano:
He showed his true talent in six shutout innings vs. the A's on Wednesday, and despite an ERA that's still at 7.20, one competing exec said he's worth a shot in a short-term situation. At his best, he could help many.
By saying "he could help many", I assume Heyman means Francisco Liriano could help many teams. The problem, at least from Minnesota's perspective, is that two things play strongly against any potential return:
- Liriano is a free agent at the end of the year, and
- His start to his 2012 season has done irreparable damage to his potential trade value.
Now that his concussion symptoms have subsided and he's showing power again (.535 slugging percentage), playing some first base and he's a candidate to help an AL contender. Negative: He is owed $23 million through next year.
Tough personality, diminishing performance (.302 BAA) and high salary ($8.5 million) limit his market.
Parts of Pavano's game are actually better than last year. Strikeout and walk rates are a good example of that. But Pavano has struggled stranding base runners, and his batting average on balls in play is marginally higher than 2011.
Professional hitter would do better away from Target Field.
Away, 2012: .241/.297/.424
Considering the need for closers, maybe his $4.75 million salary doesn't look too horrible. He has saved 10 of 11, so he could help someone.