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Saturday Morning Brunch & Baseball: Twins Trade Rumors Involving Willingham, Span, Capps

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Do you guys even know how many recognizable names are in Clueless? Not that I'm watching it right now. Let's talk baseball.

  • On Thursday, Ben Nicholson-Smith of MLB Trade Rumos discussed Matt Capps as a potential trade candidate. Nicholson-Smith points to Capps' saves, ERA, fastball, salary, and command as his best and most attractive traits to a buyer, and I agree. As a potential bonus, if a team likes him enough there is a $6 million option for 2013. While I don't think the Twins would need to kick in cash to cover any of Capps' salary this season, offering to kick in $250,000 to cover the option buyout would be a good gesture. if his destination decides they don't want to bring him back, then they're only paying for his services and not for the option; if they do decide to pick up the option, then it's a nice little chunk of change to put a dent in what Capps would be due. Or maybe I'm splitting hairs. I've been known to do that.
  • Grantland's Jonah Keri says the Twins are probably the team furthest away from contention. I'm not entirely sure I buy into that, but he does make a lot of salient points. Bad drafts, bad trades, and a cornucopia of big time injuries have taken this franchise out at the knees. Keri does briefly entertain the notion of dealing Joe Mauer before dismissing them, and he doesn't even mention Denard Span, but he does get the ultimate point: the Twins are still at least two years away from contending. And that's probably the optimist in me speaking, because I'm fairly sure Keri would wager it'd be significantly longer than that.
  • Apparently teams have attempted to kick the tires on Josh Willingham. It does make some sense, in that if the Twins dealt him now they'd be dealing from the high ground: Willingham is at near the top of his offensive game, doesn't appear to be anywhere near a mid-30s decline, and is under contract for two more seasons. But it seems the Minnesota front office has to interest in trading the right handed slugger, according to Jayson Stark:

We hear a surprising amount of speculation about the Twins trading Josh Willingham. But teams that have kicked the tires on him say they've been told that Willingham just started a three-year, $21 million contract, that he's exactly the kind of right-handed masher they envisioned placing between Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, and that they expect to keep all three of those guys. So unless that stance changes, it doesn't appear that Willingham is relocating anywhere.

In fact, according to the source, the Nationals still have interest in Angels outfielder Peter Bourjos and Twins outfielder Denard Span.

But the source indicated that there haven't been any talks between the Nationals and Angels or Nationals or Twins. The source said he would not be the surprised if nothing happened until the offseason.

  • When it comes to Span, I'm a bit torn. While he's one of three players currently under contract who could still be here beyond 2014 (Span holds an option for 2015, by which point I do expect the Twins to be competing again), I'm also interested in getting the rebuilding process going as quickly as possible. Minnesota's farm system will hopefully improve with Monday's draft, and getting a couple of potentially useful parts in return for Span would only make the system that much stronger. Unfortunately, when running a business that bases its success largely off of the number of people in the seats, completely selling out your assets in order to accelerate a franchise restart is also going to take people out of those aforementioned seats.
Unlike this time last year, there's no doubt that the Minnesota front office realizes how close to the bottom of the barrel they really are. That doesn't mean that some of the decisions they'll have facing them this summer will be any easier. No doubt we'll be talking about this quite a bit over the next eight weeks.

That's all for now. Enjoy your Saturdays and enjoy the game tonight!