Part of what we had trouble reconciling about the Francisco Liriano trade was that there was a market but there wasn't a lot of value placed on our asset. When it comes to the Twins other trade chips, this is most definitely not the case. Justin Morneau is under contract for 2013, even if it's a bit steep. Josh Willingham is under a very, very good contract at $7 million per year through 2014.
And Denard Span's contract out paces them all. From Buster Olney:
Oh, sure, you can call the Minnesota Twins and ask about Denard Span, a good player who would help any good team. Span is hitting .288 with a .352 on-base percentage, solid numbers for a leadoff hitter.
But an underlying factor that makes it more difficult for the Twins to trade Span has nothing to do with OPS or defensive metrics: His contract is valuable.
At this time of year, some players, such as Alfonso Soriano, are available because of their contracts. In the case of Span, his deal makes him almost invaluable. "It's really hard to place a value on a contract like that," said one GM. "It makes it tough to trade a player [in that circumstance], because you almost have to get overpaid to walk away from that deal, or there's something else going on."
More after the jump.
That kind of contract, combined with Span's talent, allows the Twins to pretty much dictate any and all aspects of a negotiation. They don't need to move him. And if they do choose to move him, it will be for exactly what they want. Which is, naturally, starting pitching:
The Minnesota #Twins are listening to offers for CF Denard Span, but won't move him unless they get a major-league starter back in return.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) July 29, 2012
Before they started selling, the Marlins were curious about Span. The Yankees were most definitely interested, but landed Ichiro instead. As of right now, the only team connected to Denard is the Reds, but they're also looking into Shin-Soo Choo.
The Twins, if they're going to make another trade before the deadline, could use a good one. With Josh Willingham unlikely to move, Span is their most likely chip to make that happen.