Thursday, December 6, 2012

Where would Twins be with trade of Morneau or Revere?

There have been plenty of rumors surrounding the Twins over the last couple of days at the Winter Meetings. The team still has plenty of holes to fill in their starting rotation and there is talk of adding a third baseman to challenge Trevor Plouffe for the starting role. It would be nice to see the team add some middle infield depth since there are plenty of question marks at those spots. Even with all of this talk, there hasn’t been much action on the home front.

By the time the offseason is over, the Twins will likely sign more than one free agent starting pitcher but there are other ways to go about adding talent. There have been rumors swirling about the Twins shopping a couple of their regular starters from last year, Justin Morneau and Ben Revere. As I wrote about in my post on Tuesday, Revere is set to take over center field and to be the leadoff man. Morneau has dealt with a plethora of injuries during the last few seasons and it’s hard to know what the market would be like for him.
If the Twins trade either one of these players, there are multiple ramifications for next season. Let’s take a look at each option and see what would happen to the roster.
Option 1: Trade Ben Revere
The Twins already sent one center fielder to another team this offseason when they traded Denard Span to the Washington Nationals for pitching prospect Alex Meyer. It seems odd that a team would also trade his replacement within a couple of weeks. Revere is under team control for multiple seasons and he should be making a relatively small amount through the arbitration process. This kind of team control can be valuable to clubs looking for a deal.
With Revere gone, the Twins would have an interesting situation playing out for next year’s roster. Who would step in to play center field? Joe Benson has some brief experience at this spot but he is coming off of a terrible 2012 season that was filled with injuries and poor play. Aaron Hicks would also be an option but he hasn’t seen any major league playing time. Last season was a breakout year for Hicks so the Twins might think that now is the time for him to shine.
Here’s what the starting nine might look like with Revere gone:
This option would put a lot of pressure on a young rookie to take over the starting role in center field. Two other defenders that aren't the fastest on their feet would also surround him. It would be hard to know if the Twins would throw Hicks into the leadoff spot as well or if they would let someone else take that role.
It seems like the Twins would need to get overwhelmed by a trade for Revere before he would be sent packing. The Twins are lined up to rely a lot on him next season.

Option 2: Trade Justin Morneau

Chris Parmelee seemed like he was ready to take over a starting role at the beginning of last season but that didn't go exactly according to plan. He spent time back and forth between the minor leagues and the big league squad without really settling on a position. He has spent more of his minor league career as a first baseman so it might be better for the team if he were to play that position. The only problem is that Justin Morneau is standing in his way.

It's the last year of Morneau's deal and the club has yet to approach him about a contract extension. This could mean that the club is ready to move in a different direction. If Morneau isn't traded before the start of this season, there is a good chance that he could be dealt at some point before the trade deadline. A contending team might be willing to give the Twins a nice package for a left-handed slugger like Morneau especially if he has been productive though the first half of the year.

Here's what the starting nine might look like with Morneau gone:
The Twins could have an open competition among some of the young players in the minor leagues for the final spot in the outfield. This would mean Arcia, Benson, or Hicks would be lined up for a starting job on Opening Day. If the Twins bring in another third base candidate, the team could move Plouffe to a corner outfield role.

Between Revere and Morneau, it seems more likely that Morneau would end up traded before the start of 2013. This doesn't mean that the Twins won't be open to listening to offers from other clubs. Revere is a dynamic player and Morneau has shown leadership skills. The Twins might be getting offers that are hard to refuse and that could lead to a very different line-up by the start of next season.

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