Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Twins Recent Trade Deadlines Have Been Underwhelming

For the Minnesota Twins, the last handful of trade deadlines have been mostly uneventful. This seems out of character for a team that has posted one of baseball's worst records in the last few seasons. There are different ways for a team to rebuild and the Twins were very active during last offseason by dealing away Denard Span and Ben Revere. Minnesota doesn't necessarily need to move away pieces that will still be with the club in the offseason.

That being said, it would make the most sense to say goodbye to Justin Morneau. His contract will be expiring at the end of the season and the Twins won't be in contention for the rest of the year. This would give him a chance to help out a contender and the club could go after him in free agency if they felt that was in their best interest.

Here is a look back at the moves made during the last three trade deadlines. Even though there haven't been any major moves in the last couple of years, there has been an impact on the depth of the organization. There have been ripple effects from dealing away one of the team's best catching prospects and last year's duo of players have helped the current team.
2012 Headline: Liriano dealt to White Sox for pair of players
The potential was always there with Francisco Liriano but the on-field results were spotty. Since his contract was expiring at the end of the year, it made sense for the Twins to deal him. Many fans thought the Twins should be able to get more for Liriano. Instead the club got back infielder Eduardo Escobar and pitcher Pedro Hernandez. Liriano went 3-2 with the White Sox and he posted a 5.40 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP over 11 starts. According to Baseball Reference, his time in Chicago was good enough for a 0.3 WAR.

Escobar has played 69 games over the last two seasons with the Twins. He has hit .217/.268/.303 with three home runs, two doubles, and two triples. He got plenty of playing time at the beginning of the year when the Twins were still trying to figure out their middle infield situation. He has been worth 0.3 WAR for the Twins. Henandez has started seven games and pitched in nine games for Minnesota. He has a 3-1 record with a 5.54 ERA and a 1.69 WHIP. He has added some depth to the minor league pitching staff but he probably won't have a long-term impact on the big league club.

2011 Headline: To trade or not to trade, that is the question.
There were expiring contracts like Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel on the 2011 squad but the team still wasn't able to make any moves before the deadline. After a brutal April and May, the Twins posted records above .500 in June and July. This might have given the front office a false sense of hope. Minnesota was only seven games under .500 in the first half of the year. At the end of July, the club had a 50-58 record and they were only seven games out of first place in the AL Central. Unfortunately, the second half of the season would be dreadful.

Fans were forced to have faith that the club would climb back into the race. This would never happen and Cuddyer and Kubel would leave the team in the offseason. There might not have been deals on the table for these corner outfielders and it is hard to know what goes on in the general manager's office. Still, it looked silly to have veteran players with expiring contracts on a club that was headed very close to a 100-loss season.

2010 Headline: Capps acquired for stretch run
In one of the most scrutinized deals in Twins history, Matt Capps was acquired from the Washington Nationals for prized catching prospect Wilson Ramos. The Twins were in the middle of another tight division race and the back end of the bullpen might have needed a little boost. Joe Nathan had suffered an elbow injury in spring training and the club had used Jon Rauch as closer for most of the first half. Adding Capps to the mix only strengthened the bullpen and he could have been a key piece if the club had gone on a lengthy run in October. As fans know, this didn't happen but the deal could have looked better with Capps closing out some games in the ALDS, ALCS, and even the World Series.

The cost for Capps was a steep one. Wilson Ramos was working his way toward the big leagues and he had even had an impressive debut in Minnesota. The Twins already had Joe Mauer entrenched behind the plate so keeping Ramos around wasn't a necessity. Since joining the Nationals, there have been some injury concerns as he only played 25 games last season and a little over 30 games in 2013. He continues to hit for power and he has posted a career .271/.334/.447 batting line in the National League. Ramos hasn't turned into the next Johnny Bench and that might be a good thing for Twins fans.


Ben S said...

Looks like a bunch terrible moves (non-moves), thanks Bill Smith. That's further proof of your incompetence while you destroyed our team over a five year stretch.

Ben S said...
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