Friday, June 21, 2013

What is reasonable return for Minnesota Twins' veterans?

There has been a lot of talk about trading the Twins established MLB players for prospects in recent weeks.  This concept has become a bit more complicated due to the Twins' relative success this season.  A terrible team is an easy seller while a great team is an eager buyer.  The Twins are neither great nor terrible.  The difficulty for the Twins' front office will be determining who is a part of the future and who is expendable.

I don't intend to try to make that determination.  I'll leave that to everyone else.  However, I remember an episode of Gleeman and the Geek from last season, when our heroic hosts were discussing this very topic.  John wanted to use current Twins prospects to determine a fair value for current Twins players.  I loved it.  It seems like such an intuitive way to explain what type of return they would be willing to accept.  I figure, I can do the same just in case for some strange reason the Twins decided to give me all the power involved in making their trades. 

For the record, this would be a terrible decision, as I would make wild determinations based on factors like name hilarity, hair length, eye black wearing and stirrups. 

However, if I decided to use my brain instead of my heart/the bad part of my brain, here is what I would anticipate if the Twins got offers for current Twins, using current Twins prospects as a hypothetical return.  If this is too plagiarism-y (from that Gleeman and the Geek), just go ahead and ignore/delete/savage.  We'll go from smallest return to largest, just for fun. 

Drew Butera for Tom Brunansky right now

This is just mean.  Why?

Trade Approved. But seriously, be nice.

Mike Pelfrey for Tim Atherton

If Pelfrey can be traded for any young pitcher, I'll take it.  Atherton has a unique path to where he is right now, but as a 23-year-old at low A, he is the type of pitcher who could be reasonably acquired for Pelfrey.  Pelfrey is only signed until the end of the season.  While Atherton is no great prospect, he is young and has pitched reasonably well.  For Pelfrey, I'd take just that.

Trade Approved.  You have to take anything you can get for Pelfrey.

Jared Burton for Nelvin Fuentes

I'd want a bit more for Burton.  Fuentes is a pitcher with a bit more upside and he misses bats.  He also has barely pitched above A ball and is 24-years-old.  I'd want more upside in a Burton trade, simply because he is under contract for another two seasons and the Twins don't really have someone who can step into his role.  However, they have plenty of guys who they could try in that role, and a good offer would be hard to pass up.   

Trade Approved.  It's not a perfect return, but there are always random guys who can become setup men, as Burton proved last season.

Kevin Correia for Nelvin Fuentes

I'm not sure the return for Correia should be much different than the return for Burton.  Correia is still relatively young and can be reasonably relied upon as a fifth starter, but he is nothing special.  At 5 million in 2014, I might just keep him, rather than trade him for an A ball prospect.  If Correia somehow became the Twins' fourth or fifth starter next season, he'd look a lot more attractive. 

Trade Denied.  I think Correia will be worth keeping for the second year of his contract.

Ryan Doumit for Logan Darnell

Doumit is perfect for the Twins.  He can spell Joe Mauer behind the plate and is one of the Twins' best hitters, despite being just about league-average (101 OPS+ in 2013).   On other teams, with a more traditional backup catcher situation, Doumit would be a DH/corner outfielder who can't play outfield all that well.   He fits best with the Twins, but if another team offered a AA or AAA pitcher with a good chance to reach the Majors, I would find it to be a fair return and let that team figure the rest out.

Trade Approved. Chris Herrmann could reasonably replace him in the lineup right now and an extra arm in the system is a worthy return.

Glen Perkins for Matthew Summers

I'm not sure it's fair to use terms like "proven closer" and "established closer" with Perkins, but "dominant left-handed reliever" is apt.  The fact that he has been closing for the Twins is a nice boost, as closers do tend to bring back greater returns than non-closers.  However, teams seem to be learning that trading for closers is a exercise in futility (save for the Red Sox).  Summers is a low-level prospect with big upside, so there is something intriguing here.

Trade Denied.  Are you kidding?  Perkins is fantastic, the Twins should keep him.

Justin Morneau for Hudson Boyd and Jason Wheeler

Seeing Morneau hit one home run on Wednesday night and give air high fives almost made me completely flip on my feeling that the Twins should trade him for anything.  Emotionally, I like Morneau as a player and enjoyed watching him become an MVP.  In order to trade him, I'd want two pitching prospects, but I know that realistically, they wouldn't be top 25 prospects.  Boyd sits right on the edge and Wheeler looks like he could be a solid reliever, if nothing else.  This is the type of trade that is both reasonable and fair, however for emotional reasons...

Trade Denied.  I'd have to be blown away to trade one of the most popular players in recent history.

Melotakis seems like he will either be a great reliever or a decent starter with upside.  That kind of uncertainty is scary to many and as a result, many would be unwilling to part with a very popular player like Willingham.  However, Willingham is 34 and while his OBP is still good, his power and batting average have dropped significantly.  I was not a fan of trading Willingham last season, and I don't think the return would have been much better.  Melotakis is the type of risk-reward player that the Twins could target, should they decide to move Willingham.

Trade Approved.  An Oswaldo Arcia-Aaron Hicks-Chris Parmelee outfield can work for a season or two, until Byron Buxton is available.  Adding another high-upside arm is tough to pass up.   

Trevor Plouffe for Taylor Rogers and Hudson Boyd

I'd aim very high for Plouffe.  He's cheap, relatively young and has big power potential.  He might sail the occasional throw at third and his OBP is not ideal.  However, he has enough going for him to make me look for two lower level prospects with high upside, one of whom I am certain can start.  Rogers seems to have the stuff to start and Boyd still has big upside. 

Trade Approved.  Good luck getting another team to offer it though.

Joe Mauer for Miguel Sano, Alex Meyer and Niko Goodrum

Yep, that much.  He's a franchise player and I am irrational about him.  Mauer probably isn't worth that much right now, but I don't think the Twins would take anything but a "Godfather" offer, as Bill Simmons would say.  Even so... 

Trade Denied.  I just love him too much.

If you know the Twins system well, you'll see that I did not offer any top 10-15 prospects for Twins current players, save for Mauer.  That doesn't mean the Twins can't net top 10 prospects from other teams.  The Twins system is loaded, and others are not.  If the Twins decide to sell at the deadline, I would not be expecting huge returns.  However, every little bit helps. 

Alexi Casilla was acquired for J.C. Romero.  Jason Bartlett was acquired for Brian Buchanan.  Nick Punto and Carlos Silva were acquired for Eric Milton.  These aren't sexy names, but they were useful players who helped the Twins win divisions.  If the Twins can make smart trades at the deadline, it shouldn't matter who they trade and who they keep. 

What does everyone think?  Where am I waaaaaaay off?  What trades do you feel are fair?

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