Twins trading their best players?
According to the geniuses at the online Baseball Prospectus (and I'm not being snarky--those guys are sharp), our Minnesota Twins have a 6.9% chance of making the playoffs. Those are long, long, long odds, folks.
The Twins, whose 12-23 record is the worst in Major League Baseball, are not, however, the team considered to be the longest shot. Apparently the smarties at BP are taking into account injuries, overachieving mediocrities, a weak schedule, etc. as they gaze into their crystal ball.
The Royals, 19-17 and tied for second, are given a .06 chance of playing in mid- to late-October. Heck, in our own division, it's the Tigers who are given the best chance (50%), while Cleveland, with the best record in the AL (and still the most racist logo), are given a paltry 29.7% chance.
MLB No one seems to be giving this wee fella a chance...
The good men and women at MLB Trade Rumors, who led me to the BP graph in the first place, are beginning to wonder: if the Twins continue to stink, might they be in the market to dump some of their players near the trading deadline?
Good question, I say. I say this not because it's fun to pile on this club when they're down, but because it's a legitimate question. Truly, being 11 games out of first place in mid-May not only sucks, but it is nearly unrealistic to expect the Twins to contend. Especially as May turns to mid-May turns to June.
First, I know they're injured, but look, even if Mauer, Young, Nishioka, and Thome weren't on the DL, would the Twins really be much improved? Nathan's not injured, and neither is Francisco Liriano and his wonderful round-the-world balloon of an ERA. Carl Pavano's got one of those flying machines, too, you know, and he's a picture of health.
Peoples, if there's one thing that the Twins do well, it's manage their talent. As Branch Rickey once noted: "Trade a player a year too early rather than a year too late." That's our mantra as well.
Wikipedia Branch Rickey was a cracker jack, that's for sure.
The scribes at MLB Trade Rumors have suggested the following dudes might be on the block come the trading deadline:
Nathan and Capps. Sounds like a 70s TV cop show, doesn't it? Man perms and fast cars aside, I have a hard time thinking we'd get anything good for Nathan, or that another club's going to take on his salary or his penchant for loud AC/DC tunes, but stranger things have happened.
MLBTR says, of Capps: "It's been an odd year for Capps, who's allowing a lot of flyballs, no walks, few hits, and few strikeouts. Still, he's five for six in save opportunities and someone might overpay for him again."
Arma Virumque Cano. That's Latin for "of arms and the man I sing", and I only know that because I can look things up on Wikipedia. My point here is that pitchers are always in demand, whether they're hurting, they're sucking, or they're just plain mediocre. (Obviously, if they rock they're in demand by everyone.)
Pavano. Liriano. Slowey. Baker. Blackburn. Baker's playing great, for now, but he's a pitcher who's had his ups and downs, but he seems to enjoy the view in the valley more than the this air of the peaks. Personally, I think Pavano's the big horse on the trading block, because he's got the bigger salary. But you never know.
But the rest of those names are trade bait if there's someone contending with a rich minor-league system from which we can pluck young talent.
Why not? He's a free agent, and if his bat continues as it has been, he's probably more valuable as trade bait. The Twins aren't shelling out top dollar for a mediocre defensive player like Kubel, they just aren't. And if everyone gets healthy and starts to turn on the juice, he becomes a bit redundant with a productive line-up. Thome's a great replacement in the DH spot, and Cuddyer can easily hold down right.
But there's others: earlier in the season, Fox's Ken Rosenthal thought Denard Span might be good trade bait. Michael Cuddyer, despite those "intangibles" like being the cheerleader for the team, could very likely be in another uniform come the end of summer.
Sadly, Delmon Young is as much a candidate for a move as anyone. And Jim Thome could be some contender's rent-a-bat, no problem.
Remember, the Twins are the kind of club that loves to play around with young talent, and dumping guys on the verge of free agency--especially when you're lounging in the basement of perhaps the cushiest division in baseball--isn't necessarily a bad idea.
(Was it Deadspin.com that sent me to MLB Trade Rumors? I think so, and therefore I tip my cap to them...)