Aargh this is frustrating. Once again, the Twins made no moves at the trade deadline (outside of the Liriano deal) despite being irrefutably out of playoff contention and having players other teams covet but who don't or shouldn't figure in the team's future plans - you know, the perfect combination to make a whole bunch of trades (see: Astros, Houston). Last season the team had Jason Kubel, Michael Cuddyer, and Joe Nathan (among others) who were all going to be free agents and all could have been traded away, yet none were. I was frustrated but understood the thinking at least, given that the Twins would receive a draft pick for each once they signed somewhere else - that isn't the case this year.
There were reports of team's after Denard Span, Justin Morneau, Josh Willingham, Jared Burton, and Glen Perkins, and there was absolutely no reason to hold on to Morneau or Burton (and maybe not Perkins either, depending on your opinion of his future). At this point the Twins need to realize they're at least two more years if not more away from contending and it's time to figure out who is going to be a part of this team when it comes back around, assuming it does, and then trade everybody else. Span is still a pure leadoff hitter, and although he and Revere are somewhat redundant he's also signed to a very team friendly deal through 2015 so there's no reason to trade him unless a deal knocks you on your ass, which apparently the Reds didn't do today - although if you could get Homer Bailey and a couple good prospects I'd have pulled the trigger. Willingham's kind of in the same boat, pretty much the team's only pure power hitter who is also signed to a great contract through 2014, so I get holding on to him too. But the rest?
Morneau has a big contract, owed $14 million next year and a pro-rated $14 for the rest of this year so it might be a litter tougher to get full value back, but it was reported the Dodgers, Giants, and Blue Jays were all after him, but the Twins were asking for too much back, including a major leaguer in return and having the team that received Morneau pick up his entire contract. Well guess what? If you can't get that this year you sure as shit aren't going to get it next year when he's just going to be a two month rental for some team. At least this year whatever team traded for him would get an entire year and change out of the deal. Now? They've basically gambled that he can get himself back to a $14 million a year player, at which point they won't be able to afford to resign him after his contract is up because they're hamstrung by the Mauer deal. Best case scenario at this point is he plays out of his mind, walks, and they get a pick. Well played, Terry Ryan.
And as for Burton and Perkins? They're relievers. Relievers pretty much grow on trees. Reports are the Rangers were going after Burton and that "Perkins was in high demand today." What? For what reason would you possibly hold on to middle relievers when you aren't a contender? Perkins, maybe, if you've decided he's your closer of the future (foolish, but it at least makes some sense) but Burton? The average lifespan of a middle reliever on a team is 1.2 years, a figure I completely made up but it sounds right. From year-to-year they're notoriously unreliable, and the odds Burton is on this team when they're back in contention are basically nil. It just doesn't make a lick of sense.
Who on this team might possibly matter in the future? Mauer, because they're stuck with him. Span, Revere, Willingham, Dozier, Plouffe, and Parmelee? I mean, I like Ryan Doumit quite a bit, but on a team like the Twins he's just a placeholder so if anybody comes sniffing around him (and it sounds like nobody did this year) he's another one who should be traded. Diamond's pretty much the only starter worth penciling in your 2014 rotation, and between their lack of value and youth they'll obviously hold on to guys like DeVries, Deduno, Walters, and Hendriks, but pretty much everybody else needs to go and if they don't trade Carl Pavano at the waiver deadline I'm going to start making Molotov Cocktails.
There's no point to being shitty with old, crappy players who are going to be out of the league by the time you stop sucking. The Astros have it figured out, trading Chris Johnson, Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers, Brandon Lyon, J.A. Happ, and Carlos Lee in the last month. Basically everybody they knew wasn't a key building block or had no chance of developing into one. The Pirates used this basic strategy for years, and are now in line to make the playoffs for the first time since Barry Bonds couldn't throw out Sid Bream. Their leadoff hitter for most of this season (Jose Tabata) and one of their starters (Jeff Karstens) were acquired for Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady in 2008, their second guy off the bench and super utility man was acquired from the Cubs for two middle relievers in 2009, two other starters were acquired in the Nate McLouth trade (Charlie Morton) and Octavio Dotel trade (James McDonald), and they got their closer (Joel Hanrahan) for Lastings Milledge when they gave up on him. They've also got great organizational depth thanks to the sheer volume of prospects and minor leaguers they've acquired. Of course, it also helps that they've nailed the draft recently (Pedro Alvarez, Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, Starling Marte) but the point stands.
And of course, what do Dick and Bert open up tonight's broadcast with? How glad they are nobody other than Liriano was traded. Honest to god I think I'd rather have Hawk Harrelson's over-the-top homer shtick than this aw shucks folksy we love these boys bullshit these two keep slingin'. No wonder the Twins' brass can get away with this, the announcers are feeding the fans this crap and they're eating it up based on what I've heard on the radio and read on the internet. It's like some sort of crazy collective delusion where everybody thinks this team is team is thisclose to being a contender again - like a cult like those Waco guys or the Mormons or Dyson Vacuum Cleaner Owners. Guess what, idiots? This is the worst version of the Twins we've seen in our lifetimes. FACT. The 1981 and 1982 editions were a worse combo than 2011 and 2012, but I was too young to care or even realize what was going on, and outside of then this is the worst two year stretch in team history. There is no quick fix. When you need to burn your house down for insurance money and then build a new, better house you don't run around swapping out a few chairs for equally shitty, but different chairs - you burn that mother down with gasoline and a bazooka. Like Beavis would.