What the Denard Span Trade Means

Thursday afternoon the Twins executed somewhat of a blockbuster trade, moving one of the best centerfielders in team history to the nation’s capital. In return for Denard Span, the Twins acquired Alex Meyer, whom Marc Hulet of Fangraphs named his 97th best prospect prior to 2012, and said:

Firing on all cylinders, Meyer threw 6.0 shutout innings on Tuesday night in low-A ball. The right-hander was the Nationals’ first round selection during the 2011 amateur draft (23rd overall). Although he was selected out of the University of Kentucky, Meyer was considered raw for a college pitcher so he began ’12 in low-A ball. As a result he’s old for the league and his numbers have to be taken with a grain of salt. Even so, the hurler has posted solid numbers with just 51 hits allowed and 68 strikeouts in 65.1 innings of work. He’s shown slightly above-average ground-ball numbers. Meyer’s walk total is slightly above average but it has gotten better over his past five starts. Meyer has the ceiling of a No. 2 or 3 starter. (6/13 via FanGraphs.com)

Additionally, friend of BW.com Mike Newman — also of Fangraphs — gave this report.

But for me, I’d like to focus on what this move means for the Twins. I’ll intersperse some of my own feelings in addition to what it means for the club overall. You decide which is which!

* Joe Mauer needs to hit leadoff until Aaron Hicks is ready.

You simply can’t bat Ben Revere leadoff. Can’t do it. By hitting Mauer in front of Revere, the contact/groundball king, you open up the 1B-2B hole for Ben to slap grounders through since Mauer’s on first base almost chronically. A Mauer-Revere-Willingham-Morneau top four is the best the Twins can do right now.

* Terry Ryan now has incredible flexibility to add/not add someone who can play RF or 3B.

Nobody who is currently slated to play RF is immovable; Parmelee and Doumit can be used elsewhere between C-DH-1B. Thus, if a good right fielder comes into play in the free agent market at a price TR is OK with, he can make that move. Similarly, he could nab a third sacker and move Trevor Plouffe back to right field. And again, the DH slot is entirely open at this point.

* The pitching budget grew, albeit not a ton.

Simple math is at play here; the Twins subtracted Span’s $4.75 million off their books. That may not be enough to sign Francisco Liriano or anything, but it should prove helpful.

* The OF defense took a turn for the worse.

Span was a great centerfielder; Revere is as well. The trickledown here is that no remaining outfielder is very good in right, so unless the Twins make some sort of impact move, the bird killers on the staff will likely see poorer results. Then again, we have no idea at this point who’ll make up the rotation.

* Meyer probably becomes the Twins top pitching prospect.

In my view he has to be ahead of Kyle Gibson at this point, even if it’s not by a ton. Prior to arm surgery I think it’d be a bit closer, but Gibson doesn’t have the raw stuff that Meyer has. What keeps it from being Meyer in a landslide is Gibson’s proximity to the majors, in my opinion.

* Your RF is probably now a platoon between Chris Parmelee and Ryan Doumit

This is equally intriguing and terrifying.

* Don’t rule out Oswaldo Arcia finishing the season in RF.

He’s a masher and he’s moving through the system at Revere speed. He and Hicks could be up sooner rather than later.

There are probably dozens more that I can make but this is just off the top of my head. Overall, it seems to be a good enough move. Ryan obviously took ceiling over the ‘right now’ and I think that’s the right way to go. I’m just surprised the Twins didn’t manage to nab Steve Lombardozzi Jr!

About Brandon Warne

Sportswriter trying to make it.
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2 Responses to What the Denard Span Trade Means

  1. Clave says:

    Good thoughts. All of them.

    I’m surprised at how bummed that I am that Span is not a Twin anymore, which is ridiculous, but there it is. He’s a classy guy and I think he’ll thrive with the Nats.

    • Patrick says:

      I am sad to see Span go as well.

      However, with our potential outfield depth the move just made too much sense not to happen.

      I just hope he has some success with the Nats (as long as they aren’t playing the Twins).

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