July 16, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins outfielder Denard Span (2) is congratulated by second baseman Jamey Carroll (8) after scoring a run during the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE

Deadline Central: Minnesota Twins

As the trade deadline approaches and the rumors begin to fly, I thought I would take a team by team look at the A.L. Central, and what the trade deadline could bring for the franchise. With the new CBA in place, it is going to be interesting to see the type of movement we see around the league, if there is much at all. The Central is interesting in that maybe it is a little better than anticipated, and that could make for an exciting deadline.

Here is a look at the Twins.

Buyers or Sellers?:

The Twins are a clear seller right now. Or, at least they should be. The front office has been making waves about keeping such commodities as Josh Willingham. Willingham is certainly having a big year for Minnesota, and no doubt can help for the next few years, but with the Twins pitching, they can’t contend for a few years anyway. With their bloated payroll and bad record, the Twins would do well to sell pretty much every part they can at the deadline. The thing is, they do have some players that would look good to other teams. Willingham of course is one, and Denard Span gets mentioned quite a bit as well.

On the pitching side, if Matt Capps is healthy enough, and Francisco Liriano doesn’t implode in his next start or two, these guys could be on their way out of Minnesota pretty easily. Capps, while not outstanding, has been a solid member of a back end of a bullpen for the good part of his career. Liriano has been better as of late, and could help a contender down the stretch.

Team Needs:

When a franchise like Minnesota begins selling off pieces, it would be best for them to acquire a bunch of pieces without a ton of focus what position they play. However, Minnesota is different. There is big league talent on that roster, and it mainly resides in position players. Minnesota must focus on getting pitching, both starting and relieving. Just get some arms that can miss bats.

Minnesota, like a lot of other teams could use some middle infield help as well. Jamey Carrol hasn’t helped. Alexi Casilla and Brian Dozier don’t appear to be answers at this point either.

State of the Farm:

The farm is actually in decent shape…again, as far as position prospects go. However, most of the help is in the lower levels of the minors. Their top prospects, Miguel Sano, Oswaldo Arcia, Eddie Rosario, and Aaron Hicks are all position prospects.

Potential Partners:

There are a ton of them for the 3 players I mentioned. Span has been mentioned with the Nationals on more than one occasion, however, I think that sentiment has faded a little bit. I do think his game belongs in the National League somewhat, and I don’t think he would be out of place in LF for the Pirates or the Dodgers.

Willingham is a power bat that fits anywhere, especially in the American League where he can DH as well. If I am Minnesota, I am trying the Dodgers with Willingham. The Dodgers have the pitching that I would be looking for if I am Minnesota.

Liriano has been mentioned with some of the big boys, like the Angels, Yankees, Rangers, Braves, etc…

Prognosis:

I believe the Twins will be a little bit active, though I think they don’t pull the trigger on moving Josh Willingham, and I think that is a mistake. He is signed to a very reasonable contract for the production he provides. Production that is wasted on a team in last place. He has more value to them in the trade market right now, so he can acquire pieces for 3 years down the road.  If the Twins were looking like a contender in 2013 I would feel differently, but they aren’t going to contend next year either. The Twins should move Willingham.

The Twins should also move Denard Span and Francisco Liriano as well. If they move all these guys, they could potentially get anywhere between 7-8 players in return, five or six of which should be pitchers, and that is the start this team would need to get back into contention on a yearly basis.

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Tags: Denard Span Detroit Tigers Francisco Liriano Josh Willingham Minnesota Twins

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