MLB Rumors: Minnesota Twins-Denard Span Heading For The NL Central?
The Minnesota Twins currently have the worst record in the American League (36-52) and sit 13 games out in the American League Central. So it’s fair to say they will be sellers over the next two weeks as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, with a few of their veterans certain to garner plenty of interest from contending teams. Pitcher Franciso Liriano has had multiple teams scouting his starts recently, and outfielder Josh Willingham, who is hitting .268 with a team-leading 22 home runs and 65 RBI has also been mentioned as a possible trade chip. But the team has said they will not trade Willingham, so it would take an unbelievable trade offer to get them to deal him.
Instead let’s focus on another outfielder in Denard Span. Through Sunday he is hitting .278 with a .340 0n-base percentage along with 24 RBI, 25 extra-base hits and nine stolen bases (in 13 attempts) as the Twins’ primary leadoff hitter and center fielder. He is hitting .300 (12-for-40) so far in July, but has drawn just four walks all month and has stolen only one base. He does play solid (and borderline excellent) defense most of the time, but a lazy throwing error he made over the weekend against the Oakland A’s when other teams are surely scouting him did nothing to enhance his trade value.
Two contending teams in the National League Central, the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates, both stand to be seeking help in the outfield and at the top of their lineups over the next couple weeks and Span would fit that need for both teams. Span’s contract is not likely to be a major roadblock to a trade, as he signed through 2014 with reasonable increases in pay in 2013 and 2014 along with a team option for 2015.
The Twins also have a potential replacement for Span in center field in place with Ben Revere, who is currently hitting .309 with 18 stolen bases and it can be argued he is a better defensive outfielder than Span. So taking advantage of the outfield depth they have and making an attempt to partially replenish the minor league system by dealing Span looks like a no-brainer, as long as his value remains high in the eyes of other teams. The Washington Nationals showed some interest in Span last year, but they seem unlikely to show any renewed interest at this point.