It was a move that was destined to come at some point this offseason, but the Minnesota Twins traded outfielder Denard Span to the Washington Nationals on Thursday in exchange for pitching prospect Alex Meyer.
Span was widely rumored to be a potential trade chip for the Twins as they look to refurbish their starting rotation. The Nationals have been reported to have interest in Span dating as far back as the 2011 season, and the two sides were finally able to work out a trade. He will finish his Twins career with a .284 batting average and .357 on-base percentage with 90 stolen bases in 589 games over five seasons.
Meyer was drafted 23rd overall by the Nationals in 2011 out of Kentucky, and had a 2.86 ERA with a 139:45 K/BB ratio over 129 combined innings last season. The 22-year old right hander may not pitch for the Twins in 2013 since he has yet to pitch at even the Double-A level, but he is a highly regarded prospect (#50 on MLB.com’s prospect watch list) and has the upside the Twins should be seeking in their search for starting pitching. If nothing else, his height (6’9″) will make him stand out during spring training next year.
Span’s departure means that Ben Revere will be the front runner to enter next season as the Twins’ centerfielder and leadoff hitter, and he is clearly superior to Span defensively despite lacking a strong throwing arm. Revere also made some progress offensively in 2012, hitting .294 with a .333 on-base percentage and 40 stolen bases in 124 games (553 plate appearances). At age 24 he likely has further upside at the plate if he can up his on-base percentage and take more walks, making 50 stolen bases a real possibility for him in 2013.