Thursday, December 06, 2012

Span vs Revere and Winter Meetings

There is a meme out there that the Twins got more for Ben Revere than they did for Denard Span. I don't think that is necessarily true.

Here are the arguments in favor of the Revere Trade:

They got two pitchers compared to one pitcher and two is better than one.

One of th pitchers they got has major league experience. The jump to the major leagues is the biggest jump and Vance Worsley has made that jump. The other two guys haven't.

Here are the arguments in favor of the Span trade:

The pitching prospect the Twins got for Span, Alex Meyer, is a potential dominating ace. There aren't many pitching prospects in the minor leagues who really have that kind of talent. He dominated two levels of A ball in his first professional season.

Trevor May, while pitching at a higher level than Meyer, struggled at AA last year. He headed in the wrong direction with his walks and hits going up and his outs down.

Vance Worsley, while a potential major league starter, has yet to stay healthy and productive enough to get 150 IP over a full season in the big leagues. He had a 1.511 WHIP last year and elbow surgery to remove bone chips this fall.


There is one other thing to keep in mind. Both pitchers in the Revere trade had to be added to the roster. Meyer did not. At first blush this may not seem important. But it means the Phillies will be able to keep a player they wouldn't otherwise, a gain for them. And the Twins will not have roster space for a player they might otherwise have been able to sign. 

With the Nationals the opposite was true. Since Meyer did not have to be added to the roster, trading Span opened a spot on the Twins for another player. Likely a free agent starting pitcher or their Rule 5 pick. And the Nationals used a roster spot for Span that could have been filled by someone else.

On a related note, this also means Meyer is going to be under the Twins control longer than the pitchers obtained from Philadelphia. Trevor May is on the options timeclock, he needs to develop before his options run out. Meyer is on a timeclock too, but he has more seasons before he needs to be kept on the 25 player roster. 

This is also an issue with the relative value of Span and Revere. Obviously Span will need to be paid more immediately. But he will also become a free agent when his contract ends. Revere, by contrast, has 5 more years before he can become a free agent and a couple years before he is arbitration eligible. In short, the Phillies are going to get several more seasons from Revere than the Nationals are from Span.

All of these effect the value both teams got in the trade.

The real test of which trade is better will be how well these players do when or if they have big league careers. The Twins in the past have been pretty good at grabbing players off other teams.

I think if  Meyer becomes a dominating ace, the Span trade easily wins the contest. If he turns out to be another Francisco Liriano, then it was a loser. If he ends up somewhere in between it will depend on how the guys they got for Revere do. The projections for May and Worsley are probably more in the Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn or Boof Bonser range.

What these trades do is open a spot for Aaron Hicks either now or in the near future. The Twins are obviously comfortable with Darin Mastroianni in center if Hicks isn't quite ready. And Terry Ryan suggested they would give Joe Benson a shot at the job as well. If Mastroianni is the center fielder, you have to wonder who the 4th outfielder is. They certainly aren't going to have Willingham, Parmelee or Doumit playing center field. At least I hope not.

Other Winter Meeting News

In other news the Twins took a couple guys in the Rule 5 draft without losing anyone. The Twins took Ryan Pressly in the Rule 5 draft. Pressly was shifted from starter to reliever during last season and pitched very well in AA and then even better in the Arizona Fall League last fall. Apparently he looks like a hard thrower with a sharp breaking ball who has had control problems. He didn't show the control problems in the AFL. If he can harness his stuff and be consistent he could be a good addition to the bullpen.

The other player taken was third baseman Mark Sobolewski. He was taken in the minor league portion of the draft so the Twins can leave him in the minor leagues. He may or may not be given an invite to spring training, but Terry Ryan said they were trying to create competition at third so that sounds like he will be given a shot. Apparently he is an above average fielder who just started showing some pop in his bat. He's the same age as Trevor Plouffe.

Obviously the Twins still need more pitching. But that will have to wait until the teams finish bidding on the top free agents and the rest of the market opens up. There are also rumors that they offered a minor league contract to third baseman Jack Hanahan, a St. Paul native. He may go somewhere else if he can get a major league contract, but he would be more competition for Plouffe.

1 comment:

Jim H said...

It will be years before either trade can be fairly evaluated. I think some bloggers still believe Revere is nothing more than a 4th OF. That partially explains the surprise that he might fetch to potentially good starters.

I think Ryan will continue to tinker with his roster. Although I don't really think there will be anymore major trades. After he adds some free agent pitching, he may have some money left to add some depth or competition to the middle infield and CF.

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