Minnesota Twins: Why the Denard Span Trade Is No Surprise

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Minnesota Twins: Why the Denard Span Trade Is No Surprise
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Many Twins fans are upset to see their electric center fielder, Denard Span, traded for pitching prospect Alex Meyer.  

As frustrating this may be for Minnesota, it really shouldn't be a surprise when considering the history of the Twins, their current player issues and GM Terry Ryan.

Consider the Twins' Way of building a team.  

Traditionally, this means developing players through small ball offense, fundamental defense, and accurate and consistent pitching.  Note how the definition says the Twins develop players and nothing about trading for or acquiring developed players.  

The Twins are not known to trade for proven players.  Sure, the Twins acquired actual big leaguers such as Josh Willingham, Jim Thome, Brian Fuentes and Jon Rauch.  Yet, some of these big league players went through some sort of development with the Twins.  

The Twins even developed Joe Nathan when he came to Minnesota.  Prior to becoming the league's best closer from 2004 to 2009, he had one save to his name and spending his pre-Twins days as a struggling starter and solid middle reliever.  The Twins do not generally pick up All-Stars; they develop them.

Everyone knows by now that the Twins biggest issue this offseason is starting pitching.  It is well known that the Twins finished with one of the worst starting rotations in MLB, ranking extremely low in most pitching stats (see MLB.com).  

Therefore, the Twins are desperately seeking starting pitching.  They have yet to make an impactful move for the pitching staff this far.  Combine this thought with "potential versus proven performance" and it should not be a surprise that the Twins acquired a minor league pitcher for Span; not to mention the Twins' abundance of talented and cheaper-than-Span outfielders.  This leads to the final point.

General Manager Terry Ryan.  Ryan has assumed the role of full-time Twins General Manager.  Twins fans are all familiar with Ryan's miracle-like work in the 2000s, when low team payrolls produced winning ball clubs.  With Span's departure, the Twins free up at least $11.25 million over the next two years.  

Can we expect another miracle from Terry Ryan?  We will see.

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