Twins Moves

Tom DubberkeCorrespondent IMarch 14, 2010

I like the Twins’ decision to lock up Denard Span better than the move to lock up Nick Blackburn.  Span was the 20th pick of the 2002 Draft, while Blackburn was a 29th Round pick (857th overall) in 2001.  Also, Span is two years younger than Blackburn.

Also, Span has a career .305 batting average, .390 on-base percentage, and .811 OPS in just a little less than two full seasons of play.  His defense in center is rated subpar by fangraphs, but above average at the corner outfield positions.  Either way, he looks like a true lead-off hitter who plays a key defensive position.  The Twins definitely want to keep him around through age 30.

Also, a Glen Perkins for Jason Frasier deal with the Blue Jays is an active rumor.  I could definitely see this deal happening, depending on whether Joe Nathan can come back and pitch the season.  Shortly after the moment when Nathan is (if he is) announced out for the season, I could see a straight-up trade of the two.

Glen Perkins has disappointed in his major league career so far, despite being the 22nd player selected in the 2004 Draft.  He had some arm problems last year, and his Ks-per-9IP rate isn’t high enough to think he has more upside than as a third or fourth starter.

However, Perkins still has more value going forward as a fourth starter than Fraser does as a reliever, mainly because Perkins is five years younger.  The Blue Jays aren’t expected to be able to compete with the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays this year, so turning Frasor, who had his best major league season by far at age 31 in ‘09, into four years with Glen Perkins as potentially their third or fourth starter makes a lot of sense.

If Nathan can’t pitch, I can certainly see why the Twins would be interested in Frasor.  The Twins are trying to make the playoffs in 2010, as they open their new stadium, and Frasor really was good last year.

He went 7-3 with 11 saves and a 2.50 ERA.  The rest of his line was equally impressive: 57.2 IP, 43 hits, 4 HRs and 16 walks allowed and 56 Ks.  The Twins like pitchers who are strike-throwers, and Frasor sure was last year.

Also, the Twins’ starters in 2009 didn’t throw a lot of innings (Blackburn’s 205.2 led the team).  The Twins’ M.O., at least since Johan Santana left, has been to rely heavily on a deep bullpen.

There’s also talk that the Twins may have hard feelings about Perkins filing a grievance, when they sent him down last year as he was recovering from his shoulder injury.  It cost Perkins a chance at arbitration eligibility this off-season, and although the grievance settled, I’m sure neither side was too happy about it.

The Twins tend to like guys who aren’t stirring up trouble, whether it’s in the club-house or as a result of the organization’s well-noted frugality.  And, of course, Jarrod Washburn is still out there to fill Perkins’ loss, if the Twins are the team willing to come up with the $4 million it would probably take to sign Washburn now.  It’s certainly in Scott Boras’s interest to convince Washburn to continue to to hold out for $4 million, and the odds are good that someone will come close to that (at least pro-rated) by the end of April.

Whether that team turns out to be the Twins, remains to be seen.  However, it’s also hard to see the Twins not insisting on Washburn signing at a bargain price.

There’s also rumors that the Twins could look to John Smoltz to close.  However, Smoltz won’t be cheap eitherand Frasor looks like a better bet to me even if it costs them Glen Perkins.