With the reigning AL Central champion Minnesota Twins currently floundering at last place in the division with an abysmal 16-31 record (14.5 games out of first place), the Twins should be looking to restock their farm system and trade some of their players. Joe Mauer has been injured most of the season and Justin Morneau has been ineffective coming back from his concussion, so the Minnesota offense has sputtered.
The bullpen is also a major concern. Joe Nathan is back from Tommy John surgery a year ago, but has struggled in a set up role. The Twins lost games on last Friday, Saturday, Sunday and on Monday due to their bullpen giving up leads.
The team is a mess. They are out of it already this season, even though it's before the All-Star break.
Here is a list of veteran players Minnesota could and should shop.
Despite the fact that Francisco Liriano might be the most talented pitcher on the Twins roster, he is also among the most inconsistent.
Despite throwing a no-hitter earlier this season against the Chicago White Sox, Liriano on the season has an ERA of almost 6.00 and is 3-5. Another concerning stat is that Liriano, though known as a strikeout pitcher, only has 34 Ks on the year, contrasting with 32 walks, and his WHIP is a mediocre 1.46.
One reason to trade Liriano is that, when he's pitching well and healthy, he is a dominant left-hander capable of neutralizing potent line ups.
Currently, Liriano is making a modest $4.3 million this season. He will be arbitration-eligible in the off-season and will be a free agent in 2013. Last winter, there were discussions between the Twins and Liriano about a contract extension. But the Twins couldn't get the deal done, and there were even rumors of them trying to deal Frankie before the season started.
I think Liriano is one of the most eligible players on the Twins roster to be traded, and he would allow Minnesota to call up star prospect Kyle Gibson, who is currently in Triple-A Rochester.
The Twins have been undecided what to do with Slowey for months. The ideal goal was for him to become a long reliever from the bullpen and a spot starter, but Slowey has refused to do so.
Through not accepting an assignment to the minors, Slowey has ultimately forced the Twins to trade him some point this season.
He has a $2.7 million salary for this season, and is more than capable of being a starter in the major leagues. However, Slowey and the Twins' front office have continually butted heads, and he has been injured so far and unable to play this season (which might just be a ploy so he doesn't have to play)
According to Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Slowey saw a doctor this morning to check for a hernia. If he has a hernia, he will be placed on the disabled list and I doubt Twins fans will ever see him pitch for Minnesota again.
Jason Kubel is arguably the Twins' best power hitter right now. But he is also an attractive option for contending teams looking to strengthen their lineup with a left-handed bat.
Kubel is a horrendous outfielder, and currently has a $5.25 million dollar option for this year.
He leads the Twins with a .313 average, and has added five homers along with 25 RBI.
Kubel is a solid hitter. He is capable of putting up big power numbers if given the chance. In 2009, he hit 28 long balls with 103 RBI, following that up with 21 homers and 92 RBI last year.
By trading Kubel or the struggling Delmon Young, this allows the Twins to call up stud outfield prospect Ben Revere, currently in Triple-A Rochester.
Minnesota could also look to move veteran pitchers Matt Capps and Carl Pavano.
Capps was acquired last season at the trading deadline, but has struggled mightily this season in the closer's role. (Nevermind that Minnesota gave up one of the top prospects in baseball—catcher Wilson Ramos—for Capps.)
Pavano was resigned by the Twins this offseason after a stellar season in 2010. However, Pavano is currently 2-4 with a 5.28 ERA this season, and is not the workhorse starter he was in 2010.
The Twins will continue to struggle with their offense and bullpen pitching, and should look to restock their farm system and prepare for 2012.