As you enjoy the current offensive explosion by your Minnesota Twins against the Baltimore Orioles, here are updated notes and rumors as the trade deadline slowly approaches.
Let’s start with Josh Willingham. Yes, you read that right. The best bargain in baseball and one of the top free agent signings from the past offseason, Willingham would prove to be a valuable trade chip for those exact reasons. As the Twins balance the considerations for players they should keep and players whose value they must capitalize on, opposing scouts are surely going to at least fish for what the Twins’ asking price would be for the slugger. So should the Twins entertain offers for Willingham? In a word: no. He represents a return to the Twins model for success: ideal production at a bargain price. If nothing else, he needs to be the face of that philosophy for the life of his contract.
There is continued interest in starting pitcher Francisco Liriano, with the Blue Jays and Angels among a gaggle of teams keeping track of him. As it has always been, the question with him is one of consistency. You know how teams are graded, over time, on whether or not they “win” or “lose” trades? It seems to me that is what makes the upcoming decision with Liriano complicated. It is clear that if the Twins want to dish him for a package of players, they will be able to do so. If they do, the question becomes: are they trading the enigmatic and ultimately frustrating starter who ended up in the bullpen earlier this season or the guy who struck out 15 in dominant fashion within the last week? With Liriano it always seems to tend towards one extreme or the other, with little in between. In a trade the Twins would end up decisive winners or losers in the long run. It is truly a gamble that could pay off big time or bite them in the hind parts big time. So should they entertain offers for Liriano? I have no idea…it makes me nervous just thinking about being the executive to make that decision and potentially get burned.
Finally, the Angels have shown interest in
lock down closer Matt Capps. So should the Twins, a team looking to build depth, entertain an offer for a moderately successful but ultimately underwhelming back-of-the-bullpen pitcher? AH HEM. Yes. They should.
As always, these rumors are contingent on the success or failure of the teams who are interested. Presumably a team like the Angels is established as a contender and therefore a buyer regardless of their record over the next two weeks. But a team like the Blue Jays? About the time they lose 8 straight they are no longer potential trading partners. For that reason, it is worth keeping an eye on those interested teams as well as the Twins for the second half of July.