Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Deadline Outlook: Twins, Mets, M's
By Jason A. Churchill
Earlier this month we went through the potential July 31 deadline trade candidates of the Colorado Rockies, Houston Astros and Miami Marlins. The three are currently the longest of long shots to win the World Series, according to Boavada, and a glance at their rosters suggests that is no surprise.
Next on that list are the Minnesota Twins, New York Mets and Seattle Mariners, all of which are 100-1 long shots to win it all. Barring unforeseen performances along the lines of the 2012 editions of the Baltimore Orioles and Oakland Athletics, each club is likely to entertain trade offers for veterans with expiring contracts, and perhaps big-money players that could net them a nice return and shave off some payroll.
Josh Willingham, OF -- Twins
The Twins traded Denard Span and Ben Revere over the offseason, and Willingham may be the next to go. He's coming off a career year and has two years left on a very affordable contract that will pay him $14 million in total guarantees. The 34-year-old manages in the outfield but could also serve at designated hitter and perhaps first base.
The Twins hold the cards here, since they don't have to move Willingham, neither for financial purposes or to clear space for a prospect, suggesting GM Terry Ryan will be looking for quite the trade package.
Justin Morneau, 1B -- Twins
Morneau showed signs of returning to form in 2012 and more of the same should create a trade market for the former MVP. He's in the final year of his contract, however, so he's a pure rental, limiting his value. The Texas Rangers, Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays could be fits.
Shaun Marcum, RHP -- Mets
Marcum is in town on a one-year deal and if healthy is almost certain to be shopped at the deadline. If he shows durable and effective, there will be plenty of interest, though there's a chance he's the second most attractive trade piece in the club's Opening Day rotation.
Johan Santana, LHP -- Mets
Santana is owed a pricey buyout of a pricey option for 2014 that the club certainly doesn't want the former Cy Young winner to vest, which kicks in at 215 innings pitched in 2013. Trading Santana will be difficult with the salary involved, but if he's pitching well there could be a taker out there if the Mets are willing to share the cost.
Brandon Lyon, RHP; Frank Francisco, RHP -- Mets
Both Lyon and Francisco are free agents after the season and could draw enough interest in July to motivate GM Sandy Alderson to trade them. Francisco is slated to start the year as the closer, suggesting he's the most likely to be moved.
Brendan Ryan, SS -- Mariners
Ryan, the league's top shortstop glove, could draw interest from contending clubs struggling with infield defense. His availability is likely to be based on his pending free agency and the presence of both Robert Andino and prospects Nick Franklin and Carlos Triunfel.
Kendrys Morales, 1B/DH; Michael Morse, OF/1B/DH
Both sluggers are scheduled for free agency after the season and could be shopped over the summer. Morse figures to be the more likely to re-sign during the year, as Morales is a Scott Boras client.
Franklin Gutierrez, CF -- Mariners
If Gutierrez can remain healthy there is likely to be strong interest in the defensive wizard, potentially including the Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees. The M's have an option on Gutierrez for 2014 at $7.5 million, which may be prohibitive if he continues to have problems staying off the disabled list.
Joe Saunders, LHP -- Mariners
Saunders signed a one-year deal with a mutual option for 2014, and could be a nice fit for a contender looking to cover some innings down the stretch. The Mariners have four young arms that figure to threaten the major leagues by June or July, so unless Seattle is in the playoff hunt Saunders is likely to be the topic of trade discussions.
Tom Wilhelmsen, CL -- Mariners
Wilhelmsen could become prime bait if Carter Capps develops into the future closer in 2013. The 28-year-old Wilhelmsen's arm is fresh -- he spent five years out of the game before returning two years ago -- and he's under club control through the 2017 season with arbitration two winters away, presenting a sell-high scenario for GM Jack Zduriencik, although it's more likely to occur over the winter or during the summer of 2014, if at all.