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Updated: June 30th, 2012 12:05pm
Should Twins sell, GM Ryan says 'I never consider anybody untouchable'

Should Twins sell, GM Ryan says 'I never consider anybody untouchable'

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- As the Minnesota Twins continue to drop further out of contention and hover far below .500, the closer they come to officially being sellers.

At some point before the July 31 trade deadline it's likely general manager Terry Ryan will be forced to start making moves to acquire talent for the future.

Aside from Joe Mauer, who is signed through 2018 with a full no-trade clause, Ryan said Friday that all possibilities remain open.

"I never consider anybody untouchable. That's not the way to go about business on a baseball team or organization," Ryan said in an interview on 1500 ESPN with Tom Pelissero. "If you've got chances to do things that make a lot of sense for your club there shouldn't be any untouchables. Players know that, agents know that, and so does the fan base.

"I'd be a fool to sit here and say somebody's untouchable."

Three Twins players have expiring contracts at the end of the year: Francisco Liriano ($5.5 million), Matt Capps ($4.5m) and Carl Pavano ($8.5m). Liriano has boosted his trade value significantly over the past few weeks, but Pavano (shoulder) and Capps (shoulder) are both on the disabled list until at least mid-July. It will be a race against time to get both pitchers healthy enough to showcase.

The Twins effectively took Ryan Doumit out of any potential trade conversations by signing him to a two-year, $7 million extension on Friday. Josh Willingham at $7 million per year through 2014 is a valuable asset as well, but there are no indications the Twins are actively shopping him.

Denard Span's name has also popped up often over the past year as someone the Twins could deal for pitching help. Span's team-friendly contract -- $3.5m, $4.75m and $6.5m through 2014 -- only adds to his trade value.

Justin Morneau is being paid $15 million this year and next.

So far the Twins -- 15 games under .500 and 11 games out of first place -- have not publicly thrown in the towel, but Ryan has received phone calls.

"The only difference I think is phone conversations have come earlier (this year)," Ryan said. "I never recall in mid-June where you start having meaningful conversations and any possibilities. But it has begun. Just about this time a year it does start. This is one of the rare years. Of course, we've not been in this predicament too many times in the last 12 years. Last year and this year of course we are. ...

"There are clubs out there that are very close to being quite good, and all they need is one piece, and they're looking to acquire that piece sooner rather than later. They don't want to wait until mid-July."

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
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