Warne: Not hard to see why Twins stayed quiet at trade deadline
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Wednesday's 3 p.m. trade deadline came and passed, and the Minnesota Twins made no moves which directly affected the major league roster. And while the July 31 deadline signals the end of players moving freely between clubs, it's not the end either.
It's sort of the beginning of the end, so to speak.
From this point on, teams can freely trade non-40-man roster players, but to trade those on the roster, a player must either clear waivers, or be dealt to the team which claims the player as part of the revocable waivers process.
It's a complicated process with almost all players of consequence placed on waivers, and virtually none moved. All one needs to know is that any players dealt between now and Aug. 31 are eligible for any contending team's postseason roster.
The only move the Twins made prior to the non-waiver deadline was sending one of five catchers on the 40-man roster -- Drew Butera -- to the Los Angeles Dodgers for the classic 'player to be named later or cash' designation.
That lack of activity likely won't sit well with Twins fans.
However, it's not hard to see why the Twins failed to pull the trigger on a deal. General manager Terry Ryan spent most of the month saying he wouldn't trade players just to move them -- including impending free agents Justin Morneau and Mike Pelfrey, for instance -- and he stuck to his guns.
So it's not entirely surprising that a report surfaced from an unnamed rival front office-type that the Twins wanted too much for Morneau. And whether that meant the acquiring team picking up Morneau's entire salary, or the Twins picking up part of the check for an improved return, it isn't altogether surprising given all the mitigating factors.
But the lack of movement also isn't surprising in that the Twins' movable assets were not moving basically from the get-go. That includes Joe Mauer (no-trade clause), Glen Perkins (age, value, etc.) and any of the veritable plethora of prospects the Twins have hoarded on what numerous prospect outlets have tabbed the best farm system in all of baseball.
But a look at the rest of the roster -- with the exception of a couple relievers such as Jared Burton and Casey Fien -- doesn't give a ton of hope when considering the price paid by the San Diego Padres to acquire recent 20-game winner Ian Kennedy (a left-handed specialist, a relief prospect, and a B compensation draft pick).
And while a deal could certainly get done with Morneau or any other of most of the Twins movable commodities in the next month, there are a couple of key reasons that teams likely overlooked the local nine for a little late July thrift shopping.
• Only two Twins regulars -- Mauer and Morneau -- have on-base percentages above the American League average of .320
• No other Twins regular has a higher slugging percentage than Mauer's on-base percentage (.408)
• Included in that last stat is injured left fielder Josh Willingham, who might be the club's most underrated asset going into August.
• Also included is underachieving catcher-outfielder Ryan Doumit, whose contract would make him a lot more of an attractive target if he wasn't carrying a sub-.700 OPS -- the first time he's ever done so in his nearly decade-long career.
• Only one Twins starter -- Sam Deduno -- has an ERA under 4.50. Or in other words, giving up an earned run every other inning.
• Twins starters have the major leagues' worst ERA, xFIP, strikeouts per 9 innings (by a huge margin), and are in the bottom five in nearly every other category.
In other words, if teams looked at the Twins' cupboards on the whole, what they saw looked pretty bare.
And while that's not entirely fair -- at least to those who have kept close tabs on the Twins -- each of the Twins movable assets carries some level of uncertainty.
Burton has battled injuries and Fien has a short track record for someone who'll soon turn 30. Doumit is a bat without a position, and so far this season, without a bat. Willingham got hurt, and before that, didn't hit. Across the board, Morneau is in the bottom quarter of first basemen in all important offensive stats.
In terms of motion and assets, things can certainly get better in August, but that's probably only because it's hard to get much worse.