Warne: Sorting through the Twins' most tradable commodities
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MINNEAPOLIS -- For a team that looks destined for a third-straight sub-.500 season, the Minnesota Twins actually have a surprising number of decently valuable trade chips.
And while the club may only have a small handful of such types who could sway a pennant race during the upcoming dog days of summer, it'll certainly make general manager Terry Ryan's phone light up on a consistent basis over the next 10 or 11 days.
With that in mind, here is a ranking of the Twins' most tradable commodities:
CL Glen Perkins (Signed through 2015; 2016 team option)
Perkins has been absolutely tremendous at the back end of the Twins bullpen this season, posting a 1.77 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, and an almost unfair 12.1 strikeouts per 9 innings.
That strikeout rate is third-best in Twins history in seasons of 30-plus innings. The WHIP is tied with Joe Nathan for second-best, just 0.01 behind Pat Neshek's 2006. Finally, the ERA is eighth-best, and that will only climb given consistent performance and an increased innings count -- weeding out lower innings competitors.
In short, Perkins is already one of the best closers in team history, and while teams that aren't in contention don't necessarily need closers, the left-hander is young enough and has an accommodating enough contract that he should factor into the team's next run at success.
Bottom line: Almost certainly a no-go unless Ryan gets an offer he absolutely cannot refuse.
RP Casey Fien (Signed through 2013; Twins own Fien's rights through 2018)
Fien has been a revelation in the Twins' bullpen, taking over the eighth inning role after a hiccup from Jared Burton.
Now, Fien won't give it back.
If not for Perkins, Fien would be the story of this bullpen. Fien's ERA is 2.95, and he's fanned 10.0 batters per 9 innings with a 0.81 WHIP. Those numbers rank him among the premier late-inning relievers in all of baseball.
Not too bad for signing a guy out of the Mexican League, huh?
Bottom line: It would be a wise move to capitalize on Fien's value relative to the price paid to acquire him. All things considered, Fien could be/should be a valuable chip for the Twins. He may be the reliever most likely to move.
RP Jared Burton (Signed through 2014; 2015 team option)
Burton's struggles before the All Star break were certainly magnified as he was pulled from his customary eighth-inning role, but entering play Saturday Burton had worked seven straight appearances without allowing a run (spanning 7.0 innings).
Essentially, that makes Burton's rough patch little more than a month-long blip on the radar. And while it did bring the right-hander's numbers down a bit, he still checks in with a 3.59 ERA and solid secondary stats.
Bottom line: Burton is only less valuable than Fien in the sense that he has a guaranteed contract for next year, and his 2013 performance has been slightly worse. Still, Burton is signed to a reasonable deal and would probably bring back pretty solid value in a trade. However, it seems unlikely.
SP Kevin Correia (Signed through 2014)
Correia has given the Twins about all they could have expected in signing him to a deal averaging $5 million a year. Given that the going rate of 1.0 WAR on the free agent market is right around that price, Correia is pretty much on that pace with 0.5 WAR through 18 starts.
As a rental, Correia wouldn't have a ton of value since he isn't the kind of guy who'd start a playoff game. However, since he's signed at a reasonable rate for another year, he could have a bit more value on the market.
Bottom line: As seen with Josh Willingham in 2012, it's probably not too likely the Twins would move a recent free agent signing in the first year. It is worth noting, however, that Ryan said he's taking offers on everyone.
C/OF Ryan Doumit (Signed through 2014)
If Doumit was hitting anything like the past two seasons, he'd probably be much higher on this list. Doumit's the kind of bat that can slot in anywhere and be passable, though his fielding woes would make him an odd fit for full-time duty on any contending club.
Still, Doumit is signed for just $3.5 million next season, which is a perfectly reasonable salary for a bench player -- $250,000 less than Jamey Carroll makes, for instance. He'd make a solid bench bat/part-timer for a contending team convinced that his best baseball in 2013 is still ahead of him.
Bottom line: There are no indications that the Twins have received offers on Doumit, but with guys like Josmil Pinto and Chris Herrmann in the pipeline, anything could happen.
1B Justin Morneau (Signed through 2013)
Morneau's contract ($14 million prorated the rest of the season) combined with production relative to his position (20th or worse in almost every offensive category among qualified first basemen) will likely make him a tough sell on the trade market.
It wouldn't be entirely surprising to see a similar return -- in terms of quality, not positions or anything -- like the Francisco Liriano trade yielded.
That would likely leave a sour taste in the mouths of Twins fans who have grown to love the Canadian slugger who has spent 11 seasons with the club.
Bottom line: It's hard to envision a scenario in which Morneau leaves Minnesota and Twins fans don't want to riot. A nice prospect would be a good start, but it's hard to imagine that market developing.
IF Jamey Carroll (Signed through 2013; vesting 2014 option at 401 plate appearances)
Carroll is only hitting .219/.276/.252, and only has three extra-base hits since mid-May. However, about a week ago 1500 ESPN's Darren Wolfson reported that Carroll was 'highly sought' on the trade market.
And while highly sought sounds like teams are hot and heavy for the utility infielder, it likely just means that there are vultures swarming hoping to pluck Carroll if/when the Twins wave the white flag.
Bottom line: If the Twins can get anything of any sort of value for Carroll, it will be a good move for both sides. Carroll hasn't had a very good season -- and likely won't be back with the club in 2014 anyway -- and if there's an interested contender, it would be a good move for the infielder at this point in his career.