What is that precisely? Suggesting a commitment to long-term building and a eye for the future by saying today that he is not looking to trade for pitchers to help his team this year or the next. This comes a day after admitting that the offense is mediocre overall, the starting pitching is abysmal and that all players are to be considered for trades.
One key quote is this one:
“You can get a marginal Triple-A guy that might be able to be here next year; are you going to be satisfied if you passed on a high-ceiling guy? I wouldn’t be.”
If I’m reading between the lines, perhaps Ryan is criticizing Bill Smith and trades like the one Smith made for J.J. Hardy, getting two marginal relief prospects who are both now out of the organization. Either way, it is the way that Ryan should be looking at the situation. Not only should the Twins be selling, but this is the primary reason why. The team has to recognize it’s many faults–one of which is historically severe (the starting pitching)–and keep it’s eye a few years down the road, when their best prospects (Miguel Sano, Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton, etc) might be in a position to help.
This has meant admitting to the fanbase that even long time players like Justin Morneau have to be made available in the right deal. That might be hard for many fans to hear, but it’s what Ryan has to do. If the Twins can move Morneau’s salary ($14 million this year an next year) and his decent, but ultimately vastly overpaid bat (105 OPS+, .322 wOBA, 0.1 rWAR, 0.3 fWAR) for worthwhile prospects, they need to do so.
Yes, they might even want to look at selling high on someone like Trevor Plouffe. Plouffe’s been outstanding, but the .364 wOBA/132 OPS+ isn’t overwhelming (hence the 1.3 rWAR/1.6 fWAR, though many would disagree with the advanced stats perspective on his defense, which seems to be improving) though it stands out for the Twins offense. I wouldn’t push to get rid of Plouffe, given that he might finally be the Twins answer at third, but I would indeed like Ryan consider everyone.
On the other hand, some players won’t be moved. Joe Mauer won’t be moved for obvious reason. Josh Willingham is unlikely to be moved and with a .407 wOBA/160 OPS+/3.0 rWAR/3.8 fWAR for $7 million right now, who can blame the Twins. He’s been a incredible deal and I would be happy to keep him. But the Twins could also move a player like Denard Span, who’s had great value (2.6 WAR) but has a solid potential replacement for him in Ben Revere.
Ultimately, the good news here is that Ryan is recognizing the needs of the team long-term. That should make fans happy because if they want to win again, this needs to happen and seeing real commitment to that should be some of the best news yet.