When Idiots Collide

Over the last couple of days, studious readers of MLB Trade Rumors and followers of baseball rumormongers on Twitter were treated to a steady stream of reports on conversations between the Minnesota Twins and the Washington Nationals involving center fielder Denard Span and young reliever Drew Storen.

While Storen is certainly a more valuable asset than Matt Capps, whom the Twins acquired from the Nationals last year for catching prospect Wilson Ramos, the idea of Minnesota once again giving up a young, under control, position player to acquire a reliever had most pundits scratching their heads. These writers would have to keep scratching their heads until they got to their prefrontal cortex in order to understand why the Twins would want to rid themselves of one of the top ten center fielders in the league who’s locked up at a reduced rate until 2014, with a club option for 2015, for a relief pitcher (even one of Storen’s quality and youth)?

Thankfully for Minnesota GM Bill Smith, he has someone looking out for him during trade deadline negotiations. Surprisingly, this guardian trade angel has come in the form of Washington Nationals GM Mike Rizzo who, according to a source who spoke with MLB.com writer Bill Ladson, would be unwilling to trade Storen for Span.

They say that sometimes the smartest trades are the ones you don’t make. In this case, the smartest trade is the one that wasn’t made because both sides don’t seem to have a [Getting Blanked]ing clue what they’re doing. The negotiation process between Smith and Rizzo is the equivalent of two people making out dressed in bio hazard suits. Nothing good is ever going to happen.

Comments (19)

  1. The Nationals are going to be very good someday…but it has so very little to do with their GM.

  2. Frankly I think this deal is a toss-up. Drew Storen is an elite talent, drafted first round two years ago and already dominating in the majors as a reliever. I know you are very harsh on the value of relief pitching and it is understandable. But Storen is a guy they drafted to be exactly what he is right now.

    The rumours flying around him astound me that he would be even touchable.

  3. I like Storen a lot, and I was surprised when they said he was available, but if I can turn him into Denard Span, literally one of the ten best center fielders in the league (maybe the top five defensively), I do it nine days a week, and twice on Cynsday.

  4. What I don’t get is that the Twins are willing to trade Span, but won’t consider trading Cuddyer. How did they contend for so long again?

  5. They know how to play the right way.

  6. Cuddyer is white

  7. I think saying he is one of the top ten best centrefielders in the game is a slight stretch. He may be on the outside looking in, but he certainly isn’t in there. I think a lot of weight is put in to his 2009 season where he had a .359 babip which is high to say the least. He has good on base skills with a 10% BB ratio but he has next to no power (.102 ISO).

    I think I’d easily take Jacoby Ellsbury, Josh Hamilton, Carlos Gonzalez, Andrew McCutcheon, Matt Kemp, Curtis Granderson, Drew Stubbs, Adam Jones, Colby Rasmus, Chris Young, Brett Gardiner (Lets face it should be a CF) Michael Bourn.

    Lets not get carried away calling Denard a top 10 CF, maybe defensively, but not overall. Those first 6 are in a league of their own, and I don’t think Span is even in that second tier to be quite honest.

  8. Again I just feel as if your value of what a typical relief pitcher is, is clouding your value of Storen. Where do you draw the line at where elite relief value is. I mean you certainly wouldn’t trade Mariano Rivera for Denard Span (in a world where Mo isn’t 64) and I don’t think it would be fair value even for Joakim Soria. So when does a talent like Storen who was drafted to be exactly that, and so far has shown it, who is only 23 and not even a super two yet start receiving recognition.

  9. According to fWAR, he is literally the tenth best center fielder, and he missed quite a number of games this season.

    If you’re going to consider Gardner a CF, then I don’t think you can consider Kemp one. Looking at your list, I think Span is a better centerfielder than Stubbs, Jones, Young and pretty close to Bourn. He’s a top ten talent easily.

  10. Chris Young – 4.6 war last season, 3.2 this year
    Drew Stubbs – 4.0 war last season, 2.7 this year
    Denard Span – 2.6 war last season, 2.6 this year – I will admit his 2.6 is impressive this season given the games played – it is also being buoyed at least this year by a doubled fielding runs above average score compared to his career norm.

    The same argument can be made that is why Adam Jones’ war is low because he is an awful defensive CF.

    And according to fWAR, unless I am missing something, for this season, his 2.6 WAR slots him directly behind Drew Stubbs at 11th. with CarGo, Rasmus, and BJ Upton behind him this season.

  11. Still, a top half of the league centre fielder for any relief pitcher is ridiculous. You are trading either the most or second most valuable commodity in the league for the least valuable.

  12. Really? I just think Storen is of a different value. I mean I guess you could say it was a wasted draft pick taking this guy 10th overall in the Draft two years ago because he profiled as a relief pitcher. But if this guy is the real deal as he appears, I don’t know anyone who scoffs at the idea of keeping Joakim Soria long term. I don’t think anyone would consider trading Soria for Denard Span.

    At what point does a relief pitcher become valuable enough? I mean you would have to go up in to that elite tier of outfielders if you were considering trading Mariano, at what point does a young stud like Storen become valuable given his talent and service time.

  13. Um, Mariano Rivera’s highest fWAR is 4.4 back in 1996. Span has already put up a 4.1 fWAR in his young career. Bottomline is that a young mlb CF’er is way more valuable than a young mlb relief pitcher.

    Span has averaged 3.1 fWAR a season (including 2011) whereas Rivera has averaged 2.2 fWAR a season. So even if Storen was 100% guaranteed to become Rivera, Span could be potentially more valuable in the short-run (next 5 years).

  14. Well, maybe my indictment of Rivera was misguided. Using rWAR Rivera has averaged 3.2 rWAR a season and Span has averaged 2.9 rWAR a season.

    I still would take Sopan over Storen anyday of the week. Drew Storen is not Mariano Rivera.

  15. No your certainly right he is not, and nor do I think I alluded to that. Using WAR to determine the value of a relief pitcher has always been suspect though. The lack of innings pitched skew the formula whether you have outstanding numbers or not.

    Storen isn’t just a young mlb relief pitcher. He’s 23. He is 23 years old and was only drafted two years ago and is already among the more dominant bullpen arms in the majors.

    Denard Span is 27 and while he only has one less year of team control, I just don’t buy that his value, especially his WAR, isn’t substantially inflated by his defence and a career babip so far that is 40 points higher than the league average.

    If I was the nationals I just would not cut bait with Storen already after only seeing what he can do for less than a full season so far in the majors. I just don’t think a guy who steals 25 bases a year, averages 5 hrs a season, and a .750 OPS is that sensational for a 27 year old. I don’t believe his ceiling is that much higher to be honest. Especially considering his best career season to date happened to be hitting in front of Joe Mauer that season – in the midst of Mauer’s MVP rampage.

  16. Yeah you are probably right about WAR and relief pitchers. I just cannot value relief pitchers too highly, the uncertainty is just too much for me to invest in.

    Span hit in front of Mauer, but that would just affect his counting stats (more runs scored), not his advanced stats. But I agree that his ceiling isnt that much; I actually think he has reached it already.

    I wonder if Storen would be in the majors if he was in the Jays system, since they seem to prefer stretching out relievers into starters to add value.

  17. I believe when it came to Storen there was a belief that his stuff translated way better as a reliever than as a starter. I think he had some stamina issues throughout college, I believe he was a reliever at college when he was drafted.

    I agree there is so much uncertainty when it comes to relievers, but I mean there are a crop of young relievers drafted to basically do just this, or signed to relieve as well. I mean Soria, Papelbon, Bard are all quite young guys that were groomed to be late inning relievers, and they have incredible value to a team even if WAR doesn’t suggest it.

  18. Don’t forget also that when it comes to Relief pitchers, average WAR is 0.3, whereas the average position player is 2 WAR.

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