Twins GM Ryan: Open for business
ARLINGTON -- The Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline is a little more than three weeks away, but Twins general manager Terry Ryan said he's already been in contact with other clubs about potential trades.
The Twins, who entered Friday's game against the Rangers with the worst record in the American League at 30-55, are undoubtedly sellers this year, and are willing to listen in on just about anybody outside of their core of young prospects such as Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton and Max Kepler.
"This is one of those years where you don't have to wait on us because we know where we're at and what we're going to be doing," Ryan said. "We better be open for business, which we are."
The Twins covet cost-controlled pitching, but Ryan said he's not focusing on upgrading any specific position, as he's willing to listen on all offers.
"It's similar to the Draft for me where you get the best you can get," Ryan said. "You can always maneuver around talent. You don't want to eliminate clubs from your radar. People have talent whether it's Major League or Minor League. I don't think we'd be picky. We have some holes. We are where we are for a reason."
Right-hander Ervin Santana, a 12-year veteran who has a 4.06 ERA in 16 starts this year, is the club's biggest trade chip and the most likely to be dealt. Santana has posted a 1.63 ERA over his last four starts, and has attracted a lot of scouts at each of his recent outings. The Rangers are among the teams interested in the 33-year-old, who is owed $13.5 million in each of the next two seasons.
Minnesota might need to eat some of that money to get a better prospect in return, but given escalating salaries for starting pitchers in recent years and Santana's track record as a dependable mid-rotation starter, there's a chance they could deal him without having to pay any of his future salary.
Ryan, speaking in general terms, said he couldn't remember the last time the Twins ate money in a trade, but that he's open to it if it yields a better prospect.
"I wouldn't be opposed to that if you're getting a good player back and it takes some money to do it," Ryan said.
Santana, for his part, has maintained that he isn't paying attention to any of the trade rumors involving him. He's been traded once in his career but it came in the offseason, when the Angels dealt him to the Royals after the '12 season.
"If you think about that, you're not going to do your job," Santana said. "That's why I don't read the newspaper or anything like that -- because I don't want to think about it. I just want to take it one day at a time."
Other candidates who could be traded by the Twins include catcher Kurt Suzuki, shortstop Eduardo Nunez and relievers Fernando Abad and Brandon Kintzler. Third baseman Trevor Plouffe was a top candidate to be dealt, but he's out until August with a fractured rib. Right-hander Ricky Nolasco could also be traded, but he's owed a combined $25 million over the next two years, and has a 5.26 ERA this season and a 5.51 ERA over the last three years.
Suzuki, who is set to be a free agent after the season, has seen his trade value increase recently, as he's been one of the hottest hitters in baseball over the last month. Since May 31, Suzuki is hitting .376, which is the fifth-highest average in baseball over that span. Nunez, an All-Star for the first time in his career this season, is arbitration-eligible for a final time this offseason. Veteran relievers Abad and Kintzler were both signed to Minor League deals before the season but have been two of the club's best pitchers out of the bullpen this year.