In late July, when trade deadline speculation was at a frenzied high point, La Velle wrote a story for the Star Tribune carrying the headline, "Span not fazed by trade rumors." Yet, I've gotten the sense from some corners that the team's well publicized discussions involving Span created something of a rift between outfielder and organization. And while the aforementioned article relayed the outfielder's stated desire to remain in Minnesota, Span's follow-up quote seemed to carry a sour note:
"This is where I have been my whole career," he said. "But, at the same time, I'm the type of person who has a chip on the shoulder. If they want to trade me and think they can be a better team without me, then do what you have to do.The Twins apparently feel that they have a viable replacement for Span in Ben Revere. And the deadline rumors may or may not have caused some friction. So, could Bill Smith revisit the idea of a Span trade during the hot stove season?
"I just want to play baseball. I'll go somewhere else and play baseball."
On the surface, there appears to be little reason for the front office to seriously consider such a move. Span had the second half of his season wrecked by a concussion, which remains an ongoing concern, and he has finished with a sub-.700 OPS in each of the last two campaigns.
At the same time, he's still only 27 and he's got a very team-friendly contract. Span is due only $3 million next year and remains under team control at a reasonable cost through 2014. He's a disciplined hitter, a speedy base-runner and a prolific defensive outfielder. There's a reason many Twins fans (including myself) were rankled by the Span-for-Storen rumors this past summer. He's a valuable player. If there are teams out there feeling confident that he'll be able to overcome the concussion symptoms and migraines, it's not unthinkable that Span could fetch some decent offers.
In that scenario, it'd be something worth thinking about. The outfield is one area where the Twins look to be flush with talent in the coming years, and there are a lot of needs elsewhere. In addition, one could argue that the Twins should embrace any opportunity to unload one of their various health question marks.
But doing so would mean letting Span, a fan favorite and long-term anchor at a crucial position, go somewhere else and play baseball. Should they be willing?