Twins listening, but won't deal simply to deal
Said GM Ryan: 'If someone wants to talk about a guy, I'm all ears'
MINNEAPOLIS -- With the Twins out of contention for a third straight season, Twins general manager Terry Ryan has not been shy about saying his club will be a seller heading into the Trade Deadline.
Ryan has maintained that no player on the roster is off-limits, but with only a few days left until Wednesday's Deadline, the Twins have yet to make a move. But Ryan said he's been doing plenty of listening so far.
"If somebody overwhelms you with something, you've got to listen," Ryan said. "There's no question. You can't just say no. If somebody wants to overwhelm me and give you some thoughts that, 'Jeez, this is something you ought to consider.' If someone wants to talk about a guy, I'm all ears."
Twins first baseman Justin Morneau, who is making $14 million this season with his contract set to expire at the end of the year, remains the most likely player to be dealt. But the Twins want to make sure they get a decent return, as the former American League MVP is a face of the franchise and has spent his entire career with the club.
But Morneau's lack of power could make that difficult, as he's hit just eight homers this year and has dealt with his fair share of injuries the last few years. Morneau, though, has maintained that he'd like to stay, as he's even reached out to the club about a possible extension, only to be denied.
Morneau said he's been trying his best to avoid thinking about a potential trade, as it's out of his hands. He has a limited no-trade clause with six teams on the list but said none of those teams figure to have interest in trading for him.
"I think it's more rewarding to win with the organization you've grown up with and the people that you almost become a family with," said Morneau, who has played with the Twins since '03. "It's a place where I'm happy and we've won here, which is always the goal. But it's not up to me, so we'll see what happens."
Twins catcher Joe Mauer, who unlike Morneau has a full no-trade clause, said he's also not thinking about what it would be like without his long-time teammate.
"I'm not even going to speculate on that," Mauer said about Morneau. "I've been around long enough to realize there's a lot of stuff going on out there and try not to react to things like that. What he means to the team, he's a big part of our success over the years here, and I hope he's here for a long time."
Closer Glen Perkins would likely bring back the most return if the Twins decide to trade the All-Star left-hander, but a trade seems unlikely at this point. Perkins, a native of Stillwater, Minn., is signed to a team-friendly deal through 2015 with an option for '16, and he has been open about his willingness to remain with his hometown team.
"Everyone knows where I want to be," Perkins said. "I guess the thing I really only worry about is going out and pitching. But they'll do what's right for the team, but I think that's me here, so we'll see."
Other players who could draw interest before the Deadline include right-handed starters Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey or relievers Jared Burton or Casey Fien, but the Twins don't appear intent on trading any pitching, considering it remains the club's biggest weakness. Veteran Jamey Carroll could also be dealt to a contender in need of a backup middle infielder.
But a large-scale fire sale seems unlikely, as Ryan has only made more than one July trade twice in his career in his 15 years as Twins general manager. In fact, he's only made a total of 14 trades in July, including sending left-hander Francisco Liriano to the White Sox for left-hander Pedro Hernandez and infielder Eduardo Escobar before last year's Trade Deadline.
Ryan has also made it clear that he's building for the future instead of simply trying to improve his club in the short term.
"We're not into respectability," Ryan said. "We're into winning. If you're just talking about finishing off the year on a positive note, I don't think so. We're talking about winning and getting into postseason. That's more important than trying to polish something up."