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Wednesday (Denard Span's value) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand under Twins fans Updated: September 26, 2012 - 9:35 AM

The Twins' biggest need in the offseason will be pitching. Because they don't figure to spend big on it, the best way to get it will either be to scout well and make shrewd signings and/or acquire quality arms in trades. In the latter category, a name frequently brought up as a valued but expendable player is Denard Span. In a trade, after all, if you want to get some you'd better bring some.

But if you are a big believer in WAR (Wins Above Replacement), you are confronted with this: Span is the Twins' MVP this year. How can you trade away an MVP? (If you believe more in WAR, what is it good for, here you go).

We're not talking in the short-term, based on Span's excellent at-bat that produced the crucial runs in last night's victory over the Yankees, though that was a good example of the type of professional at-bat he often delivers. Rather, we are talking about the yearly sum of his offensive and defensive contributions. According to Baseball Reference, Span has the highest WAR on the Twins. Higher than Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham, primarily because he gains "wins" on defense while Joe and Josh have lost "wins" on D this season. Span is good for 4.7 wins this year above what an entry-level prospect would provide the team. Mauer is next at 4.0. Willingham is at 3.1. Then it's Jamey Carroll and Ben Revere.

Outfield depth is an organizational strength. Revere is an above-average defensive player who only figures to get better at the plate. And yet Span -- with his reasonable contract, don't forget -- would be mighty tough to trade.

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