One pitcher the Minnesota Twins should sell high

It is a weekend series with the Yankees away from the All Star break, and it is obvious that the 2013 version of the Minnesota Twins is not much better than the 2012, so understandable, they should be "sellers" in the fast approaching trading deadline.  Several names of players, like Justin Morneau, Josh Willingham, even Trevor Plouffe and Glen Perkins have been mentioned as potential "trade bait".  I strongly believe that non-contending teams with plenty of faults should rebuild by trading players at the last year of their contracts and trade veterans or players in their late 20s at their peak of their value ("selling high".)

From the aforementioned only Justin Morneau (last contract season) and Glen Perkins (value peak, plus friendly contract) fit the bill.  I would like to examine whether there other potential players who the Twins should think about trading based on peak of their value.   I have to mention that the Twins have been extremely bad about trading players at the peak of their value, and instead they sell low or give away.  For every Bobby Kielty, AJ Pierzynski and Denard Span (3 examples of players sold high,) there is an army of Delmon Young, Fransisco Liriano, Jose Mijares, Kevin Slowey, Alex Burnett, Joe Nathan, Nick Blackburn, Mike Cuddyer, Carl Pavano etc who just rode into the sunset.  Selling high and selling impeding free agents before they hit the market is how good teams, like the Tampa Bay Rays, keep themselves competitive year after year.

So the Twins should trade Justin Morneau and Glen Perkins (but not give them away.)  Anyone else who according to this formula should be a candidate?

Enter Casey Fien.

Casey Fien will turn 30 this October and arguably he is on the peak value for his career.  He has pitched in 42 games (36.2 innings), struck out 40 and walked 7 (2 intentionally), has a 3.19 ERA, 9.8 K/9, 5.7 K/BB and a miniscule 0.791 WHIP.   And last season, he became a fixture in the Twins' pen in the second half appearing in 35 games (36.2 innings), struck out 32 and walked 9 (4 intentionally), with a tiny 2.06 ERA, and a 0.971 WHIP.

Why trade him?  At first glance he appears as a pitcher who can be Glen Perkins' replacement as a closer potentially.  Why not go that route?  Here are the reasons:

  • He has been pitching over his head.  This season his BABIP is .207; last season it was .229.  This is not sustainable and expect a Diamond-like regression once balls start to go through.
  • His numbers are better than his stuff.  He is mainly a fastball and cutter/slider pitcher with an occasional slurve he uses as a change of pace.  His fastball is in the low nineties and the cutter in the high eighties.  This season he lost 2-3 mph of velocity in all of his offerings, with the fastball barely touching 90.  I do not want to speculate the reason.
  • RH middle relievers are the easiest players to replace.  The Twins have a plethora of 6th starter/AAAA starters.  It is very possible that conversion to the pen will have a Glen Perkins' like effect for them.
So I would add another name for the Twins to shop, that of (the mighty) Casey Fien.

Next: a few more players the Twins should consider trading