If The Twins Become Sellers

Baseball Prospectus' postseason odds report gives the Twins a 7.6% chance of making the playoffs.  They're currently 11 games out in the AL Central; no team is further from first place.  I'm not counting them out – Joe Mauer, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Delmon Young, and Jim Thome will come off the DL at some point, and I don't think the Twins truly have the worst rotation in the American League.  Still, this is a club no one considered a possible seller before the season.  What could they offer a few months from now?

  • Relievers Joe Nathan and Matt Capps make more than $20MM combined this year, so trading them at the deadline would save the Twins nearly $7MM.  Problem is, Nathan has been used in mop-up situations lately and he'll need to string together a few good months to have trade value.  Even then, most teams will not be able to take on his entire contract.  It's been an odd year for Capps, who's allowing a lot of flyballs, no walks, few hits, and few strikeouts.  Still, he's five for six in save opportunities and someone might overpay for him again.
  • The Twins exercised a pretty steep $10.5MM option on Michael Cuddyer in November, and so far the decision has not paid off.  He will also need to build up trade value.
  • Carl Pavano's strikeout rate continued to slip this year, but maybe he can right the ship and pitch to a low 4.00s ERA from here on out.  Plenty of teams would like to acquire an innings guy, but would the Twins prefer to keep Pavano at $8.5MM for 2012?
  • Outfielder/DH Jason Kubel won't keep hitting .347, but he's having a great year and is only earning $5.25MM.  Maybe the Twins want to re-sign him, but he could fetch something nice on the trade market.  Assuming his back is OK, plenty of teams will be interested in renting Jim Thome as well.
  • The no-hitter notwithstanding, trading Francisco Liriano anytime soon would be selling low.  When he's right he's what every contender craves: a front-end starter who is more than a rental.  A few months ago trading Liriano seemed crazy, and it's possible the Twins still consider him integral for 2012.
  • Kevin Slowey recently recovered from a shoulder strain, but he's still mired in long relief for the Twins after making 28 starts in 2010.  He's more affordable than Pavano and is under team control through 2013.