Trade LHP Martin Perez to the Minnesota Twins for CF Denard Span
The Twins are desperate to rebuild their rotation, and Perez should develop into a front-line starter. The Twins could then move Ben Revere to center field and put free-agent signee Josh Willingham in left.
From the Rangers’ perspective, this would allow them to move Josh Hamilton to left field and improve their defense in center. Span also would give them a legitimate leadoff hitter and a better chance to win the World Series now than if they waited for Leonys Martin to develop.
As an added bonus, Span is signed at a reasonable cost through 2015, which makes him far more valuable to a contender than he is to the Twins, a club that is in a bit of a rebuilding period. The Rangers are deep in rotation candidates, so Perez is expendable.
Center field is an obvious spot to look at in terms of trades with the Rangers, so I can understand why Bowden would go in that direction. And the long-term possibilities with Span are intriguing (this is no rental player). But despite struggles, Perez remains a top prospect with upside for the Rangers. For me, putting him in a trade would have to be for someone much better than Span.
Span played 70 games last year, dealing with a concussion and then migraines. His 2011 numbers: .264 average (284 at-bats), two homers, 16 RBIs and six stolen bases in 70 games.
Craig Gentry comes into spring training with a chance to earn the CF job. His 2011 numbers: .271 average (133 at-bats), one homer, 13 RBIs, 18 stolen bases.
Obviously, Span has a longer track record with a career-best season in 2009 (.311 average, 68 RBIs, 23 stolen bases) and a solid 2010 campaign. His experience would certainly be a help. But right now, I'd be more interested in seeing Gentry try to seize the spot over acquiring Span at the price of Perez. I'd hold onto the Perez card and play it only for the right deal if necessary (and probably not deal him at all).
One other thing: Bowden wants to make Span the Rangers' leadoff hitter. I know I'm in the minority if my email inbox is any indicator, but I like Ian Kinsler's versatility at that spot. I know the average wasn't what you'd expect, but he gets on base, is smart and fast around the bases and has the power to change a game early. The Rangers don't need to go with a prototypical leadoff hitter.