OAKLAND -- Despite players such as Denard Span, Jason Kubel, Michael Cuddyer, Jim Thome and Kevin Slowey drawing various levels of interest from other clubs, the Twins opted to stand pat as the non-waiver Trade Deadline passed on Sunday.
The Twins, who lost on Sunday and trail the first-place Tigers by seven games in the American League Central, decided they can contend in the division with their current roster, even though it was a busy week for general manager Bill Smith leading up to the Deadline.
"We had a lot of activity and a lot of calls, and we made progress on a number of possibilities. But we just couldn't get to the finish line," Smith said. "It's disappointing, because we had an awful lot of people do an awful lot of work. So on that end, it's disappointing we couldn't improve our club down the stretch."
Now that the non-waiver Trade Deadline has passed, deals involving players on the 40-man roster cannot be made unless the players already have cleared waivers. In other words, the player must be offered to the other teams in reverse order of the standings, and if he is claimed by one of the teams, he cannot be traded to a team other than the club that claimed him. The club that placed the player on waivers can either withdraw the request and keep the player, work out a trade or let the player go to the claiming team, which would then have the rights to the player.
As a result, Smith said he expects to be active even after the Trade Deadline, especially with regards to finding a bullpen arm or two, just like last season when they traded for reliever Brian Fuentes in late August.
"We've been trying to add a piece or two in that bullpen that could help stabilize things with a little more experience," Smith said. "So far, we haven't been able to do it. But the next phase starts this week with the waivers, and we'll be ready for that."
Smith also addressed a rumored trade between the Twins and Nationals that would have sent Span to Washington in exchange for closer Drew Storen and prospects. Smith wasn't happy the rumors went public, and said he's confident that Span -- who is expected to rejoin the Twins on Tuesday in Anaheim, after missing nearly two months with a concussion suffered on June 3 -- won't take the trade rumors personally.
"I don't think he ever heard anything from this club," Smith said. "I don't think I can be held accountable for a lot of irresponsible stuff that gets out there. We had an awful lot of players, just like a lot of teams, that come up in trade talks this week. A high percentage of our players were asked about from other clubs, so it's our responsibility to listen. There's so much misinformation put out there by bloggers and reputable media outlets."
Smith added that he fully expects the Twins to be in the division race down the stretch, and had the comfort of knowing that Span, Justin Morneau and Alexi Casilla will be coming off the disabled list soon.
"We're in contention," Smith said, "There's no question this club has the talent to contend and win this division. We've done it a number of times over the last decade. You always try to provide more ammunition for the manager and the other players, so if we can make the team better we're going to. But we're going to get Denard Span back, we're going to get Justin Morneau back and we're going to get Alexi Casilla back. Those are going to be three big pieces."
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire agreed with his general manager's decision, as he is content with his current roster and was happy none of his key players were traded.
"Any time something happens up here, I lose players, and I like these players," Gardenhire said. "So if you make a move, you have to lose players in this clubhouse, so I'm not disappointed because we didn't lose players. But to add players would've been good, too. If you can add players who can help you, it's good, too. But I like these guys we have."
Smith also said he didn't let the trades from other contending clubs in his division cloud his judgment, as the Indians added starter Ubaldo Jimenez and outfielder Kosuke Fukudome, the Tigers added starter Doug Fister and reliever David Pauley and the White Sox added starter Zach Stewart and reliever Jason Frasor.
"We evaluated every deal on its own merit," Smith said. "The worst thing we could do was panic and make deals because somebody else was making deals. If they're not good deals for us, they're not going to help us. As much we wanted to try and improve this club and provide more pieces for Gardenhire and the coaches, I'd rather make no deal than a bad deal."