With the non-waiver trade deadline less than 48 hours away, more than a few Twins were wondering whether they'll be with Minnesota for the long haul on Friday.
"I call out a guy's name and they're like, 'What?'" manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That would be tension. People get nervous now when you walk into the room and say their name; that's the way it is this time of year."
As the Twins prepped for what would be a 9-5 victory at Oakland, general manager Bill Smith and his staff were home at Target Field, looking at a variety of potential trades that could help the team get over the hump in what has been a deliberate -- and perhaps stalled -- rise in the American League Central race.
Though the Twins have shaved 10 games off their deficit since June 2, but they've gotten no closer than five out since pulling within seven on July 5, a string of 22 games. Still, the team has rallied before -- they were seven games out in early September before winning the 2009 division race -- and Smith believes the team is still in contention.
Smith remained mum Friday, acknowledging only that he and his staff are busy. "If you're not busy this time of year," he said, "there's something wrong."
Until Sunday afternoon, players may be traded freely; after that, all must first pass through waivers. While Minnesota has made some notable waiver deals -- acquiring Brian Fuentes last August, for example -- few impact players will sneak through waivers.
"You have to look at the bright side of it: If you go, you're going to a contender," left fielder Delmon Young said. "You're getting traded to a team in the playoff race, not being designated for assignment, or released or something. Everybody would love to stay here, but it's a business and things happen. That's how some of these players ended up over here, through trades."
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