Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 7/29/12

GM Terry Ryan pulled the trigger Saturday on the trade everyone saw coming, moving LHP Francisco Liriano to the Chicago White Sox for infielder Eduardo Escobar and LHP Pedro Hernandez. That doesn't mean he's done dealing.

Teams have until 3 p.m. CDT Tuesday to trade players without sending them through waivers. Ryan called the run-up "my most important time of the year for this franchise."

Teams that feel close to winning a World Series tend to get more generous with prospects, and the Twins could use them -- especially pitchers. Even after sweeping the Cleveland Indians this weekend at Target Field with a 5-1 victory on Sunday, Minnesota sits 15 games under .500 and 12 games behind first-place Chicago the American League Central.

"I know it's not easy for the players to hear their names in the rumors that go around in that clubhouse," Ryan said. "A lot of the blogs or the emails and the sites, you pull up those sites, there are rumors about 10 guys in that clubhouse. Some of it is nonsense; some of it might have some validity."

Liriano was the most likely player to be dealt, but he isn't the only Twin teams are asking about.

"I've only thought as far as today, wondering if today is going to be my last day or I'm going to be here for another two or three years," said leadoff man and center fielder Denard Span. "I don't know. I can't control it. Do I want to be here? Yes, but if something happens I'm going to try to accept it and take it with my best."

Span, Justin Morneau and Josh Willingham are the names most often seen in media reports, blogs and on Twitter, though each is signed through at least next season. Acquiring any of those players would require a substantial take for the Twins, and though Willingham may be coveted, it's extremely unlikely Ryan lets him go in the first year of a three-year, $21 million contract paying him $7 million annually.

Leading the team with 27 homers and 78 RBIs, Willingham is a relative bargain.

Span, a top center fielder and leadoff man, is available because he could fetch major league-ready players in return and the Twins have Ben Revere, terrific so far in his second major league season, available to move into both spots.

Morneau, just hitting his stride this season, is a former MVP and proven power hitter who could help any contender down the stretch, and the $15 million he's owed next season would help the Twins sign a starting pitcher this winter. He went 3 for 4 with a two-run home run on Sunday and is batting .333 (30 for 90) with seven doubles, three homers and 12 RBIs in his past 22 games.

"It's out of my control, so whatever happens, happens," Morneau said. "Obviously I'm here, I'm part of this team. I enjoy playing here; this is where I want to be. Outside of that, I can't really control much."

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