Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

The Forums

MLB.com Top 30 Twins Prospects

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 12:05 AM
MLB redesigned their prospect ranking pages and released the Twins top 30 today. 
Full topic ›

Zack Littell on Throwing Multiple Sliders

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:07 PM
https://blogs.fangra...is-two-sliders/ Interesting piece over at FanGraphs where Zack Littell discusses the two different sliders he used...
Full topic ›

Thorpe leaving camp for a spell

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 07:28 PM
  "To who this may concern! I’ve left camp for a week or 2 for personal matters. I’m healthy and excited for this year. I’ll be bac...
Full topic ›

YouTube TV Drops Fox Sports Regional Networks

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 07:16 PM
Does MLB and its TV affiliates (mostly Fox Sports channels) realize how idiotic they are being by not being available to be watched on ma...
Full topic ›

Nick Gordon News?

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 03:29 PM
Trying to find any news on Gordon that explains his complete absence from any grapefruit action to this point. The obvious suspicion is t...
Full topic ›

Recent Blogs

Choose Your Own Path: Three Ways for the Minnesota Twins to Use Their Remaining $35MM

As we head into the 2019 MLB Winter Meetings, the Minnesota Twins are at $99MM in payroll with spots left to fill. With plenty of options still on the board, I will outline three viable plans to fill out the 2020 roster, and you get to play general manager and choose which one they should go with.
Image courtesy of © Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
For this exercise I will be operating under the assumption that the Twins will enter 2020 with a $135MM payroll. This would be a $15MM raise from their 2019 payroll, which is a very conservative increase given their drastic leap in revenue after a team- best 101-win season. Additionally, each plan will feature the addition of two starting pitchers, one corner infielder and one bullpen arm, ensuring that each of the Twins’ needs are taken care of.

It should be noted that trades are certainly a possibility for filling out the roster for the Twins, but with so much uncertainty with projecting trades, this article will assume that all Twins’ moves will come via free agency.

Let’s get started:

*Dollar amount represents AAV as projected by MLB Trade Rumors and the Twins Daily Offseason Handbook*

Plan 1: The Elite Starter Plan
  • Madison Bumgarner/Hyun-Jin Ryu (SP) - $21MM
  • Homer Bailey (SP) - $5MM
  • Travis Shaw (3B) - $6MM
  • Sergio Romo (RP) - $3MM
2020 Steamer fWAR Projection: 4.8

In Bumgarner the Twins would get a true top of the rotation starter to go along with Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi. With some other savvy moves, though, the Twins can round out their offseason with good players. In this plan the Twins would sign Homer Bailey to be their No. 5 starter. After getting traded from KC to OAK last summer, Bailey put up a respectable 3.65 FIP in 73 innings. Additionally the Twins would sign Travis Shaw as their third baseman, moving Sanó to 1B. Shaw had a down year in 2019, but posted a >.800 OPS and 3.5 fWAR in each of 2017 and 2018. Finally, this plan rounds out with the Twins bringing back fan-favorite Sergio Romo.

Plan 2: The Elite Offensive Plan
  • Josh Donaldson (3B) - $22MM
  • Rich Hill (SP) - $6MM
  • Drew Smyly (SP) - $3MM
  • Brandon Kintzler (RP) - $4MM
2020 Steamer fWAR Projection: 7.2

Similar to Plan 1 with MadBum, choosing to pursue Josh Donaldson means going cheap with the rest of their FA acquisitions. Should the Twins do so though, they could still sign two quality starting pitchers while remaining at the $135MM payroll that has been budgeted. In this plan, those two starters would be Rich Hill and Drew Smyly. Hill hasn’t eclipsed 150 innings in a season since 2007, but when he is healthy he has been a consistently good pitcher, posting a sub-4.00 ERA in every year since 2013. Smyly has always had good stuff, as evidenced by his career 23.5% K%. Poor health, lack of consistency and poor control have held him back, though. If Wes Johnson can work to get Smyly’s pitches under control, he could be a solid number five starter for the Twins in 2020. Additionally with this plan, the Twins would bring Brandon Kintzler back to Minnesota coming off of his best season in the majors with a 2.68 ERA with the Cubs.

Plan 3: The Spread it Around Plan
  • Dallas Keuchel (SP) - $13MM
  • Julio Teherán (SP) - $9MM
  • Eric Thames (1B) - $6MM
  • Dellin Betances (RP) - $7MM
2020 Steamer fWAR Projection: 4.2

In the final free agency plan, the Twins would operate under the plan of spreading out their remaining $35MM in payroll and filling all of their positional hole with good, albeit not great, players. The headline under this plan would be signing Dallas Keuchel to be their No. 3 starter behind Berrios and Odorizzi. Keuchel is not the pitcher he was when he won the Cy Young, but is coming off of a season in Atlanta where he posted a solid 3.75 ERA and has pitched in no shortage of big games. Additionally the Twins would sign 28 year old, Julio Teherán and his 119 ERA + (100 is average, higher is better). The Twins would sign Eric Thames and his .851 OPS in 2019 to be their Cron replacement, and Dellin Betances and his career 40.1% career K% as the final arm in their 2020 bullpen.

According to 2020 Steamer fWAR projections, Plan 2 featuring Josh Donaldson would bring the Twins the most value in 2020, but which of these three plans excites you the most? Use the comments below to share!

MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
— Latest Twins coverage from our writers
— Recent Twins discussion in our forums
— Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email


  • Share:
  • submit to reddit
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

42 Comments

The only issue I can see with these three plans is that it uses ALL the remaining payroll of $135 MM to sign free agents. What happens if you want to sign Buxton, Sano, Berrios, etc... to multi year deals? Does the projected payroll then go up?
    • darin617 likes this
I would imagine there is a little flexibility in the 135-140. But in the spirit of 135. I would rather have an innings eater than Hill but I would want Donaldson. So Keuchel and Donaldson works for me. Add Gausman if we can hit 140ish.
I guess I should add we can always move Graterol to the bullpen in late July to save some wear and tear and have a better pen.

Leave Sano at 3rd for now. Sign either Eric Thames or Edwin Encarnacion to play 1st. Encarnacion would probably be best used in some sort of a platoon for 1st.Plenty of bodies on the team to give him plenty of time off.

 

Julio Teheran would be my pitcher of choice.

 

As for the rest I would let the market play itself out and then jump in for some bullpen help if Romo won't be back. The worst thing is to chase a hot RP and overpay and get burned.

    • Doctor Wu likes this

I think the $135 is a little low.The window is open, so up the payroll into the $150 range.Like the idea of Donaldson, but takes a lot of flexibility out of play.Unless your play is for Sano to DH starting in 2021.  

Ryu and Donaldson would be around $40, but still leave some for raises and Ryu would be shorter term than any of the other front line pitchers.Donaldson would only be about 4 years, so long term would not block anyone.  

    • SF Twins Fan likes this
Oh man, I like and dislike parts of each of these 3 plans. I’m playing this your way so in my mind that says I have to pick one of the three without mixing and matching or making plan 4... that’s a hard choice so I gave each move points.

Plan 1: this has us getting one of the top 4 remaining pitchers which is my one big off season desire so since you give me a choice I will take Ryu happily at 21 million.+4 pts The negative to this is the Bailey signing. I don’t want another reclamation project unless his name is Tehran. I really think Wes Johnson can make Tehran into what he always had the potential for so Bailey is a -2 on this plan. Shaw I do not have a solid opinion on. +0 Romo seems too obvious a resign that I will be disappointed if we don’t bring him back. +2

Plan 2: I don’t think we need him but Donaldson would be fun. +4 pts. Rich Hill? -1 Drew Smyly? Please no! -2 pts. Brandon Kintzler? No, No, NO!!! -2 pts. This has the most steamer fWar? Ok, fine but really?

Plan 3: Keuchel as our headline pitching addition is a real bummer to me. He would get a +2 pts if I wasn’t disappointed on missing on the top 4 remaining so only +1. Tehran? Already expressed my opinion above. I like this +2. I believe our in house guys will have someone emerge and ready out of Spring Training but Thames is solid so I will still give him a +1 as insurance. Rather have Romo than Betances for the veteran leadership and personality but as a decent reliever so +1.

At first glance I liked plan 1 best, by steamer fWar I should choose 2 but when counting my points, I guess plan 3 is my pick. That leaves me disappointed though both in what we didn’t get and in myself for choosing plan 3.
    • nicksaviking and Doctor Wu like this

I'd be pleased if ANY of those plans came to fruition. Let's just do something SOON rather than waiting around and seeing more potentially good free agents get snapped up by other teams

 

The only issue I can see with these three plans is that it uses ALL the remaining payroll of $135 MM to sign free agents. What happens if you want to sign Buxton, Sano, Berrios, etc... to multi year deals? Does the projected payroll then go up?

I think that my argument for this is that if they have a rock solid cap of $135 million, that's pretty pathetic. The idea that they can't afford to go beyond this is absolutely ridiculous regardless of what the front office may tell you. In my opinion, there shouldn't be a salary goal below $150 million and even that would leave you money to give extensions.

    • mplsman and sweetmusicviola16 like this

 

The only issue I can see with these three plans is that it uses ALL the remaining payroll of $135 MM to sign free agents. What happens if you want to sign Buxton, Sano, Berrios, etc... to multi year deals? Does the projected payroll then go up?

Not really -- the $135 mil already includes 2020 arb estimates for those guys. The only way extensions would increase the 2020 payroll is if you front-loaded them -- which is certainly possible, but even then, it's probably only a few million. (They could just as well back-load them too, if they'd rather invest 2020 payroll in FAs.)

 

And there really is no "etc." -- those 3 guys you listed, plus Rogers, are probably the only realistic extension candidates this winter. And odds are only 1 or 2 of them are willing to sign.

 

And $135 mil is a conservative payroll at this point too -- they were at ~$130 entering 2018, and that was just coming off an 85 win wild-card season. They could easily support $140 mil for 2020 if their desired FAs and extensions warrant it.

    • Twins33, DocBauer, nater79a and 1 other like this
Photo
Major League Ready
Dec 09 2019 09:28 AM

 

I think that my argument for this is that if they have a rock solid cap of $135 million, that's pretty pathetic. The idea that they can't afford to go beyond this is absolutely ridiculous regardless of what the front office may tell you. In my opinion, there shouldn't be a salary goal below $150 million and even that would leave you money to give extensions.

 

That's a pretty emphatic statement that it would be pathetic given you provide no supporting information. Have you calculated break-even and what are you using as a reasonable profit in determining they could spend $150 on payroll and still have money left over for extensions. You also forgot they will need money for arbitration increases next year to retain several key playersCruz will be coming off but we might want to keep him around another year too.

Photo
twinkiesfan11
Dec 09 2019 10:00 AM

Out of the proposed options I like Option 1 the best but would pass on Homer Bailey. If they add a Bumgarner, Ryu or similar pitcher to Berrios, Odorizzi and Pineda I believe they'll roll with a competition among Dobnak, Thorpe, Smeltzer, Graterol, etc for the 5th starter slot and frankly as a fan I'd rather see them go that route. 

 

Talking strictly free agents I'd really like to see the Twins make a bold statement and leave the winter meetings with contracts for both Bumgarner and Donaldson.

 

 

    • goulik likes this

If revenue goes from $269M to $280M you have $11M more. If you add that to the $130M you could spend $141M to net the same $14M in profit.

 

Not a huge difference but the math was off.

 

I do agree that it's unlikely they spend over $140M even if the fans seem to want them to spend more. The reality is that if we strike out on the likes of Ryu/Bum/Donaldson we may even have a hard time getting anywhere near that.

Spend more money-->win more games-->get fans more excited and breed more loyalty-->sell more tickets/merchandise-->make more money 

 

On top of that, even if the Pohlads somehow "lost" $100 million dollars in 2020, they could sell whenever they wanted and walk away with over a BILLION in profit. 

    • dgwills likes this

Plan 1 is overall my preference, but I too would muck around at the edges. I don't want Bailey as the second SP in the mix and would prefer Gausman who wouldn't cost much more and could transition to the bullpen effectively if starting isn't gonna work for him or someone in the system passes him by the time Pineda comes back. If not Gausman, then I'm more interested in Rich Hill. But I really dunno about Bailey.

 

I'm willing to agree to whatever the FO thinks is best in terms of signing one of Travis Shaw/Eric Thames/CJ Cron to fill in at one of the corner spots for a salary of somewhere between $5-7M.

 

If Plan 1 is a no, than I'd go with trying to sign Donaldson, Rich Hill and then making a deal for Price/Sale/Darvish with the hope that Bos/Chi would eat at least a little of the salary.

    • DocBauer likes this

Plan 4:

Gregorious SS 15 MM

Treinen RP 7 MM

Keuchel SP 13 MM

 

    • Halsey Hall likes this

 

Even the Rays and A's average $30M in net profit for 2018. 

You say that like it is surprising. Both have consistently *very* low payrolls, and both are among the top revenue sharing recipients. (Neither is making significant investments in facilities right now either.)

 

The Twins shouldn't be expected to compare to either of those clubs in terms of net profit right now.

I don’t think any of the options make sense. We don’t need to spend crazy money on Donaldson. Bumgarner has had the Twins on his no trade list forever and isn’t coming here. Romo over a full season scares me. A couple of the players listed have signed elsewhere. Hill is coming off surgery and won’t be ready for opening day. I’d sign Keuchel or Roark, move Sano to 1B, put Gonzalez at 3B, move Polanco to 2B and try Adrianza or Gordon at SS. My guess is the ball isn’t going to be so juiced next year and we should be solidifying our D. Avila better play good D because he’s an awful hitter. I liked Castro although I thought his D was overrated. Betances would be great.
I don’t think any of the options make sense. We don’t need to spend crazy money on Donaldson. Bumgarner has had the Twins on his no trade list forever and isn’t coming here. Romo over a full season scares me. A couple of the players listed have signed elsewhere. Hill is coming off surgery and won’t be ready for opening day. I’d sign Keuchel or Roark, move Sano to 1B, put Gonzalez at 3B, move Polanco to 2B and try Adrianza or Gordon at SS. My guess is the ball isn’t going to be so juiced next year and we should be solidifying our D. Avila better play good D because he’s an awful hitter. I liked Castro although I thought his D was overrated. Betances would be great.
Photo
twinstalker
Dec 09 2019 11:19 AM

 

The only issue I can see with these three plans is that it uses ALL the remaining payroll of $135 MM to sign free agents. What happens if you want to sign Buxton, Sano, Berrios, etc... to multi year deals? Does the projected payroll then go up?

Generally, the "this year" of the multi year would be about the same as they would get in arbitration. Your scenario doesn't affect things at all.

 

However, the more interesting scenario is if in the middle of the season or at the deadline, they want to take on a big contract. Let's say the Cubs are slightly under .500 and want to get out from under Darvish's contract. That's about $7 million at the deadline, I think, plus the issues of his contract and those other ones you've signed, who are more often than not going to be on multi-year deals.

 

However, the more interesting scenario is if in the middle of the season or at the deadline, they want to take on a big contract. Let's say the Cubs are slightly under .500 and want to get out from under Darvish's contract. That's about $7 million at the deadline, I think, plus the issues of his contract and those other ones you've signed, who are more often than not going to be on multi-year deals.

I'm sure they want some wiggle room built into the budget like this, but at the same time, deadline budgeting is a very different animal -- they already know how 2/3 of the season has gone so far, and they have a lot more confidence in their projections (both performance and revenue) for the last two months, etc. Given the right circumstances, they could push the 2020 payroll up to $145 mil at the deadline, even if their preseason budget limit was $135 mil. (They could also cut it to $125 mil if they become sellers...)

Photo
Matthew Taylor
Dec 09 2019 12:46 PM

I'm firmly in the "Plan 1" camp. I am of the mind that MadBum is a top of the rotation starter for at least the next 2-3 years, and that's worth an AAV of ~$20-21MM for me. 

 

After writing this article, and doing some additional research, I would swap Travis Shaw for Eric Thames though.

 

So I would do MadBum, Homer Bailey, Thames, and Sergio Romo to finish out the $35MM in payroll. I think that's a really, really solid (and upgraded) team heading into 2020.

    • LA VIkes Fan and DocBauer like this
Photo
nicksaviking
Dec 09 2019 01:51 PM

I'm not really high on any of the pitchers available, I guess I like Ryu a bit more than Bumgarner, but getting either would just feel like more of a moral victory to me. I might like option #2 actually, as I do want starters who can miss bats and both Hill and Smyly have a history of doing so. Aside from having a big name, I don't know that I'd buy into much if any performance upgrade from Bumgarner over Hill, at least in 2020.

 

Of course that bat-missing caveat would make me want to stay away from Kintzler, can we swap him out for Betances instead?

 

Oh, burying the lede clearly, Donaldson sure would be fun!

    • Matthew Taylor likes this
Photo
nicksaviking
Dec 09 2019 02:00 PM

*****Moderator Note*****

 

Please stay on topic, the article presented three specific free agent scenarios. Unsolicited economic lessons only serve to steer conversation away from this interesting case study.

Photo
Twinkie Texan
Dec 09 2019 02:07 PM

Imagine if we still had Escobar to play 3rd? We don't because the "MoneyBall Boys" had to remove the heart and soul of the team at the trade deadline to make it easier to fire Molitor. Look, I am excited for our future but they took over at a great time when the kids (Sano, Kepler, Polanco, Rosario, et al) were starting to come into their own. Arizona signed Escobar for 3 years for what we paid Gonzales for 2 and we got much less production from him.

If the infield defense was good, I'd go with the Keuchel plan, but no way I do that with Sano, Polanco, Arraez in the infield. No way. And I like Keuchel.....

 

I can't decide between the other two. I lean the expensive pitcher plan, because I just don't see how they get another good pitcher w/o spending money on one, and I don't think they have enough pitching to be elite as a team right now......but Ryu makes me nervous, and I have no idea what Bumgarner is or is not going forward (I think good, like #3 or better with flashes of #1 sometimes).....But the 3B is a much safer bet.....but then, you can find good 3B much easier than good SP (and next year's FA pitching class is meh)......

 

So, um, Bumgarner I guess.

    • LA VIkes Fan, D.C Twins and dex8425 like this