Report From The Fort: "B" Player Gets "A" Grade
Image courtesy of Jake Roth, USA Today“A” for Contract
The most obvious difference between those players and this one is the contract the Twins offered. Most of the similar pitchers that the Twins signed received four-year deals, and Lynn probably expected as much for himself this year. In fact, MLBTradeRumors.com predicted a 4 year, $56 million contract at the beginning of the offseason, which would have been right in line with the Santana and Nolasco deals.
But there was a historic adjustment in the free agent market this offseason that left a dozen top free agents unsigned as spring training started. The Twins got lucky in that way, but they also made their own luck, showing flexibility and being aggressive when the opportunity presented itself. Which they could do because they also get:
“A” for Payroll
I was as skeptical as anyone regarding the Twins willingness to upgrade their payroll this offseason, and up until this move, that seemed prudent. But as a result of this move, not only will the Twins have a payroll near $130 million, the largest payroll in their history, it’ll be up $25 million dollars from last year.
It’s not totally clear that was the plan all along; just last week Twins Chief Baseball Officer claimed there was a “high likelihood” they were done spending. And $130M doesn’t put them among the biggest spenders in baseball, or probably even in the upper half. But it’s a big step in the right direction, and shows that the team is willing to spend when they need to. And they need to, because:
“A” for Competitive Curve
Despite all the Twins moves this winter, and their young and improving core, they are not one of the top tier teams in the American League. Prior to this move, Las Vegas had them listed as the sixth best team in the AL, which would mean they would just miss the postseason.
Which makes this the time to spend. No longer can pundits excuse a passive attitude with a “they can’t compete anyway.” They are competing. And they needed a boost to help them get a half step closer to that first tier of teams. This move doesn’t guarantee anything – remember, Lynn is a “B” upgrade – but the Twins are in a position where half steps matter. And the Twins have made a lot of half-step moves this offseason:
“A” for Overall Offseason
Fans might be disappointed by not getting the “A” name this offseason, when ace pitcher Yu Darvish decided to sign with the Cubs. But if the Twins would’ve exited this offseason with Lynn and relievers Addison Reed and Fernando Rodney, it would’ve been good for an “A-“ grade.
Not only did that, but they added another LH reliever (Zach Duke), a possible top-of-the-rotation pitcher for next year (Michael Pineda) and a middle rotation starting pitcher for this year (Jake Odorizzi). That is a team (and a management team) that is going for it this year. They get an overall “A” grade for doing so.
- luckylager, bluechipper, LA VIkes Fan and 11 others like this