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Fanatic Jack
07-08-2012, 03:36 AM
Over the last few years professional sports in Minnesota has been terrible with the obvious exception being the Lynx. If you listen to KFAN (100.3FM) on the radio you probably heard this state being referred to as “Loserville USA” by host Paul Allen. There are several reasons to be optimistic about 2012 and the future. The Vikings had a great draft in April and signed some quality free agents that should help in the rebuilding mode. The Timberwolves improved and were legitimate playoff contenders until point guard Ricky Rubio tore his ACL in March. They recently just signed Brandon Roy and offered forward Nicolas Batum a large 4-year deal. The Wild shocked the world by spending $196 million to sign stars Zach Parise and Ryan Suter in free agency. They have a very talented group of young kids coming up and now have proven stars to go along with it. This brings my topic of conversation to the last place Twins.

The Twins brought back Terry Ryan as GM in November and he signed three quality free agents Willingham, Doumit, and Carroll. However, Ryan did nothing to address the club's biggest weakness starting pitching. The farm system has absolutely no starting pitching prospects that can help anytime soon. This season we have seen Maloney, Walters, Hendriks, Swarzak, Duensing, DeVries, and Deduno start in the rotation but none are the long term answer. You can cross your fingers and hope Gibson and Wimmers get healthy but you might have better luck playing the lottery. The Twins might get some pitching prospects in a trade but nobody who could make a huge impact. The only way the Twins can improve their starting rotation is by spending big in free agency for a Cole Hammels or Zach Greinke type player. We have seen in past years the Vikings, Timberwolves, and recently the Wild make big splashes in free agency and all three sports have a salary cap. The Twins have no salary cap in MLB and the Pohlad family is one of the richest in the world. They have more dough than Steinbrenner, Henry, and Detroit owner Mike IIitch. The question is do they feel any added pressure now to spend big this winter? Is winning truly important or does the almighty dollar take precedent? I will be curious to find out because as a season ticket holder the Twins cut $20 million after losing 99 games this year.

IdahoPilgrim
07-08-2012, 07:44 AM
There may not be an official salary cap, but there is an unofficial one - salaries will always be capped by available revenue minus other expenses and a profit. Baseball is a business, and owners are there to make money, not lose money. The idea that just because the owners have money there is a moral obligation to let a business be an ongoing loss-maker is wishful thinking at best. New York and Los Angeles will always be able to spend more on salaries, because they will always have more revenue available to them, especially from local TV contracts.

That being said, I think this whole idea that money would solve the problem is also off-track. Having a high payroll does not guarantee success (Cubs, Twins last year), and having a low payroll is no guarantee of being a celler-dweller (Tampa Bay being the most notable example, but there are others). A good GM can field a competitive team, capable of winning the series, with a payroll of $95-100M, which is right about where the Twins payroll is, so I don't buy the argument that they are being held back by cheapskate owners.

Personally, I don't want to see Greinke or Hamels recruited by the Twins. Sure, I'd love to see them in a Twins uniform, but I think the money required to sign one Greinke or Hamels could be better spent on 2-3 other players, all of whom collectively could have a larger impact on the team than a marquis pitcher who plays once every 5 days. Do we use that money to fill one hole, or to fill several?

I agree there need to be some offseason moves, and acquiring some starting pitching is a major necessity, but I'd rather see a plethora of moves that fill multiple needs. That would say to me more clearly that the Twins are serious about improving than signing one big-name player.

J-Dog Dungan
07-08-2012, 09:12 AM
Personally, I don't want to see Greinke or Hamels recruited by the Twins. Sure, I'd love to see them in a Twins uniform, but I think the money required to sign one Greinke or Hamels could be better spent on 2-3 other players, all of whom collectively could have a larger impact on the team than a marquis pitcher who plays once every 5 days. Do we use that money to fill one hole, or to fill several?

I agree there need to be some offseason moves, and acquiring some starting pitching is a major necessity, but I'd rather see a plethora of moves that fill multiple needs. That would say to me more clearly that the Twins are serious about improving than signing one big-name player.

What moves are you thinking the Twins will be able to make if they go after a plethora of pitchers instead of focusing on maybe two above-average FA starting pitchers. I mean, the bullpen is fairly solid, and so is the lineup, but the SP really needs work for the Twins to be able to compete. Thankfully, Ryan was always much better at this than Smith was, so the Twins have a chance to make several good moves this offseason with the money coming off of the books. The question really is, will they use it?

IdahoPilgrim
07-08-2012, 09:35 AM
What moves are you thinking the Twins will be able to make if they go after a plethora of pitchers instead of focusing on maybe two above-average FA starting pitchers. I mean, the bullpen is fairly solid, and so is the lineup, but the SP really needs work for the Twins to be able to compete. Thankfully, Ryan was always much better at this than Smith was, so the Twins have a chance to make several good moves this offseason with the money coming off of the books. The question really is, will they use it?

I'd settle for two average, dependable starters, and maybe another middle infielder with a better track record at the plate. I just don't want to chase Greinke or Hamels - we already have two contracts that have hampered our roster flexibility; I don't want to add a third. I'm OK with spending $9-10M a year for a good pitcher. I don't want to spend $15M for one person.

kab21
07-08-2012, 10:23 AM
9-10M/yr doesn't even buy you a 33 yr old Mark Buehrle in FA. I find it humorous that so many think the Twins are going to be able to sign 2 decent FA pitchers this year when they are likely competing with at least 20 teams for probably 6 decent FA starters. And that includes the too expensive Greinke and Hamels.

First the Twins need to rebuild (like the Wolves) and then they can use those dollars in FA. The twins don't need a couple of guys like Colby Lewis sucking up 12+M/yr in 2015 and 2016. FA is not how you rebuild. It's how you add to a contending team. that's not to say the won't sign a starter this offseason but anyone expecting the Twins to spend 30-40M this offseason rebuilding is going to be disappointed.

My predictions for what the 6 decent pitchers will sign for
Greinke/Hamels - 5/100+
Sanchez - 5/75 - He's 28 and pretty good
Marcum - 4/60 - kind of a wildcard because he's injured
Lewis - 4/45+ - instead of laughing look at what Buehrle got
McCarthy - 4/40+ - he might get more money/years because he's young

Thrylos
07-08-2012, 10:46 AM
My predictions for what the 6 decent pitchers will sign for
Greinke/Hamels - 5/100+
Sanchez - 5/75 - He's 28 and pretty good
Marcum - 4/60 - kind of a wildcard because he's injured
Lewis - 4/45+ - instead of laughing look at what Buehrle got
McCarthy - 4/40+ - he might get more money/years because he's young

That's why a 1/12.5 offer to Liriano makes total sense.

gunnarthor
07-08-2012, 11:00 AM
I think the Twins could manage to make one free agent signing - say Sanchez - if they wanted to and it wouldn't wreck their budget. That said, I think Ryan would rather make Bullock for Diamond type moves then spend a ton on a FA pitcher.

Also, I disagree with FanaticJack that the Twins biggest weakness was starting pitching when Ryan took over. Last year's offense was comparable to the 2010 Mariners and our bullpen was an absolute mess. Ryan did a pretty solid job turning the bullpen around and adding some good, inexpensive bats to improve the offense.

kab21
07-08-2012, 11:14 AM
That's why a 1/12.5 offer to Liriano makes total sense.

It's a lot and it's risky but I think they can get away with if they don't trade him and he doesn't completely implode. I don't think he has any intention in returning to MN after all of the finger pointing and negative press the last couple of years.

greengoblinrulz
07-08-2012, 11:15 AM
best thing you can do is NOT listen to KFAN....esp if you want to hear baseball talk. You'll be smarter for it

spideyo
07-08-2012, 11:49 AM
Starting Pitching didn't look that bad...There was hope Liriano would pitch like he's pitching now, Baker had a very good year in 2011, Pavano has been a horse the last couple years and wasn't expected to pitch this bad, and Marquis was expected to pitch at least to his career averages. That left one spot for Diamond, De Vries, Walters, Swarzak, Duensing, Hendricks, Deduno, Maloney and Manship to fight over. We were projected to be at least improved in SP before Baker went down, Pavano got hurt, Liriano lost his mind again, and Marquis melted down.

Coming out of last year, the bullpen was actually far more a concern than the rotation, and Ryan did a good job addressing that.

Seth Stohs
07-08-2012, 12:07 PM
Coming out of last year, the bullpen was actually far more a concern than the rotation, and Ryan did a good job addressing that.

Even though most/many Twins fans thought that he ignored it by not signing all the "names" that were out there.

kab21
07-08-2012, 12:26 PM
Who was out there to sign? Buehrle at 4/48? CJ at 5/75?

mike wants wins
07-08-2012, 12:55 PM
They lost 99 games, and didn't fill a single hole. They replaced Cuddeyer and Kubel, but did not upgrade 1 spot by adding players. Yes, Plouffe is better than Valencia, but that is just good luck. I don't know what people were expecting, other than this. This season was built entirely on hope, and hope is not a strategy.

Fanatic Jack
07-08-2012, 12:58 PM
Seth,

You know more about baseball than me and are more positive. You were right about Jared Burton and Brian Dozier being quality players and deserve credit for saying so. However, how do you fix this starting rotation without spending big money in free agency. If you build from within than the Twins are looking at 5 years before they might be contenders again. You cannot continue to sign retreads and hope it works out for you. If the Twins are lucky enough to make the playoffs they are swept in three games because they don't have any #1-2-3 pitchers. Everybody in the rotation is a #4 or 5 pitcher. It’s tough to compete with anybody without spending big time money. I just don’t understand why fans are ok with management being C-H-E-A-P. We were promised the team would spend more after Target Field was built but instead payroll was slashed by $20 million in the prime of Mauer & Morneau's careers. The Twins even refused to draft a pitcher that could help us right away like Kevin Gausman or Mark Appel because they wanted another 5-tool outfielder. Nobody gets angry and the Pohlad family feels no pressure to do anything of real substance. Hopefully, the Wild signings will put more focus and blame on the Pohlad family because they deserve it. Spending more money is the only way to fix this mess without waiting 5 years.

CDog
07-08-2012, 01:09 PM
Over the last few years professional sports in Minnesota has been terrible with the obvious exception being the Lynx. If you listen to KFAN (100.3FM) on the radio you probably heard this state being referred to as “Loserville USA” by host Paul Allen.

I know it's not the focus of this thread, and maybe it's just a quibble on the use of "a few years," but the Twins won their second straight division 21 months ago and the Vikings were an eyelash from the Super Bowl after a 12-4 season (their second straight division title) just over 2 years ago.

Fanatic Jack
07-08-2012, 01:11 PM
CDog,

The last few years is referring to parts of 2010, 2011, and 2012.

CDog
07-08-2012, 01:16 PM
Seth,

We were promised the team would spend more after Target Field was built...

Payroll the last seven years at Metrodome: $56M, $54M, $57M, $63M, $71M, $57M, $65.

Payroll the first three years at Target Field: $98M, $113M, $94M.

That promise was kept.

Highabove
07-08-2012, 01:31 PM
2013 Free Agent Class




Starting pitchers
Scott Baker (31) - $9.25MM club option
Erik Bedard (34)
Joe Blanton (32)
Fausto Carmona (29) - $9MM club option
Bartolo Colon (40)
Aaron Cook (34)
Kevin Correia (32)
Doug Davis (37)
Jorge De La Rosa (32) - $11MM player option with a $1MM buyout
Ryan Dempster (36)
R.A. Dickey (38) - $5MM club option with a $300K buyout
Zach Duke (30)
Scott Feldman (29) - $9.25MM club option with a $600K buyout
Jeff Francis (32)
Gavin Floyd (30) - $9.5MM club option
Freddy Garcia (37)
Zack Greinke (28)
Jeremy Guthrie (34)
Cole Hamels (29)
Rich Harden (31)
Dan Haren (32) - $15.5MM club option with a $3.5MM buyout
Livan Hernandez (38)
Tim Hudson (37) - $9MM club option with a $1MM buyout
Edwin Jackson (29)
Hiroki Kuroda (38)
Colby Lewis (33)
Francisco Liriano (29)
Kyle Lohse (34)
Rodrigo Lopez (37)
Derek Lowe (40)
Paul Maholm (31) - $6.5MM club option with a $500K buyout
Shaun Marcum (31)
Jason Marquis (34)
Daisuke Matsuzaka (32)
Brandon McCarthy (29)
Kevin Millwood (38)
Jamie Moyer (50)
Brett Myers (32) - $10MM vesting option with a $3MM buyout
Ramon Ortiz (40)
Roy Oswalt (35)
Carl Pavano (37)
Jake Peavy (31) - $22MM club option with a $4MM buyout
Brad Penny (35)
Joel Pineiro (34)
Anibal Sanchez (29)
Jonathan Sanchez (30)
Ervin Santana (30) - $13MM club option with a $1MM buyout
Joe Saunders (32)
James Shields (31) - $9MM club option with a $1.5MM buyout
Chien-Ming Wang (33)
Jake Westbrook (35) - $8.5MM mutual option with a $1MM buyout if club declines
Randy Wolf (36) - $10MM club option with a $1.5MM buyout
Chris Young (34)
Carlos Zambrano (32)

Badsmerf
07-08-2012, 02:03 PM
They have to evaluate where they feel Baker, Gibson and Wimmers are. Diamond and Hendriks should be in the rotation. Gibson could be up by June and Baker around the same time. Gibson and Baker aren't for sure things though. Wimmers is probably still too far away to guess an ETA. A decision has to be made about Liriano too, and soon. If they aren't going to sign him they need to trade him.

old nurse
07-08-2012, 02:13 PM
The Twins even refused to draft a pitcher that could help us right away like Kevin Gausman or Mark Appel because they wanted another 5-tool outfielder.

I guess it will take at least two years to figure out if they missed on the pitchers, and a few more years to see if Buxton is the real deal. To say there was a college pitcher who could help right away is at best wishful thinking.

Brandon
07-08-2012, 02:32 PM
How bout Lohse, Livian Hernandez and Moyer.

gunnarthor
07-08-2012, 02:35 PM
They lost 99 games, and didn't fill a single hole. They replaced Cuddeyer and Kubel, but did not upgrade 1 spot by adding players. Yes, Plouffe is better than Valencia, but that is just good luck. I don't know what people were expecting, other than this. This season was built entirely on hope, and hope is not a strategy.

They middle infield is better with Carroll and Dozier. The team is getting nice results from Revere, Dozier and Plouffe. That's probably not "luck" but rather part of regrouping a team. Ryan said in the offseason that Plouffe had enough bat to play RF, if need be. Burton and Walters were solid cheap pickups and the team has a number of bullpen type arms in AA and AAA that could allow us to move Burton or Capps. Willingham has been much better than either Cuddy or Kubel. Doumit has been a very good addition as well. Kind of hard to say they didn't fill a single hole or, as you say in many other posts, haven't been able to bring up minor leaguers to be regulars at the ML level.

This team has horrible starting pitching and isn't getting much production from first base. Ryan will probably focus on those issues going forward but it doesn't have to be a 20m FA signing. He could make several small moves that work - like Bullock for Diamond, having success with another Blackburn type minor leaguer (maybe BJ Hermsen?), getting Gibson healthy, doing something with Liriano (trade, extension or arbitration offer) or signing some inning eating Pavano type pitchers.

kab21
07-08-2012, 02:37 PM
They lost 99 games, and didn't fill a single hole. They replaced Cuddeyer and Kubel, but did not upgrade 1 spot by adding players. Yes, Plouffe is better than Valencia, but that is just good luck. I don't know what people were expecting, other than this. This season was built entirely on hope, and hope is not a strategy.

Perhaps they realized that they weren't one player away from being good and didn't feel like sacrificing future payroll flexibility to pick a couple extra wins. I feel like I'm repeating myself but rebuilding through FA is pretty much a guarantee to prolong that rebuilding. Outbidding the Marlins for Buehrle at 4/48 or Wilson at 5/75 (IIRC) is not a good strategy to fix the team.

jokin
07-08-2012, 02:38 PM
Payroll the last seven years at Metrodome: $56M, $54M, $57M, $63M, $71M, $57M, $65.

Payroll the first three years at Target Field: $98M, $113M, $94M.

That promise was kept.

94-38=$56 Million (courtesy of M&M Marketing Ltd.)

Kobs
07-08-2012, 02:54 PM
They middle infield is better with Carroll and Dozier.

Better than what?

powrwrap
07-08-2012, 03:07 PM
Over the last few years professional sports in Minnesota has been terrible with the obvious exception being the Lynx. If you listen to KFAN (100.3FM) on the radio you probably heard this state being referred to as “Loserville USA” by host Paul Allen. There are several reasons to be optimistic about 2012 and the future.

I haven't listened to KFAN for ages but am familiar with Paul Allen and Loserville, USA. It has to do with the major market areas with pro teams in the Big 4 sports (baseball, football, basketball, and hockey) and how long it's been since any one of their teams have won the championship. Turns out Minnesota is the city with the longest championship drought. It has nothing to do with contending or making the playoffs and has everything to do with winning the championship title. So I don't see the Twins Cities getting that monkey off their back in "2012 and the future."



The question is do they feel any added pressure now to spend big this winter? Is winning truly important or does the almighty dollar take precedent?

I think the Twins feel pressure to spend, esp. on starting pitching just to ensure that their fan base doesn't completely desert them. They've got to keep attendance steady or increase it so that wonderful cash ATM machine known as Target Field Concession Sales will keep churning out the dough. Although the Pohlad family might be richer than those other families (not sure) it has more to do with how soon can they recover any money they personally lend to the team than any other factor. That is essentially what we mean when we say "owners spend big". They are actually making personal loans to the corporation, of which they are CEO's or CFO's, that owns the Twins.

Suppose if they inject $30M more for payroll for next year it will ensure that they will profit $10M a year. That's a three year recovery period. But suppose they spend $50M on payroll next year. That's a 5 year recovery period and they still don't know if they will win it all.

The Pohlad's are from Minnesota. I say the almighty dollar overrules the desire to say they won it all. Other owners from other cities might be OK with saying they won it all and they don't care if they won't recover their money for 10 years or more. I don't see the Pohlad's having that mindset.

Badsmerf
07-08-2012, 03:32 PM
My theory and I stick to it is that a guy like Hamels is a better investment than 2 average guys at half the price. Think of it this way, if the Twins have Hamels, Diamond, Hendricks going into next year you have 3 solid pitchers (yes I am saying Hendricks is a solid pitcher). Add in that Baker or Liriano (hopefully both) will be kept going into next season and you only have one spot open. An ace like Hamels or Grienke makes any pitching staff look instantly better. Its really too bad Baker needed surgery, with him healthy this team could easily have 5+ more wins right now.

J-Dog Dungan
07-08-2012, 03:41 PM
They lost 99 games, and didn't fill a single hole. They replaced Cuddeyer and Kubel, but did not upgrade 1 spot by adding players. Yes, Plouffe is better than Valencia, but that is just good luck. I don't know what people were expecting, other than this. This season was built entirely on hope, and hope is not a strategy.

They did, though. They picked up a kick-a$$ replacement for Cuddy in Willingham, got a better offensive back-up catcher in Doumit, stabilized their middle-infield in regards to fielding and veteran presence in Carroll, and they picked up Gray, Burton, and Fien to help out Perkins, Burnett and Capps in the bullpen, which was one of the huge problems last year.

Unfortunately, you are still right that the Twins didn't fill a single hole in the Starting Rotation. They were just kind of hoping that in-house options and Marquis would be able to cut it. After seeing Hendriks, Blackburn, April/May of Liriano, and god-awful Marquis, the Twins hopefully realized that if they want to compete in this extremely winnable division and against high-payroll, high-talent teams like the Yankees, Rays, and Rangers, they need to pick up a good front-line starter to pair with guys like Diamond who have shown themselves to be capable starters.

Honestly, if Baker had managed to stay healthy, Liriano had shown at the beginning of the year that he can pitch like he is now doing, and the Twins had kept Diamond up with them when they broke from ST, they might be a lot closer to competing than they are right now, because three above-average pitchers like they are could probably keep them afloat if they mixed in guys like Walters and Hendriks, whenever he figures things out.

Seriously, if I were the Twins, I would trade Liriano, then try and re-sign him when he becomes a FA, because he is a #1 starter when he cam hold it together. However, I don't think that the Twins should just stop at resigning Liriano after the season. If Baker can show that he can remain healthy and be effective, they 1) should not accept his option and 2) resign him on a one-year deal kind of like Liriano's for this year to prove that he can stay healthy for a full season. If the Twins then went out and got a guy like Anibal or Jonathan Sanchez, they would have four fairly good starters and people would believe that they would have a chance at competing for the central and then plop in a WIP in the #5 hole, because you could afford to have a guy who they think will be a starter but hasn't quite put everything together yet (like a Liam Hendriks).

Therefore this is what I would have the Twins rotation look like next year:
1. Liriano
2. Diamond
3. Baker if healthy, FA pitcher if Baker isn't healthy; also could be a guy like Hendriks when he figures things out.
4. for sure a FA pitcher (not necessarily me saying the Twins should sign a #4 guy in the rotation)
5. guy like Hendriks/Deduno/DeVries/Walters who can be relied upon to make a start every five days, but not be more than a ceiling #4 guy

P.S. Yes, this is my way of saying that the Twins should keep Blackie in the Minors or trade him if possible, because he has not been able to keep his sinker around for a full season (not saying that that is even possible, but he should be more consistent that what he has shown the Twins the last few years if he wants to be a MLB Starter).

DJSim22
07-08-2012, 03:50 PM
Whenever Paul Allen gives an opinion, bet the other side. The guy knows nothing about any sport other than the NFL and horse racing and his knowledge of those two are suspect.

Banking on Baker, Gibson and Wimmers is foolish. I suspect its possible all 3 could be on innings counts. Do not take the option on Baker, offer a smaller contract with incentives. Elminiates alot of cash and risk.

Signing a high profile pitcher is generally for a playoff push, not a rebuild, but the team needs a pitcher able to go 200+ innings and stabilize the rotation. I would atleast entertain the idea, although interest could be a whole other matter.

Right now a rotation would come from:

Diamond
DeVries
Walters
Liriano- if signed
Baker- if option is accepted or new signing
Deduno
Gibson
Hendriks
Duensing

Not sure I see a 200+ inning guy in that list right now.

glunn
07-08-2012, 04:00 PM
My theory and I stick to it is that a guy like Hamels is a better investment than 2 average guys at half the price. Think of it this way, if the Twins have Hamels, Diamond, Hendricks going into next year you have 3 solid pitchers (yes I am saying Hendricks is a solid pitcher). Add in that Baker or Liriano (hopefully both) will be kept going into next season and you only have one spot open. An ace like Hamels or Grienke makes any pitching staff look instantly better. Its really too bad Baker needed surgery, with him healthy this team could easily have 5+ more wins right now.

I agree, and would add that there were doubters when the White Sox signed Jake Peavy, but this year that decision is looking very smart. Also, if the Twins make the postseason next year or in 2014, an ace or two will be vital to having a good chance of advancing.

diehardtwinsfan
07-08-2012, 07:58 PM
The Twins problem right now is that the system is relatively barren for any type of SP impact in the next year or two. The ones who are close are either low ceiling or high questionmark, and even if everything went our way, there isn't enough there. If they fancy themselves as regrouping for 2013, then getting SP has to be a priority. Trading Span, Liriano, and Burton might get them a couple of decent AA options, but that would be about it. If that's the case, they will have to go out and sign pitching this offseason, and likely more than one guy... with 20M to spend, they could go all out and get Grienke, but there wouldn't be that much left other than a 1 year prove it deal for a higher upside guy.

chopper0080
07-08-2012, 08:09 PM
The Twins could sign Anibal Sanchez and Colby Lewis for about 21 mil which will be about what Hamels and Greinke get per year.

Jim H
07-08-2012, 08:48 PM
Sometimes these threads kind of confuse me. It especially seems to happen when Fanatic Jack is involved. First of all, some people believe the Twins are in the middle of a rebuilding project. If you believe that, then, no, do not go out spend big money on free agent pitchers.


If on the other hand, you believe that the Twins are maybe one or two starting pitchers from being a legimate contender for postseason next year, then going after a Grienke or Hamels might very well make sense. You have to be aware that doing so may very well limit keeping certain current players, will limit signing other free agents and requires that the Twins farm system produce useful players over the next 5 years.

One of the problems with these threads, is no one really agrees on way too many things, such as the current state of the Twins, the likely usefulness of young players such as Plouffe, Revere, Dozier, and Henricks, how soon if ever the farm system will produce more useful players, and whether money can really solve some of the Twins current problems.

kab21
07-08-2012, 10:45 PM
The Twins could sign Anibal Sanchez and Colby Lewis for about 21 mil which will be about what Hamels and Greinke get per year.

Anibal and Colby will likely get as much as C.J. and Buehrle did last year. Anibal might even get more than C.J. Combined they will easily get more than 25M and probably close to 30M. Starting pitching is always overpaid in free agency.

birdwatcher
07-08-2012, 11:51 PM
This thread was full of informed and sensible arguments. So the contrast between those comments and the opinions expressed by Mike Wants Wins and Fanatic Jack is stark. How can anyone possibly assert that the Twins didn't fill a single hole? And Jack, this C.H.E.A.P. crap you keep spewing out is ignorant at best. The facts back up what the Twins (not the Pohlad family) promised regarding spending. They spend, ON AVERAGE, roughly 50-55% of annual revenues. The Twins are not cheap. I will concede, however, that they might be as greedy as the fans, who want it all, or the players and agents for that matter.

USAFChief
07-09-2012, 12:29 AM
The Twins could sign Anibal Sanchez and Colby Lewis for about 21 mil which will be about what Hamels and Greinke get per year.

You mean 21 mil per year, right? Neither are likely to sign one year deals.

USAFChief
07-09-2012, 12:31 AM
This thread was full of informed and sensible arguments. So the contrast between those comments and the opinions expressed by Mike Wants Wins and Fanatic Jack is stark. How can anyone possibly assert that the Twins didn't fill a single hole? And Jack, this C.H.E.A.P. crap you keep spewing out is ignorant at best. The facts back up what the Twins (not the Pohlad family) promised regarding spending. They spend, ON AVERAGE, roughly 50-55% of annual revenues. The Twins are not cheap. I will concede, however, that they might be as greedy as the fans, who want it all, or the players and agents for that matter.

I do not believe Twins 2012 revenues will be under $200m. So no, they are not spending roughly 50-55% of annual revenues, at least not this year. Likely not in 2010, and probably not even last year.

glunn
07-09-2012, 12:40 AM
I do not believe Twins 2012 revenues will be under $200m. So no, they are not spending roughly 50-55% of annual revenues, at least not this year. Likely not in 2010, and probably not even last year.

It would be nice to see the actual numbers. I also wonder if the 50-55% includes the dollars paid to Buxton and other draft picks.

USAFChief
07-09-2012, 12:51 AM
It would be nice to see the actual numbers. I also wonder if the 50-55% includes the dollars paid to Buxton and other draft picks.

Forbes estimated Twins revenues at $213M in 2011. I don't believe that included new FSN contract, which is $29M annually. If I remember correctly, FSN was paying $12M under the old contract.

http://www.forbes.com/mlb-valuations/#p_2_s_a0_

For the record, the Twins have publicly stated in the past the major league salaries are a separate expense, and do not include international FA signings or the rule 4 draft budget.

It's not hard to look this stuff up.

old nurse
07-09-2012, 12:52 AM
The Twins are more likely to scour other teams rosters for an underperforming pitcher like AJ Burnet was with the Yankees and hope they turn around then sign a free agent

kab21
07-09-2012, 08:46 AM
Forbes estimated Twins revenues at $213M in 2011. I don't believe that included new FSN contract, which is $29M annually. If I remember correctly, FSN was paying $12M under the old contract.

http://www.forbes.com/mlb-valuations/#p_2_s_a0_

For the record, the Twins have publicly stated in the past the major league salaries are a separate expense, and do not include international FA signings or the rule 4 draft budget.

It's not hard to look this stuff up.

they might have different budgets for draft and MLB but there's no reason that it shouldn't be part of the 50-55% of spending. I'm happy that they are investing in the draft and int'l FA this year and prefer it to signing more mediocre vets.

birdwatcher
07-09-2012, 09:38 AM
USAF, I believe those revenue statistics support the statement, made frequently by Twins management, that they intend to spend roughly 50-55% of revenues on player salaries. If the revenues, over the first three years at Target Field average say, $250M, then I think we can be critical of the organization if the average payroll over the next three years falls much below say, $125M. If they don't sign at least one decent FA pitcher this winter not named Hamels or Greinke, I'll probably fall in the camp of questioning them. The media in this town has been dreadful when it comes to the really tough questions, and they should pin Jim Pohlad down some time about this subject.

Badsmerf
07-09-2012, 10:02 AM
The Twins have never really been in this position to spend money before so we'll see. They have money coming off the books and the ability to add to the current payroll number if it makes sense. For an ace in his prime, I think it makes sense.

PopRiveter
07-09-2012, 01:11 PM
I wonder if they'll follow this year's model of building the bullpen (i.e. bring in 27 low cost pitchers and see if a few of 'em can compete at this level.)

Fanatic Jack
07-09-2012, 01:34 PM
Birdwatcher,

They cut payroll by $20 million after losing 99 games and hired back GM Terry Ryan so they could sell it to fans. The team is actually worse than the one last year but funner to watch. The farm system despite people refusing to write about it is in complete shambles. The only way to improve the team dramatically is to spend money like the Wild just did. It's really that simple but Pohlad wont do it. Heck they have never done it and the fans continue to line up and protect them!! Does anybody remember President Dave St. Peter promising after the miserable season ended in 2011 the team would improve. My guess is Twins fans think with their hearts because they want to hang on to something positive. I do understand this thinking but at some point reality has to set in. Welcome to the 90's all over again.

YourHouseIsMyHouse
07-09-2012, 02:58 PM
Sometimes these threads kind of confuse me. It especially seems to happen when Fanatic Jack is involved. First of all, some people believe the Twins are in the middle of a rebuilding project. If you believe that, then, no, do not go out spend big money on free agent pitchers.

The problem is we aren't a couple of starting pitchers away. The Twins have an average offense and need to get more production at 1B and the middle infield if they want to contend as well. The bullpen is also around average more or less. However, the bullpen may be the only "group" that would probably be good enough for a playoff team if Capps was healthy (and we had a real closer). The point is, average only gets you into the playoffs in the NHL and NBA. When only 10/30 make it, a team like the Twins needs an even stronger offense and revamped starting pitching.

birdwatcher
07-09-2012, 04:29 PM
Fanatic Jack, have you considered the possibility that YOU are the one distanced from reality. Keep an open mind and hear me out on responding to your argument above:

1. They did NOT "cut payroll". They had gone OVER budget the previous year. But, much more importantly, no on promised you they'd spnd some precise, magical number each year. They promised to spend, ON AVERAGE, roughly 50% of revenue. Now, you think they should have overspent again by signing, say, Cliff Lee. The Twins don't agree with you. Not because they're cheap, but because they don't see the wisdom and value of such a move. Ryan made a bet that Baker, Liriano, Pavano, Marquis, Blackburn, Hendriks, and the myriad of AAAA options in Rochester would work out. He lost the bet. TGhat happens. Who won that Cliff Lee bet?

2. The farm system is hardly in shambles. That's a complete myth, unsupported by the facts. Most pundits rank it as a middle-of-the-road system. Ryan doesn't try to "sell" anything. He in fact has publicly agreed with this assessment. Personally, I think he's being cautious, and that the farm system is already a top third system talent-wise.

3. This team is NOT worse. It's quite dramatically better, although it hasn't shown up on the scoreboard yet. AS the young players like Plouffe, Dozier, Hendriks, Revere, Hendriks, etc. gain experience, the wins will come.

4. This might be 1980 all over again, Jack, not 1990. I'm not comparing Parmelee, Revere, and Plouffe to Hrbek, Puckett, and Gaetti. But there is a strong nucleus of players on the way, and some of them are only a year or so away. And a number of them are starting pitchers with projected ceilings a bit higher than Walters, DeVries, and Diamond. Obviously, many won't pan out but some of these will in the next couple of years: Gibson, Hendriks, Wimmers, Hermsen, Bromberg, Salcedo, and Stuiffbergen are examples. And the low minors is stocked wi9th pitching talent. Check the team ERA's for Beloit, Elizabethton, and Gulf Coast teams.

5. Maybe the dumbest strategy is the one you suggest, which is to compete for the services of the next Barry Zito or Cliff Lee. That is a recipe for an unsustainable future. Building up the farm system is the right move, and progress is being made. You just don't see it, and you don't have the patience for it. And remember, the revenue stream they enjoy now has only been in place for what, three years?

6. Lastly, you're a Pohlad hater. An unbecoming trait, Jack. But you do have plenty of company out there. It's easy to hate the money that ain't yours to spend, isn't it?

Oxtung
07-09-2012, 04:33 PM
Signing an ace like Greinke works fine if you have a constant stream of good pitching prospects that you can ride until they hit arbitration and then replace them with new prospects. Greinke is going to get a $125M/5yr kind of deal. That's $25M per year!!! The whole Twins starting payroll this year was supposed to be ~$30M and that is the highest it has ever been (I think :)). That only leaves $5-10M to sign your other 4 starters. So short term Greinke works if you go with Diamond, Gibson, Hendriks, Wimmers, etc... because they are cheap. That philosophy stops working though once you get to arbitration and your starters start earning in the millions.

Even if you are willing to pay the $25M/yr to Greinke and just live off pre-arb years there is still a problem. The Twins don't have the young pitchers to even make it worthwhile. You want those first years of a Greinke contract to be years you think you can go all the way. Here is what a Twins starting staff would look like though:

Greinke
Diamond
???
???
???

Options:
Hendriks
Walters
Gibson (will he be ready to go?)
Cheap Veteran (hello 37yo Pavano!! or hello Marquis part 2!!)
Deduno
De Vries

Who thinks we could go all the way on that? BTW, things aren't looking any better for the 2014 rotation. Or even possibly the 2015. As you can see if you sign Greinke you don't have the money to improve the rest of the rotation enough to make it worthwhile. Here is what I think is a better option: Sign a $70M/5year deal (I like Shaun Marcum personally), a $33M/3yr deal (somebody between Edwin Jackson and Anibal Sanchez), and a cheap veteran (Pavano?) or Blackburn if he turns things around. This would be your rotation:

Player (Age,ERA, WHIP, K/9)
Marcum (30, 3.39, 1.166, 8.4)
Jackson (28, 3.73, 1.135, 6.8)
Diamond
Pavano/Blackburn
Hendriks/Gibson

Then in 2014 you can replace Pavano with 2 out of Hendriks, Gibson, Wimmers. This method keeps your payroll ~$30M/yr, runs out a decent rotation and allows you to have flexibility in the mid-term with only ~15M/yr locked up long term.

gunnarthor
07-09-2012, 04:35 PM
Bird - I agree with your 1-5 but the Pohlad family has done enough to earn hostility from this fan base and you probably shouldn't accuse people that don't like the Pohlad's of just being jealous of their wealth.

mike wants wins
07-09-2012, 04:42 PM
birdwatcher:

1. The payroll is smaller, not sure how that isn't a cut.
2. What do you base the farm system being in the top third on? The complete lack of impact players at AAA? Mediocre numbers in AA? I'm baffled by that statement.
3. The team is worse, the record is worse. The facts are the facts. We can hope they are better, but the results are worse. We can feel they are better, but they aren't.
4. Which starting pitchers are a year away with high ceilings? A number of them? Less than a year or so away?
5. If the farm system is being built, it was done before Ryan took back over. Because so far, all Ryan has done is run 1 draft.
6. No comment on jack, but just because some of us disagree with the Pohlad approach does not mean we hate them. I just disagree with their approach. I know in 2012 it's hard to believe, but some people can disagree with people w/o hating them.

birdwatcher
07-09-2012, 04:56 PM
gunarthor, I've served on two different non-profit boards and have witnessed first-hand the generosity of the Pohlad family. They've earned hostility? How, by being hostile themselves? Sure, they've earned criticism, but the outright hostility and name-calling is classless. I'm guessing that the Pohlads, as individuals, give away a higher percentage of their annual income than most of their critics on this blog. And they get called cheap, and much worse, by those people.

gunnarthor
07-09-2012, 04:57 PM
birdwatcher:

1. The payroll is smaller, not sure how that isn't a cut.
2. What do you base the farm system being in the top third on? The complete lack of impact players at AAA? Mediocre numbers in AA? I'm baffled by that statement.
3. The team is worse, the record is worse. The facts are the facts. We can hope they are better, but the results are worse. We can feel they are better, but they aren't.
4. Which starting pitchers are a year away with high ceilings? A number of them? Less than a year or so away?
5. If the farm system is being built, it was done before Ryan took back over. Because so far, all Ryan has done is run 1 draft.
6. No comment on jack, but just because some of us disagree with the Pohlad approach does not mean we hate them. I just disagree with their approach. I know in 2012 it's hard to believe, but some people can disagree with people w/o hating them.

1) Bird is asserting that the team went over in 2011. Claiming a 'cut' without taking that into context creates a fiction.
2) I think most observers have the twins farm system in the middle range and we had a solid draft and international signing. The teams top talent is mostly in A+ or lower, although Aaron Hicks is playing well in AA and Oswaldo Arcia recently joined him there. The team added the top talent in the last draft and was active in recent international signings, as well. Most farm systems are rated in total, not just at the AAA level, so Bird has a point.
3) The team is on pace to be 6 games better than last year.
4) Gibson and Hendriks, both have decent upside and should be on the ML roster most of next year.
5) That's true.
6) Agreed.

gunnarthor
07-09-2012, 05:02 PM
gunarthor, I've served on two different non-profit boards and have witnessed first-hand the generosity of the Pohlad family. They've earned hostility? How, by being hostile themselves? Sure, they've earned criticism, but the outright hostility and name-calling is classless. I'm guessing that the Pohlads, as individuals, give away a higher percentage of their annual income than most of their critics on this blog. And they get called cheap, and much worse, by those people.

Maybe, maybe not. I suspect, when you account for the tax loopholes, investment plans and write-offs they have, the Pohlads keep a larger percentage of their money then nearly anyone on this board.

But Fanatic Jack didn't call the Pohlad's anything - he merely said "The only way to improve the team dramatically is to spend money like the Wild just did. It's really that simple but Pohlad wont do it" to which you claimed he was a Pohlad hater.

old nurse
07-09-2012, 05:10 PM
birdwatcher:

4. Which starting pitchers are a year away with high ceilings? A number of them? Less than a year or so away?
.

The statement was a couple of years. That would be hoping for Scalcado to improve quickly, Maybe the Hermson to elevate to a third starter. The cupboard is pretty bare for next year in terms of starting pitching unless those with injuries make recoveries quickly.

USAFChief
07-09-2012, 05:19 PM
1) Bird is asserting that the team went over in 2011. Claiming a 'cut' without taking that into context creates a fiction.
.

One could also make a case that claiming the team went "over budget" in 2011 "creates a fiction."

$213 x .55 = $117.5

diehardtwinsfan
07-09-2012, 05:34 PM
The problem is we aren't a couple of starting pitchers away. The Twins have an average offense and need to get more production at 1B and the middle infield if they want to contend as well. The bullpen is also around average more or less. However, the bullpen may be the only "group" that would probably be good enough for a playoff team if Capps was healthy (and we had a real closer). The point is, average only gets you into the playoffs in the NHL and NBA. When only 10/30 make it, a team like the Twins needs an even stronger offense and revamped starting pitching.

I think you are a tad bit negative. Yes, they need more production at 1B, and quite frankly they should be willing to let Justin re-acclimate himself to the bigs as this season is done. But the middle of the road stats are a bit misleading given that there's a two months of Valencia that has been replaced by Plouffe, as well as Dozier who looks to be an upgrade up the middle. Revere seems to have figured things out too, but all of that has been in the month of June, not April-June... They are pretty solidly above average at a number of positions (C, LF, CF, 3B, and SS). They are likely about average at DH, RF, and 2B assuming Revere can hit... 2B has been bad for us, but it's been bad for most teams. 1B has been well below average, so I won't argue there, but letting Morneau play, or eventually replacing him with Parmalee will alleviate that. The offense is in pretty decent shape. Their problem is pitching, pitching, and pitching. The pen is doing fairly well, especially given the number of times starters don't make it through 5 frames. They get 3 good starting pitchers who can be counted on ERAs better than the league average and this team would be competing with Chicago.

birdwatcher
07-09-2012, 05:42 PM
Mike Wants Wins:

1. I predict the payroll will not be smaller, on averge,over the next three years. Why? Because the Twins said they'll spend, on average, around 50% of revenue, and I believe them. Looking at one year is disingenuous given that promise, isn't it?

2. I base MY belief that the farm system is maybe a top third system talent-wise on the strength primarily found in the lower levels. But I also think you've been mischaracterizing the quality of the higher levels. Yes, they've lacked "impact players" I suppose, depending on your definition. But they have beared fruit: Revere, Plouffe, Dozier, Parmelee, Mastroianni, Hendriks, Oliveros, Diamond, Burnett, DeVries, Manship, Walters, Deduno, Robertson, Fien all played AAA ball this year, did they not? And the numbers at AA this year? Pretty darn good, Mike. Last time I looked, their team ERA was 4th of 12 teams. But whether the system ranks at the 33rd percentile or the 50th percentile, it's significantly better than so many of you choose to believe.

3. The team is better in the opinion of many, many qualified people. That is a fact. The record? That's a different fact. It doesn't refute these people's opinions. We can disagree here. But the fact you recite isn't conclsive, and the season is only half over, Mike. Your fact may eventually support these opinions.

4. I described a number of pitchers as being "a couple years away". I did not say a year away, or less than a year away, although many, many quaified people would opine that some of them are indeed less than a year away. Gibson, Hendrik, Wimmers, Bromberg, Hermsen, Stuiffbergen, and Darnell would be some that might, yes, might be ready in the next two years. Of course, you can describe all of them as having "low ceilings". Are any of these guys aces? Probably not. But don't miss the point I was making, which is that we are not entering the 1990's, as Jack believes. In addition to those potential starting pitchers, add the following names to the list of prospects we may see stick with the club within the next two years: Gutierrez, Guerra, Oliveros, Robertson, Waldrop, Slama, Parmelee, Hicks, Benson, Herrmann, Tosoni, and Arcia. Many will fail, but some will be "high ceiling, impact players by the definition of a lot of us.

Highabove
07-09-2012, 05:53 PM
gunarthor, I've served on two different non-profit boards and have witnessed first-hand the generosity of the Pohlad family. They've earned hostility? How, by being hostile themselves? Sure, they've earned criticism, but the outright hostility and name-calling is classless. I'm guessing that the Pohlads, as individuals, give away a higher percentage of their annual income than most of their critics on this blog. And they get called cheap, and much worse, by those people.

1 In 2001, the Twins were finally starting to turn the corner with a crop of young new Stars.
The Pohlad's were about to reside over a new age of winning Twins Baseball and all of the positives which would go along with it.
Instead, Pohlad chose to take the big money, by offering up his team for liquidation. Luckily, Judge Harry Crump ordered the Team to play the 2002 season.
If Pohlad had realized his wish, there would have never been Division Championships or a Twins Team to Talk about.
This is only one reason for the negative feelings towards the Pohlad's.

powrwrap
07-09-2012, 05:55 PM
This team is NOT worse. It's quite dramatically better



3) The team is on pace to be 6 games better than last year.


Depends on how you look at it.

After 85 games the Twins are 36-49 and on a pace to win 69 games. Last year after 85 games the Twins were 38-47 and on a pace to win 72 games.

In 2011, after 85 games played they had a run differential of -76, this year it's -87.

Nick Nelson
07-09-2012, 06:31 PM
Depends on how you look at it.

After 85 games the Twins are 36-49 and on a pace to win 69 games. Last year after 85 games the Twins were 38-47 and on a pace to win 72 games.

In 2011, after 85 games played they had a run differential of -76, this year it's -87.
There's no way this year's team will be remotely as bad as last year's in the second half. Absolutely no way. Even if they sell off a bunch of pieces.

powrwrap
07-09-2012, 06:36 PM
There's no way this year's team will be remotely as bad as last year's in the second half. Absolutely no way. Even if they sell off a bunch of pieces.

I sure hope not. But as of Game 85, with a healthy Mauer and Morneau, this team is worse than last year's team, and this is in a division with a weaker Detroit and Cleveland teams. BTW, my preseason prediction was that the Twins would win 75 games this year.

gunnarthor
07-09-2012, 07:03 PM
Depends on how you look at it.

After 85 games the Twins are 36-49 and on a pace to win 69 games. Last year after 85 games the Twins were 38-47 and on a pace to win 72 games.

In 2011, after 85 games played they had a run differential of -76, this year it's -87.

Well, what you're really arguing isn't that this team is as bad as last year's team but rather is off the pace of last year's team that ended up losing 99 games. Huge difference.

powrwrap
07-09-2012, 07:16 PM
Well, what you're really arguing isn't that this team is as bad as last year's team but rather is off the pace of last year's team that ended up losing 99 games. Huge difference.

That's not it at all. The numbers show this team is worse than last year's team, even with Mauer and Morneau being healthy. Their won-loss record is worse and their run differential is worse, ergo, they are a worse team.

birdwatcher
07-09-2012, 07:22 PM
Highabove, I haven't attacked anyone, or thrown any cheap shots. I've attacked some people's arguments, and I've criticized people in the past who have taken cheap shots at players, managers, management, and owners. On this thread, I've been critical of Jack's arguments, but I did not throw a cheap shot. I did accuse him of throwing one at the Pohlad boys, who I know and respect. My discussion with MWW has been very civil. So I have no idea where you're coming from, but I hope you'll refrain from throwing your own cheap shots, OK?

gunnarthor
07-09-2012, 07:44 PM
Bird, you're the one that called Jack a "Pohlad hater" for suggesting the Twins spend money on free agents. No one else has bothered to insult anyone else. Highabove correctly pointed out the Pohlad's history of trying to contract the Twins, that's not a cheap shot. You're the only one in this thread that's making cheap shots and insulting other posters.

clutterheart
07-09-2012, 08:15 PM
As my finance prof. used to say, beware the trap of the %. The % is the tool used by underlings to hide bad news.
50% of revenue from the Metrodome was perhaps a million dollars. 50% of revenue from target field might be hundreds of millions of dollars.

The root of the problem is they took public money for a stadium. Unfortunately they are using this public asset poorly and have squandered a once in a generation opportunity to build a fan base similar to the way Cleveland did with Jacobs field. To cut payroll with so many gapping holes in their pitching staff was poor management. If they would have built the stadium with their own dollars they could do what they want. But by holding the team hostage and demanding public money, they make themselves a target when they are enriching themselves off a new stadium. So its entirely fair to call the Pohlads a bunch of greedy jerks who got fat by sucking off the public teats.

I wish them the best in life, but come on. Spend money and build a pitching staff for crying out loud!

birdwatcher
07-09-2012, 08:20 PM
I exten d my apologies to any of you who fell like I've cheap-shotted or insulted them. That is not my intention.

mike wants wins
07-09-2012, 08:41 PM
I think bird has been very civil, we just disagree.

I agree, they probably will be better, but the contention was that they are better. So far, they are worse, though. I misread your comments on the pitchers, I thought you were asserting that more than a few were a year or so away.

I would contend, though, given their record last year and this year, and the fact that they did not spend any money to improve (other than Carroll and Marquis, as the two good signings were just filling holes they created by not spending on Cuddeyer and Kubel) and that there are no number 1-3 pitchers even close, that this team is doomed to have a losing season again next year if it doesn't add legit starting pitchers to this staff. Which I don't think Ryan or Pohlad will do.

kab21
07-09-2012, 10:35 PM
I would like to hear some baseball examples where spending took a team out of the cellar. The examples that I think of are the Cubs and Mets which have been awful for years partly due to getting stuck with awful contracts like Bay's and Soriano's That is the result of spending big in FA. Bad teams improve by rebuilding their farm systems which the Twins are doing. They have 4 prospects in the top 75 right now and they will likely end up with 3-4 more in the 75-150. They also spent nearly all of their draft budget which was the largest (or 2nd largest) in the majors and they have spent a lot of money internationally this year (and in past years).

I think it's funny how the Wolves were mentioned as an example of a team spending to get better. That's not really true if you follow the Wolves. They have been dreadfully awful for years and for too long they were bringing in mediocre vets on ugly contracts. Finally they figured it out and went nuts slashing payroll to put themselves into a position that they can spend a little now that they have developed a very good young core to build around. I'll repeat that. They were awful, they slashed payroll and waited for a young core to develop. I don't expect the Twins to drastically slash payroll but they need to be very careful committing money long term. signing a bunch of aging vets (a majority of FA's) to somewhat long contracts is not what this team needs. They need to be very careful on any contracts longer than 2 years imo.

Highabove
07-09-2012, 11:24 PM
Spending wisely can fill the areas that your Farm system cannot. In years past, the Twins Farm System was producing front line and star players. The Twins did not need a lot of Payroll to Win. Tampa Ray's Fans will never complain about the lack of money their Team spends on starting pitching. The Rays developed one of the premiere staffs in Baseball. The Twins Farm system spit out Liam Hendricks. Up to this year, the Farm System was not developing any power hitters. The Twins spent some money and brought in Willingham.
If the Twins want to be competitive, the Organization must go out and buy what the Farm System is not supplying. It's as simple as that.
At the same time, restock and develop your prospects.

kab21
07-10-2012, 12:08 AM
If the Twins want to be competitive, the Organization must go out and buy what the Farm System is not supplying. It's as simple as that.
At the same time, restock and develop your prospects.

This is true when you are a player or two away from being a contender. The Twins are a few players away from being .500 and there isn't that much money available.

old nurse
07-10-2012, 12:13 AM
Spending wisely can fill the areas that your Farm system cannot. In years past, the Twins Farm System was producing front line and star players. The Twins did not need a lot of Payroll to Win. Tampa Ray's Fans will never complain about the lack of money their Team spends on starting pitching. The Rays developed one of the premiere staffs in Baseball. The Twins Farm system spit out Liam Hendricks. Up to this year, the Farm System was not developing any power hitters. The Twins spent some money and brought in Willingham.
If the Twins want to be competitive, the Organization must go out and buy what the Farm System is not supplying. It's as simple as that.
At the same time, restock and develop your prospects.

Sadly what the farm system lacks is major league pitching talent. The Twins will not sign a long contract free agent. Morneau's concussion and Mauer's contract will prohibit that. Although they can buy insurance, it is not cheap for pitchers. As many of the people here wish for a big name pitcher, it is highly unlikely unless the Twins overspend. Mauer's contract is why the team will not overspend. A small market team can not have two of those. If the second half Twins offense shows life and consistency the likelihood of a FA pitcher signing a one year contract to get a good contract increases. An Edwin Jackson type will come here to get the numbers to get the big one.
Outfielders would appear to be in the pipeline. Infielders are more a long range question.

jokin
07-10-2012, 12:29 AM
Sadly what the farm system lacks is major league pitching talent. The Twins will not sign a long contract free agent. Morneau's concussion and Mauer's contract will prohibit that. Although they can buy insurance, it is not cheap for pitchers. As many of the people here wish for a big name pitcher, it is highly unlikely unless the Twins overspend. Mauer's contract is why the team will not overspend. A small market team can not have two of those. If the second half Twins offense shows life and consistency the likelihood of a FA pitcher signing a one year contract to get a good contract increases. An Edwin Jackson type will come here to get the numbers to get the big one.
Outfielders would appear to be in the pipeline. Infielders are more a long range question.

Careful, you could get hanged in effigy (I have the pseudo neck burns from last April to prove it) for comments such as these. There are certain types here at TD that defend the FO/Field Staff at all costs.

diehardtwinsfan
07-10-2012, 07:17 AM
Mike Wants Wins:

1. I predict the payroll will not be smaller, on averge,over the next three years. Why? Because the Twins said they'll spend, on average, around 50% of revenue, and I believe them. Looking at one year is disingenuous given that promise, isn't it?

2. I base MY belief that the farm system is maybe a top third system talent-wise on the strength primarily found in the lower levels. But I also think you've been mischaracterizing the quality of the higher levels. Yes, they've lacked "impact players" I suppose, depending on your definition. But they have beared fruit: Revere, Plouffe, Dozier, Parmelee, Mastroianni, Hendriks, Oliveros, Diamond, Burnett, DeVries, Manship, Walters, Deduno, Robertson, Fien all played AAA ball this year, did they not? And the numbers at AA this year? Pretty darn good, Mike. Last time I looked, their team ERA was 4th of 12 teams. But whether the system ranks at the 33rd percentile or the 50th percentile, it's significantly better than so many of you choose to believe.

3. The team is better in the opinion of many, many qualified people. That is a fact. The record? That's a different fact. It doesn't refute these people's opinions. We can disagree here. But the fact you recite isn't conclsive, and the season is only half over, Mike. Your fact may eventually support these opinions.

4. I described a number of pitchers as being "a couple years away". I did not say a year away, or less than a year away, although many, many quaified people would opine that some of them are indeed less than a year away. Gibson, Hendrik, Wimmers, Bromberg, Hermsen, Stuiffbergen, and Darnell would be some that might, yes, might be ready in the next two years. Of course, you can describe all of them as having "low ceilings". Are any of these guys aces? Probably not. But don't miss the point I was making, which is that we are not entering the 1990's, as Jack believes. In addition to those potential starting pitchers, add the following names to the list of prospects we may see stick with the club within the next two years: Gutierrez, Guerra, Oliveros, Robertson, Waldrop, Slama, Parmelee, Hicks, Benson, Herrmann, Tosoni, and Arcia. Many will fail, but some will be "high ceiling, impact players by the definition of a lot of us.

1. I don't think anyone trusts them, and quite frankly, they have no reason not to... though I'll say with Carl now deceased, you do have different people running things. But like others said here. the 50/55% of revenue essentially guarantees ownership a huge raise after getting a public funded stadium. I think they'd have been wise to go all out and make a decent run just to give the fans a ring.

2. You are a tad optimistic here. It's a middle of the road system with teh potential to be top 3rd by the end of the season (depending on who they pick up). It's lacking in impact pitching. The hitting prospects are nice enough that I'm pretty excited to see what they have coming up in the 2014/15 timeframe, but there's not much of anything for pitching prospects to help those guys out. Unless something changes, their next contending teams will be pretty flawed.

3. You are correct here, this team is much better than last years... they are tolerable to watch and they won't nearly as bad as they were in the 2nd half of last season.

4. The problem is that there's little for high ceiling impact players onthe mound... quite a few at the plate, but sans Gibson, there's not much there.... and he's hurt.

diehardtwinsfan
07-10-2012, 07:23 AM
I would like to hear some baseball examples where spending took a team out of the cellar. The examples that I think of are the Cubs and Mets which have been awful for years partly due to getting stuck with awful contracts like Bay's and Soriano's That is the result of spending big in FA. Bad teams improve by rebuilding their farm systems which the Twins are doing. They have 4 prospects in the top 75 right now and they will likely end up with 3-4 more in the 75-150. They also spent nearly all of their draft budget which was the largest (or 2nd largest) in the majors and they have spent a lot of money internationally this year (and in past years).

I think it's funny how the Wolves were mentioned as an example of a team spending to get better. That's not really true if you follow the Wolves. They have been dreadfully awful for years and for too long they were bringing in mediocre vets on ugly contracts. Finally they figured it out and went nuts slashing payroll to put themselves into a position that they can spend a little now that they have developed a very good young core to build around. I'll repeat that. They were awful, they slashed payroll and waited for a young core to develop. I don't expect the Twins to drastically slash payroll but they need to be very careful committing money long term. signing a bunch of aging vets (a majority of FA's) to somewhat long contracts is not what this team needs. They need to be very careful on any contracts longer than 2 years imo.


unless you are the Yankees, you cannot spend your way out of the cellar. Spending has to be targeted and strategic. With the Twins, there's quite a bit of hitting talent in the farm, but next to nothing for pitching. They are going to have to spend their way out of that, whether that's eating bad contracts to aquire good pitching talent or going out in the FA market and bringing in some pitching, but if this team is going to contend at all down the road, it's going to have to do some targeted spending. I'll give them credit from a draft standpoint that they made an attempt to alleviate this, but I'd be willing to bet that this won't solve it. They are going to have to buy pitching... period.

Badsmerf
07-10-2012, 07:50 AM
This is true when you are a player or two away from being a contender. The Twins are a few players away from being .500 and there isn't that much money available.

I 100% disagree. The over the last month they have played pretty good baseball, despite their no-name pitching staff. Add in a front line starter and take out (one of) the 5th man and this team wouldn't look too bad. In order to compete they would still need some things to go their way (Diamond's continued success, development of Hendriks, and 2 in-house candidates to work out). I don't think its that far from the realm of possibility. Then, going into 2014, Morneau comes off the books and gives you more flexibility.

By 2014 cost controlled regulars could be: Parmelee, Dozier, Plouffe, Revere, Hicks, Arcia, Benson. With Mauer and Willingham on contracts.

2014 cost controlled starting pitchers: Diamond, Hendriks, Gibson, De Vries?

Not too bad of a core group of players.

Brock Beauchamp
07-10-2012, 07:54 AM
I would like to hear some baseball examples where spending took a team out of the cellar. The examples that I think of are the Cubs and Mets which have been awful for years partly due to getting stuck with awful contracts like Bay's and Soriano's That is the result of spending big in FA. Bad teams improve by rebuilding their farm systems which the Twins are doing. They have 4 prospects in the top 75 right now and they will likely end up with 3-4 more in the 75-150. They also spent nearly all of their draft budget which was the largest (or 2nd largest) in the majors and they have spent a lot of money internationally this year (and in past years).

Agreed, which is why I'm more interested in seeing the Twins go after a guy on the level of Edwin Jackson (and maybe take a flyer on another crap pitcher like Marquis) instead of a Zack Greinke. If the team is going to find an ace, it will probably be from within.

And if you're an ace short of a playoff team in June, go find one as a rental. The most important part is putting yourself into contention in the first place and that's really hard to do if you put all your eggs into one or two baskets (see Mauer, Joe and Morneau, Justin for examples). If the Twins had signed either one of those guys via free agency, 3/4 of this board would be calling for the front office's heads.

Development is the key to winning baseball games over the long haul and the more gambles you take on high-priced free agents, the more risk you take in being a very, very, very bad team for a very, very, very long time (Cubs and Mets, anyone?).

If this team had an Edwin Jackson instead of a Jason Marquis out of spring training, there's a damned good chance we're talking about picking up another starter in the next two weeks because the Twins are in the middle of a race for the division. And that's with all their devastating injuries to the pitching staff. Baker was a huge blow (and is basically that Edwin Jackson type guy) and while Pavano isn't very good, he's a lot better than what the Twins have been putting on the mound in the past few months.

mike wants wins
07-10-2012, 09:01 AM
I just don't get how sigining 1-2 legit FAs means you can't also draft and develop well. I just don't see it as either or....but I do see that this minor league system is not going to graduate enough players for this team to be .500 next year either, they need to add 1-2 legit players.

Fanatic Jack
07-10-2012, 09:27 AM
Birdwatcher,

You do not have to apologize for anything because you did nothing wrong. You actually made some good points even if I disagree with them. The C-H-E-A-P Pohlad comment was not really off track. You will not see him spend money like Wilf, Leipold, or Taylor and this is an undisputed fact. The great and bad things about MLB is there is no salary cap. If the Twins decided to pump up their payroll and pay big money for 2-3 really good pitchers they would be a contender. However, you will NEVER, EVER see them spend the kind of money Wild owner Craig Leipold just did on July 4th. My guess the Pohlad family is more consumed with making money than winning. I guess Detroit fans are happy that Mike IIlich just wants to winbecause he continues to spend big to win a championship for the Red Wings and Tigers. What is so wrong with that?? When your biggest free agent signing EVER is Josh Willingham at 3-years, $21 million there is a problem. Other teams spend money because they are more interested in winning than the money aspect of it.

Brock Beauchamp
07-10-2012, 09:36 AM
I guess Detroit fans are happy that Mike IIlich just wants to winbecause he continues to spend big to win a championship for the Red Wings andTigers. What is so wrong with that?? When your biggest free agent signing EVER is Josh Willingham at 3-years,$21 million there is a problem. Otherteams spend money because they are more interested in winning than the moneyaspect of it.

I don't think Mike's baseball track record is anything worth praising. If it didn't work this year, it's certainly not going to work in 2013 or 2014 and it's going to wreck the team for years past that point. The Fielder signing was an awful move. Just awful.

Josh Willingham OPS+: 149
Prince Fielder OPS+: 139

By the time Fielder is Willingham's age, he's nothing more than a DH (who is paid $21m a year). By the end of the contract, he's an albatross. Guys that big don't tend to age well, particularly when they're not athletic in their mid-20s.

Fanatic Jack
07-10-2012, 09:38 AM
Rocketpig,

What happened to the Brewers this season. The Tigers will dominate the second half of the season and go to the World Series. Miguel Carera worked out pretty good.

Fanatic Jack
07-10-2012, 09:42 AM
Rocketpig,

What happend to the Brewers without Fielder so far this year? The Tigers will still win the divison and beat the Yankees in the playoffs just like in 2007. The Miguel Cabrera contract is working out just fine for the Tigers. Illich is a genius and not afraid to spend.

Brock Beauchamp
07-10-2012, 09:42 AM
Rocketpig,

What happened to the Brewers this season. The Tigers will dominate the second half of the season and go to the World Series. Miguel Carera worked out pretty good.

What about the Brewers? They took their shot at it last season and failed. I saw it coming a mile away and thought it was sad that the franchise is now basically a wasteland for the next few years.

As for the Tigers, they have two shots at this thing. This season (which is going rather badly) and maaaaaybe next year. After that, Miggy and Fielder start to get old. Both are already DH types in their late 20s. What are their early 30s going to look like? And given those contracts, Detroit can't go pick up the infield help they'll need going forward. They won't be able to go pick up another front-end starter. They're completely hamstrung by those contracts. Take a look at the Tigers #5-9 hitters. Try not to laugh too hard at their ridiculously bad production levels.

I'm all for spending smart money. I'm not for spending dumb money. Willingham was smart money. Fielder was dumb money.

Brock Beauchamp
07-10-2012, 09:46 AM
Rocketpig,

What happend to the Brewers without Fielder so far this year? The Tigers will still win the divison and beat the Yankees in the playoffs just like in 2007. The Miguel Cabrera contract is working out just fine for the Tigers. Illich is a genius and not afraid to spend.

Yes, he's an absolute genius who, despite having a payroll much larger than the Twins, has the same number of championships in the past 20 years as the Twins.

Of course, the Twins have gone to the playoffs far more often in those 20 years.

birdwatcher
07-10-2012, 10:42 AM
Fanatic Jack,

Thanks for introducing an exceptional forum topic. Oh, and thanks for exonerating me... You too, MWW. The most obvious point of contention we have is this: some observe the Twin's history and conclude that they will never, ever spend satisfactorily to produce a winner. That's a very understandable outlook. I just disagree, for two primary reasons.

First, Carl Pohlad is gone, God rest his soul. He was hurt my the way he and his family were treated LEADING UP to his decision to give it up. He saw that his kids and grandkids had to put up with crap. There was internal debate about whether it was worth it to continue ownership even after the contraction crisis passed. Carl's kids and grandkids, some of them anyway, do in fact have a desire to produce a winning team. This notion that they only care about money is antiquated and wrong. And the cheap tag is a harsh one to place on these people. I admit to a bias, in that I know a few of the kids and grandkids, and happen to like and respect some of them.

Second, the new revenue stream has not been in place long enough for us to witness any dramatic changes in the W-L column. But good things are happening, and we should start to see the results on the field as early as 2014, and we'll see glimpses (players) of the future next year. They are spending! Sano is an obvious example. They picked up a top five international prospect, and signed Australia's best prospect (a pitcher! a pitcher!).

MWW, I totally agree with you that they must find one or two #2-type starters from outside the system for 2013. (Let someone else overspend for Greinke and Hamels please). You think they won't and I think they will. And Jack, I think you believe they should go hogwild and sign Greinke, right? I agree with many others here that that would not be smart money. They can skin the cat without going there.

One last point: one would expect an organization drafting in the second half, usually bottom third, of the draft for a decade to have a middle-of-the-road farm system, right? That's about 500 rounds of second-half choices. And they arguably lacked the resources to compete internationally for many of those years. You can count on one hand the number of current aces that were on the board when the Twin's number got called. So it has always bugged me a little bit that, because the system isn't first-rate, that the Twins' scouting, development, coaching, front office, ownership, and peanut vending personnel are all incompetent.

Again, great discussion. Thanks.

mike wants wins
07-10-2012, 11:22 AM
I have never called them incompetent, my contention has always been this:

If you refuse to sign bigtime free agents or to trade prospect for bigtime legit MLB players in their prime eanring years, you have to be one of the best in the entire league at drafting and developing. If that is your strategy, then you have to follow it. You have to go over slot (in the past) a lot to get great players. You need to sign international guys. You need players to get better and better minor league coaching. You need to trade better than everyone else.

but, imo, they have not done that. They have not been one of the best minor league systems, even given their draft position. The Rays kick their butt, even after drafting later as they got better, for example. The Phillies system was loaded, and they dealt for players, and still have some high impact minor leaguers.

So, I'd say they have not truly embraced their strategy. And, they have not held anyone accountable for not succeeding with their strategy. And, they've failed to bring in any outside people into leadership roles, to refresh their approach and ideas. They are a classic example of groupthink, and privately held companies that don't bring in outsiders every once in awhile.

That all said, I hope birdwatcher is right, and they are different this offseason, but it's hard to imagine, given 30+ years of history (or however long there has been FA) of not signing free agents in their prime earining years from outside their own organization.