PDA

View Full Version : Article: The Elephant in the Room



Nick Nelson
08-09-2012, 10:58 PM
You can view the page at http://www.twinsdaily.com/content.php?904-The-Elephant-in-the-Room

BrentMpls
08-09-2012, 11:09 PM
Which route do you think they will go Nick?

Nick Nelson
08-09-2012, 11:17 PM
Hard to say. Ryan has been very vague when discussing his offseason plans. If they're serious about keeping payroll steady going forward, though, I don't see how it would really be possible to not at least make a modest effort at fielding a decent team. They'll have around $25M to spend and few holes to fill outside of the rotation.

Twins best friend
08-09-2012, 11:30 PM
I think they'll stick in the grey area between the two unfortunately. I see them picking up a veteran starter this offseason who has the potential to and has been in the past a number 2 type starter but will most likely produce as a number 3 starter but I also see them making a trade for promising pitcher who won't be MLB ready till the 2014 or 2015 season. I'd really rather them go at one or the other with gusto but the Twins don't tend to make and sort of organizational moves with gusto. My pessimism tastes sour.

twinstalker
08-09-2012, 11:53 PM
They weren't willing to build a championship team when they had Mauer, Morneau, Santana, and Nathan as centerpieces, what makes you think they'd do the appropriate things when the really only have Mauer as someone who can be counted on to be well above average at his position?

glunn
08-10-2012, 12:23 AM
It seems to me that they need to play the cards that are dealt as time passes.

There has been lots of talk in the forums about signing Greinke and other starters who will be coveted by the Yankees and other free spending teams. I think that is pure fantasy. The Twins don't get into bidding wars against the high spending teams. Their favored approach seems to be looking for players who are undervalued, like the Hammer. If they can get a pitcher who they feel is undervalued, then I think that they will go for him. That pitcher might turn out to be as good as Pavano was in his first year with the Twins or as bad as Marquis was this year. Or maybe they will get lucky.

For me the good news is that the home-grown pitching for next year may be at least at league average. In my opinion:

-- Diamond seems fairly solid. I would be happy if he could start the first postseason game next year,

-- Deduno may be a disaster waiting to happen (with his WHIP of 1,58), but he is a joy to watch and if he can fix his "fastball" and cut his walk rate, he could be a legitimate #2.

-- DeVries is not flashy but he is getting the job done -- WHIP of 1.12.

-- Kyle Gibson may be ready to contribute next year.

-- Blackburn will be in a contract year and may get his act togther.

-- Hendriks could use a strikeout pitch, and maybe he just needs to learn to relax and just throw the damn ball like he does at AAA.

-- P.J. (the "Wall") Walters has shown flashes of competence.

-- Esmerling Vasquez (now in Rochester) has a WHIP of only 1.13 and has more strikeouts than Hendriks (77 strikeouts in 81.1 innings for Vasquez versus 72 strikeouts in 92.1 innings for Hendriks). Vasquez is almost 30 years old, but maybe he could have a few good years in the majors as a #4 or #5 starter.

These are all pitchers who I would like to see given a chance next year. And remember that if Butera becomes a pitcher next year, then he will bat only in interleague games.:jump:

Nick, am I wrong to have hope that at least 4 or 5 of these guys could be equal or exceed league average next year?

twinswon1991
08-10-2012, 07:23 AM
It seems to me that they need to play the cards that are dealt as time passes.

There has been lots of talk in the forums about signing Greinke and other starters who will be coveted by the Yankees and other free spending teams. I think that is pure fantasy. The Twins don't get into bidding wars against the high spending teams. Their favored approach seems to be looking for players who are undervalued, like the Hammer. If they can get a pitcher who they feel is undervalued, then I think that they will go for him. That pitcher might turn out to be as good as Pavano was in his first year with the Twins or as bad as Marquis was this year. Or maybe they will get lucky.

For me the good news is that the home-grown pitching for next year may be at least at league average. In my opinion:

-- Diamond seems fairly solid. I would be happy if he could start the first postseason game next year,

-- Deduno may be a disaster waiting to happen (with his WHIP of 1,58), but he is a joy to watch and if he can fix his "fastball" and cut his walk rate, he could be a legitimate #2.

-- DeVries is not flashy but he is getting the job done -- WHIP of 1.12.

-- Kyle Gibson may be ready to contribute next year.

-- Blackburn will be in a contract year and may get his act togther.

-- Hendriks could use a strikeout pitch, and maybe he just needs to learn to relax and just throw the damn ball like he does at AAA.

-- P.J. (the "Wall") Walters has shown flashes of competence.

-- Esmerling Vasquez (now in Rochester) has a WHIP of only 1.13 and has more strikeouts than Hendriks (77 strikeouts in 81.1 innings for Vasquez versus 72 strikeouts in 92.1 innings for Hendriks). Vasquez is almost 30 years old, but maybe he could have a few good years in the majors as a #4 or #5 starter.

These are all pitchers who I would like to see given a chance next year. And remember that if Butera becomes a pitcher next year, then he will bat only in interleague games.:jump:

Nick, am I wrong to have hope that at least 4 or 5 of these guys could be equal or exceed league average next year?

You are crazy unfortunately. Diamond has a decent shot at being average and the rest will need a miracle to be average. If Twins rotation consists of only 1 league average starter and a FA in the Liriano mold we will lose 90 for the 3rd year in a row.

Who cares about Mauer? If you ever want to actually win a playoff game you need to endure the pain o blowing this thing up and building thru the minors. Stuck in the middle is the worst place to be.

DPJ
08-10-2012, 07:54 AM
Would if really be an injustice to Mauer, hell the team has fielded playoff caliber teams with or around Joe on them in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010. Hell he's missed the postseason in 3 outta the 8 seasons he's been in the majors...pretty good run even if they **** the bed everytime in October.

If they Twins want to gear up for a run and not just a AL Central run that involves winnings actually postseason games I think it's gonna take a few years to aquire all the pieces needed for that.

Cap'n Piranha
08-10-2012, 07:59 AM
Stuck in the middle is the worst place to be.

Are there Clowns to your left, Jokers to your right, here you are?

Blackjack
08-10-2012, 08:10 AM
It seems to me that they need to play the cards that are dealt as time passes.

There has been lots of talk in the forums about signing Greinke and other starters who will be coveted by the Yankees and other free spending teams. I think that is pure fantasy. The Twins don't get into bidding wars against the high spending teams. Their favored approach seems to be looking for players who are undervalued, like the Hammer. If they can get a pitcher who they feel is undervalued, then I think that they will go for him. That pitcher might turn out to be as good as Pavano was in his first year with the Twins or as bad as Marquis was this year. Or maybe they will get lucky.


I think that you hit it on the head, it will be a 'cattle call' of starting pitchers next spring, all the guys you mentioned plus a couple of marginal free agents, and hope that several will step up. Thats the way the Twins have always done it, they've never had powerhouse teams, their margin for error is always slim, if most players don't have good years, with a couple of great ones thrown in, and they don't avoid injury, they lose.

I think the real elephant in the room is Target Field, the Twins brass has seen what happened in Cleveland, the new stadium draws people for a few years, but without a competitive team, they don't draw fans. And that means less $8 beers and $6 hotdogs sold. They're not going to blow up the team, they've got a pretty good nucleus, adding a couple of good starters will go a long ways to making them competitive.

My prediction is that Terry Ryan will do what he always has done, trade from a position of strength, which is the glut of outfielders, he'll trade one of them, most likely Span, for a starting pitcher.

Brock Beauchamp
08-10-2012, 08:10 AM
If Twins rotation consists of only 1 league average starter and a FA in the Liriano mold we will lose 90 for the 3rd year in a row.

You do realize that there's a pretty good chance the Twins won't lose 90 this season, right?

Winston Smith
08-10-2012, 08:25 AM
Joe Mauer has never played in a playoff game the Twins won. Not saying it's his fault but it does indicate how long ago Henry Blanco was the catcher in the last win, and AJ the win before that. I think Blackjack has it right they will attempt to field a team that can stay close next year, they want people to stay interested, buying tickets and beers.

Don't Feed the Greed Guy
08-10-2012, 08:28 AM
My hunch is that the Twins will look to free agency for that 1-2 starter, stand pat with Mr. Diamond, hope for Mr. Kyle Benjamin Gibson's arm to hold up, and pray for a bunch of rain-outs. If they wanted to gut the team for a bunch of young arms, they would have done so before the trade deadline. It would also be nice to upgrade the middle infield.

It won't be pretty, but the Central is a weak division. The Twins should finish third this year, and perhaps less than 10 games out. I just want our boys to be playing meaningful games in August and September. I love to troll for walleyes in the evening and listen to a competitve game on the radio. This year they were out of it before I even got my boat in the water...

With this lineup, and the 15-20 more wins that two good starters could bring, we'll be okay--maybe make the playoffs--or duplicate a once-in-a-lifetime, catching lightning in a bottle postseason like 1987. Or, maybe .500. That's about all...

stringer bell
08-10-2012, 08:43 AM
"Cattle call" was precisely what the Twins did for their bullpen this year. They kept Burton and Maloney (didn't pan out, now had TJ surgery), but weve also seen Deduno (as a starter), Perdomo, and Fien. I liked what the Twins did and if they can snare a guy by signing minor league free agents, sign one higher profile guy and get help from the farm (Hendriks, Gibson) they can be OK. I'll grant that is a lot of "ifs", but I do believe that after everything had gone wrong for about 18 months, the Twins were/are due a bit of good fortune. This is probably Terry Ryan's real strength--finding hidden nuggets in other people's systems--so perhaps there is a little better shot because of that.

diehardtwinsfan
08-10-2012, 08:49 AM
Hard to say. Ryan has been very vague when discussing his offseason plans. If they're serious about keeping payroll steady going forward, though, I don't see how it would really be possible to not at least make a modest effort at fielding a decent team. They'll have around $25M to spend and few holes to fill outside of the rotation.

I think they can do the best of both worlds on this one. I suspect Ryan is going to trade one of Morneau, Span, or Revere this offseason for some starting pitching help, though I wouldn't be surprised in the least if that's a higher upside AA type starter as opposed to a ML ready one now. The Reds seem to be a bit of a natural fit here as they could definitely use one of Span/Revere and have a surplus of pitching. The drop off to losing one of these guys should be minimal, and if Parmelee shows he isn't a fluke, we might even see a small upgrade in the lineup.

In the free agent market, I suspect he's going to plow a good chunk of that 25M into a decent starters, but at the same point, he's going to have to sign a few one year prove it type deals to guys like Baker, potentially bedard (though I think he might get a multi-year deal), or other high upside pitchers... He may go takea flier on a MI player too...

Shane Wahl
08-10-2012, 09:07 AM
Vasquez (he has been very good since a bad April) working as a starter now does add to his value and I would like to see him get a chance. It *is* true that 2-5 next year (at least by June) could be Gibson-Diamond-Hendriks-Vasquez (or Walters). I would guess that the Twins will go that route and spend legitimately on one very good starting pitcher (Marcum, for instance). I would prefer two of them though. One option in between a $10+ million and a AA prospect who won't be ready in 2013, is to trade instead for guys in their arbitration years right now who have been good this year. The Twins could perhaps get Marcum for $4/50 and one younger arb pitcher for $2/$4 million . . . etc. or whatever.

Pitchers in arbitration, team, year of FA:

Chris Sale, CHW 2017
Jarrod Parker, OAK, 2018 (?)
Matt Harrison, TEX, 2015
Tommy Milone, OAK, 2018
Jason Hammel, BAL, 2014
Jeremy Hellickson, TB, 2017

Jordan Zimmermann, WAS, 2016
James McDonald, PIT, 2016
Wade Miley, WAS, 2018
Lance Lynn, STL, 2018
Vance Worley, PHI, 2018
Clayton Richard, SDG, 2015

JB_Iowa
08-10-2012, 09:24 AM
I think they can do the best of both worlds on this one. I suspect Ryan is going to trade one of Morneau, Span, or Revere this offseason for some starting pitching help, though I wouldn't be surprised in the least if that's a higher upside AA type starter as opposed to a ML ready one now. The Reds seem to be a bit of a natural fit here as they could definitely use one of Span/Revere and have a surplus of pitching. The drop off to losing one of these guys should be minimal, and if Parmelee shows he isn't a fluke, we might even see a small upgrade in the lineup.

In the free agent market, I suspect he's going to plow a good chunk of that 25M into a decent starters, but at the same point, he's going to have to sign a few one year prove it type deals to guys like Baker, potentially bedard (though I think he might get a multi-year deal), or other high upside pitchers... He may go takea flier on a MI player too...

I hope you are right. I just don't see the Twins ever investing the money and years to "buy" a #1 starter. If I'm right about that, they have to find another way to acquire a #1 -- since kidnapping is probably out, that means trade or draft. I hope that he can somehow finesse his way through trades over the next 1 1/2 years to get a couple of prospects with #1 - #2 potential (hoping that one pans out).

As for next year, I don't think he'll spend $25 million unless he gets Morneau's salary off the books. If Morneau is on this team, I believe that he'll spend $15-$19 million (at most). Targeting one #2 -#3 type starter (a solid innings eater) for no more than 3 years. Plus taking a 1 year "flier" on someone like Bedard or Baker (although I have a hard time seeing Baker really ready before July).

I understand their need to keep people in the stands but it is hard for me to see Ryan spending the money to acquire (2) #2-#3 types. I hope they are saying a lot of prayers -- and making some voodoo sacrifices -- to try to get what they have in the system to solidify.

gunnarthor
08-10-2012, 09:25 AM
I think the Twins can make more Bullock/Diamond moves. Diamond is obviously a "Twins" pitcher and the Twins seem to have a good understanding on the importance of control type pitchers. Those pitchers seem to be underrated by other clubs (maybe Pedro Hernandez gets a shot next year). I could see Ryan trying to add one of those guys fairly cheaply.

I do think he'll trade Span for one starter to go along with Diamond and Hendriks. Gibson will come up at some point next year but will be on limited innings, maybe he starts in the pen?. I'm not sure if Ryan will spend much on a free agent but he could get a guy like Joe Blanton. Obviously, I'd like the team to add Grienke, Marcum or even Sanchez but i don't think that's likely. I wonder if a guy like Dan Haren, injured, sorta bad year, might be available on a one year deal to get his value up.

cr9617
08-10-2012, 09:37 AM
It seems to me that they need to play the cards that are dealt as time passes.

There has been lots of talk in the forums about signing Greinke and other starters who will be coveted by the Yankees and other free spending teams. I think that is pure fantasy. The Twins don't get into bidding wars against the high spending teams. Their favored approach seems to be looking for players who are undervalued, like the Hammer. If they can get a pitcher who they feel is undervalued, then I think that they will go for him. That pitcher might turn out to be as good as Pavano was in his first year with the Twins or as bad as Marquis was this year. Or maybe they will get lucky.

For me the good news is that the home-grown pitching for next year may be at least at league average. In my opinion:

-- Diamond seems fairly solid. I would be happy if he could start the first postseason game next year,

-- Deduno may be a disaster waiting to happen (with his WHIP of 1,58), but he is a joy to watch and if he can fix his "fastball" and cut his walk rate, he could be a legitimate #2.

-- DeVries is not flashy but he is getting the job done -- WHIP of 1.12.

-- Kyle Gibson may be ready to contribute next year.

-- Blackburn will be in a contract year and may get his act togther.

-- Hendriks could use a strikeout pitch, and maybe he just needs to learn to relax and just throw the damn ball like he does at AAA.

-- P.J. (the "Wall") Walters has shown flashes of competence.

-- Esmerling Vasquez (now in Rochester) has a WHIP of only 1.13 and has more strikeouts than Hendriks (77 strikeouts in 81.1 innings for Vasquez versus 72 strikeouts in 92.1 innings for Hendriks). Vasquez is almost 30 years old, but maybe he could have a few good years in the majors as a #4 or #5 starter.

These are all pitchers who I would like to see given a chance next year. And remember that if Butera becomes a pitcher next year, then he will bat only in interleague games.:jump:

Nick, am I wrong to have hope that at least 4 or 5 of these guys could be equal or exceed league average next year?

That is a seriously underwhelming list of pitchers.

birdwatcher
08-10-2012, 09:43 AM
I hold out hope that Ryan will sign one #2-3 starter via FA (Marcum type), trade for another #2-3 starter (Leake type), sign Baker, and fill out the rotation with Gibson and Diamond, leaving a very acceptable set of options in the wings: Hendriks, DeVries, Walters, Deduno, Bromberg, Hermsen...and? Nope, bye bye Blackburn. This would cost one of Span and Morneau, most likely. If Ryan settles for one #2-3 starter, I'll be dissappointed, and ready to criticize him as I did regarding this year's failed gamble with the rotation. If he gives us no new #2-3 starters, I'll join in the outcry for his head.

drivlikejehu
08-10-2012, 10:03 AM
My concern with the rebuilding approach is that the Twins have so little pitching in their system... even a couple trades can only do so much. Say you get 3 'B' pitching prospects somehow... a reasonable outcome will be one getting hurt, another being a reliever, and one making it as an OK starter. That's just not going to make a difference.

They really need 3 legit starters, which is an extremely tall order. Usually impossible, but between a solid group of free agents and the possibility of a trade or two, I guess it's theoretically possible. It may make more sense financially than trying to rebuild without much in the way of pitching prospects.

TKGuy
08-10-2012, 10:31 AM
I'm sure Ervin Santana will not have his option picked up. He was dealing in the second half last year, but has had a terrible year. Usually a 2 to 1 K/BB guy.

Also, the Dodgers have 5 or 6 starters under contract. I wonder if they move Billingsley for a 1B. He is locked up for a couple more years, but has had injury problems

I think a JA Happ or Jair Jurrjens would be in the same mold the TWins might look at.

jm3319
08-10-2012, 11:09 AM
i just wish they would have gone for broke a few years ago when they had a healthy Mauer, Morneau, Nathan, along with productive Cuddyer and Kubel along with some decent starting pithing. They needed to put the chips on the table and go big, instead of always planning for the "future." We are in that "future" now, and it's nothing to be proud of.

Brock Beauchamp
08-10-2012, 11:17 AM
i just wish they would have gone for broke a few years ago when they had a healthy Mauer, Morneau, Nathan, along with productive Cuddyer and Kubel along with some decent starting pithing. They needed to put the chips on the table and go big, instead of always planning for the "future." We are in that "future" now, and it's nothing to be proud of.

That season never existed. Outside of 2010, the Twins haven't had decent starting pitching since Santana left. And in 2010, Nathan was injured. Morneau was out. The team was still very good but it still had significant flaws.

The closest the Twins came to a season like that was 2006, when they should have handled the A's but didn't. They were a 96 win team (their best record since 1970) and straight-up choked in the playoffs.

Nick Nelson
08-10-2012, 11:40 AM
That season never existed. Outside of 2010, the Twins haven't had decent starting pitching since Santana left. And in 2010, Nathan was injured. Morneau was out. The team was still very good but it still had significant flaws.

The closest the Twins came to a season like that was 2006, when they should have handled the A's but didn't. They were a 96 win team (their best record since 1970) and straight-up choked in the playoffs.
It's sad to look back at 2006 and how well positioned that team was for a run of success. 25YO MVP Morneau. 23YO MVP-caliber Mauer. 27YO Cy Young Santana. 22YO rookie sensation Liriano. Awesome young bullpen led by Nathan. Hunter, Cuddyer, Bartlett...

And yet, not one playoff victory since that season. Sigh.

Steve Lein
08-10-2012, 11:48 AM
"And not doing so would be an injustice to the franchise's most valuable (and highly-paid) asset: Joe Mauer."

- This was (and has been for other arguments as well) my argument for why the Twins needed to draft a pitcher (such as Mark Appel), and not necessarily the BPA (Buxton) this year in the draft. Pretty soon Mauer's "prime years" window will be gone, and during that time the Twins will never have had an ace, or even a true #1 (or even #2) pitcher to compliment him. "Injustice" is a great understatement to me. They're not going to spend the money on one in Free Agency, and I don't recall them ever sending off a major Prospect to get a stud SP via trade. Thus if they ever want one, they have to draft one. This year was the best chance at that they were going to get.

Brock Beauchamp
08-10-2012, 12:00 PM
It's sad to look back at 2006 and how well positioned that team was for a run of success. 25YO MVP Morneau. 23YO MVP-caliber Mauer. 27YO Cy Young Santana. 22YO rookie sensation Liriano. Awesome young bullpen led by Nathan. Hunter, Cuddyer, Bartlett...

And yet, not one playoff victory since that season. Sigh.

Excuse me while I go chug a bottle of scotch.

jokin
08-10-2012, 12:00 PM
"And not doing so would be an injustice to the franchise's most valuable (and highly-paid) asset: Joe Mauer."

- This was (and has been for other arguments as well) my argument for why the Twins needed to draft a pitcher (such as Mark Appel), and not necessarily the BPA (Buxton) this year in the draft. Pretty soon Mauer's "prime years" window will be gone, and during that time the Twins will never have had an ace, or even a true #1 (or even #2) pitcher to compliment him. "Injustice" is a great understatement to me. They're not going to spend the money on one in Free Agency, and I don't recall them ever sending off a major Prospect to get a stud SP via trade. Thus if they ever want one, they have to draft one. This year was the best chance at that they were going to get.

"Injustice" is an entirely inappropriate overstatement to me. Surely, both the Twins, Mauer, and his agent knew what they were getting into and what the possible, or likely, implications and consequences would be by signing the type of deal they jointly entered.

I don't think any court in the land would find that Mauer has been done any "injustice" at all. This statement is just plain silly and absurd on its face.

ashburyjohn
08-10-2012, 12:01 PM
I am disappointed. When I saw the title for this article, I thought I would be reading about Matt Capps.

Brock Beauchamp
08-10-2012, 12:02 PM
"And not doing so would be an injustice to the franchise's most valuable (and highly-paid) asset: Joe Mauer."

- This was (and has been for other arguments as well) my argument for why the Twins needed to draft a pitcher (such as Mark Appel), and not necessarily the BPA (Buxton) this year in the draft. Pretty soon Mauer's "prime years" window will be gone, and during that time the Twins will never have had an ace, or even a true #1 (or even #2) pitcher to compliment him. "Injustice" is a great understatement to me. They're not going to spend the money on one in Free Agency, and I don't recall them ever sending off a major Prospect to get a stud SP via trade. Thus if they ever want one, they have to draft one. This year was the best chance at that they were going to get.

Not taking the BPA in the draft is a slippery slope to step on. You make excuses for doing it one year and it's not hard to come up with reasons to continue doing it every year thereafter.

Oxtung
08-10-2012, 12:05 PM
"Injustice" is an entirely inappropriate overstatement to me. Surely, both the Twins, Mauer, and his agent knew what they were getting into and what the possible, or likely, implications and consequences would be by signing the type of deal they jointly entered.

I don't think any court in the land would find that Mauer has been done any "injustice" at all. This statement is just plain silly and absurd on its face.

Yeah, hard to get upset for a guy who entered into a legal contract knowingly and is getting paid $23M/year. The true injustice is to the fans who have funded the stadium and pay to go see the games.

snepp
08-10-2012, 12:06 PM
Excuse me while I go chug a bottle of scotch.

Or anti-freeze.

jokin
08-10-2012, 12:08 PM
Yeah, hard to get upset for a guy who entered into a legal contract knowingly and is getting paid $23M/year. The true injustice is to the fans who have funded the stadium and pay to go see the games.

Precisely.

Nick Nelson
08-10-2012, 12:17 PM
"Injustice" is an entirely inappropriate overstatement to me. Surely, both the Twins, Mauer, and his agent knew what they were getting into and what the possible, or likely, implications and consequences would be by signing the type of deal they jointly entered.

I don't think any court in the land would find that Mauer has been done any "injustice" at all. This statement is just plain silly and absurd on its face.

It's not so much that it's an injustice to Mauer himself. He's making his money and he's had a couple shots in the playoffs already.

More so, it's an injustice to the Twins themselves and their fans. Here they have this once-in-a-generation talent, a Hall of Fame caliber player that they paid an enormous amount of money to lock up. Now they're going to waste his best remaining years in a semi-rebuilding effort rather than doing everything they reasonably can to build a contender around him? Seems like a regrettable decision to me. Considering the condition of his legs and the likelihood that he'll need to fully switch away from catcher at some point, there's a very good chance Mauer's value will start fading fast as he ages into his mid-30s and it's awfully tough to build a great roster around a fading player earning ~25% of the payroll. People in the long-term rebuild camp often overlook this.

diehardtwinsfan
08-10-2012, 12:27 PM
it's awfully tough to build a great roster around a fading player earning ~25% of the payroll. People in the long-term rebuild camp often overlook this.

Detroit is going to figure this out the hard way in a few years.

jokin
08-10-2012, 12:30 PM
It's not so much that it's an injustice to Mauer himself. He's making his money and he's had a couple shots in the playoffs already.

More so, it's an injustice to the Twins themselves and their fans. Here they have this once-in-a-generation talent, a Hall of Fame caliber player that they paid an enormous amount of money to lock up. Now they're going to waste his best remaining years in a semi-rebuilding effort rather than doing everything they reasonably can to build a contender around him? Seems like a regrettable decision to me. Considering the condition of his legs and the likelihood that he'll need to fully switch away from catcher at some point, there's a very good chance Mauer's value will start fading fast as he ages into his mid-30s and it's awfully tough to build a great roster around a fading player earning ~25% of the payroll. People in the long-term rebuild camp often overlook this.

If you take out the part of your post that starts with "It's not so much...", and ends with "...More so,", I'm in 100% agreement with you. I argued along those lines previously this spring that the nightmare of 2011 so coldcocked the Twins that they were unable to move forward with "the plan" as envisioned in 2009- and were returning to their comfort zone of the late 70s/early 80s and 90s years of meciocrity while they pare the payroll of existing big $ contracts.

Oxtung
08-10-2012, 12:47 PM
It's not so much that it's an injustice to Mauer himself. He's making his money and he's had a couple shots in the playoffs already.

More so, it's an injustice to the Twins themselves and their fans. Here they have this once-in-a-generation talent, a Hall of Fame caliber player that they paid an enormous amount of money to lock up. Now they're going to waste his best remaining years in a semi-rebuilding effort rather than doing everything they reasonably can to build a contender around him? Seems like a regrettable decision to me. Considering the condition of his legs and the likelihood that he'll need to fully switch away from catcher at some point, there's a very good chance Mauer's value will start fading fast as he ages into his mid-30s and it's awfully tough to build a great roster around a fading player earning ~25% of the payroll. People in the long-term rebuild camp often overlook this.

This is just my gut feeling but I don't think the Pohlad's really care. They seem to be in this for the business reasons more than the fanatical fan reasons. As long as the Twins are making them money everything else is a secondary concern. Now that's not to say that they don't want to win. I just think it's obvious they value the fiscal earning power of the Twins over the social or emotional bonuses of putting a championship caliber squad on the field. I don't think we should fault them for this either. The Twins certainly aren't a charity the Pohlad's should be expected to donate money to so they can win a championship. Even having an owner whose driven by fandom and that wants to do whatever he can to win isn't necessarily a good thing. Do you end up with Mark Cuban or Daniel Snyder?

Sorry, while my original point was related to your post I seem to have wandered off somewhere in the middle. I am not trying to imply that you have made any claims about the Twins ownership.

Shane Wahl
08-10-2012, 01:29 PM
It's not so much that it's an injustice to Mauer himself. He's making his money and he's had a couple shots in the playoffs already.

More so, it's an injustice to the Twins themselves and their fans. Here they have this once-in-a-generation talent, a Hall of Fame caliber player that they paid an enormous amount of money to lock up. Now they're going to waste his best remaining years in a semi-rebuilding effort rather than doing everything they reasonably can to build a contender around him? Seems like a regrettable decision to me. Considering the condition of his legs and the likelihood that he'll need to fully switch away from catcher at some point, there's a very good chance Mauer's value will start fading fast as he ages into his mid-30s and it's awfully tough to build a great roster around a fading player earning ~25% of the payroll. People in the long-term rebuild camp often overlook this.


This is exactly why I don't like to hear talk of waiting for 2014 or 2015.

PseudoSABR
08-10-2012, 01:32 PM
This is just my gut feeling but I don't think the Pohlad's really care. Gut feeling? The Pohlads could be far more interested in their legacy than profit for all we know (after all owning a baseball team is rather vane, a self-effigy of sorts).

cr9617
08-10-2012, 01:32 PM
It's sad to look back at 2006 and how well positioned that team was for a run of success. 25YO MVP Morneau. 23YO MVP-caliber Mauer. 27YO Cy Young Santana. 22YO rookie sensation Liriano. Awesome young bullpen led by Nathan. Hunter, Cuddyer, Bartlett...

And yet, not one playoff victory since that season. Sigh.

I can't help but think of how the Twins celebrated after coming from behind and winning the central on the final day of the season. They were already in the playoffs, and there they were celebrating like the just won the World Series. I thought it was silly. I didn't get it.

Then the playoffs start and they forgot to showup. This organization seems to think that's the ultimate goal...to win the Central. In the end, it just isn't that big a deal.

Steve Lein
08-10-2012, 01:37 PM
"Injustice" is an entirely inappropriate overstatement to me. Surely, both the Twins, Mauer, and his agent knew what they were getting into and what the possible, or likely, implications and consequences would be by signing the type of deal they jointly entered.

I don't think any court in the land would find that Mauer has been done any "injustice" at all. This statement is just plain silly and absurd on its face.

That's not the type of injustice I'm talking about (his contract certainly is NOT an injustice...). You have a once in a lifetime player on your roster, and you aren't doing everything in your power to surround him with the other needs of the team to legitimately contend for a World Series title. That is the injustice.

Steve Lein
08-10-2012, 01:39 PM
Not taking the BPA in the draft is a slippery slope to step on. You make excuses for doing it one year and it's not hard to come up with reasons to continue doing it every year thereafter.

The whole thing is, BPA is subjective. Was Buxton far and away a better player to draft at #2 than a pitcher like Appel? I honestly do not think so, and in such a case, the needs of the team should play a part.

Steve Lein
08-10-2012, 01:41 PM
It's not so much that it's an injustice to Mauer himself. He's making his money and he's had a couple shots in the playoffs already.

More so, it's an injustice to the Twins themselves and their fans. Here they have this once-in-a-generation talent, a Hall of Fame caliber player that they paid an enormous amount of money to lock up. Now they're going to waste his best remaining years in a semi-rebuilding effort rather than doing everything they reasonably can to build a contender around him? Seems like a regrettable decision to me. Considering the condition of his legs and the likelihood that he'll need to fully switch away from catcher at some point, there's a very good chance Mauer's value will start fading fast as he ages into his mid-30s and it's awfully tough to build a great roster around a fading player earning ~25% of the payroll. People in the long-term rebuild camp often overlook this.

Replied before I saw Nick's response. This is exactly what I'm getting at with the word "injustice".

jokin
08-10-2012, 01:43 PM
That's not the type of injustice I'm talking about (his contract certainly is NOT an injustice...). You have a once in a lifetime player on your roster, and you aren't doing everything in your power to surround him with the other needs of the team to legitimately contend for a World Series title. That is the injustice.

Yes. I think we are all in agreement that the fans are being done an injustice, not Mauer- which was what the original poster stated had been done to him.

Shane Wahl
08-10-2012, 01:43 PM
The whole thing is, BPA is subjective. Was Buxton far and away a better player to draft at #2 than a pitcher like Appel? I honestly do not think so, and in such a case, the needs of the team should play a part.

I have tried to block memories of that whole discussion out! Maybe Jose Berrios will be a fast riser though.

Brock Beauchamp
08-10-2012, 01:45 PM
The whole thing is, BPA is subjective. Was Buxton far and away a better player to draft at #2 than a pitcher like Appel? I honestly do not think so, and in such a case, the needs of the team should play a part.

In the case of Appel/Buxton, I wouldn't have faulted the Twins for going either way. Just speaking more in generalities about not taking the BPA.

jokin
08-10-2012, 01:50 PM
In the case of Appel/Buxton, I wouldn't have faulted the Twins for going either way. Just speaking more in generalities about not taking the BPA.

What about the Scott Boras factor? The Twins were far from the only team to take a pass to avoid that guy.

Shane Wahl
08-10-2012, 01:55 PM
Yes. I think we are all in agreement that the fans are being done an injustice, not Mauer- which was what the original poster stated had been done to him.

So since he is making $23 million it doesn't matter if the Twins don't try to win while he is still productive? Players are not motivated only, or primarily, by money.

jokin
08-10-2012, 01:59 PM
So since he is making $23 million it doesn't matter if the Twins don't try to win while he is still productive? Players are not motivated only, or primarily, by money.

Huh? I think you are missing the point.

Steve Lein
08-10-2012, 02:06 PM
Yes. I think we are all in agreement that the fans are being done an injustice, not Mauer- which was what the original poster stated had been done to him.

I don't really agree with all of that either, at least in the way I think you're trying to demonstrate. To me, it's an injustice to Mauer himself and the fans that he's not being surrounded by other needed talent that could put them over the top to contend.

Oxtung
08-10-2012, 04:45 PM
Yes. I think we are all in agreement that the fans are being done an injustice, not Mauer- which was what the original poster stated had been done to him.

I don't really agree with all of that either, at least in the way I think you're trying to demonstrate. To me, it's an injustice to Mauer himself and the fans that he's not being surrounded by other needed talent that could put them over the top to contend.

You seem to be arguing there is an inherent responsibility for an employer to provide perks or bonuses to employees beyond what is stated in the employee/er contract. I would agree with that with regards to discrimination and safety, etc., but I don't think there is any obligation to provide help to an employee to do their job. In many situations that might be beneficial to do so but certainly it shouldn't be an obligation. If it is not an inherent responsibility then it can't be an injustice. So again, maybe we're just arguing semantics here about the word "injustice". On the flip side there is an obligation to the taxpayers of the state of Minnesota because of the publicly financed stadium.

gunnarthor
08-10-2012, 04:57 PM
In the case of Appel/Buxton, I wouldn't have faulted the Twins for going either way. Just speaking more in generalities about not taking the BPA.

What about the Scott Boras factor? The Twins were far from the only team to take a pass to avoid that guy.

Yeah, Twins (I argued) were never going to take Appel b/c of our past history with Boras (Belcher and Lee were both Boras guys). I thought the Twins might take Zimmer but he struggled a bit. I was pretty happy with the Buxton pick and he's played great for us so far.

USAFChief
08-10-2012, 06:11 PM
That's not the type of injustice I'm talking about (his contract certainly is NOT an injustice...). You have a once in a lifetime player on your roster...

Once in a lifetime?

I think one would have to be pretty young, and most likely plan on not watching much baseball in a few years, to make that claim about Mauer.

Jim H
08-11-2012, 10:15 AM
Actually, I think the Twins signed Mauer with the idea he would be very productive throughout his contract. I think that is fairly likely, given reasonably good health. He likely won't be close to an everyday catcher, but he will likely not be a liability defensively wherever he plays. His approach and general batting ability will allow him to maintain a high on base percentage even toward the end of his contract.

What I think is interesting is that the Twins seem to have a pretty good stockpile of potentially productive everyday players throughout the farm system. Some like Parmelee are ready now, some probably won't be major league ready for 5 years. A few may turn out to be high impact players, though most won't.

What is good, is that the Twins should have fairly productive, fairly low cost options at most?-many? positions over the next 10 years. Possible surpluses at some positions may yield trade possibilities.

Pitching is so volatile that it is often impossible to predict what you will have from year to year. But you can also rebuild pitching faster-if you ar lucky-because generally pitching develops faster than position players.

Largely, I think that the Twins have positioned themselves to be very competitive over the next ten years. Certailnly the Twins seem to have more talent in place than they seemed to in 2000, when the Twins were poised to make a nice 10 year run.

The Greatest Poster Alive
08-11-2012, 10:50 AM
The whole thing is, BPA is subjective. Was Buxton far and away a better player to draft at #2 than a pitcher like Appel? I honestly do not think so, and in such a case, the needs of the team should play a part.

In the case of Appel/Buxton, I wouldn't have faulted the Twins for going either way. Just speaking more in generalities about not taking the BPA.

The fact that Buxton signed and Appel turned down an overslot to go back to college is good enough reason for me to agree with the twins decision not to draft him.

MarshalltheIrish
08-12-2012, 06:27 PM
Nick,

I agree 100%, but there's no way the front office will push for it. It's bad enough they're as awful and underwhelming as they are when the new stadium was supposed to open up greater potential, but worse that they won't even try to go for it all in Mauer's prime. I've always believed they should win at least one title with Mauer and Morneau, and even after the (excruciating) disappointment of 2006 I figured they would have a good share of opportunities. I think when they blew it in 2010 that was a huge setback, and then the utter disaster of 2011 and Bill Smith's litany of bad moves threatened to kill the team for a long time. This year they've managed to find some life with the offense and bullpen, and Mauer's turnaround in particular is an important component of that. All they need to do in the offseason to compete is add at least two solid FA starters, maybe a weapon or two more in the bullpen, and shore up the infield if necessary (hoping the best for Plouffe in the long run). A WS run would probably require a little more, but I wouldn't object to making the effort. Ryan's offseason acquisitions (aside from Marquis) have worked out fine, so him ruling out free agency after this year doesn't make any sense.

That said, I think the team's likely headed for another stretch akin to the early 80's and late 90's. At least in the case of the former they were growing the foundation for the 87/91 teams, and the latter were just bad teams to begin with. A dry spell like that now would indeed be an injustice to the fans.

StormJH1
08-13-2012, 12:01 AM
It's not so much that it's an injustice to Mauer himself. He's making his money and he's had a couple shots in the playoffs already.

More so, it's an injustice to the Twins themselves and their fans. Here they have this once-in-a-generation talent, a Hall of Fame caliber player that they paid an enormous amount of money to lock up. Now they're going to waste his best remaining years in a semi-rebuilding effort rather than doing everything they reasonably can to build a contender around him? Seems like a regrettable decision to me. Considering the condition of his legs and the likelihood that he'll need to fully switch away from catcher at some point, there's a very good chance Mauer's value will start fading fast as he ages into his mid-30s and it's awfully tough to build a great roster around a fading player earning ~25% of the payroll. People in the long-term rebuild camp often overlook this.
I think that's a terrifically unique and interesting perspective, but I just don't know what the alternative was. Are you saying let Joe Mauer go play for the Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies, etc? If the argument now is that the Twins are squandering money on extending guys they shouldn't and only "semi-rebuilding", then what is the expectation for what we would have done with that extra $23 million.

Lots of Hall of Fame-caliber players get stuck on mid-level or even bad teams - it doesn't mean that their careers were sad. Look at three of my favorite players growing up: Ryne Sandberg, Cal Ripken, and Tony Gwynn.

Joe Mauer is to the Twins what Kevin Garnett was to the T-Wolves in the mid-2000's. I liked both guys and they were both very good players. But it was evident to everyone (except apparently KG himself) that he wasn't going to win anything if he was "the guy" and there wasn't much else around. His contract and his silly demands for playing with certain guys (Troy Hudson, et al) made sure that there wasn't another star as a sidekick.

People don't buy that logic as easily in baseball because it's a 25-man roster and everything seems more diluted. But since you could buy about 3 Willinghams or a dozen-plus Scott Diamonds for the price of one Mauer, the financials with this situation fit that same dilemma.

savvyspy
08-13-2012, 09:57 AM
Its fun to speculate but the reality is this team BY CHOICE won't spend on free agent pitching, won't make trades at the deadline that meaningfully improve the roster, and have ZERO pitching prospects within 3 years of the majors that would rate as anything higher than a #4-#5 starter on a playoff team.

Given that, the only choice is to firesale the whole thing. Stock up on prospects, draft wisely (last 2 years have seemed better), and start making a run in 2-3 seasons.

To do that you MUST trade Mauer. He's the only guy with the kind of value where you can get the level of prospect you need to rebuild.

I'd keep a core of Plouffe and Revere and build around that. They have some nice complimentary pieces like Mastroianni and I think Dozier will be fine.

As was pointed out, when the bats arrive the lineup is going to be very good. It all comes down to can you draft and trade for enough pitching for it to matter.

DPJ
08-13-2012, 10:00 AM
To do that you MUST trade Mauer. He's the only guy with the kind of value where you can get the level of prospect you need to rebuild.

I'd actually say Mauer has the least amount of value once you consider his contract and fact that at 29 he's no longer a fulltime catcher.

cr9617
08-13-2012, 10:35 AM
Its fun to speculate but the reality is this team BY CHOICE won't spend on free agent pitching, won't make trades at the deadline that meaningfully improve the roster, and have ZERO pitching prospects within 3 years of the majors that would rate as anything higher than a #4-#5 starter on a playoff team.

Given that, the only choice is to firesale the whole thing. Stock up on prospects, draft wisely (last 2 years have seemed better), and start making a run in 2-3 seasons.

To do that you MUST trade Mauer. He's the only guy with the kind of value where you can get the level of prospect you need to rebuild.

I'd keep a core of Plouffe and Revere and build around that. They have some nice complimentary pieces like Mastroianni and I think Dozier will be fine.

As was pointed out, when the bats arrive the lineup is going to be very good. It all comes down to can you draft and trade for enough pitching for it to matter.

Plouffe and Revere as your core? Kansas City here we come..

Mauer is possibly the least tradeable guy on the entire roster.

lee_the_twins_fan
08-13-2012, 04:28 PM
Yes, the team needs pitching, particularly starting pitching. Beyond Scott Diamond, I would be willing to trade all other starters who have played this year – get two strong arms and some for the future.

Whether we sign pitchers as free agents, or trade for them, we need starting pitchers. But we also need middle infielders who can actually hit the ball. I like Brian Dozier, but Nishioka should be released immediately; and Casilla should be traded. Keep Carroll as utility infielder and find someone else who can play a very good second base, and still hit the ball.

Starters and 2B. Those are our needs this offseason. Fielding a championship team won't happen unless we get both.

Loosey
08-13-2012, 05:02 PM
I think the injustice that everyone is trying to describe is the fact that the Twins signed Mauer to a 23M/year contract for him to help the team win baseball games. They didn't just sign him to have be a good player on a mediocre or worse club. It makes no sense to spend that kind of money if you aren't in it for the long haul and to spend money on guys around him, otherwise he is basically an expensive trophy wife the team parades out there. It's an injustice to him, the fans, and other teammates.

Nick Nelson
08-13-2012, 05:04 PM
Joe Mauer is to the Twins what Kevin Garnett was to the T-Wolves in the mid-2000's. I liked both guys and they were both very good players. But it was evident to everyone (except apparently KG himself) that he wasn't going to win anything if he was "the guy" and there wasn't much else around. His contract and his silly demands for playing with certain guys (Troy Hudson, et al) made sure that there wasn't another star as a sidekick.
Garnett's time here is widely looked back on with disappointment. Best player in franchise history, and only once in 12 years here was he surrounded with enough talent to get past the first round of the playoffs. People blamed it on his huge salary and its impact on the rest of the roster, as they do now with Mauer, but at the end of the day it was McHale's failure to make good moves and identify good complementary pieces that held Garnett back.

Mauer is headed down a similar path, but his story isn't done being written yet.

Thrylos
08-13-2012, 05:17 PM
Joe Mauer is to the Twins what Kevin Garnett was to the T-Wolves in the mid-2000's. I liked both guys and they were both very good players. But it was evident to everyone (except apparently KG himself) that he wasn't going to win anything if he was "the guy" and there wasn't much else around. His contract and his silly demands for playing with certain guys (Troy Hudson, et al) made sure that there wasn't another star as a sidekick.
Garnett's time here is widely looked back on with disappointment. Best player in franchise history, and only once in 12 years here was he surrounded with enough talent to get past the first round of the playoffs. People blamed it on his huge salary and its impact on the rest of the roster, as they do now with Mauer, but at the end of the day it was McHale's failure to make good moves and identify good complementary pieces that held Garnett back.

Mauer is headed down a similar path, but his story isn't done being written yet.

This is an interesting comparison because one year Mauer was surrounded by both the Cy Young and the MVP winner (which is a rare occurrence) and with enough talent to have the second best record in the league (and one win away from the best) and still were a series and out. I think that the Twins have had way more talent than the Timberwolves did, but they never won in the post-season. I'd probably argue that the 2006 Twins had better talent that the Vikings team that got cheated by the Saints and the refs and did not make the super bowl recently... They just seem to not execute in the post-season (and the last couple seasons during the season as well...)

diehardtwinsfan
08-13-2012, 06:15 PM
Joe Mauer is to the Twins what Kevin Garnett was to the T-Wolves in the mid-2000's. I liked both guys and they were both very good players. But it was evident to everyone (except apparently KG himself) that he wasn't going to win anything if he was "the guy" and there wasn't much else around. His contract and his silly demands for playing with certain guys (Troy Hudson, et al) made sure that there wasn't another star as a sidekick.
Garnett's time here is widely looked back on with disappointment. Best player in franchise history, and only once in 12 years here was he surrounded with enough talent to get past the first round of the playoffs. People blamed it on his huge salary and its impact on the rest of the roster, as they do now with Mauer, but at the end of the day it was McHale's failure to make good moves and identify good complementary pieces that held Garnett back.

Mauer is headed down a similar path, but his story isn't done being written yet.

This is an interesting comparison because one year Mauer was surrounded by both the Cy Young and the MVP winner (which is a rare occurrence) and with enough talent to have the second best record in the league (and one win away from the best) and still were a series and out. I think that the Twins have had way more talent than the Timberwolves did, but they never won in the post-season. I'd probably argue that the 2006 Twins had better talent that the Vikings team that got cheated by the Saints and the refs and did not make the super bowl recently... They just seem to not execute in the post-season (and the last couple seasons during the season as well...)

Had there not been a tommy john surgery, Mauer would have had a rookie of the year playing with him as well.