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Jim Crikket
11-20-2012, 09:53 AM
You can view the page at http://twinsdaily.com/content.php?1187-Money-Matters

chagen
11-20-2012, 10:20 AM
What amazes me is when you bring this topic up than you have apologists like Phil Mackey write a column saying why the Twins are limited in what they can spend.

Seth Stohs is kinda like this.

The truth is if they really wanted to win they could open up there checkbooks just like the Tigers and we could at least be a playoff team.

USAFChief
11-20-2012, 10:38 AM
Nicely done.

I think proof of your theory can be found in this: there are those on this very site who believe that when a extra $25M drops out of the sky in 2014 (from new national TV deals), the Twins can only put half of that money towards the on field product.

Jim H
11-20-2012, 10:42 AM
The problem with this article is that while spending money should make it easier to be a contender, it sure doesn't guarantee it. Every year high spending teams with impressive looking rosters on paper, don't contend. The Mets seemingly forever, the Rod Sox the last couple years, Miami, the Dodgers, and many others. This is was the first year the Orioles contended much less made the playoffs, even though they nearly always have an impressive payroll. Certainly the last few years Tampa HAS contended while keeping their payroll down. Oakland managed to do that this year.

Whether the Twins should spend more money than they do is largely a matter of opinion. I won't join that discussion. It is true that the Twins spent more on payroll the last 2 years than they ever have and had 2 of their worst seasons, ever. In order to successful the Twins need to spend whatever money they choose to spend, wisely. They also need to be a bit luckier as regard to injuries. They need some of their young players to develop a bit quicker. It would really help if Hendriks is the real deal, if Gibson is completely recovered, and if Hermsen is a lot better than people seem to think.

Finally, it is too early to decide that the Twins won't spend money or do the things necessary to improve their roster. Wait till Feb. 1 and then write your negative article if you feel the need.

Bill Parker
11-20-2012, 10:48 AM
The truth is if they really wanted to win they could open up there checkbooks just like the Tigers and we could at least be a playoff team.

No, they couldn't. That kind of thinking is how decent teams become the late-1990s Orioles and Dodgers. There's a time when opening up the checkbook makes good sense (the Tigers now, the Twins three years ago), and a time when it doesn't (the Twins now, the Tigers a decade ago). There's no amount of money they could throw at this to help things in 2013.

gunnarthor
11-20-2012, 10:48 AM
Payroll matters a lot and it's one of the reasons I think Smith is no longer GM. That said, I do think Ryan is a good GM who can do good things with a cramped payroll. I don't want to blame the FO for what I assume to be ownership issues. It was nice to see Howard at the Strib bring this up last week.

Jim Crikket
11-20-2012, 11:00 AM
The truth is if they really wanted to win they could open up there checkbooks just like the Tigers and we could at least be a playoff team.

No, they couldn't. That kind of thinking is how decent teams become the late-1990s Orioles and Dodgers. There's a time when opening up the checkbook makes good sense (the Tigers now, the Twins three years ago), and a time when it doesn't (the Twins now, the Tigers a decade ago). There's no amount of money they could throw at this to help things in 2013.

Bill, that's exactly the kind of brainwashing I was referring to. "No amount of money" could help in 2013? I'm sorry, but I don't believe that, even if that is what the Twins want you to believe. If they can convince fans that no amount of money would help, they're off the hook... they don't have to spend ANY money.

While Jim H is correct in that it takes wise decisions to build a contender and it wouldn't hurt to have a little luck, having additional money to work with DOES matter and if used wisely by Terry Ryan, this team could see major improvements in 2013. The Twins, as currently constituted, can score runs. They need better defense in the middle infield, but most of all they need pitching. There's no shortage of pitchers available both via trade and free agency (despite Ryan's contention that it's a 'thin' market). Investing in that pitching would make for a much better product on the field and would stem the dropping attendance, keeping revenues at higher levels necessary to maintain an acceptable level of competitiveness.

Rosterman
11-20-2012, 11:05 AM
It's a poker game. Too often, don't see the Twins being aggressive, yet they did manage to sign Doumit and extend him for a reasonable contract, and got Willingham for much less than Cuddyer. But sometimes they play "best offer" hardball too much and too late with their own players. It is a carpshoot. Let the Twins spend $100 million more on three top-of-the-line starters and a couple of bats for next year....would they still runaway with the division? Who knows. It's more a fan thin g "where is the money I spend going towards putting a winning team, not just an entertaining team, or a competitive team, on the field." I still don't understand this 50% of revenue thing (which more people take note of now with the additional money coming in for TV....half goes to payroll and half goes where -- get TV a motorized trike?). It is such a fickle business. You have to evaluate new talent, you have to know when to trade old talent for equal or best value, you can't hang onto vets too long and get absolutely nothing. Those are the areas I would question more with the Twins than actual $$$$'s spent, most of the time. Last season, I have nothing against what they got for Liriano. He did nothing for the Sox and if the Twins want him, are actually in a better position to resign him. They threw away money on Zumaya and Marquis. The Toshi thing was an embarrasment, the Japan team basically got the Twins to pay his salary now for the next few years with the fee the Twins played. We don't know offers the Twins may have actually fielded for Morneau and Span. Maybe better stuff will come this winter, or mid-season...but those decisions have to be made before......the stinkers of Pavano and Capps, two chips that wasted payroll space, a draft choice, and not even bringing back a bucket of balls, but who knew. Spending money doesn't always solve the problems, getting the right players do.

mike wants wins
11-20-2012, 11:10 AM
It is a straw man to say that money does not guarantee success. No one on the crikkets side is claiming that. What people are saying is that money increases your margin of error, and increases the likelihood of signing better players. No one is saying guarantee. No one. Does anyone doubt this team would probably be better if they spent 50 million more next year? Probably, not guaranteed.

Winston Smith
11-20-2012, 11:23 AM
From the Strib back in August:
"A unit of Pohlad Companies, the business conglomerate that includes the Minnesota Twins, J.B. Hudson Jewelers and United Properties, Monday upped its stake in the Twin Cities luxury automobile market with the acquisition of Audi, Porsche and Mercedes dealerships.
Pohlad's Twin Cities Automotive (TCA) announced the purchase of Carousel Audi and Porsche in Golden Valley, and Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche in Maplewood."


The Twins are just one of the properties the Pohlads own and they treat it as such. It is about the money, they invest money to make money. The issue is that many owners treat their team as a hobby. Many, many owners only want to win at the game because they have already won at business. However, this is the same ownership that was willing to contract the Twins because it was the best "business" move at the time. That really has to tell us that they value money more than the Twins.
Two owners since 1961 and both were all about the money. Calvin because it was his sole source of income and the Pohlads because that is what they do, make money in any way they can weather it be jewerly, real estate, cars, popcorn or hot dogs.
No spending more money doesn't guarantee a better team but it certainly doesn't hurt your chances on the field, however, it may hurt the chances of buying that next car dealership.

Jim Crikket
11-20-2012, 11:23 AM
Jeremy Guthrie just got $25 million over 3 years from the Royals. Getting pitching is going to be expensive, folks. It will take money. Obviously, nobody is knocking down Terry Ryan's door anxious to send good pitching to Minnesota in return for Denard Span.

chagen
11-20-2012, 11:29 AM
The truth is if they really wanted to win they could open up there checkbooks just like the Tigers and we could at least be a playoff team.

No, they couldn't. That kind of thinking is how decent teams become the late-1990s Orioles and Dodgers. There's a time when opening up the checkbook makes good sense (the Tigers now, the Twins three years ago), and a time when it doesn't (the Twins now, the Tigers a decade ago). There's no amount of money they could throw at this to help things in 2013.

Bill last time i checked the Yankees are in the playoffs every year. Now they don't win the world series every year but there in the hunt Money Matters!

chagen
11-20-2012, 11:30 AM
Jeremy Guthrie just got $25 million over 3 years from the Royals. Getting pitching is going to be expensive, folks. It will take money. Obviously, nobody is knocking down Terry Ryan's door anxious to send good pitching to Minnesota in return for Denard Span.

If you want quality starting pitching via free agency you have to overspend
or you sit back do nothing and lose 90 plus games you decide

nokomismod
11-20-2012, 11:35 AM
Jim, thank you for stating this point. To me it's very simple. If the Twins do not spend an additional $20-40 million per year on starting pitching starting in 2013, they will see their revenues drop by at least that amount. They have to make smart decisions, but they can't wait to develop this talent from within.

Bill Parker
11-20-2012, 11:48 AM
Brainwashing, Jim? Please. I have nothing against the current front office, but I can't say I've ever seriously listened to anything they've said publicly.

It's just good baseball sense. Can you list some examples of teams that have lost ~200 games over the preceding two years, have tried to fix all their problems in the short term and with money, and have seen it go well? Because I can't think of any, but can think of quite a few counterexamples. When those teams get better, whether it takes one year or five, it's because they had young players develop and THEN, at a time when free agent adds could actually make a difference, have put up the money.

The Twins currently have exactly three big-league quality pitchers: one who is a #4 starter on a good team in Diamond, and a short reliever from either side in Perkins and Burton. So they need at least three quality starters and two bullpen arms to turn this team around. Say they outbid every other team (read: overpay) for Greinke and two of Sanchez, Dempster, Lohse, McCarthy, Saunders, Marcum, Lewis and Kuroda. That'd be probably something like $30 million (at a minimum) for 2013, plus huge outlays going forward. You've still got a crap bullpen to deal with, so throw another $8 million or so at that, probably with commitments for 2014 as well. You've put together a rotation that could be pretty good, if Diamond repeats and everybody stays healthy, and a bullpen that might be pretty good (but they're inherently fickle and the free agent market for relievers is almost always a losing play), along with an offense that was a little below average in 2012 and doesn't have a lot of room to grow, and has a ton of injury/collapse risk.

If it goes perfectly well, you may be spending something like $140 million next season on a team that's slightly above .500, which in the Central isn't too far from contention. If it doesn't, if one or more of the free agents is injured or suddenly gets old or Mauer, Span and/or Morneau are hurt again, not only have you thrown away a ton of money, but you've completely crippled the team going forward, for at least the next two years. At some point you do run out of payroll room, and spending a big chunk of it on a hope and prayer now makes a lot less sense than saving it to spend on a much better bet later.

I don't care what the front office says -- and if his public comments are to be believed, it sounds to me like Ryan is trying to sign some pitching, which would concern me -- the plainly right thing to do is to sell off every asset that's worth more now than it will be two years from now, wait until some of the prospects who might contribute to the next good team are really ready to do so, and then open up the pocketbook. Or, then, roast them if they don't. Spending significant money right now, as has been shown time and again throughout the history of free agency in baseball, is just not a winning proposition.

Bill Parker
11-20-2012, 11:52 AM
Bill last time i checked the Yankees are in the playoffs every year. Now they don't win the world series every year but there in the hunt Money Matters!

Really, you want to spend Yankees money? I'm not sure you could do that in one year and field a playoff team (Matt Kory tried on Baseball Prospectus a week or two ago and it was so-so), but I was trying to retain some semblance of realism here. And even the Yankees, most years (not so much in 2012), have some pre-free-agency homegrown talent that helps out, more of it than the Twins currently have.

chagen
11-20-2012, 12:00 PM
Bill last time i checked the Yankees are in the playoffs every year. Now they don't win the world series every year but there in the hunt Money Matters!

Really, you want to spend Yankees money? I'm not sure you could do that in one year and field a playoff team (Matt Kory tried on Baseball Prospectus a week or two ago and it was so-so), but I was trying to retain some semblance of realism here. And even the Yankees, most years (not so much in 2012), have some pre-free-agency homegrown talent that helps out, more of it than the Twins currently have.

I was just making the point that payroll matters i didn't say i wanted to spend yankees money i'll try and dumb it down for you next time Bill!

Bill Parker
11-20-2012, 12:03 PM
I was just making the point that payroll matters i didn't say i wanted to spend yankees money i'll try and dumb it down for you next time Bill!
Oh gee, would you? Thanks. This stuff is so hard for me.

You made the point in response to me pointing out (and see it in more detail in response to Jim above) that payroll really doesn't matter to this team, right now. But the insult is appreciated anyway!

JB_Iowa
11-20-2012, 12:03 PM
Three things:

1. It is NOT "overspending" for free agent pitching if you pay the going rate for acquisition of a free agent pitcher. It is paying "market value".

2. I'm less hepped up on spending more and more hepped up on rebuilding. That being said, I am still looking for Terry Ryan to prove to me that he has the relationships with other GMs, the skills, and the guts to make successful and meaningful trades.

3. Regardless of whether it is "opening up the checkbook" and trying to buy a better team for 2013 OR whether it is making trades to acquire starting additional starting pitching prospects to go along with a pretty nice core of upcoming Twins prospects, I just want the front office to pick a course and stick with it. I want to see them make a commitment to excellence (whether that is in 2013 or because they build for 2015) -- not more of this mediocre middling and being content to have just enough gas in the tank to win the Central. And commitment to excellence means starting pitching that is at least "very good".

Bill Parker
11-20-2012, 12:09 PM
1. It is NOT "overspending" for free agent pitching if you pay the going rate for acquisition of a free agent pitcher. It is paying "market value"

False. That's exactly the problem with trying to rebuild through free agency -- by definition, you're overpaying. If you land a free agent, you're paying more than all 29 other teams are willing to pay for that free agent. If that's "market value," something's really screwy with how you're defining the market.

See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winner's_curse

Math and stuff, but this is a pretty good read on bad teams signing free agents: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=9869

Totally agreed with your #3 (though the full-on rebuild is definitely the better course, IMO).

Kwak
11-20-2012, 12:12 PM
It is true that high payroll doesn't assure success. It is also true that teams do have a spending limit and the exaples of other teams cited is most likely also true. The difference is that the Twins ownership publicly announce that money won't be a hindrance but few other teams make that statement when they really do have a limitation. The premise for the publicly financed new stadium (Target Field) was that it would permit the Twins to re-sign the top players on the team. The implication was that the rest of the team could and would be retained to ensure the same level of competitiveness. The destruction of the 2010 team (in order to extend Mauer) was a clear indication that the original premise was false. The Twins didn't extend Mauer (with his increase) and keep the rest of the team.

MikeBates
11-20-2012, 12:13 PM
Yes, payroll matters. Spending money matters. Teams that can spend more tend to be able to retain and acquire better players. That said, spending excessive amounts on free agent talent is a good way to ruin your chances for 2013-2017, and as Bill points out, the amount of money (or the quality of prospects) it would take to acquire the kind of talent it would take to make the Twins contenders is prohibitive and will cripple this team in future seasons.

To argue otherwise is ludicrously unrealistic unless you're counting on Liam Hendriks and Cole DeVries to take huge steps forward.

Bill Parker
11-20-2012, 12:22 PM
The destruction of the 2010 team (in order to extend Mauer) was a clear indication that the original premise was false. The Twins didn't extend Mauer (with his increase) and keep the rest of the team.

Wait, what? They didn't destroy anything, or at least not for financial reasons. They traded Hardy, stupidly, but it was because they didn't like him, not because he was expensive. They brought Thome and Pavano back. They let Cuddyer and Kubel go when other teams were willing to pay them way, way more than they were worth, and brought back Willingham and Doumit, better players at better prices. The team was "destroyed" by injury, not financial decisions.

Seth Stohs
11-20-2012, 12:40 PM
It's good to have another strong voice for Common Sense here on the site... thanks Bill Parker for stopping by today and sharing your wisdom... When I say stuff like that, it goes on deaf ears!!

Nick Nelson
11-20-2012, 12:51 PM
There's no amount of money they could throw at this to help things in 2013.
This seems like a pretty ridiculous statement to me. Spending money and acquiring good players will certainly help things in 2013. Better players make the team better. Whether spending money will be enough to get them back into contention is another story, but in my view they're pretty close with two of the three units (I disagree the notion that this team has a "crap bullpen").

To be clear, the full-out rebuild that you recommend requires the Twins to:

A) Draft and develop quality pitching, something they haven't done recently.
B) Identify quality pitching prospects to acquire, something they haven't done recently.
C) Keep a quality offensive core intact, while Joe Mauer begins to age past his prime.

I think you're underestimating the challenges and risks involved with your plan. The Twins could easily tread water for years in the name of rebuilding and find themselves in the same spot three seasons down the line, only their best player will be 33 instead of 30.

I certainly don't think the Twins should be making moves that are completely aimed at short-term contention, but signing free agents pitchers to three-year deals when you've got almost nothing in the pipeline is hardly irresponsible.

Boom Boom
11-20-2012, 01:01 PM
Does this issue come up as often with other teams' fans? We sure discuss payroll limits a lot as Twins fans.

Twins Fan From Afar
11-20-2012, 01:14 PM
I commented on knuckleballsblog.com, and will repost it here:

Sort of branching off of your main point about it not being about the money when it really is, I have been thinking about the Twins’ failure to develop talent at certain positions. Over the past several years, we’ve been blessed (more or less) with the ability to field a competitive outfield without having to pay a guy $20 million a year to play center field. Kirby, Torii, Denard, and even Ben Revere have done well in that position and never completly broke the bank. In other words, we haven’t had to grossly overpay for outfielders. And it’s a trend that I think will continue with guys like Oswaldo Arcia, Aaron Hicks and (hopefully) Joe Benson.

But what do you do when you consistently cannot develop MLB average or above-average talent at a particular position? You have to pay market price, whatever that currently is, or you have to trade away prospects that you highly value in order to make up that deficit — if you want to be competitive, that is.

With the Twins, of course, it’s the inability to develop starting pitchers that is extremely problematic (and middle infielders, too, but to a somewhat lesser extent). It hurts as a Twins fan to think that we could have a cost-controlled outfield for the next few years, but that ownership is seemingly unwilling to “make up” for that financial surplus by investing some extra money in starting pitching.

Yes, we’re hardly into the offseason, and I hope that I’m wrong. But I am a little nervous that Joe Blanton is going to be our prized starting pitching pick-up this winter.

Nick Nelson
11-20-2012, 01:22 PM
But what do you do when you consistently cannot develop MLB average or above-average talent at a particular position? You have to pay market price, whatever that currently is, or you have to trade away prospects that you highly value in order to make up that deficit — if you want to be competitive, that is.
Well said. Too often, I see TR pointing to things like the waiver wire and the Rule 5 draft as if they're legitimate methods of acquiring impact players. Beyond that, he calls out guys like Florimon as if they're actual solutions. Who is he trying to kid? If you can't develop your own talent you need to buy external talent. Sometimes you do have to spend your way out of a hole rather than plugging your ears and pretending it doesn't exist.

Riverbrian
11-20-2012, 01:25 PM
The Farm is the long term solution. I'd spend money on scouts and coaches. I'd make the minor leagues palaces of development.

As for 2013... We have a big need and money to spend. Lets see what happens.

This discussion goes so many ways on this site. We have some who say Joe Mauer is paid too much and people who say that we are too cheap.

I don't think we are cheap... Mauer and Morneau are examples of an organization that is willing to spend.

mike wants wins
11-20-2012, 01:33 PM
When have they spent to fill that one hole? According to Hunter and Santana, and many fans, never. What good does not spending money this year do? Will they then spend that savings in a year or two? Of course not, " because spending on free agents is no way to build a team" apparently. Take out Mauer, is the payroll really that much more than the dome?

Brock Beauchamp
11-20-2012, 01:36 PM
Great article, Jim. One of the best I've read this offseason.

Jim Crikket
11-20-2012, 01:39 PM
There's no amount of money they could throw at this to help things in 2013.
This seems like a pretty ridiculous statement to me. Spending money and acquiring good players will certainly help things in 2013. Better players make the team better. Whether spending money will be enough to get them back into contention is another story, but in my view they're pretty close with two of the three units (I disagree the notion that this team has a "crap bullpen").

To be clear, the full-out rebuild that you recommend requires the Twins to:

A) Draft and develop quality pitching, something they haven't done recently.
B) Identify quality pitching prospects to acquire, something they haven't done recently.
C) Keep a quality offensive core intact, while Joe Mauer begins to age past his prime.

I think you're underestimating the challenges and risks involved with your plan. The Twins could easily tread water for years in the name of rebuilding and find themselves in the same spot three seasons down the line, only their best player will be 33 instead of 30.

I certainly don't think the Twins should be making moves that are completely aimed at short-term contention, but signing free agents pitchers to three-year deals when you've got almost nothing in the pipeline is hardly irresponsible.

Well said, Nick, but I'd add another item to the list of things the Twins would have to do in order to go the "full re-build" path: D) Accept that attendance levels are likely to fall to the Metrodome levels by the time today's future stars are productive Major Leaguers.

There's absolutely no reason why this has to be an "either/or" situation. Fans should not just sit back and accept the Twins' contention that they are still a small-market team that can only put a competitive product on the field when a group of good home-grown talent cycles through the organization. Spending money on pitching now will put a competitive team on the field in 2013, keeping fans in the seats, and you still have those current 20-year-olds coming up through the organization. Nobody is suggesting that you trade away every member of your "top 10 prospect list." But the Twins are now a solid mid-market franchise with no shortage of revenue streams (which stand to see a significant bounce in 2014). Fans who accept the "we can only be good every few years" stuff are just playing in to the front office's hands.

Bill Parker
11-20-2012, 01:47 PM
Nick, all fair points, except I don't think the alternative is any better. As I think I demonstrated pretty well above, it's going to take a miracle to contend in 2013. The likely effect of an active winter in free agency would be to make them a 75-78 win team instead of 70-72. That's not, despite Jim's contention just above, going to do anything to keep fans interested, and history has plenty of precedent for that, too. It's just building a more expensive loser, and you're facing a future just as uncertain as under the rebuilding plan, except that in the event the pieces do start to fall into place and you're ready to make a push in 2015 or so, the payroll is saddled with the aging vets' contracts you signed two years ago.

h2oface
11-20-2012, 01:48 PM
can i get a witness! tell it, jim crikket! the way ryan and gardenhire often talk down to astute, alert, and caring fans is key. i really enjoyed your perspective. it seems common sense is often misinterpreted.

mike wants wins
11-20-2012, 01:52 PM
And how will they have pitching in2015 if they do not sign free agents then? What are the odds they have hitters as good as morneau and Willingham and span? Or that Mauer is still great?

Bill Parker
11-20-2012, 02:06 PM
And how will they have pitching in2015 if they do not sign free agents then? What are the odds they have hitters as good as morneau and Willingham and span? Or that Mauer is still great?

Haha, I give up. I'm just going to repeat my request from the message to Jim above: please find me examples of teams that lost around 100 games two years in a row, then spent a bunch of money, and it ended up as anything but a disaster for the team. Even just one example would really be something.

YourHouseIsMyHouse
11-20-2012, 02:23 PM
If the Twins ownership refuses to set a budget of around $112.5 or around $110 million I will feel like the Twins are taking the fans for a ride. The $100 million budget last year + the Pohlad's "50%" spending on the new TV deal should put us there. Should spending go up when we aren't a good team? Maybe not, but consider this. Pohlad would be making more money when the team is bad. Is that right?ABSOLUTELY not.

dwintheiser
11-20-2012, 02:27 PM
I can't really get behind the thought process on display here. Sure it sounds good to say 'hey, spend more money and get more wins -- the Yankees do', but there are a couple of points standing in my way of supporting that as a short-term strategy:

1) As much as everybody likes to talk about the Yankees, they're one data point -- and we already know that inferences based on small sample sizes often prove flawed. How about the Phillies, who stood pat on payroll and dropped 21 games from 2011 to 2012? The Red Sox, who increased payroll by over $11 million and dropped 21 games into the basement of the East? The Brewers, who upped payroll by over $12 million and dropped 13 games out of playoff consideration? The D'Backs, who spent an extra $20 million and dropped 13 games and out of playoff consideration?

Money isn't the obvious answer -- as should be obvious by the simple observation that payroll increases league-wide every year, but the number of wins in the league doesn't. And as noted above, the teams that increase payroll the most don't always get value for it.

2) It's all very well and good to say 'we'll spend money on some better guys'. OK, bang, you're the GM. Who are those 'better guys' you're going to go get? I tried making a similar point on Gleeman's site some years ago, that you couldn't just say you were going to spend money on a 'better third baseman' -- you had to say who you were going to get who was better. If you don't have a plan for how to spend that money, you end up signing guys like Nishioka and Sidney Ponson. Ryan and the brain trust are exactly right -- when the right guy is available, at the right price, get him. Otherwise, let someone else overpay.

I mean, let's be honest here, guys -- the 'we don't spend enough money' meme is starting to sound like a broken record, getting repeated over and over again even when it's not deserved. The Twins were in the upper half of baseball in payroll in 2012, and half the teams in the playoffs spent less money than they did. The Twins were in the top 10 in payroll in 2011, and over half the teams in the post-season spent less money, including the division-winning Tigers.

It sounds good to vent about money, but the problem isn't payroll -- the problem is finding good players who are worth the price.

mike wants wins
11-20-2012, 02:29 PM
I guess I should give up also, since no one will answer how they will ever have pitching if they will not sign free agents.....look, I cannot name a team other than Philly or new York or the dodgers or Marlins that have tried this. That does not imply it cannot work. Your path is virtually certain to condemn them to being awful for at least two more years, and even then, they still will not sign free agents. So it seems they are stuck

mike wants wins
11-20-2012, 02:30 PM
Oh, and in the mean time, the owners will get richer off the taxpayers.

mike wants wins
11-20-2012, 02:34 PM
If you have 1 starting pitcher, 1, you need to spend money.....should I point out how the Phillies got better before your examples? There are anecdotes both ways, the question is, which way is more likely to produce a winning team given the position they are in now? And cost cutting does not help them long term, because they do not reinvest those savings later.

USAFChief
11-20-2012, 02:39 PM
And how will they have pitching in2015 if they do not sign free agents then? What are the odds they have hitters as good as morneau and Willingham and span? Or that Mauer is still great?

Haha, I give up. I'm just going to repeat my request from the message to Jim above: please find me examples of teams that lost around 100 games two years in a row, then spent a bunch of money, and it ended up as anything but a disaster for the team. Even just one example would really be something.


FInd me examples of teams with clearly defined needs, and no relief in sight, that sat around and did nothing but hope, that magically became WS contenders.

Find me examples of periods where the Twins saved payroll space, put it in the bank, and then spent it a few years later to fix holes on later teams.

You spend one page arguing that signing free agents is stupid, and then turn around and tell us the Twins should (and will) sign free agents in a couple years when a minor league system with few potential impact players magically turns their every day lineup into a serious contender. If signing FAs is inherently stupid, why will it be a good idea a couple years from now?

There is room to improve the team now, and still hope to improve the team later. Even IF this optomistic rebirth occurs in some unspecified year, there isn't enough pitching in the minor leagues to fill out a competitive staff. Nothing says you can't start assembling that staff now.

Kwak
11-20-2012, 02:45 PM
The destruction of the 2010 team (in order to extend Mauer) was a clear indication that the original premise was false. The Twins didn't extend Mauer (with his increase) and keep the rest of the team.

Wait, what? They didn't destroy anything, or at least not for financial reasons. They traded Hardy, stupidly, but it was because they didn't like him, not because he was expensive. They brought Thome and Pavano back. They let Cuddyer and Kubel go when other teams were willing to pay them way, way more than they were worth, and brought back Willingham and Doumit, better players at better prices. The team was "destroyed" by injury, not financial decisions.

But payroll wasn't a problem? Overpaid? Denver is a losing team that has neither rudder nor engine. Cuddyer was very well received by COL. Kubel definitely helped AZ and appears to me he earned every dollar he was paid. What? Are you implying the Twins couldn't afford Willingham and one of these guys? The Nathan/Capps two-headed closer? Nathan was injured and Gardenhire requires a defined closer--the Twins were stuck with two salaries to play one position rather than an attempt to have an elite bullpen to win more games. True, injuries did hurt the Twins badly--and those guys are being removed one-by-one from the active roster as their contract expires--and replaced by low salaried players. I can live with a rebuilding team--one that admits to it as they do it. I don't appreciate the facade of "we'll be competitive next year after we..."--when that isn't the plan. We were informed early on that Ryan believed there wasn't much in pitching free-agency, so there is no need to be coy about being competitive in 2013.

JB_Iowa
11-20-2012, 02:59 PM
It seems to me that there is a common consensus that the Twins need to acquire significantly better starting pitching than they have had for a number of years. I think there is also a general consensus that, although the Twins farm system has generally improved, the starting pitching prospects in the minors aren't optimal even allowing several years for development.

What should make every Twins fan concerned (if not hopping mad) is that we have yet to see a willingness by this team to spend ANY ASSETS to acquire the pitching they need. Assets are assets. Whether they are existing players, prospects or cash. Some are more valuable than others and some have more potential than others but they are all assets (basically with an assignable dollar value if you are all astute enough to do that).

We're getting caught up in how many cash assets should be spent for next year. The real question, for me, is whether the Twins are willing to spend ANY assets to acquire better starting pitching or whether they are just going to keep looking in the bargain bins.

Jim Crikket
11-20-2012, 03:25 PM
I mean, let's be honest here, guys -- the 'we don't spend enough money' meme is starting to sound like a broken record, getting repeated over and over again even when it's not deserved. The Twins were in the upper half of baseball in payroll in 2012, and half the teams in the playoffs spent less money than they did. The Twins were in the top 10 in payroll in 2011, and over half the teams in the post-season spent less money, including the division-winning Tigers.

I see... so since the Twins ponied up $23 mil a year for Mauer, the front office is off the hook and any criticism is unwarranted because his salary alone moves them in to the mid-range of MLB payrolls. I guess none of us need to bother even mentioning payroll throughout the remainder of Mauer's contract because that alone proves the Pohlads are willing to spend enough money to field a quality product, regardless of results on the field.

MWLFan
11-20-2012, 03:34 PM
JC- Your point about people saying it is not about the money is true for the owners as well as for the players. Both sides drink from the same cup of BS on that one.

I guess it doesn't really rattle me all that much on how other people spend their money. Sometimes it is foolish, I had a friend with a extensive Zubaz collection in the day, and have learned not to get to involved in the idiocy of others. Now what it does mean is that the longer it goes on for the Twins not putting a competitive team on the field the less interest and $$$ I will spend on them and MLB altogether. (No MLBTV subscription next year for example.) Just more time pursuing other interests in the summer time and less worrying about the twists and turns of various millionaires and billionaires. Hence my affection for the minor leagues.

If folks want to get all their tighty whities bunched up around themselves because the Twins didn't pick up Buerhle, Johnson and Reyes in November of 2012 have at it. Only time will tell if this was wasted $$ on the Blue Jays part and wasted time, wind, energy and brain cells for us.

Could be worse, try being a baseball fan in the Florida. One teams management doesn't care if the team is awful and the others fan base doesn't care that they have a very good team.

Hope you all have a truely wonderful Thanksgiving and take some time away from the trials and tribulations of the Twins for a couple of days.

DAM DC Twins Fans
11-20-2012, 03:39 PM
Having just spent 20 minutes reading all these messages--I think the main point has been lost. The Twins have poor pitching and middle IF. Spending $35 million (over 3 years) on starting pitching like Jackson, Blanton, etc. is not going to help much. If we are lucky the cost will be slightly less than a million a win...none of these guys are aces...none will win 15 games next year with the current Twins. The one thing the Twins have done over the past 5 years is develop OF--the obvious answer is to trade one of Span, Revere, Arcia or Hicks or Willingham for a decent starter (as good as Jackson at least) and figure how to develop pitching and infield...spending $60million on two of this year's free agent pitchers will not help anything...

ThePuck
11-20-2012, 03:40 PM
It seems to me that there is a common consensus that the Twins need to acquire significantly better starting pitching than they have had for a number of years. I think there is also a general consensus that, although the Twins farm system has generally improved, the starting pitching prospects in the minors aren't optimal even allowing several years for development.

What should make every Twins fan concerned (if not hopping mad) is that we have yet to see a willingness by this team to spend ANY ASSETS to acquire the pitching they need. Assets are assets. Whether they are existing players, prospects or cash. Some are more valuable than others and some have more potential than others but they are all assets (basically with an assignable dollar value if you are all astute enough to do that).

We're getting caught up in how many cash assets should be spent for next year. The real question, for me, is whether the Twins are willing to spend ANY assets to acquire better starting pitching or whether they are just going to keep looking in the bargain bins.

Like this post a lot...

Willihammer
11-20-2012, 03:46 PM
Nicely done.

I think proof of your theory can be found in this: there are those on this very site who believe that when a extra $25M drops out of the sky in 2014 (from new national TV deals), the Twins can only put half of that money towards the on field product.

Your guy Scott Boras has already worked this fact into his negotiations. Probably all the agents. If you think the FA SP market is spendy now, it is only going to get worse after that kicks in and the FA supply maybe isn't so deep.

Jim Crikket
11-20-2012, 03:52 PM
Having just spent 20 minutes reading all these messages--I think the main point has been lost. The Twins have poor pitching and middle IF. Spending $35 million (over 3 years) on starting pitching like Jackson, Blanton, etc. is not going to help much. If we are lucky the cost will be slightly less than a million a win...none of these guys are aces...none will win 15 games next year with the current Twins. The one thing the Twins have done over the past 5 years is develop OF--the obvious answer is to trade one of Span, Revere, Arcia or Hicks or Willingham for a decent starter (as good as Jackson at least) and figure how to develop pitching and infield...spending $60million on two of this year's free agent pitchers will not help anything...

I agree that perhaps the point I was trying to make with the original post has been clouded through the comment thread, even if I don't 100% agree with the rest of your comment. To get back to my original point, take another look at this quote from Terry Ryan:

“I think we can quit fooling ourselves that money is the answer,” Ryan said. “We’re going to have to make good decisions to create a pitching staff that’s going to give us a chance.”

While I absolutely agree that making good decisions is critical and that having money will not assure that all of your decisions are good ones, the first part of the quote is what bothers me. You simply can not minimize the fact that money IS a big part of the answer. Having it available means you have more options from which to choose as you ponder those "good decisions" than if you don't have it available. As for the "quit fooling ourselves" part, I suspect his bosses would have had a problem with him saying such a thing when they were lobbying for a new stadium a few years back. At that time, ownership was indeed contending that their existing stadium situation put them at a financial disadvantage... making money certainly a big part of "the answer." So were the Twins fooling themselves then? Or were they fooling their fans... and local taxpayers?

Winston Smith
11-20-2012, 03:54 PM
I guess I should give up also, since no one will answer how they will ever have pitching if they will not sign free agents.....look, I cannot name a team other than Philly or new York or the dodgers or Marlins that have tried this. That does not imply it cannot work. Your path is virtually certain to condemn them to being awful for at least two more years, and even then, they still will not sign free agents. So it seems they are stuck

A good example is the Tigers. Fister from the Mariners, Sanchez from the Marlins and Sherzer in the Granderson trade. However they traded a lot of prospects and for the most part those prospects like most prospects haven't done much. Ryan hasn't ever shown that he is willing to do these kinds of trades, so signing free agents is what's left.

ThePuck
11-20-2012, 04:09 PM
'As for the "quit fooling ourselves" part, I suspect his bosses would have had a problem with him saying such a thing when they were lobbying for a new stadium a few years back. At that time, ownership was indeed contending that their existing stadium situation put them at a financial disadvantage... making money certainly a big part of "the answer." So were the Twins fooling themselves then? Or were they fooling their fans... and local taxpayers?'

As soon as Ryan said that whole quit fooling ourselves statement about money, a reporter with some nads should have asked him why a new stadium was needed then. Cause you're right, that's exactly what they told us, and now they said spending isn't the answer.

Jim H
11-20-2012, 04:48 PM
A good example is the Tigers. Fister from the Mariners, Sanchez from the Marlins and Sherzer in the Granderson trade. However they traded a lot of prospects and for the most part those prospects like most prospects haven't done much

What I find interesting is that 3 weeks before the end of the regular season, Detriot didn't look like a particularly good example of anything. They looked like a high priced, poorly constructed, under achieving, deeply flawed team about to finish 2nd to a much less talented team. Thanks to a collapse by the White Sox, and a nice post season run, they are now a team to emulate?

Give Detriot credit for spending money and having things work out for them, at least in 2012. Whether things will continue to work for them remains to be seen. They could very easily find themselves saddled with injured/unproductive players with unmovable, huge, long term contracts. Sort of like what some people say about the Twins and Mauer.



As far as the Twins go, they have gotten into a position where they will have to acquire starting pitching, and much of it will likely come through free agency. That is risky and if you end up handing out large multi year contracts, has a good chance of both not working out due injury or underperformance and making future moves difficult.

ericchri
11-20-2012, 04:50 PM
Have the Twins ever "blown up" the team completely? In other words trading away many of their best players simultaneously and not backfilling with mediocre veterans to pretend they're still trying? I can't help wondering how that would be received by the fandom. The proximity to Target Field opening would certainly be a hindrance to that, but it would be refreshing to see them taking a clear path towards a specific goal of future contention as opposed to just sticking their fingers in the holes and hoping the leaks don't grow. I can't honestly see it happening, but I'd rather watch a bunch of rookies lose 100 games than a bunch of veterans lose 85-90.

For me to be fairly confident the team was going to be a legitimately competitive team next season, I think they need 3 starting pitchers, one bullpen arm, and a middle infielder that isn't a well-below-average hitter. And that doesn't guarantee anything, cause then you're banking on health and continued above average production from a lot of people it wouldn't be shocking to see not produce like they did this year (Willingham, Plouffe, Burton, Burnett, Diamond).

A part of me thinks my offseason plan might be to go ahead and give Grienke and Anibal Sanchez what they want and call it good. I honestly don't care much for most of the other FA pitchers as any kind of solution that helps us long-term. If you can get the Pohlads to let you spend $110 million next year, you might actually have a team that can compete in the AL Central if everything breaks right (yes, that means everything, which isn't likely, but who knows), and if not, sell off assets (Willingham, Morneau, Span/Revere, Burton, etc...) at the deadline or next offseason. At that point we should have more players looking major league ready (Arcia, Hicks, Parmelee who probably is right now, Gibson, a whole bunch of minor league relievers to choose from). And we might have as many as four theoretically legit starters (Grienke, Sanchez, Gibson, Diamond) to anchor the rotation for many years. With the rotation and Mauer eating up most of the money we have to go young everywhere else, but that's where our minor leagues look decent anyway.

Jim Crikket
11-20-2012, 05:04 PM
Haha, I give up. I'm just going to repeat my request from the message to Jim above: please find me examples of teams that lost around 100 games two years in a row, then spent a bunch of money, and it ended up as anything but a disaster for the team. Even just one example would really be something.

I suspect even one example won't change your mind, but the one that immediately lept to my mind was the 2006 Detroit Tigers. I do have a day job (despite what it may seem like, given how much time I spend here during the day some days), so I didn't have time to actually check my memory until now.

The Tigers lost more than 90 games FIVE years in a row, from 2001 through 2005 (and more than 100 in two of those seasons). From 2001 through 2004, their payroll ran between $47 mil and $55 mil every year. In 2005, it jumped from $47 mil up to $69 mil... and it netted them exactly one extra win.

But in 2006, they shelled out an additional $13 million, going up to $82 mil in payroll, largely on the basis of signing two pitchers, starter Kenny Rogers ($8 mil) and closer Todd Jones ($5.8 mil). The only other significant addition in 2006 was a rookie pitcher named Verlander. They also called up Curtis Granderson, but he was hardly a standout that year (as his 98 OPS+ will attest).

So yes, they got a boost from a rising young ace, but there's no way that he alone would have accounted for the Tigers going from losing 91 games in 2005 to winning 95 games and a spot in the World Series in 2006.

Rogers more than doubled his salary when he signed with Detroit. Was he worth it or did they overpay for a 41 year old innings-eater? Jones certainly wasn't perfect as a closer, so did they overpay for a 38 year old reliever near the end of his career? I don't know... but I do know they increased their payroll by nearly 20% and ended a five year run of futility by going to the World Series.

And in today's dollars, you should probably just about double those player's salaries. It would be comparable to the Twins signing two pitchers for about $15 million and $10 million... both got multi-year deals, too, I believe.

Is this a perfect analogy for today's Twins? Of course not. But you'll never find perfect matches for any example. That said, I think it does demonstrate that making smart free agent signings, even if it means you spend a bit more than you're accustomed to, in combination with development of young players and getting a bit of luck, can result in something quite a bit better than "a disaster."

peterb18
11-20-2012, 05:33 PM
I commented on knuckleballsblog.com, and will repost it here:

Sort of branching off of your main point about it not being about the money when it really is, I have been thinking about the Twins’ failure to develop talent at certain positions. Over the past several years, we’ve been blessed (more or less) with the ability to field a competitive outfield without having to pay a guy $20 million a year to play center field. Kirby, Torii, Denard, and even Ben Revere have done well in that position and never completly broke the bank. In other words, we haven’t had to grossly overpay for outfielders. And it’s a trend that I think will continue with guys like Oswaldo Arcia, Aaron Hicks and (hopefully) Joe Benson.

But what do you do when you consistently cannot develop MLB average or above-average talent at a particular position? You have to pay market price, whatever that currently is, or you have to trade away prospects that you highly value in order to make up that deficit — if you want to be competitive, that is.

With the Twins, of course, it’s the inability to develop starting pitchers that is extremely problematic (and middle infielders, too, but to a somewhat lesser extent). It hurts as a Twins fan to think that we could have a cost-controlled outfield for the next few years, but that ownership is seemingly unwilling to “make up” for that financial surplus by investing some extra money in starting pitching.

Yes, we’re hardly into the offseason, and I hope that I’m wrong. But I am a little nervous that Joe Blanton is going to be our prized starting pitching pick-up this winter.

I agree with the above statement completely. It makes so much sense. Also, there is too much worrry on this site about how the Pohlads spend their money. Their obligation is to put a competitive team on the field, especially after the new ballpark was built. Bottom line: If you want to be competitive, and your minor leagues can't produce the necessary talent(at certain positions) then you must pay market price. Not a guarantee--but, it is the most sensible way to get back into contention.

Linus
11-20-2012, 05:35 PM
A good example is the Tigers. Fister from the Mariners, Sanchez from the Marlins and Sherzer in the Granderson trade. However they traded a lot of prospects and for the most part those prospects like most prospects haven't done much

What I find interesting is that 3 weeks before the end of the regular season, Detriot didn't look like a particularly good example of anything. They looked like a high priced, poorly constructed, under achieving, deeply flawed team about to finish 2nd to a much less talented team. Thanks to a collapse by the White Sox, and a nice post season run, they are now a team to emulate?

Give Detriot credit for spending money and having things work out for them, at least in 2012. Whether things will continue to work for them remains to be seen. They could very easily find themselves saddled with injured/unproductive players with unmovable, huge, long term contracts. Sort of like what some people say about the Twins and Mauer.



As far as the Twins go, they have gotten into a position where they will have to acquire starting pitching, and much of it will likely come through free agency. That is risky and if you end up handing out large multi year contracts, has a good chance of both not working out due injury or underperformance and making future moves difficult.

There seems to be a lot of love for the Tigers here. If the Sox wouldn't have spit the bit in September they wouldn't have even made the playoffs. Lets acknowledge a whole bunch of this is a crapshoot.

LaBombo
11-20-2012, 05:57 PM
There seems to be a lot of love for the Tigers here. If the Sox wouldn't have spit the bit in September they wouldn't have even made the playoffs. Lets acknowledge a whole bunch of this is a crapshoot.

Let's hope that the Twins can find some of that random division-winning good luck that's totally unrelated to having a half-dozen All Star-caliber players on the roster.

Riverbrian
11-20-2012, 06:26 PM
Of course money matters. The option to spend and acquire Pujols matters... Of course it does. But what do you do when Pujols can't deliver a title by himself? Cuz he can't.

The Twins problem going into 2013 has nothing to do with payroll. Another 4 million spent and the Twins are top Ten in payroll. I aint gonna complain about that. The talk on this thread leaves the impression that we are the Padres or A's.

We made some bad decisions and we are going thru a bad harvest on the farm as a result. Real life farmers struggle when harvest sucks. No different for the Twins.

Fire Dan Gladden
11-20-2012, 07:00 PM
Wow. A wide variety of responses and posts so far. Let me add to the mix.

1) It has been and always will be about the money for the Pohlads. They have never said otherwise. They treat the Twins like a business, worried more about fiscal returns than winning. Payroll is not the issue, as if they spend more money correctly, they will win more and bring in more money. I believe TR in this regard that he has the ability to go "over budget" with the right sign, but those rarely come along. A large, long term contract that blows up could destroy the Twins for years and years to come.

2) People forget that during the Johan years, the Twins were more or less a one-horse show. I think it was 2006 (could be wrong) where in games Johan started the Twins were 25 games over .500, and 1 game over with everybody else. It doesn't necessarily take a rock-star laden team to win, just a good team with some luck.

3) Spending big money on FA starters doesn't work very often. Occasionally true aces hit the market (Halladay), but that doesn't happen very often. True aces typically stay with their team until they are no longer an ace, or are traded to a team to be signed to a big contract (see Johan Santana). Considering the Twins track record, I don't expect a sign or trade.

4) True "rebuilding" is more risky then spending big money on FA. Ask the Pirates (who have essentially been rebuilding since Barry Bonds left) and the Royals (1985 anyone?). It took the Twins 10 years to get out of their last rebuilding mode, and it took a couple of large lucky breaks for that to happen. Everybody clamoring for the "blow up the ship" approach needs to understand the failure rate of prospects.

5) Question:
At what point does it become "enough" money or "not enough" money to spend on payroll?
I suppose one answer would be:
It is enough money if they win the World Series. It is not enough if they don't.

I don't believe spending more money will necessarily make a difference for this team. I also believe it is too early in the offseason to complain about what they have or have not done yet. We should have a better idea next February. We should probably cool our jets until then.

Brandon
11-20-2012, 07:04 PM
States need to insert clauses that payroll needs to be a certain figure when they fund ballparks or the difference goes to them to pay the taxpayers back for duping them.

Those of you in minnesota should lobby for an anti duping legislation. There are enough liberals up there to do it.

ajstolt_09
11-20-2012, 10:35 PM
The truth is if they really wanted to win they could open up there checkbooks just like the Tigers and we could at least be a playoff team.

No, they couldn't. That kind of thinking is how decent teams become the late-1990s Orioles and Dodgers. There's a time when opening up the checkbook makes good sense (the Tigers now, the Twins three years ago), and a time when it doesn't (the Twins now, the Tigers a decade ago). There's no amount of money they could throw at this to help things in 2013.

That is a bunch of garbage!! With money already invested in some solid to very good players, the offense is not all that far off from being good. But when you dont have the pitching coming through the pipe, you need to spend money to acquire it!! The pitching is out there to be had. We cant always just get lucky and find guys like Liriano or Santana. Proven major league ready starters cost money, both to acquire and to keep. We NEED to open the checkbook and sign pitching. If not, everybody's darling Mr Mauer, and his talents, will be completely wasted. Why spend the 23 million a year on him if you refuse to infuse the areas that need help?? Sounds like that 23 million a year will go to waste because they need to sit on their checkbook when it comes to pitching

Kwak
11-20-2012, 11:14 PM
States need to insert clauses that payroll needs to be a certain figure when they fund ballparks or the difference goes to them to pay the taxpayers back for duping them.

Those of you in minnesota should lobby for an anti duping legislation. There are enough liberals up there to do it.
...and Pohlad is one of them! The "liberals" as you term them pass the stadium bills as "stimulus, job-creating investments".

CDog
11-20-2012, 11:33 PM
The first sentence of the original article amused me. After reading the article, it was funny. And after reading the comments, it's just hilarious.

old nurse
11-21-2012, 01:00 AM
[QUOTE=Bill Parker;63970]

The Tigers lost more than 90 games FIVE years in a row, from 2001 through 2005 (and more than 100 in two of those seasons). From 2001 through 2004, their payroll ran between $47 mil and $55 mil every year. In 2005, it jumped from $47 mil up to $69 mil... and it netted them exactly one extra win.

But in 2006, they shelled out an additional $13 million, going up to $82 mil in payroll, largely on the basis of signing two pitchers, starter Kenny Rogers ($8 mil) and closer Todd Jones ($5.8 mil). The only other significant addition in 2006 was a rookie pitcher named Verlander. They also called up Curtis Granderson, but he was hardly a standout that year (as his 98 OPS+ will attest).

So yes, they got a boost from a rising young ace, but there's no way that he alone would have accounted for the Tigers going from losing 91 games in 2005 to winning 95 games and a spot in the World Series in 2006.

"

More than Rogers and Jones were added to the Tigers. Career years from players helped. They also fell back the next few years, not winning a division until 2011. Would that then hint that adding free agents does not sustain winning?

Jim Crikket
11-21-2012, 07:39 AM
More than Rogers and Jones were added to the Tigers. Career years from players helped. They also fell back the next few years, not winning a division until 2011. Would that then hint that adding free agents does not sustain winning?

It would certainly hint that adding a 41 year old pitcher as the cornerstone addition to your roster is not conducive to sustaining winning.

And, as I said, it's not a perfect analogy, but I was asked to provide an example of a team that had sucked for a couple of years, spent some money in free agency and didn't have it turn in to a disaster. That Tiger team came to mind and when I looked it up, I felt it qualified as one example. Nobody is saying money can solve anything if it's not spent wisely. But having money to spend does expand a GM's options. It just does.

old nurse
11-21-2012, 08:01 AM
States need to insert clauses that payroll needs to be a certain figure when they fund ballparks or the difference goes to them to pay the taxpayers back for duping them.

Those of you in minnesota should lobby for an anti duping legislation. There are enough liberals up there to do it.
...and Pohlad is one of them! The "liberals" as you term them pass the stadium bills as "stimulus, job-creating investments".

The debate in 2006 for a stadium was not about job stimulus. Anybody who wanted a job could have one. The job creation stimulus debate was for the Vikings stadium.



facts are a pesky thing

Riverbrian
11-21-2012, 08:02 AM
Jim... If you are saying the Twins don't spend money. You are complaining pre maturely... If you are saying the Twins don't spend money wisely... We are in last place... You are correct.

As for the quotes you use. You are being selective. Terry Ryan says "payroll won't hinder him from acquiring the Starting Pitching". You can interpret that as "I will find Pitchers at K Mart" or you can interpret that as "we have plenty of money to spend on the problem".

I think the word fluid means up or down and I think Pohlads quote is also saying fluid... Up or down.

Personally... I don't want to hang a guy for his words... It leads to less words and the answers are not easy to condense.

I prefer to hang him after his actions warrant it. Top Ten payroll does not warrant the cheapskate tage. So... You just hung him for words.

As for the "fooling ourselves that money is the answer" quote. In the end... It isn't... And the proof is all around you but the answer is much more complicated than to simply state... "Quit fooling ourselves that money is the answer".

Jim Crikket
11-21-2012, 08:22 AM
brian, I'm not complaining specifically about either thing, though I would point out that I also "complained prematurely" last year at this time, when I (and many, many others) pointed out that the Twins needed desperately to improve their starting rotation. All Ryan did was re-sign Pavano and sign Marquis, while publicly stating that payroll wasn't an issue.

I am complaining about the continued nonsense from the front office about payroll not being an issue. And I'm not being selective in the quotes. My article included, I believe, the entire group of quotes regarding payroll from MLB.com's press conference coverage. And in fact, those quotes are very representative of every quote about payroll that comes out of the FO. They are clearly intended to minimize expectations among the media and fan base. And yes, I'm complaining about that, but more specifically, I'm complaining that so many fans (and the mainstream media) just accept it without question because it's always been that way. If a lot of people complaining about it results in Terry Ryan saying it less often, I'm OK with that. Finally, as I've stated over and over, nobody is saying money BY ITSELF is the answer. But to say it isn't a big factor in determining what options the GM has to explore for improving this team is beyond foolish. It's a huge factor.

TheLeviathan
11-21-2012, 08:32 AM
What I like is that they've convinced the fan-base that the only free agent deals worth pursuing are bargains. This board is full of people that talk out of one side of their mouth about the need to add free agents and then fill the forum with posts aghast with what was paid to acquire people. You can't have it both ways - if you're going to use free agency, get used to overpaying. Especially if you want quality starting pitching. Waiting for a bargain is another symptom of the brainwashing the Twins have done.

Jim Crikket
11-21-2012, 08:43 AM
Apparently, what some would have all of us do is post "We trust you Terry because payroll has never been an issue with the Twins before and since you say it won't be this year, we have no reason to doubt you," then all just go watch football and basketball until Opening Day and come back to see what kind of magic Ryan has used to improve the quality of the product on the field.

Of course, I think the Twins Daily site would lose a few advertisers by April.

twinsnorth49
11-21-2012, 09:55 AM
The 2011 payroll was 37% higher than the highest payroll in the Dome, what good did that do? Last season was the lowest since Target opened and it's still 25% higher than the 2007 payroll, what good has it done?

In 2011, 21 teams had lower payrolls than the Twins, Minnesota finished ahead of only one of them. In 2012 17 teams had lower payrolls than the Twins, Minnesota finished ahead of only 3 of them.

Target has brought in higher revenue and payroll has risen accordingly, the only apparent issue is the Pohlads refusal to drop their margins and commit to a higher payroll ratio, ok then, whatever.

I think what Ryan is really saying is that this team has made some horses**t decisions on talent and contracts for a number of years and unless that improves, money isn't necessarily going to be the cure all, it's just throwing good money after bad.

And for all those using the Blue Jays as an example, it better work for them sooner than later, because if it doesn't yield the expected return and shareholders don't see a better dividend, kiss that plan goodbye. When you're part of a publically traded company, the only thing that matters is money, in the form of profit.

Jim Crikket
11-21-2012, 10:26 AM
The 2011 payroll was 37% higher than the highest payroll in the Dome, what good did that do? Last season was the lowest since Target opened and it's still 25% higher than the 2007 payroll, what good has it done?

In 2011, 21 teams had lower payrolls than the Twins, Minnesota finished ahead of only one of them. In 2012 17 teams had lower payrolls than the Twins, Minnesota finished ahead of only 3 of them.

Target has brought in higher revenue and payroll has risen accordingly, the only apparent issue is the Pohlads refusal to drop their margins and commit to a higher payroll ratio, ok then, whatever.

I think what Ryan is really saying is that this team has made some horses**t decisions on talent and contracts for a number of years and unless that improves, money isn't necessarily going to be the cure all, it's just throwing good money after bad.

And for all those using the Blue Jays as an example, it better work for them sooner than later, because if it doesn't yield the expected return and shareholders don't see a better dividend, kiss that plan goodbye. When you're part of a publically traded company, the only thing that matters is money, in the form of profit.

Joe Mauer's salary all by itself is the only reason the Twins hold such a lofty spot on the list of MLB payrolls (if 11th is to be considered lofty). But when he was signed, the company line was that it would not preclude the Twins from fielding a competitive team around him. How's that working out?

And at the Pohlad's privately held company, clearly the only thing that matters is money in the form of profit, as well. The difference is that there are no shareholders to require accountability... only fans (most of whom apparently feel no inclination to do so)..

old nurse
11-21-2012, 10:44 AM
Apparently, what some would have all of us do is post "We trust you Terry because payroll has never been an issue with the Twins before and since you say it won't be this year, we have no reason to doubt you," then all just go watch football and basketball until Opening Day and come back to see what kind of magic Ryan has used to improve the quality of the product on the field.

Of course, I think the Twins Daily site would lose a few advertisers by April.

And what many are posting on these threads is "we do not trust you Terry". Each would be an extreme position backed with little fact. This is the second off season for Ryan with the money to sign free agents. The Twins were optimistic on their four starters from the previous year. Consider what each of them did in 2010. Was 2011 the aberration or the trend for these players? In the fall of 2011 they thought it was an aberration. Big guess wrong. He lost Cuddyer and Kubel and they were adequately replaced. Ryan did sign value players and ended up with a bargain in Willingham. What he will do with a pitcher remains to be seen. A Jackson or Sanchez with a track record of health would be less risky to Ryan than a Dan Haren. I could see him signing a Jackson or Sanchez. I do not see him signing a pitcher with an injury history unless it is a bargain contract. Last winter he didn't find a fifth starter, he didn't find MI help. Those are the negatives from last year. Either he had a very good draft by how highly rated his draftees are rated as prospects or the cupboard was bare. The draft was a positive.

twinsnorth49
11-21-2012, 11:03 AM
The 2011 payroll was 37% higher than the highest payroll in the Dome, what good did that do? Last season was the lowest since Target opened and it's still 25% higher than the 2007 payroll, what good has it done?

In 2011, 21 teams had lower payrolls than the Twins, Minnesota finished ahead of only one of them. In 2012 17 teams had lower payrolls than the Twins, Minnesota finished ahead of only 3 of them.

Target has brought in higher revenue and payroll has risen accordingly, the only apparent issue is the Pohlads refusal to drop their margins and commit to a higher payroll ratio, ok then, whatever.

I think what Ryan is really saying is that this team has made some horses**t decisions on talent and contracts for a number of years and unless that improves, money isn't necessarily going to be the cure all, it's just throwing good money after bad.

And for all those using the Blue Jays as an example, it better work for them sooner than later, because if it doesn't yield the expected return and shareholders don't see a better dividend, kiss that plan goodbye. When you're part of a publically traded company, the only thing that matters is money, in the form of profit.

Joe Mauer's salary all by itself is the only reason the Twins hold such a lofty spot on the list of MLB payrolls (if 11th is to be considered lofty). But when he was signed, the company line was that it would not preclude the Twins from fielding a competitive team around him. How's that working out?

And at the Pohlad's privately held company, clearly the only thing that matters is money in the form of profit, as well. The difference is that there are no shareholders to require accountability... only fans (most of whom apparently feel no inclination to do so)..

So was that a mistake? Do you not believe they would spend that money if the contract wasn't there? They still spent the money, now you're just questioning the manner in which they spent it. 11th is still top half.

Of course the Pohlads care about profit, most owners do and it's not as if the Twins revenue/payroll ratio is way below league average. My analogy to the Blue Jays is that the spending spree they're on right now will end quickly if profit is affected, they don't entirely control the process, at least the Pohlads do. I don't believe they are likely to change the ways they think anymore than you do, but at least the discretion is theirs.

Jim Crikket
11-21-2012, 11:29 AM
At least Jays ownership is willing to take some financial risk, even with the greater oversight that you think Rogers shareholders represent. It shows bold leadership, something the Twins could certainly use.

What difference should it make to Twins fans if the Pohlads have greater discretion than those who run the Jays if, as you admit, they're unlikely to use it? I just don't understand why we're supposed to feel good about current ownership when they appear so uninterested in putting a quality product on the field. "Because they've always done it this way," is just not a good enough reason any more for me to give this owner and front office a pass.

Riverbrian
11-21-2012, 11:30 AM
The decision making process when it comes to putting together a roster is a complicated thing and it can't be condensed to a paragraph. I will read quotes and I will filter them and I'm sure that I am filtering them wrong because putting together a roster is a complicated thing and it can't be condensed to a paragraph.

Bottom Line for me... I don't expect the Twins to spend like the Yankees but I'm satisfied that they are spending when and where it makes sense so far. Mauer's contract is big and it brings the payroll upward... no question about that... but Mauer's contract shows a willingness to spend and it can't be discounted and used as proof that they don't spend.

Going into 2012... Thinking the pitching staff was OK... was a mistake. I've made them before at my job and so has every other GM. However... Free Agents were signed... The Team was addressed.

I'm hopeful that the Front Office makes good decisions but I am not giving them a free pass. I'm giving them the off-season to move in a direction of their choosing. Either acquiring decent pitching for a competitive 2013 or ditching some salary to rebuild the farm system for a run at a later time.

If Spring Training rolls around and the Twins haven't made a significant upgrade on the mound or a significant upgrade to the farm. I will then join the crowd of the front office concerned because my biggest fear is status quo.

If 2013 moves past the trade deadline and neither the mound or farm is upgraded. I will then join the throngs that call for Terry Ryan's head.

Ultimately the Farm has to be rebuilt because that's the key to long term success. Free Agents are for need fill. This year we have huge needs to fill in Starting Pitching. We have no choice but to sign decent Free Agent pitching cuz the Farm isn't ready to produce. Once again... If we don't start the process of filling in the rotation... We better start working on the farm or this period of suckiness will be prolonged.

I'm waiting until February at least before raising my indignation level.

Jim Crikket
11-21-2012, 11:54 AM
I'm waiting until February at least before raising my indignation level.

Fair enough... and I'll dial back my indignation level if/when Terry Ryan makes some moves that indicate he's not still wearing the handcuffs ownership placed on him during his first tour as GM. In the end, hopefully, we'll both be happy.

diehardtwinsfan
11-21-2012, 11:57 AM
I agree that spending money for the sake of spending isn't going to help matters much. The problem with a strict rebuild is that the farm system is lacking in pitching... PERIOD. That won't change in 2014/15 when the offensive core of the new wave of players is here. They didn't help themselves this year in the draft and took Buxton over several college pitchers with 1/2 type ceilings either. Bottom line is this: without pitching, this team won't contend... PERIOD.

By 2014 at best it will be Gibson, Hendricks, and maybe Diamond fronting the rotation. That's two open spots with little in the minors that looks to be ready. They will either need to spend now to get someone who can be there in 2014 or spend in 2014. Personally, I'd go after locking up a guy like A. Sanchez who will still be in his prime at that point and has the best potential to live up to the big contract... I certainly wouldn't go after 3 year deals to guys like Guthrie... Just be smart about it.

Riverbrian
11-21-2012, 12:54 PM
I'm waiting until February at least before raising my indignation level.

Fair enough... and I'll dial back my indignation level if/when Terry Ryan makes some moves that indicate he's not still wearing the handcuffs ownership placed on him during his first tour as GM. In the end, hopefully, we'll both be happy.

Look at how hard you had to work to get your point across on this topic. You had to explain yourself quite a few times for clarification. It just goes that way with words and I'm sure you understand that the words Terry Ryan and Jim Pohlad use are just as easily misunderstood and not nearly enough in volume to properly explain. In the end... You may be right... But you are not right yet. Good Luck to us Twins Fans this winter.

There are some posters on Twins Daily that impress me... and of course... some that don't... You are always one of those who impress me. I just don't agree with your sentiment on this one. Keep making points and I'll read them.

By the Way... Alice's Restaurant is big Tomorrow. Have a good Thanksgiving. You can get anything you want!!!

Kwak
11-21-2012, 01:27 PM
States need to insert clauses that payroll needs to be a certain figure when they fund ballparks or the difference goes to them to pay the taxpayers back for duping them.

Those of you in minnesota should lobby for an anti duping legislation. There are enough liberals up there to do it.
...and Pohlad is one of them! The "liberals" as you term them pass the stadium bills as "stimulus, job-creating investments".

The debate in 2006 for a stadium was not about job stimulus. Anybody who wanted a job could have one. The job creation stimulus debate was for the Vikings stadium.



facts are a pesky thing
It was called "downtown revitalization". Bring people back to downtown using the stadium as the hook. Oh yes, jobs were mentioned--construction jobs, part of the electorate. Target field did bring people downtown, the bars are busy on game days, and the light rail is full. Shopping--no, not at all, some miracles take more time. But jobs were an item--they typically are--even in boom times, people don't vote against more jobs.

SeanS7921
11-21-2012, 01:56 PM
The only thing I agree with on this artcile is yes money does matter, but then to say the Twins don't spend money or are cheap is totally wrong. It's already been brought up - The Twins have had Top-10 payroll in 10, 11 and Top-15 in 12. So we are crying they don't spend enough? It seems it's brought up Mauer doesn't count and that's why we are in the Top-10 in payroll. He's part of the team, they signed quality guys last year. Willingham got a three year deal. The Twins spend money. If they have a payroll between 85-115 million we are lucky compared to other clubs. The Twins have finished with the 2nd worst record in 2011 and the 4th worst record this year and we didn't sell off every player we have and it looks like we will still be a Top-15 team in Salary for 2013. The Twins spend enough money to compete. If you worked in the Corporate World the business is in it to make a profit. For Detroit the Owner wants to win not make money. That's fine but I don't see why we should expect the Polads to think that way. They want to make money, and that's their right. What they are spending is fair and it should give the Twins a chance to win. Signing Tori Hunter a muli-year contract at age 37 for 7 figures is dumb. Toronto took a huge risk on guys with a history of injuries and/or back loaded and long contracts. They play in a tough division the Twins do not. With all the payroll they took on they still will probably have a payroll around 115 million and took on huge risk. The Twins can complete with a payroll between 85-100 million right now and for less in the future if guys like Rosario, Sano, Arcia, Gibson, Berrios, Hendriks, Revere and Hicks turn

twinsnorth49
11-21-2012, 02:39 PM
I would love it of my company spent 50-52% of revenue on payroll....although I wouldn't have my job for very long under those circumstances.

Jim Crikket
11-21-2012, 03:09 PM
I would love it of my company spent 50-52% of revenue on payroll....although I wouldn't have my job for very long under those circumstances.

You probably also wouldn't mind if the starting salary at your company was $450,000 per year. I know I wouldn't!

I just want to say, "thanks" to everyone who's read and contributed to the discussion of this article. Whether you agree with what I wrote or not, I've enjoyed the sprited, yet generally respectful, debate. It certainly goes to show just how difficult Terry Ryan's job is right now.

As we near Thanksgiving, one of the things I'm personally thankful for is the Twins blogging community, in particular my co-bloggers at Knuckleballs (http://knuckleballsblog.com) and the TwinsDaily crew who have provided this venue for Twins-based discussions like this. Being a Twins fan isn't easy these days, but it's a heck of a lot more fun having so many great fans here with whom to share the experience, for better or worse.

I hope everyone has a terrific holiday!

ThePuck
11-21-2012, 04:03 PM
I would love it of my company spent 50-52% of revenue on payroll....although I wouldn't have my job for very long under those circumstances.

Oh, so now you're saying they're spending too much and really going out of their way for payroll? Everyone should be thrilled with what they spend and feel lucky we have such generous owners?

Brock Beauchamp
11-21-2012, 04:03 PM
Same to you, Jim. Thanks for all the great contributions.

twinsnorth49
11-21-2012, 08:42 PM
I would love it of my company spent 50-52% of revenue on payroll....although I wouldn't have my job for very long under those circumstances.

Oh, so now you're saying they're spending too much and really going out of their way for payroll? Everyone should be thrilled with what they spend and feel lucky we have such generous owners?

No, but thanks for playing.

Blake
11-21-2012, 08:42 PM
Jim, there is another possibility that is being ignored. There are signs the economy is sliding back into recession. I suspect Twins management is probably caught on the horns of a dilemma from a financial standpoint. Suppose the team makes some expensive moves and manages to get in contention, but people just don't have the money to attend games? Were I the Twins, I'd be crunching a lot of numbers, trying to figure out if the decline in attendance can be completely attributed to putting a bad product on the field.

darin617
11-21-2012, 10:44 PM
I would love it of my company spent 50-52% of revenue on payroll....although I wouldn't have my job for very long under those circumstances.

Oh, so now you're saying they're spending too much and really going out of their way for payroll? Everyone should be thrilled with what they spend and feel lucky we have such generous owners?

So what teams beside the Marlins for the obvious choice keep their payroll under 50% of revenue?

The 50% of revenue would be perfectly acceptable if the paid for their own stadium and didn't force taxpayers to help the pocket so much money every season. I just can't wait for the day when the Pohlads are no longer involved with the Twins.

ThePuck
11-21-2012, 11:15 PM
I would love it of my company spent 50-52% of revenue on payroll....although I wouldn't have my job for very long under those circumstances.

Oh, so now you're saying they're spending too much and really going out of their way for payroll? Everyone should be thrilled with what they spend and feel lucky we have such generous owners?

No, but thanks for playing.

That is exactly what your post implied...

twinsnorth49
11-22-2012, 01:42 PM
I would love it of my company spent 50-52% of revenue on payroll....although I wouldn't have my job for very long under those circumstances.

Oh, so now you're saying they're spending too much and really going out of their way for payroll? Everyone should be thrilled with what they spend and feel lucky we have such generous owners?

So what teams beside the Marlins for the obvious choice keep their payroll under 50% of revenue?

The 50% of revenue would be perfectly acceptable if the paid for their own stadium and didn't force taxpayers to help the pocket so much money every season. I just can't wait for the day when the Pohlads are no longer involved with the Twins.

Tampa Bay, Oakland, most teams other than a handful peg payroll somewhere around 50%. Wish the Pohlads away if you like, I think you'll be disappointed if you expect more from somebody else.