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Nick Nelson
11-05-2013, 09:20 PM
You can view the page at http://twinsdaily.com/content.php?r=2454-Shortcuts

Brandon
11-05-2013, 09:54 PM
I think they will spend on 1 pitcher in the 10-15 million per season up to 4 maybe 5 seasons. They will need to sign another and they will but not the overly expensive variety and on a shorter 1-3 year contract. I wouldn't be surprised if Meyer starts getting more press from the Twins as the offseason wears on and the signings take place showing a rotation of

1. Expensive pitcher
2. Less expensive pitcher
3. Dedunno
4. Correia
5. Meyer/ Gibson

On a side note advertising will be fun next year with the rookies (Buxton, Sano, Rosario, Arcia, Meyer, Gibson,...and new "gunslingers signed this offseason" .

spycake
11-05-2013, 09:58 PM
What's interesting is that free agency really isn't a "shortcut" at all (unless you forfeit a draft pick).

If the Twins started trading prospects to eke out a few more wins next year, that would be a shortcut. But nobody's advocating that.

ajstolt_09
11-05-2013, 10:17 PM
Free agency is not a shortcut in this case. Its supplementing the rotation, which is in dire need of assistance, with talent that we lack in the upper levels of the minors. Meyer and Gibson could both very well be members of the rotation hopefully earlier than June or July. Correia is a 5th starter who gives you decent innings and occasionally throws a quality game. Besides that, we need at minimum 2 pitchers to fill spots this year. I have no confidence in Diamond to come back and be a solid starter, especially with his unusually terrible strikeout per 9 rate. Worley? Maybe he can surprise us, but last year was a disaster and I wouldn't want to bet on him bouncing back in a big way. Deduno can be fun to watch but is WAY too inconsistent, although might be an option if we don't bring in quality free agents. Hendricks might be the next Swarzak.

But I have to say, certainly looking forward to how this offseason plays out, and what happens with the kids down in spring training. A lot of things to keep an eye on

ashburyjohn
11-05-2013, 10:50 PM
Free agency is not a shortcut in this case.

To me, free agency is the penalty the FO pays for not developing all the pieces they need for a winning roster. Just plead guilty, pay the fine, and move forward.

Paul Pleiss
11-06-2013, 04:56 AM
Bring on the shortcuts! The truth is that the Twins have not been terrible at drafting/finding pitching, they just haven't held onto the guys they've had because of the benjamins. They traded Garza away for DeLOLmon Young, Johan was sent packing for a pile of crap, Kyle Lohse, Liriano to name a few. Obviously the Twins could not have, or at least would not have been able to afford to hold onto all of those players, but maybe that's a big part of the problem, the unwillingness of the team to spend in the Dome days. The success of some of these guys after leaving the organization, in my opinion, places some blame squarely in the lap of Rick Anderson. The Twins need to spend to bring in some mid-front end rotation guys to get the team back on track.

Rick Niedermann
11-06-2013, 09:04 AM
The Priorities that Terry Ryan needs to look for in a FA Starting Pitcher:

1.) Age - He needs to be young enough to be around and contributing when the new wave of talent comes aboard in the next 2-3 years.

2.) Upside - Someone who could possibly breakout and have a 15-17 Win season.

3.) Innings Eater - This team needs someone who can last longer then 5 to 6 innings with a shot at winning the game.

4.) History of Health - Sure, no one knows when a guys arm is going to go. But big money can't be spent on guys who have a past history of arm problems.

So with that criteria, if I were Terry Ryan, I would be focusing my attention to this group of pitchers.

Ricky Nalasco, Phil Hughes, Ubaldo Jimenez, and this one most won't like, but I would certainly put a flyer out for Jason Vargas. Ervin Santana won't be a Twin. To expensive and the loss of that 2nd round draft pick to the Royals eliminates him if your Terry Ryan. If Ryan can land one of these guys on a 3 or 4 year deal and sign one of the Johan, Josh Johnson types needing a one year make good deal I'd be pretty happy with those upgrades.

Rosterman
11-06-2013, 09:07 AM
The Twins can afford to spend. If, as you say, the next group of pitching prospects are 4-5 years away, combined with the hitters you mentioned, the Twins will be free agency free and just into arbitration with most players. It is a juggling act. You want prospects to thrive in a winning environs if you can, and you don't want everyone to hit big buck status at the same time, but you also trade guys for less expensive talent as their service time progresses, or try and make contract calls in the initial or second arbitration years. We know 2014 may be a rebuilding wash, and with the lack of on-top pitching in the organization, 2015 would also be a rebuilding year. So are we now looking at 2016 or 2017 being competitive years and 2018 when the Twins might actually field a championship team? Or with the correct free agent pitching signees, could the Twins compete in 2015 and 2016 (and 2017) and work their young talent into the rotation, yes, with a little fast-tracking.

Winston Smith
11-06-2013, 09:15 AM
Of course there are shortcuts, they are used all the time. The problem is that Ryan is stuck on the same road, the only road he knows how to travel.
Ryan is the kind of guy that will never give up that tired old tattered paper map and spend money on a GPS Navigator.

TheLeviathan
11-06-2013, 09:33 AM
To me it's only a shortcut if you use it in lieu of developing players. And since I think we all agree that player development is still top priority.....this really is nothing more than a public scarecrow Ryan is propping up. Free agency is a supplement for where your player development failed or was lacking. It's not a replacement.

That mentality is such a deeply engrained part of the problem here.

nick5253
11-06-2013, 09:42 AM
The Twins should have been following the Cubs 'shortcuts' the last 2 years. Both clubs started from nearly the same place - the Cubs brought in Epstein in Oct '11, the Twins brought back Ryan in Nov '11. Both farm systems were utterly devoid of top talent as well as terrible at the MLB level.

The Cubs, however, have been aggressively building near MLB level talent through crafty FA signings that lead to trades. Paul Maholm, Scott Feldman among others were signed as cheap FAs and promptly flipped for impact minor leaguers in their 1st year. The Cubs have also been more aggressive selling off their own veterans: Soriano, DeJesus, Sean Marshall, Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza - the returns from these guys are now showing up in the top 10 prospect lists.

The Twins on the other hand balked at trading Willingham at the height of his value and let Cuddyer & Kubel play out their contracts. And they waiting until Liriano & Morneau were near their lowest value before trading them.

I fully agree with the path the Twins are on - doing a full rebuild - because the system was so terrible, it had to happen. BUT, if you go this route, own it, commit to it, and make some smarter moves. Leverage the 20mil you have left over in 2013 to sign 2-3 guys that might bounce back for a half season and then flip em. This is one 'shortcut' the Twins would be well served to take.

diehardtwinsfan
11-06-2013, 10:40 AM
The question I'd ask is whether or not signing a FA is a shortcut (and Ryan's opinion of that). I think it can be, but it doesn't necessarily mean that it is. The article pointed out just how much promise exists in the higher minors and majors 1-9 in the order, and just how little exists in starting pitching. It would be foolish if these guys are legit to ignore the org need for pitching.

What makes FA a shortcut, to me is the execution. Last year definitely wasn't the time to go crazy in FA. I'm not terribly sure this year is, but it should be clear at this point that the next wave WILL need more pitching than what the farm can supply. Spending money on younger talent that won't likely fall off a cliff makes a ton of sense. I'm not expecting the Twins to go out and get 3 guys, but 1 long term starter and 1 make good deal makes a ton of sense for this org.

nicksaviking
11-06-2013, 10:47 AM
I guess I don't understand why signing upper shelf free agents is a shortcut but signing the Correias, Carrolls and Marquis' is not. I fail to see the difference unless shortcut is actually code for money.

Nick Nelson
11-06-2013, 11:06 AM
I think the implication with free agency being a "shortcut" is that you're ostensibly trying to buy your way to contention. It's reasonable to want to avoid that strategy, because that's a losing proposition.

But of course, no one's suggesting that the Twins use FA as their only talent acquisition pipeline, nor even the main one. What's frustrating is the notion that adding high-quality talent through free agency is somehow mutually exclusive from building internally, or that it makes no sense to sign impact players until the club has developed into a contender on its own. The Twins need to sign impact players in order to GET to that point, unless they want to sit around in a perpetual state of inertia. They simply do not have the pitching talent to compete and they won't for years unless they alter their approach.

Thrylos
11-06-2013, 11:17 AM
Agree. There are free agent starting pitchers this off-season that a team can build from for the next 3-5 years.

And if they do not, the pipe dream of the future when Sano and Buxton et al arrive, might be at risk.

I did a little exercise today:

-took 3 criteria for such pitchers who are free agents (age is one) and looked at who the Twins should sing.
-came up with an "A list" with five names and a "B list" with four.

The 3 top, in my opinion are here (http://tenthinningstretch.blogspot.com/2013/11/naming-names-three-starting-pitchers.html) (along with the whole thought and elimination process).

I think that the Twins a. can afford them and b. there is one very interesting name among the 3 who nobody has been talking about...

mike wants wins
11-06-2013, 11:23 AM
How is signing a FA a shortcut, but trading for guys is not?

What is inherently "evil" about shortcuts? A shortcut is something that gets you to your destination faster. I've never read anyone here or anywhere say "stop drafting and developing players".

This is a bogus boogeyman (worse than a straw man) Ryan has put out there as a PR effort. And, our great journalists in this state have let him get away with it. No one ever follows up and asks what a short cut is, or why trading for guys is ok, or how signing a FA that does not have a QO hurts in any way.

Thrylos
11-06-2013, 11:26 AM
How is signing a FA a shortcut, but trading for guys is not?

What is inherently "evil" about shortcuts? A shortcut is something that gets you to your destination faster. I've never read anyone here or anywhere say "stop drafting and developing players".

This is a bogus boogeyman (worse than a straw man) Ryan has put out there as a PR effort. And, our great journalists in this state have let him get away with it. No one ever follows up and asks what a short cut is, or why trading for guys is ok, or how signing a FA that does not have a QO hurts in any way.


They funny irony about that boogeyman is that he is talking about how signing FAs is a "shortcut" on one hand, but on the other he goes and signs a whole bunch of never had been MiLB FAs who are blocking the prospects he says should be "developed within"...

Scary. Actions speak louder than words.

ashburyjohn
11-06-2013, 11:37 AM
Organizational filler is signed all the time. Who's being blocked?

Thrylos
11-06-2013, 12:01 PM
Organizational filler is signed all the time. Who's being blocked?

in 2013:

Vargas
May
Dean
Darnell
Fuentes
Z Jones
Summers
T Rogers
Wheeler
Rohlfing
Hanson
Koch
A. Walker
et al

ashburyjohn
11-06-2013, 12:17 PM
I'm hopeful someone with better knowledge of the particulars than me will explain who among this lengthy list isn't being blocked by... their own progress.

Seth Stohs
11-06-2013, 12:18 PM
Organizational filler is signed all the time. Who's being blocked?

Agreed. The Twins have been successful with minor league free agent signings to fill roster and occasionally some of them have really helped the Twins too.

I'm all for signing free agents. I'm fine with the Twins signing the likes of Ervin Santana, Ubaldo, Hughes, Nolasco. I would have been fine with them signing Greinke and Sanchez last year. Those are good shortcuts (though a pitcher only pitches one in 5 games). But again, even if the Twins make the efforts, it does take two sides to come together.

Seth Stohs
11-06-2013, 12:22 PM
I'm hopeful someone with better knowledge of the particulars than me will explain who among this lengthy list isn't being blocked by... their own progress.

I don't really see anyone on that list who is being blocked either.

VandyTwinsFan
11-06-2013, 12:33 PM
From the above mentioned article:
"He found that some batters, such as Jack Cust, Dan Johnson and Josh Willingham, hardly ever stray from their points of contact, indicating rigid swing patterns that could leave them vulnerable to specific pitches or pitch sequences. Other batters make adjustments, such as Ichiro Suzuki, Brayan Pena, Coco Crisp and Ian Desmond, who made contact at all points in the strike zone with regularity."

My brother and I would make bets on which pitch would strike Willingham out this year. It's interesting to see a report illustrating why he can't hit a breaking ball moving down and away (although, not necessarily located off the plate).

Kwak
11-06-2013, 12:41 PM
Besides the salary issue for a "quality" free agent, there is the tacit admission that "the system" failed and talent had to be "purchased". IMO, it's not the money as much as the admission of guilt.

Boom Boom
11-06-2013, 12:44 PM
Nick, there's another side to TR's comment about there being no shortcuts that you didn't address - yes, he's implying that the Twins are not going to become a contender by signing a load of free agents, but he's also hinting that he expects the team to be bad for a while longer. Free agency is the Twins' best chance to improve in the short-term, as they don't have a whole lot of tradeable assets and their prospect "wave" is at least a season or two away.

nicksaviking
11-06-2013, 01:19 PM
I'm hopeful someone with better knowledge of the particulars than me will explain who among this lengthy list isn't being blocked by... their own progress.

I agree, but will play devil's advocate for a moment. What if Gibson, Hendriks, Meyer and May had all had the phenominal seasons we were hoping for? Then Correa and Pelfrey would have been blocking them. Pre-season, it wasn't a sure thing all would have production/injury concerns.

nicksaviking
11-06-2013, 01:24 PM
Free agency is the Twins' best chance to improve in the short-term, as they don't have a whole lot of tradeable assets and their prospect "wave" is at least a season or two away.

Of course if the Twins made some smart speculations on the free agent market they could get new tradable assets. The guys they signed over the last couple years had next to no trade value. Even Willingham after 2012, who many thought could bring a decent return, was reportedly not worth much.

mike wants wins
11-06-2013, 01:39 PM
Talk of specific players being blocked or not, instead of discussing "FA IS EVIL" is just what TR and the TWins want you doing.... you all fell nicely into the trap in less than 1 page of the thread!

:)

USAFChief
11-06-2013, 01:46 PM
I'd be pretty happy if there were minor leaguers deserving major league playing time because of performance who weren't getting that playing time because there were better players getting it.

I would consider that a pretty enviable situation for a major league team to be in. I don't consider the Twins to be in much danger of that happening any time soon, though.

ashburyjohn
11-06-2013, 02:52 PM
I agree, but will play devil's advocate for a moment. What if Gibson, Hendriks, Meyer and May had all had the phenominal seasons we were hoping for? Then Correa and Pelfrey would have been blocking them. Pre-season, it wasn't a sure thing all would have production/injury concerns.

My particular response was to Thrylos's comment about MiLB FAs. I should have used Reply With Quote, in order to be clearer, although I thought that would come through when I said "organizational filler".

But your scenario probably has a feasible exit strategy: deadline (or earlier) trades of the suddenly expendable pieces. Note, this is not the same as the strategy of signing guys with the express purpose to flip them.

Would be a nice problem to have, wouldn't it?

S.
11-06-2013, 03:04 PM
The phrasing and use of the term shortcut really ticks me off, in the context TR is using it in. Using FA to acquire players to drastically improve your team (especially when you have a ton of glaring problems and a giant pile of money to spend) is a normal part of the game for most teams. That isn't a shortcut, it is the norm. We are taking the long route.

I just don't understand why being efficient and utilizing all avenues is a shortcut in any way. No one is saying we need to construct a 25 man roster full of big name FAs. No one is saying we need to sign 5 top tier pitchers. It's like me asking for directions from Target Field to Xcel Energy Center and pretending that the suggestion of taking 94 is such an absurd idea. Sure, I could take 394 to 100 to 494 to 35E, but that doesn't mean that taking 94 is a shortcut.



Disclaimer: I'm not actually saying these two situations are literally comparable but the point still stands.

diehardtwinsfan
11-06-2013, 03:26 PM
The phrasing and use of the term shortcut really ticks me off, in the context TR is using it in. Using FA to acquire players to drastically improve your team (especially when you have a ton of glaring problems and a giant pile of money to spend) is a normal part of the game for most teams. That isn't a shortcut, it is the norm. We are taking the long route.

I just don't understand why being efficient and utilizing all avenues is a shortcut in any way. No one is saying we need to construct a 25 man roster full of big name FAs. No one is saying we need to sign 5 top tier pitchers. It's like me asking for directions from Target Field to Xcel Energy Center and pretending that the suggestion of taking 94 is such an absurd idea. Sure, I could take 394 to 100 to 494 to 35E, but that doesn't mean that taking 94 is a shortcut.



Disclaimer: I'm not actually saying these two situations are literally comparable but the point still stands.

Using FA to drastically improve your team fails more often than it works. In that sense, I agree there's no shortcut. Using FA to fill some holes, or in this case, where it's painstakingly obvious that the next wave won't have enough SP is a bit different. It's targeted. The question at hand is whether or not that 5 year contract still going to be worth it in years 3-5 when said next wave is established.

Heimer
11-06-2013, 03:27 PM
Take anybody with potential under 30.

S.
11-06-2013, 03:39 PM
Using FA to drastically improve your team fails more often than it works. In that sense, I agree there's no shortcut.
I probably could've just said to improve your team and taken out the "drastically". In the Twins case, it wouldn't take that much talent to drastically improve our starting pitching in it's current state, to be fair.


Using FA to fill some holes, or in this case, where it's painstakingly obvious that the next wave won't have enough SP is a bit different. It's targeted. The question at hand is whether or not that 5 year contract still going to be worth it in years 3-5 when said next wave is established.
Once you start talking 4 and 5+ year contracts it gets a bit more complicated, but the fact of the matter is our pitching is not suddenly going to get better without some combination of FA and trades, unless we're making assumptions that every pitching prospect we have in the minors is going to meet and exceed any expectations, hopes, or dreams we have about their ability. If in 3-5 years our biggest problem is a bad contract, then I'd say we've done pretty damn well. I'd much rather be bitching about a good team with a bad contract than a bad team with a rotation that bears any resemblance to what we trotted out there the last 2 years.

Major Leauge Ready
11-06-2013, 03:43 PM
There is a lot of presumtion here without even qualifying where it is that "we want to go. My presumption is that "where" means achieving several things. My guess is the first thing on the lists are things that provide sustainability. For example, improved process drafting, international signings, and development. It would be a safe bet the ultimate "where" is world series contention. That is not going to happen through free agency. That also does not mean they won't utilize free agency to put a better product on the field. So, I intepret his comment only so far as to conclude that he feels short cuts won't build a world series contender that is capable of sustaining a high level.

Sustaining the orgaization also has several implications for management and organizational development. Nobody here is referencing these issues but I would bet TR is considering them when he makes these statements. We should not assume the very limited context of free agency as "short cuts".

All anyone hears is that they won't spend. Bad contracts and/or players past their prime are a real detriment to any organization but they are absolutely killers when they are 5+ years for teams outside the very top revenue generators. The risk and impact often does not appear to be considered here. Looking back on top FA signings the past few years, there is at least as much failure as success. Fielder ranked 14th in WAR last year at 2.2. That salary would be an albatross for us and with that body type he could be really bad the last 2-3 years of his contract. Swisher ranked 13th in his first of a 4 year deal. Hamilton delivered a WAR of 1.9 for $25M in his first year. I don't like his odds of being better in the last couple years of that deal. BJ Upton's WAR was -.6. Michael Bourne had a WAR of 2.0. Edwin Jackson and Ryan Dempster were at very best mediocre. Pujlos could very well be back next season but he deliver a WAR of .7 last year and that contract could be a real clunker for 4-5 years. Reyes WAR ranked 15th at 2.2. Buehrle had an almost identical ERA to Correia.

I am not a scout but Sanatana and Jemenez seem really risky to me. I hope they don't risk a future that appears to be very bright and sustainable by signing one of these guys to a 5 year deal and giving up a high draft pick. Feldman, Nolasco, Kazmir, Hughes all offer substantial upgrades without the risk. Burnett or Orroyo might even make sense on a 1 year deal with a 2nd year team option. Two of those 6 SPs + Morales or Loney and I will loook forward to 2014. Maybe Johnson as a 3rd high risk/reward add.

Winston Smith
11-06-2013, 04:00 PM
There is a good post at MLB Rumors with this graph. Worth a read.

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/

http://rotoauthority.blogs.com/.a/6a00d834515b9a69e2019b00bce92b970d-500wi (http://rotoauthority.blogs.com/.a/6a00d834515b9a69e2019b00bce92b970d-pi)

MileHighTwinsFan
11-06-2013, 04:04 PM
I think FA starting pitcher signings are fraught with risk and intricacies that are far more complicated than simply dropping a bundle on the best available arm as a shortcut. The key is aligning a player's peak ability with the development of the rest of the team. It makes no sense to sign a high dollar starter if the rest of the lineup is not positioned to win. Many pitchers have such a limited window of productivity, that an ill-timed investment could leave many teams holding the bag on a guy who is past his prime when the rest of the team is ready for primetime. It is for this reason that it makes way more sense to develop within the system and add a key piece at the exact right time - namely at the trade deadline when the team is competitive or at a point when the team is clearly the dominant team in the division. See Tigers for insight here.

mike wants wins
11-06-2013, 04:05 PM
Using FA to drastically improve your team fails more often than it works. In that sense, I agree there's no shortcut. Using FA to fill some holes, or in this case, where it's painstakingly obvious that the next wave won't have enough SP is a bit different. It's targeted. The question at hand is whether or not that 5 year contract still going to be worth it in years 3-5 when said next wave is established.

why is that the question? Are most contracts worth it? The questions should be about what you can afford, not if it is worth it every year of the deal. Remember when everyone said Hunter would not be worth it in Anaheim?

mike wants wins
11-06-2013, 04:06 PM
and propects aren't fraught with risk?

S.
11-06-2013, 04:14 PM
It is for this reason that it makes way more sense to develop within the system and add a key piece at the exact right time - namely at the trade deadline when the team is competitive or at a point when the team is clearly the dominant team in the division.
In order to need a key piece to push our rotation over the top, we would need to already have a rotation that was near the top. Our current rotation is near or at the bottom in pretty much every way. I have no clue how you can look at the pitching in our system and think that somehow in the next few years our pitching rotation will be good enough to only need a "key piece" without seriously utilizing FA and trades in the meantime.

nicksaviking
11-06-2013, 04:16 PM
My particular response was to Thrylos's comment about MiLB FAs. I should have used Reply With Quote, in order to be clearer, although I thought that would come through when I said "organizational filler".

But your scenario probably has a feasible exit strategy: deadline (or earlier) trades of the suddenly expendable pieces. Note, this is not the same as the strategy of signing guys with the express purpose to flip them.

Would be a nice problem to have, wouldn't it?


I should have caught the implication that you were thinking of minor league filler as opposed to major league filler. Not that there's much distinction between the two for the Twins.

I'm interested in moving any and all expendable vets. I guess I don't care if they were expressly signed to be flipped or not. I'd like the idea of my GM playing the market with those ulterior motives though.

MileHighTwinsFan
11-06-2013, 04:16 PM
Prospects are not a financial risk. You need to invest when the potential return is greatest. It is not that we should not sign long term deals with FAs, but that we need to make sure that the years of greatest productivity are when the rest of the team is ready to compete for a title.

mike wants wins
11-06-2013, 04:18 PM
And they have over 70MM available to spend right now...what is the financial risk?

and why, why do they NEED to be of greatest productivity? Why not just make the team better if they can afford to?

S.
11-06-2013, 04:22 PM
And if you wait until a trade deadline to try to add your key pieces when the rest of the team is ready to compete for a title, what happens when the pieces you need aren't available? Or how about when the asking price for those key pieces are other key pieces on our team (and they would be, if you're talking about getting a top tier pitcher at a trade deadline)?

nicksaviking
11-06-2013, 04:24 PM
There is a good post at MLB Rumors with this graph. Worth a read.

MLB Rumors - MLBTradeRumors.com (http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/)

http://rotoauthority.blogs.com/.a/6a00d834515b9a69e2019b00bce92b970d-500wi (http://rotoauthority.blogs.com/.a/6a00d834515b9a69e2019b00bce92b970d-pi)


That was pretty good but I liked the Fangraphs one better: The New National TV Contracts And 2014 Payrolls | FanGraphs Baseball (http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-new-national-tv-contracts-and-2014-payrolls/)

The MLBTR one seems to be using all future commitments, regarless of how many years existing contracts are spread out across. In that sense it implies that the Twins don't have much wiggle room this year because Mauer still has $115M left on his deal and the Twins highest payroll was around $120M. That doesn't show the true relationship as that the Twins only have about $60M committed to 2014 and to get back to that payroll they would be able to double their current figure. (Obvisously they won't, just stating parameters of these two data sets)

Major Leauge Ready
11-06-2013, 04:29 PM
why is that the question? Are most contracts worth it? The questions should be about what you can afford, not if it is worth it every year of the deal. Remember when everyone said Hunter would not be worth it in Anaheim?

This is EXACTLY the question. Let's say we go out and get Ellsbury, Santana, and Jemenz. Ellsbury could be injury prone or simply play at a substandard level from day 1 (see Hamilton/Upton/Bourn) and have a negligible WAR the last couple years of their contracts. Jemenez could easily regress to the 5+ ERA pitcher he was in 2012 and Santana could do the same, especially as they age. Now you have over $80M/year in 2017-18 (including Mauer) tied up in guys who in all likelihood are no longer performing anywhere near an elite level. While I concede it is possible they could all still play at a high level at 35, the odds are much better that they regress, are injured or decline substantially as they age.

I think this is what DieHard is suggesting. The FA signings and other transaction should reflect where the team is in the development/rebuild cycle.

MileHighTwinsFan
11-06-2013, 04:31 PM
And they have over 70MM available to spend right now...what is the financial risk?

and why, why do they NEED to be of greatest productivity? Why not just make the team better if they can afford to?

So go drop 100M over 5 years on a guy right now. Sure he wins 20 for a .500 team next year, then sees his productivity wane when Sano, Buxton, et al are peaking. So when the team really needs to invest in a top arm, we have 20M a year wrapped up in a has been.

S.
11-06-2013, 04:43 PM
And when Sano, Buxton, et al are peaking, the FA market might be trash. We might go spend 100M over 5 years on a guy who is a flop from day 1. We might still have the worst rotation in baseball and investing in a top arm might only bring us from 70 to 75 wins. Sano, Buxton, et al might not all peak at the same time. Hell, Sano, Buxton, et al might (and the"et al" part probably won't) all pan out to be good major league players.

edit:

I dont mean to be rude and I certainly can appreciate the optimism about our system producing a bunch of successful players, but you're constructing a hypothetical situation where all possible stars are going to align, and I dont see that as a reasonable way to plan for the future. In order for that to work, all of our prospects in the minors need to pan out, they all need to peak in the same general time frame, FA players we need to fill any holes we have will need to be available during said time frame, and then we need to be able to sign them all. I guess I just don't see any reason why we couldn't also be signing good players now, especially since our payroll obligations are only going to continue to go down based on our current roster. I'm not saying go out and throw around a bunch of 5/100+ contracts, but going after a couple decent to good pitchers now is not going to hamstring us in 3 or 4 years on it's own.

cmb0252
11-06-2013, 04:55 PM
I'm all for the Twins spending money but this FA group (especially the pitching side) is garbage. I rather the front office be creative with trying to fix things than just throwing money at it.

ashburyjohn
11-06-2013, 04:58 PM
It's like me asking for directions from Target Field to Xcel Energy Center and pretending that the suggestion of taking 94 is such an absurd idea. Sure, I could take 394 to 100 to 494 to 35E, but that doesn't mean that taking 94 is a shortcut.

Terry may believe you need a MnPASS to ride on 94.

diehardtwinsfan
11-06-2013, 05:13 PM
This is EXACTLY the question. Let's say we go out and get Ellsbury, Santana, and Jemenz. Ellsbury could be injury prone or simply play at a substandard level from day 1 (see Hamilton/Upton/Bourn) and have a negligible WAR the last couple years of their contracts. Jemenez could easily regress to the 5+ ERA pitcher he was in 2012 and Santana could do the same, especially as they age. Now you have over $80M/year in 2017-18 (including Mauer) tied up in guys who in all likelihood are no longer performing anywhere near an elite level. While I concede it is possible they could all still play at a high level at 35, the odds are much better that they regress, are injured or decline substantially as they age.

I think this is what DieHard is suggesting. The FA signings and other transaction should reflect where the team is in the development/rebuild cycle.

This is exactly what I'm suggesting. Most of those really big FA contracts aren't hunter. They are Kevin Brown type, or the Johan Santana type that does very well in the first couple of years but hamstrings the team later on. There is a time where they make sense, and a time where they most definitely do not make sense. Simply signing guys b/c you have the money is a long term recipie to have a bunch of aging under performing contracts on your plate that you cannot get rid of... Smart, targeted signings when you are one or two holes away from a contender is a completely different case. And yes, as you stated, the odds are not in favor of Ellsbury, Jiminez, and Santana all performing well in the later part of their contracts.

Ellsbury - I'm not sure why he keeps getting bandied around. His OPS was not very good at all this year. His game is speed and that doesn't typically age well, and our OF is already crowded in the short term and long term. Why his name keeps getting brought up here is beyond me. He's a terrible fit, and an expensive one at that.

Santana- fits a position of need. Has a history that indicates durability issues. Is this the type of guy you target knowing that when the offense on this team gets cemented, he could be on the DL with his second TJ surgery, except that he's getting paid 17M/year and that hamstrings your ability to replace him.

Jiminez - He's just inconsistent. Talent is there, but the results don't always show. Also going to be expensive.

I'm all for FA signings, and I honestly think Ryan is too (though he's a bit more risk averse), but in terms of where this team was last year, spending a ton of money makes little sense. The next wave is a lot closer and looks a lot more promising right now, so perhaps it's time to make a plunge, but even then tying up lots of dollars and years isn't smart. Getting that pitching is going to make a lot more sense when the hitting is ready to compete. The only real problem I see is that there are only 3 spots worth filling in 2015 (Meyer, May, and Gibson) and that assumes no one regresses. They will have to make a plunge at one point. The question is when.

Willihammer
11-06-2013, 05:27 PM
It's like me asking for directions from Target Field to Xcel Energy Center and pretending that the suggestion of taking 94 is such an absurd idea. Sure, I could take 394 to 100 to 494 to 35E, but that doesn't mean that taking 94 is a shortcut.

Maybe Ryan prefers the longer way because he's a hopeless romantic?

http://i.imgur.com/qUuYXBs.jpg?1

Major Leauge Ready
11-06-2013, 06:07 PM
The lack of starting pitching in the upper levels of the minor league system is a glaring hole in terms of contending. However, we need to be realistic. We are basically where KC was 3-4 years ago. There is no way this team competes with Detroit until and unless most of the group including Dozier/Arcia/Pinto/Sano/Buxton/Rosario. That is going to be 2016 best case scenario and probably 2017. Spending another 60-70M in free agency is not going to make us a contender until then.

If you agree with this premise, I think the FA SP strategy should be a very aggressive approach with the best FA SPs that can be signed to 3 years or less. This will position us nicely from a budgetary position. We will be in a great position to add a top line FA starter in 2016 or 2017. We will also be positioned to utilize the Ray’s early extension strategy for some of our top prospects.

This will help but Gibson and Meyer really need to reach their potential. There are a couple other guys who might contribute by then but the odds are longer on them. There are also other possibilities to produce a front of the rotation starter by 2017. I would expect an all out effort if this were the final piece in contending. For starters, we could get a college pitcher with the #5 pick that could be that guy. I could see the FO being more aggressive with an international signing if we were close to contending. Another option, given the depth of our system, might be to trade one of two of our current top prospects not named Buxton or Sano once they have become established for ML ready pitching.

We should all pray for guys like Santana, Walker, Kepler, Polanco, etc reach their potential. They could be used as trade bait or replacements to our proven players. In either scenario, trading them could be the source of more pitching.

The Wise One
11-06-2013, 06:18 PM
I agree, but will play devil's advocate for a moment. What if Gibson, Hendriks, Meyer and May had all had the phenominal seasons we were hoping for? Then Correa and Pelfrey would have been blocking them. Pre-season, it wasn't a sure thing all would have production/injury concerns.

First off the big if had odds on it about like buying one ticket for 4 big lotteries and winning them all. Scouting and statistics could tell you that was not going to happen.

Jim H
11-06-2013, 06:52 PM
I expect the Twins to sign a couple of free agent pitchers this year, but for them to have much of an impact, the Twins players that are coming back have to play better than they did this year. Hell, the pitchers the Twins sign will probably have to pitch better than they did this year, to have any positive impact. That is if we are talking about guys like Hughes and Baker and actually a large part of the free agent class.

That is the point of the no shortcuts comment. The current Twins have to play better, or be replaced by minor leaguers who play better. The free agent pitchers who are available have either been bad, hurt or (because there are so few of them) will be insanely expensive. You might get lucky in the free agent market, but since the top of the market as profiled by Nick, had 3 guys who pitched no better than Corrieia this year, you probably won't.

Again, I expect the Twins to sign a couple of guys. I actually hope they are short term contracts, unless the Twins actually manage to snag a Tanaka or maybe E. Santana. If they happen to be good, or recovered from their injuries, well then resign them. Most of the long term contracts will be bad investments like they always have been.

spycake
11-06-2013, 08:21 PM
That is going to be 2016 best case scenario and probably 2017.

Huh. So best case scenario, we're done rebuilding in year 5 or 6? And that's assuming most of our top prospects today actually pan out? Is that really the best plan?


We will be in a great position to add a top line FA starter in 2016 or 2017.

And what if there are no top line FA starters available in 2016 or 2017? What if the best available then is a Barry Zito type? With as barren as we are for starting pitching, basically above rookie- and A-level ball, I'd rather be on the hunt now -- not forcing a signing, but definitely looking, identifying our best bets to produce over the contract, and bidding competitively within the ample budget room we have over the next 5 years.

Willihammer
11-06-2013, 09:14 PM
This talk about saving for when the "new core" is ready - I think a reminder is in order.

http://twinsdaily.com/2291-minnesota-twins-roster-payroll-2014.html

There is, by my count, one player guaranteed money after 2014.

The Twins could hand out a 100m FA contract this offseason, another one in 2015 and another after that until Mauer's contract expires (after which point they could hand out another one),pay arbitration raises to Sano, Buxton, and the handful of other specs who don't flame out, and still have money left over. They are wide @#$^@#$^ open.

Nick Nelson
11-06-2013, 11:35 PM
I guarantee perspectives change when you actually become the person responsible for a 100M budget.
What about when your product is failing, and you are maybe 1-2 more bad years from losing your job? Personally, I might be more inclined to take advantage of that 100M budget.

Kwak
11-07-2013, 03:01 AM
What about when your product is failing, and you are maybe 1-2 more bad years from losing your job? Personally, I might be more inclined to take advantage of that 100M budget.

My view--he's doing just as the executive committee wants and is in no danger. Ninety-plus losses means draft early in Jun. I wish I had a dollar for every time I read about the "difficulty" of finding talent when selecting 20-something. This way, they select in the top ten, sometimes even top five! Losing ninety?--it's not as if the Twins would threaten Detroit soon anyway. Fans? We exist to buy tickets, concessions, and merchandise. Several poor seasons and most will be thrilled to be drilled in the first round of the playoffs.

TheLeviathan
11-07-2013, 06:40 AM
What about when your product is failing, and you are maybe 1-2 more bad years from losing your job? Personally, I might be more inclined to take advantage of that 100M budget.

Especially since that 100M budget could disappear quickly if you don't.

Major Leauge Ready
11-07-2013, 08:32 AM
What about when your product is failing, and you are maybe 1-2 more bad years from losing your job? Personally, I might be more inclined to take advantage of that 100M budget.

Where did I ever suggest not spending the money?

BTW, I am what some of you like to call a turnaround specialist so I have been a year or less away from losing my job for the last 20 years. It has never happened, not even close. Impatience, and subsequent risk taking is the surest way to really screw it up. Some of you do not consider or calculate risk. You are playing with Monopoly money. The people entrusted to manage the teams assets and profitability do not and absolutely should not think this way. There is a very long list of underperforming highly compensated players that demonstrate the risks. The surest way for the Twins, or any other team trying to compete with a fraction of the budget of the top markets, to prevent the retention and/or building a team around the core that is a year away is to get wrapped up in long-term deals right now. This is especially true with players who's hjistory suggests they are a risk from day one, much less in the final years.

mike wants wins
11-07-2013, 09:00 AM
I absolutely consider risk. I have an MBA and have done risk management at different times of my career. There is a bigger risk of a prospect not working out than of a FA being too expensive when you have 50-70MM in your budget. The vast majority of prospects don't work out to be good MLB players. And even if they blow $20MM on a guy, they have 1 player signed for more than $5MM in 2 years. One. And no one in the system needing a big contract in the next 4 or more years. There is really no risk at all to the budget of signing one or even two FAs to 5 year deals right now.

There is risk they don't work out, but since they have plenty of budget room, the impact is near zero.

Winston Smith
11-07-2013, 09:45 AM
Pohlad: “We’re committed to spending [50-52%] of revenue, and with the increase in revenue from the new stadium, there’s going to be ample dollars to pay players. It will make a huge difference" (STAR TRIBUNE, 9/14/07).

Forbes estimates the Twins revenue at around 220m so a payroll budget of 110 is in line with what Pohlad said he'd spend. We are at around 50 right now.

Why are people so afraid of the Twins spending money? The Pohlads are one of the richest pro sports owners they will not need to go on food stamps if a free agent they sign goes in the tank. They managed to survive with Blackburn, Morneau, Nathan and many others producing nothing. The Pohlads will be fine, they said they'd spend now prove it. Give us a better product on the field please.

Nick Nelson
11-07-2013, 10:17 AM
BTW, I am what some of you like to call a turnaround specialist so I have been a year or less away from losing my job for the last 20 years. It has never happened, not even close. Impatience, and subsequent risk taking is the surest way to really screw it up. Some of you do not consider or calculate risk. You are playing with Monopoly money. The people entrusted to manage the teams assets and profitability do not and absolutely should not think this way. There is a very long list of underperforming highly compensated players that demonstrate the risks. The surest way for the Twins, or any other team trying to compete with a fraction of the budget of the top markets, to prevent the retention and/or building a team around the core that is a year away is to get wrapped up in long-term deals right now. This is especially true with players who's hjistory suggests they are a risk from day one, much less in the final years.
Of course there's risk in signing free agents. That is basically always the case, without exception. What you seem to be saying is, "I'm not against spending, but spend wisely." That's no different from what anyone else is saying. Everyone has their preferences as far as names on the market, but at the end of the day it's up to the Twins -- Terry Ryan, his scouts, his analytical department -- to determine which guys are worthy of an investment. Certainly some guys who are signed this winter will fizzle, or will become liabilities in the latter part of their contracts, but that is by no means a universal truth. I'd like to think the front office has some confidence in its capability to pinpoint the best candidates to perform well over the life of a multi-year deal.

The risk that this organization should be more concerned with, at this point, is the risk of sending out the same group of unqualified pitchers (or more similar guys) and getting the same horrendous results.

nicksaviking
11-07-2013, 11:10 AM
You are playing with Monopoly money. The people entrusted to manage the teams assets and profitability do not and absolutely should not think this way. There is a very long list of underperforming highly compensated players that demonstrate the risks. The surest way for the Twins, or any other team trying to compete with a fraction of the budget of the top markets, to prevent the retention and/or building a team around the core that is a year away is to get wrapped up in long-term deals right now. This is especially true with players who's hjistory suggests they are a risk from day one, much less in the final years.

But they oporate with a fraction of the budget by choice. Their revenue is not a "fraction" of most teams. So if you are against the Twins taking on risks in the form of free agents, can we assume that you disapprove of the risks the other teams make in free agency? Are the Twins right for not taking these risks and all the other teams are wrong? Because the results on the field don't indicate the Twins are right. Unless the goal we are talking about is making money and not winning baseball games.

Major Leauge Ready
11-07-2013, 11:34 AM
Ha, I absolutely consider risk. I have an MBA and have done risk management at different times of my career. There is a bigger risk of a prospect not working out than of a FA being too expensive when you have 50-70MM in your budget. The vast majority of prospects don't work out to be good MLB players. And even if they blow $20MM on a guy, they have 1 player signed for more than $5MM in 2 years. One. And no one in the system needing a big contract in the next 4 or more years. There is really no risk at all to the budget of signing one or even two FAs to 5 year deals right now.

There is risk they don't work out, but since they have plenty of budget room, the impact is near zero.

I never felt my MBA offered any proof I could run a large organization. And, looking back, the education was helpful but inconsequential in comparison to the actual experience. I am afraid we are just going to have to be two guys with MBAs who disagree.

mike wants wins
11-07-2013, 11:47 AM
Never said it "proved" anything.

What is the risk of spending $20MM on free agents for the next 5 years? Who needs to be paid that is on the roster now? How would that stop them from spending another $40MM in years 3 and beyond? Willingham and Doumit and KC come off after this year, that's another $15MM free to spend.

No one has offered a sufficient argument that, for this team with this money, signing free agents offers risk to their ability to sign other free agents in 3 years.

spycake
11-07-2013, 12:15 PM
There is, by my count, one player guaranteed money after 2014.

Not only that, but as it stands now, of the young potential contributors to the next winning Twins team, Dozier has the most service time, and he won't be a FA until after 2018 (the same time Mauer's deal expires). Heck, Dozier won't even see a significant raise (2nd arb award) until 2017. The guys right behind him -- Arcia, Gibson, Hicks, Pinto -- are a year beyond that (no significant raises until 2018), and the "big guns" (Sano, Meyer, Rosario, Buxton, etc) probably won't see a notable MLB paycheck until 2019.

Basically, the argument against spending big now (assuming 4-5 year deals) is that it might prevent us from spending big again in 2-3 years. But in 2-3 years, the argument against spending big will be that we have to be able to afford to retain our own players. I'm actually sympathetic to the latter argument. The former? Not so much. It sounds like more of a stalling or delay tactic to save the ownership some money in likely losing seasons of a stubbornly too-long rebuild process.

cmb0252
11-07-2013, 12:34 PM
Not only that, but as it stands now, of the young potential contributors to the next winning Twins team, Dozier has the most service time, and he won't be a FA until after 2018 (the same time Mauer's deal expires). Heck, Dozier won't even see a significant raise (2nd arb award) until 2017. The guys right behind him -- Arcia, Gibson, Hicks, Pinto -- are a year beyond that (no significant raises until 2018), and the "big guns" (Sano, Meyer, Rosario, Buxton, etc) probably won't see a notable MLB paycheck until 2019.

Basically, the argument against spending big now (assuming 4-5 year deals) is that it might prevent us from spending big again in 2-3 years. But in 2-3 years, the argument against spending big will be that we have to be able to afford to retain our own players. I'm actually sympathetic to the latter argument. The former? Not so much. It sounds like more of a stalling or delay tactic to save the ownership some money in likely losing seasons of a stubbornly too-long rebuild process.

Or maybe the argument against spending big now is some of us don't see anyone worth spending big on? I'm all for spending big money but not on this sorry bunch of free agents. I just don't see the love affair with Santana/Jimenez.

Willihammer
11-07-2013, 12:35 PM
NBasically, the argument against spending big now (assuming 4-5 year deals) is that it might prevent us from spending big again in 2-3 years. But in 2-3 years, the argument against spending big will be that we have to be able to afford to retain our own players. I'm actually sympathetic to the latter argument. The former? Not so much. It sounds like more of a stalling or delay tactic to save the ownership some money in likely losing seasons of a stubbornly too-long rebuild process.

I'll give you a third scenario: In 2-3 years the team is still terrible, the new core doesn't play well enough to demand big arbitration raises/extensions. But by that point the team will have drafted a whole new crop of top 100 specs. And so instead of making a FA splash in 2017, the timing for a big FA push gets pushed back to 2020.

Willihammer
11-07-2013, 12:39 PM
Or maybe the argument against spending big now is some of us don't see anyone worth spending big on? I'm all for spending big money but not on this sorry bunch of free agents. I just don't see the love affair with Santana/Jimenez.

Who do you like in the 2017 class?

cmb0252
11-07-2013, 12:50 PM
Who do you like in the 2017 class?

I fail to see what this has to do with anything. Last year I wanted the Twins to sign Grienke, Sanchez, or Jackson. I'm all for the Twins spending money but I just don't like the crop of players. I rather them try to make a trade.

Boom Boom
11-07-2013, 01:49 PM
Or maybe the argument against spending big now is some of us don't see anyone worth spending big on? I'm all for spending big money but not on this sorry bunch of free agents. I just don't see the love affair with Santana/Jimenez.

I don't think anybody here is in love with Santana or Jimenez. But those guys are leaps and bounds better than anybody the Twins have, and they're available. You can hold on to the money until next offseason I guess, but there's no guarantee that anybody better will be available then.

Nick Nelson
11-07-2013, 02:13 PM
Or maybe the argument against spending big now is some of us don't see anyone worth spending big on? I'm all for spending big money but not on this sorry bunch of free agents. I just don't see the love affair with Santana/Jimenez.
People say this every year. And every year there are numerous free agents that prove to be quite effective. It'll happen this year too.

For what it's worth, the lack of talent in FA is probably only going to get worse going forward since new revenue streams will make it easier for clubs to retain good players.

cmb0252
11-07-2013, 04:25 PM
People say this every year. And every year there are numerous free agents that prove to be quite effective. It'll happen this year too.

For what it's worth, the lack of talent in FA is probably only going to get worse going forward since new revenue streams will make it easier for clubs to retain good players.

While numerous prove to be quite effective a majority don't. That's fine. That is what free agency is. The problem is when fans, on message boards, here, don't like specific free agents people act like we don't want the Twins to spend money. We just don't want them to spend money on certain players. It is nothing more than our personal opinions.

mike wants wins
11-07-2013, 05:42 PM
What is short term? They have no money set aside for the next 5+ years. There is no downside risk here. None. They can not spend the money, and get nothing but profit. Or they can spend some money and maybe get better. From a fan's perspective, and from a baseball operations perspective, I fail to see the downside risk.

goulik
11-07-2013, 07:01 PM
Two words: Tanaka, Garza. We have the money and they are the quality everyone is wanting. I want us to finally go for it! Send Zygis Jet and pick them up!!

twinsnorth49
11-07-2013, 08:06 PM
I fail to see what this has to do with anything. Last year I wanted the Twins to sign Grienke, Sanchez, or Jackson. I'm all for the Twins spending money but I just don't like the crop of players. I rather them try to make a trade.

As opposed to the current crop of players the Twins curently have? Who would you trade and who do you suppose would want said player and for whom?

Major Leauge Ready
11-07-2013, 09:19 PM
What is short term? They have no money set aside for the next 5+ years. There is no downside risk here. None. They can not spend the money, and get nothing but profit. Or they can spend some money and maybe get better. From a fan's perspective, and from a baseball operations perspective, I fail to see the downside risk.

There are number of reasons only a very small segment of skilled / educated professionals are entrusted with P&L responsibilty. Most of the reasons are a lot more complex than recognizing the downside risk of long-term contracts and why a rebuilding team that is close to have a very good core would not burden themselves with those risks right now. It is also not all that complicated to understand that a mid market team has to get more production per dollar spent. The implications of the salary imbalance in MLB are also core considerations GMs of small and mid market teams need to follow to the dismay of fans.

TheLeviathan
11-07-2013, 09:47 PM
There are number of reasons only a very small segment of skilled / educated professionals are entrusted with P&L responsibilty. Most of the reasons are a lot more complex than recognizing the downside risk of long-term contracts and why a rebuilding team that is close to have a very good core would not burden themselves with those risks right now. It is also not all that complicated to understand that a mid market team has to get more production per dollar spent. The implications of the salary imbalance in MLB are also core considerations GMs of small and mid market teams need to follow to the dismay of fans.

All of that's fine and good, but there is also a delicate balance in mid-markets (which, we're on the upper end of, not the lower end as you seem to be implying) in maintaining the fanbase. At this point, the Twins are risking losing fanbase support if they continue to rake in TF revenues and not do more to improve the team going forward.

No one disagrees the Twins need to be cost conscious - all teams do to varying degrees - but there are real costs to doing nothing as well. At this point, if there are significant risks doing too much and there are significant risks to doing nothing - I don't think there should be any disagreement about which side we're far too close to. It'd be nice to see SOME risk taken.

Major Leauge Ready
11-08-2013, 07:23 AM
All of that's fine and good, but there is also a delicate balance in mid-markets (which, we're on the upper end of, not the lower end as you seem to be implying) in maintaining the fanbase. At this point, the Twins are risking losing fanbase support if they continue to rake in TF revenues and not do more to improve the team going forward. No one disagrees the Twins need to be cost conscious - all teams do to varying degrees - but there are real costs to doing nothing as well. At this point, if there are significant risks doing too much and there are significant risks to doing nothing - I don't think there should be any disagreement about which side we're far too close to. It'd be nice to see SOME risk taken.

I am not implying that the Twins position among mid market teams matters. There are other financial factors that have more influence than the Twins specific revenue rank.


There is $40-50M delta between the Twins and the lowest revenue teams in the entire league. The difference between the Twins and the next 8 teams below them is less than $20. How many of those teams have resigned their star player to a $23M/yr contract. Are those teams signing the 5+ year 75-100M FA? The one team that has taken on some of these contracts is Toronto. They went for the quick fix. How did that turn out?
There is a $250M differential between the Twins and the Yankees/Dodgers. Two teams are not enough to completely shape how the Twins and other similar teams spend. However, when the Dodgers or Yankees decide they want Sabathia, Grienke or Tanaka, the problem is not a cheap FO, it’s a very unrealistic fan base.
The top 10 teams all have 20M+ more revenue than the Twins but that is not in itself tremendously impactful. It is the aggregate incremental revenue of the top 10 that has the most impact on free agency and how lower revenue teams have to construct a roster. After those ten teams spend an amount equal to the Twins revenue, they have another $700M in revenue. If you have had economics 101, it is really easy to figure the top free agents are going to consumed with that $700 most of the time.

USAFChief
11-08-2013, 08:12 AM
As it turns out, I have had Econ 101 (I do admit it was a few yrs ago) and from what I remember, the important "delta" here seems to be revenue to expense, not revenue compared to competition.

And that "delta" seems to indicate any argument against signing free agents based on revenue would have earned me a failing grade from my Econ 101 professor.

Major Leauge Ready
11-08-2013, 09:52 AM
As it turns out, I have had Econ 101 (I do admit it was a few yrs ago) and from what I remember, the important "delta" here seems to be revenue to expense, not revenue compared to competition.

And that "delta" seems to indicate any argument against signing free agents based on revenue would have earned me a failing grade from my Econ 101 professor.

You remember wrong. Revenue to expense ratio is a measure of efficiency which has very little to do with any of the points made earlier. The premise of all of the points was incremental dollars available to spend on Salary. That number is not and never would be published so I used revenue. We would have to have full access to team financial records to have the actual number which is much more a product of variable expense. In other words, how much of the additional $700M goes to expense and what would be available to salary.

On the surface, you would assume that the teams with a decided revenue advantage would have an even higher percentage of total revenue available for salary or profit based on variable cost. Forbes numbers suggest there is variable cost or the additional is being paid to team owners. What variable costs do teams have? I am sure there are some expenses I am not aware of but any significant cost that would go up as revenue increases other than taxes if they don’t spend the money on players is not obvious without access to financials. What about fixed expense? Rent and salaries are obviously higher in NY or LA but this really a minor component of total expenses. Do the top teams spend significantly more on scouts, their minor league system, advertising, etc? Yet, when you look at Forbes, the ratios all look fairly similar. So, I am not sure what portion of the incremental $700M/yr is available for payroll.

We can test this theory by looking at the 48% the Twins target for all non-player expense.
$215M * .48 = $103.2M The Yankees have revenue of $479M. I am sure they have more cost than the Twins but are their non-player expenses really $229.9M? We could also ask what variable expense is associated with the new TV revenue.

TheLeviathan
11-08-2013, 10:02 AM
If you have had economics 101, it is really easy to figure the top free agents are going to consumed with that $700 most of the time.


Well, the funny part is you decided to take a dig like this while entirely missing the point of what you quoted. Can a fanbase be unrealistic? Sure. It can also become apathetic when it sees tens of millions of dollars being raked in in revenues for a subsidized stadium while fielding a god awful team. My post was stating the need for mid-markets to remember that their bread is often buttered not by media contracts, but by attendance.

If the Twins are wise they'll realize that a significant investment, even a bad one, may end up being more profitable in the long run because it will keep fans engaged and less apt to grab pitchforks and torches about management.

More nothing has a much higher likelihood of harming revenues long term than a fixed cost contract (even one to a flop of a player) IMO.

mike wants wins
11-08-2013, 10:19 AM
So we agree, they have something like $120MM to spend on payroll if htey spend the mythical 52%. We also know what the current payroll is. We also know what commitments they have, and will likely have, to current players. Not sure how we can look at that gap (which will be more than half of their available payroll), and conclude that there is significant risk in spending money on free agents.

Either the $40-60MM is pocketed, or it is spent. On three year deals, not one person on this roster needs a real rasie, and they lose Willy and Doumy in that time frame. heck, on 5 year deals I can't see a guy that needs a real raise. Not to mention it is likely revenue will go up, not down, over time.

It isn't a question of "can they spend as much as other teams". It is a question of "can they afford to spend more, and still have room to add other guys later". Not sure how that answer is anything but yes.

Willihammer
11-08-2013, 10:21 AM
Heh

What is an example of a variable cost in a major league baseball franchise (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_an_example_of_a_variable_cost_in_a_major_l eague_baseball_franchise)

Major Leauge Ready
11-08-2013, 10:30 AM
Well, the funny part is you decided to take a dig like this while entirely missing the point of what you quoted. Can a fanbase be unrealistic? Sure. It can also become apathetic when it sees tens of millions of dollars being raked in in revenues for a subsidized stadium while fielding a god awful team. My post was stating the need for mid-markets to remember that their bread is often buttered not by media contracts, but by attendance.

If the Twins are wise they'll realize that a significant investment, even a bad one, may end up being more profitable in the long run because it will keep fans engaged and less apt to grab pitchforks and torches about management.

More nothing has a much higher likelihood of harming revenues long term than a fixed cost contract (even one to a flop of a player) IMO.

Fans will show up if they win. Therefore, the best spending policies are those that promote this highest probability of putting a winning team on the field.

We also should not complain about inability to win in the post season and then suggest they should appease the fans. Giving up draft picks or trading good prospects diminish the future for the sake a putting an average team on the field now. The odds of any of the trades an acqusitions suggested producing a team that can beat Detroit are remote. And they get even more remote if the goal is to go on and beat the Red Sox / Rangers / Athletics, and extremely remote to then beat the Dodgers or Cardinals.

USAFChief
11-08-2013, 10:37 AM
You remember wrong. Revenue to expense ratio is a measure of efficiency which has very little to do with any of the points made earlier. The premise of all of the points was incremental dollars available to spend on Salary. That number is not and never would be published so I used revenue. We would have to have full access to team financial records to have the actual number which is much more a product of variable expense. In other words, how much of the additional $700M goes to expense and what would be available to salary.

On the surface, you would assume that the teams with a decided revenue advantage would have an even higher percentage of total revenue available for salary or profit based on variable cost. Forbes numbers suggest there is variable cost or the additional is being paid to team owners. What variable costs do teams have? I am sure there are some expenses I am not aware of but any significant cost that would go up as revenue increases other than taxes if they don’t spend the money on players is not obvious without access to financials. What about fixed expense? Rent and salaries are obviously higher in NY or LA but this really a minor component of total expenses. Do the top teams spend significantly more on scouts, their minor league system, advertising, etc? Yet, when you look at Forbes, the ratios all look fairly similar. So, I am not sure what portion of the incremental $700M/yr is available for payroll.

We can test this theory by looking at the 48% the Twins target for all non-player expense.
$215M * .48 = $103.2M The Yankees have revenue of $479M. I am sure they have more cost than the Twins but are their non-player expenses really $229.9M? We could also ask what variable expense is associated with the new TV revenue.
Or we could just ask why the team doesn't honor the public statements they've made regarding player salaries as a percentage of revenues.

Major Leauge Ready
11-08-2013, 11:02 AM
Or we could just ask why the team doesn't honor the public statements they've made regarding player salaries as a percentage of revenues.

Completely different topic. We were discussing the economic and finacial implications of the market. So, when you realize you don't really understand it, you go back to but you promised. Never mind what is smart. You promised me a shiny new FA.

spycake
11-08-2013, 11:19 AM
Are those teams signing the 5+ year 75-100M FA? The one team that has taken on some of these contracts is Toronto. They went for the quick fix. How did that turn out?

Why are we using $75 million as the benchmark? The Twins aren't just conservative on those -- in fact, I doubt they've ever even considered or made such an offer. They've never topped $21 million total / $7 mil AAV for an outside free agent ($10 million total / $5 mil AAV for pitchers). I'd be delighted if they simply topped those numbers and got some quality assets for it this offseason.

If you include Asian/Cuban free agent signings, only two franchises (Pittsburgh and San Diego) have historically given less to their biggest outside free agent signing, although Pittsburgh's actually had a higher AAV (Russell Martin).

Pittsburgh also traded for Wandy Rodriguez and picked up a higher AAV on his remaining deal than the Twins ever have, and San Diego extended Carlos Quentin to a deal even greater than Willingham's (both total and AAV) months after trading for him.

The Astros and Marlins are cheaper at the moment, but historically, overall, the Twins are probably the most conservative at handing out ANY outside free agent money, much less $75 million.

TheLeviathan
11-08-2013, 11:22 AM
Fans will show up if they win. Therefore, the best spending policies are those that promote this highest probability of putting a winning team on the field.

We also should not complain about inability to win in the post season and then suggest they should appease the fans. Giving up draft picks or trading good prospects diminish the future for the sake a putting an average team on the field now. The odds of any of the trades an acqusitions suggested producing a team that can beat Detroit are remote. And they get even more remote if the goal is to go on and beat the Red Sox / Rangers / Athletics, and extremely remote to then beat the Dodgers or Cardinals.

For all the bluster you are still missing the point. Yes, fans will show for wins. But in the meantime the ticket purchasing dwindles, which hits revenues hard, which drops payroll, which makes supplementing or retaining players in the future more difficult, which makes sustaining a winning team more difficult.

investment in FA now is an investment in maintaining future revenues. No one is talking trades or band aids, that's a scarecrow tht has been pointed out several times already.

Major Leauge Ready
11-08-2013, 11:52 AM
Why are we using $75 million as the benchmark? The Twins aren't just conservative on those -- in fact, I doubt they've ever even considered or made such an offer. They've never topped $21 million total / $7 mil AAV for an outside free agent ($10 million total / $5 mil AAV for pitchers). I'd be delighted if they simply topped those numbers and got some quality assets for it this offseason.

If you include Asian/Cuban free agent signings, only two franchises (Pittsburgh and San Diego) have historically given less to their biggest outside free agent signing, although Pittsburgh's actually had a higher AAV (Russell Martin).

Pittsburgh also traded for Wandy Rodriguez and picked up a higher AAV on his remaining deal than the Twins ever have, and San Diego extended Carlos Quentin to a deal even greater than Willingham's (both total and AAV) months after trading for him.

The Astros and Marlins are cheaper at the moment, but historically, overall, the Twins are probably the most conservative at handing out ANY outside free agent money, much less $75 million.

You have a point. As a matter of fact, I agree and have advocated signing some players that will cost nearly twice as much as the Willingham contract. However, we should keep in mind that it was not long ago the Twins were among the lowest revenue teams. You can't compare their current spending ability historically. Let's see what they do this year.

Riverbrian
11-08-2013, 12:44 PM
I really wish that 50-52 percent figure wouldn't have been put out to the public.

I like the thought of fluid payroll. Meaning higher payroll when we have players worth retaining and lower payroll when we don't.

I want payroll to reflect the context of the team and not some 50-52 percent thing.

With that said... I continue to not care much about the actual payroll number. I only care about players who play to win and do. Those players come at a wide range of salaries and we don't have enough of them right now... obviously.

JB_Iowa
11-08-2013, 12:53 PM
I really wish that 50-52 percent figure wouldn't have been put out to the public.

I like the thought of fluid payroll. Meaning higher payroll when we have players worth retaining and lower payroll when we don't.

I want payroll to reflect the context of the team and not some 50-52 percent thing.

With that said... I continue to not care much about the actual payroll number. I only care about players who play to win and do. Those players come at a wide range of salaries and we don't have enough of them right now... obviously.

I like the idea of a fluid payroll, too ... but ONLY if it means that it is fluid both ABOVE and BELOW the 50%-52% mark.

There are times when a team has all young players and the payroll should be less. But there are also times when many players are more mature in their careers and payroll should be more and where exceeding the 52% mark, even by a substantial margin, to bring in a player or two to "put them over the top" would seem rational.

I just haven't seen any evidence that the Twins are willing to do this. So, if they are going to say 50%-52%, I want to see them using it to put the best product they can on the field.

goulik
11-08-2013, 12:59 PM
I am confident without looking at numbers that the Twins current 52% has ever been nearly this far above current payroll. This means TR is in unprecedented territory as far as how much money he has to spend. I also believe from quotes I have read that the Pohlads will be upset if he does not spend significantly more than on last years FA market. How do we prejudge what someone will do when put in a completely different place than ever before? I am confident Willingham's record contract will go down in flames this offseason, but for who and how many guys?
If that doesn't happen, attendance will plummet and so will profits. I am also convinced "they" have had Econ 101,201,301,and 401! They have to spend. We know it but more importantly, they know it.

Riverbrian
11-08-2013, 01:52 PM
I have a question and I don't know the answer.

I'm not saying collusion... So... Let's phrase it this way... Does anyone believe there is a professional responsibility to not overpay rediculous amounts on players.

Is it possible that if the Twins or any team... Out of desperation... offers Hughes for example... 7 years 150 million... If they hypothetically did that. Would that cause a problem with the rest of the league owners because of what it would do to the salary scale overall. The prices for the rest of the free agent class... Arb cases... All of it.

Yes... I understand this is collusion at its core... But... Is it possible that... This is a factor in all, most or a few teams negotiations? It would certainly be in ownership for all teams best interest to not have a loose cannon out there.

mike wants wins
11-08-2013, 02:03 PM
And yet, when Andy McPhail was the GM, he signed players to some of the largest contracts in the majors, even with those low revenues.

Riverbrian
11-08-2013, 02:09 PM
I like the idea of a fluid payroll, too ... but ONLY if it means that it is fluid both ABOVE and BELOW the 50%-52% mark.

There are times when a team has all young players and the payroll should be less. But there are also times when many players are more mature in their careers and payroll should be more and where exceeding the 52% mark, even by a substantial margin, to bring in a player or two to "put them over the top" would seem rational.

I just haven't seen any evidence that the Twins are willing to do this. So, if they are going to say 50%-52%, I want to see them using it to put the best product they can on the field.

Me 2... I do hope that the day will come that the Twins will have to exceed that 52% figure for a year or two to retain top talent. I hope they have to and they do.

My Problem right now...is that I don't see many players on the roster currently worth spending big money on and I don't see many Free Agents this year worth spending big money on.

It's why... Payroll just isn't an issue with me... At this moment in time.

Major Leauge Ready
11-08-2013, 04:00 PM
I really wish that 50-52 percent figure wouldn't have been put out to the public.

I like the thought of fluid payroll. Meaning higher payroll when we have players worth retaining and lower payroll when we don't.

I want payroll to reflect the context of the team and not some 50-52 percent thing.

With that said... I continue to not care much about the actual payroll number. I only care about players who play to win and do. Those players come at a wide range of salaries and we don't have enough of them right now... obviously.

It is going to take a few years before we will be in a position to exceed the 52% budget for a final piece or two but I could not agree more on spending when we can pinpoint the right final pieces. That might also include trading some of our prospects much like KC did with Shields. Of course, this is not a new concept. Detroit has been in that mode for the last 3 years. I sure hope our core develops and we are in that position by 2017.

jokin
11-09-2013, 12:44 AM
It is going to take a few years before we will be in a position to exceed the 52% budget for a final piece or two but I could not agree more on spending when we can pinpoint the right final pieces. That might also include trading some of our prospects much like KC did with Shields. Of course, this is not a new concept. Detroit has been in that mode for the last 3 years. I sure hope our core develops and we are in that position by 2017.

Funny, the taxpayers purportedly built TF just so we wouldn't have to wait 4 MORE years.

7 years without a serious attempt before then at fielding a competitive team, coupled with no attempt to put in the "final pieces" along the way? Things have changed for this team- it holds a potential near-future value in excess of $1Billion...and produced $215M in revenue even in the midst of yet another dismal lost season. There is absolutely no overhanging financial reason to hold off on "putting the final pieces" in place until the 2017 offseason. There is virtually no risk at attempting to field competitive teams in 2014, '15, '16 by acquiring both long and short-term assets via FA- flipping, non-tendering, QOFing and/or extending them, as each individual merits in the long-term plan, case-by-case.