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Zulgad: Is MLB really making return about dollars and cents?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 02:28 AM
https://www.skornort...lars-and-cents/   The owners have made their proposal to the players. The players association will now have t...
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Would you attend a game right now?

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 08:26 PM
If a season started today, the Rangers and Astros would potentially be able to fill their stadiums to 50% capacity.If Minnesota had that...
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Virtual Twins Baseball Megathread

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 03:50 PM
Moving forward this will house every game-thread in the comments below until real baseball hopefully comes back. I should have done this...
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Torii, LaTroy Participate in The Athletic's Discussio...

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 01:34 PM
Doug Glanville of The Athletic hosted a panel of fellow former African American baseball players that included Torii Hunter and LaTroy Ha...
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Kent Hrbek inside the park homer at the Metrodome in 1984

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:15 AM
This was Sept. 11, 1984. The Twins and Royals entered this game tied for first place in the AL West. Twins won 5-1, Tom Brunansky hit his...
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Recent Blogs


Minnesota’s Last Decade of Free Agency

The Twins seem to have money to spend this offseason, and so far, the club has signed Michael Pineda, Sergio Romo and Tyler Clippard. ESPN examined free agency over the last decade and Minnesota ranked in the bottom half for free agent dollars committed. What has free agency looked like over the last decade?
Image courtesy of © Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports
Minnesota Over the Last Decade
Ervin Santana’s four-year, $55 million contract represents the biggest free agent contract in franchise history. Over the life of the contract, Santana compiled a 3.68 ERA with a 1.22 WHIP in 525 1/3 innings. He was named an All-Star in 2017 as he finished the year with a 16-8 record and a 3.28 ERA with a league leading five complete games and three shutouts. The 2018 season saw him limited to five starts as he dealt with injuries and had a falling out with the club.

Minnesota’s best free agent signing of the last decade was signed last off-season as the club took a chance on 38-year old Nelson Cruz, He went on to lead the Bomba Squad with 41 home runs while being named the DH on the inaugural All-MLB Team and being awarded a Silver Slugger. According to ESPN, Cruz has been responsible for three organization’s best free agent contracts in the last decade.

Before Cruz, Jim Thome might have represented the organization’s best free agent signing of the decade. Prior to the 2010 season, he signed for $1.5 million and hit .283/.412/.627 (1.039) with 25 home runs. Minnesota would bring him back for 2011 on a $3 million deal on his way to crossing the 600-home run plateau. He’d be limited in his final big-league season, so his last productive season came in a Twins uniform.

Not all of Minnesota’s deal have worked out in the team’s favor. Prior to Santana’s deal, Minnesota handed Ricky Nolasco a four-year, $49 million deal. He struggled to the tune of a 5.44 ERA with a 1.47 WHIP in parts of three seasons. The deal was so bad, the Twins wound up dealing him to the Angels in 2016 and he hasn’t pitched at the big-league level since 2017.

Major Free Agent Teams
When it comes to free agency, there are some of the usual suspects at the top of the spending list, but there are some other surprising teams. The Red Sox (1st), Yankees (2nd) and Cubs (4th) have all found success in the last decade and some of that success can be attributed to spending millions on the open market. Boston won multiple titles and the Cubs were able to end their own curse.

Philadelphia and Detroit are the other top five teams. Detroit had strong teams near the beginning of the decade, and they spent money to help them to multiple AL Central titles. Philadelphia spent a third of all their free agent money last offseason on one player, Bryce Harper. Detroit currently seems to be a mess, but Philadelphia might be trending in the right direction.

Result
Free agency is a tough gamble for every team. Players are paid based on their previous performance when most of these players are in the prime of their careers. Prime years for a player are usually associated with their mid- to late-20s. When a player hits their 30s, there is usually a decline in performance and that is when they are getting paid the most money. Players like Albert Pujols, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Prince Fielder were paid a lot of money for some poor seasons.

There are some ageless players that seem to find success into their 30s. Nelson Cruz has fit that mold for multiple clubs as he entered the 2010s at age 29 and hit a decade-leading 346 home runs. MLB.com just named him to the all-decade team as the club’s designated hitter. Cruz is more of the exception to the rule than the standard, but Minnesota certainly benefitted from his signing last year.

How do you feel about Minnesota’s free agent choices over the last decade? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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6 Comments

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Brandon Brooks
Dec 22 2019 05:03 PM

It's funny that this decade was bookended by the Twins signing big-name, veteran DHs- ones who were getting up there in age, but still came and produced.

 

But lest we forget...the best free-agent signing of the decade was obviously Willians Astudillo.

Nishioka and Park.Two posting rights purchases for millions wasted. Best and most surprising to me was Cruz last offseason...thought for sure he would be hurt or suck, and I was happy to admit the most wrong prediction I have ever made!

    • mikelink45 likes this

Cruz by far is the best just because of how he impacted the team as a whole.Santana was a nice one as well, but the team did not really have that much success during his time.Big Mike might become a good one down the road.  

 

You pointed the biggest problem with FA is the high pay for not that great of results down the road.Many times you are only getting a couple of years worth the value you are paying them.Not that Twins will ever flirt with tax level payroll, but top teams are starting to cut payroll because of it, and regretting some of the signings they have made recently.  

 

It is interesting to see how some of the top signers in recent years have not lived up to their own contracts and other players making much less have higher WARs.I have always said, FA should only supplement your team, not build it.  

    • goulik likes this

Thanks. The rankings are interesting. Obviously, the Twins have taken the approach that they'll 'participate' in free agency along the same general lines that the Clevelands, Oaklands, and Tampa Bays will. It only works if you're good at drafting, developing, evaluating, and trading. Which the Twins haven't been. Maybe they'll be better in the next decade...but I don't expect the FA spending strategy to change.

 

Also worth noting that as good as Cleveland, Oakland, and Tampa Bay have been at executing this strategy...they appeared in (and lost) a combined grand total of one world series in the decade.

    • Mike Sixel likes this
However, Boston has won 4 titles since the mid 2000's? Would you be ok if the Twins were a mess right now if they had 4 titles in the last 15 years? I would be.
    • USAFChief and Oldgoat_MN like this

Cruz by far is the best just because of how he impacted the team as a whole. Santana was a nice one as well, but the team did not really have that much success during his time. Big Mike might become a good one down the road.

You pointed the biggest problem with FA is the high pay for not that great of results down the road. Many times you are only getting a couple of years worth the value you are paying them. Not that Twins will ever flirt with tax level payroll, but top teams are starting to cut payroll because of it, and regretting some of the signings they have made recently.

It is interesting to see how some of the top signers in recent years have not lived up to their own contracts and other players making much less have higher WARs. I have always said, FA should only supplement your team, not build it.

Option A: team spends money on free agent, fills obvious need. Gets 2 good years, 2 not so good years. Cant afford a free agent replacement 2 years down the road.

Option B: team doesnt fill need by signing FA. Doesnt get 2 good years. Won't sign FA 2 years down the road, because, free agent. Owner pockets the money.
    • Mike Sixel likes this

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