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Article: Rundown: Cruz, Cahill, Soria and Ramos

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:55 AM
FanCred's Jon Heyman reported Monday that the Twins were in the mix for Nelson Cruz. New Twins beat writer for MLB.com Do-Hyoung Park con...
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Jonathan Schoop or Ian Kinsler?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:32 AM
Did the Twins make a mistake jumping the gun on the Schoop signing?   Ian Kinsler just signed with San Diego for 2 years $8M total....
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Where does the talent come from

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:44 AM
So I did back of the napkin math only here but looked at three recent WS teams to see how they constructed their teams. I only added up t...
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Buxton: "Pissed" at Twins for No Call-Up Decision...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:55 AM
According to the Star Tribune, Byron Buxton is displeased with the Twins after not being called up in September of 2018. According to Byr...
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Article: Official Rule 5 Draft Day Thread

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 08:52 AM
The Winter Meetings in Las Vegas have been fairly quiet against in 2018. Certainly there are meetings, but there haven't been a lot of si...
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Rundown: Judy From Big Lake, Baldelli-Buxton Meeting and More

The Twins held a Fan Forum for season ticket holders last week and made the audio available on their site. The entire forum lasted more than an hour and included some really great contributions from the fans, but the final question fielded was particularly strong. At about the 59-minute mark Judy from Big Lake asked this:

“First of all, I wanted to tell you what a horribly disappointing season this was for season-ticket holders; and I want to know how long do you think it’s going to be before you put a competitive team back on the field?”
Image courtesy of © Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Wow, Judy bringing it! That’s both scorching and direct, exactly the kind of stuff that makes these fan forums unique. The team deserves some credit for allowing that question to come through. They could have very easily rejected her request, I’m sure there were many more fans waiting in the queue who didn’t have the opportunity to ask their questions.

Thad Levine apologized for what transpired last season and admitted the season didn’t go the way they had hoped it would. He added this:

“Our goal and our commitment to the fans is we want to put together a team that has the ability to complete year-in and year-out and have a long window for success. So we’re clearly in the building process – we’re not rebuilding, we’re building – and I think we’re building off of the successes of each of the last two seasons with the hope that we’ll take a meaningful step here in 2019.”

I’m not sure how Judy from Big Lake received that, but I’m guessing any Twins fans thirsty for success weren’t exactly swept off their feet by that answer.

Derek Falvey and new Twins manager Rocco Baldelli were also on the call. One of my favorite exchanges from Baldelli included this quote: “I tend to be curious and like to surround myself with curious people who like to stay open minded.” He also stressed creating a fun atmosphere and making sure the players enjoy showing up to work every day.

Here are some other interesting items of note to come out of the forum:
-Baldelli is going to try to get down to Georgia over the winter to visit with Byron Buxton.
-Miguel Sano will continue to get every chance to play third base.
-While Levine rained praise upon Willians Astudillo for both his performance and clubhouse presence, he also said “he’s going to need to earn it again,” implying he’s not being penciled into the Opening Day roster.
-Falvey anticipates some changes revolving pace of play going into next year. He didn’t make any predictions as to what they may be, but he made it sound like nothing was off the table for the upcoming Winter Meetings.

In his column for the Pioneer Press over the weekend, Charley Walters had some quotes from Jim Pohlad that should temper expectations for this offseason. Here’s what Pohlad said regarding Joe Mauer’s contract coming off the books: “It’s not like ‘OK, we’ve got this money now, and we didn’t have it before, so we can do so much more. I don’t feel that way.”

The stove has been extremely cold so far this offseason, but since there have been so few moves, the Twins Daily Offseason Handbook remains very fresh. Just a reminder that the handbook is available as a PDF at whatever price you’re willing to pay.

I’m also very happy to report that the Twins Prospect Handbook is progressing along quite nicely. There were a ton of additions to the minor league system at the trade deadline, so you’re definitely going to want to pick up a copy of this year’s edition to study up on all the new names.

Speaking of prospects, Mike Berardino recorded a podcast for Baseball America in which he and Kyle Glaser reviewed his top 10 prospect list. Of course there was a lot of talk about the individual prospects on the list, but they also opened things up for a big-picture discussion on where the Twins are headed and made some good observations.

Paul Sporer of FanGraphs took a look at what went wrong for Brian Dozier in 2018. I doubt a reunion with the Twins is in the cards, but Dozier does seem to be a really good buy-low option among this year’s crop of free agents.

The first huge move of the offseason went down last night (no offense, Eduardo Escobar), as Jeff Passan of Yahoo reported the Yankees had a deal in place to acquire lefty starter James Paxton from the Mariners. Seattle won 89 games last season and Paxton still has two seasons of team control, though he’s projected to make $9 million through arbitration this upcoming year and obviously more than that in 2020. Still, I don’t think it’s a good thing in the grand scheme of things that a competitive team from the prior year is already apparently throwing in the towel for 2019.

The Yankees gave up MLB Pipeline’s No. 31 overall prospect in baseball Justus Sheffield and two more players in Erik Swanson and Dom Thompson-Williams who both slot in as top-15 prospects in the Mariners’ system. Given Sheffield’s prospect status and the fact that he already reached the Major Leagues it’s difficult to come up with a similar package the Twins could have offered had they been interested in Paxton.

MLB Trade Rumors held a reader poll on where the top 10 free agents would sign. More than 6,800 people voted and the only player the Twins had more than two percent on was J.A. Happ. Minnesota was the destination selected for him 3.1 percent of the time, which trailed the Yankees (30.9), Blue Jays (9.2), Angels (8.2), Brewers (6.5), Phillies (4.7), Astros (4.4) and Nationals (3.7).

Along with all the free agents already available on the open market, several more players will be added to the pool of available talent shorty. Brandon Warne highlighted some intriguing names who could be non-tendered over at Zone Coverage. I thought he made a particularly compelling argument for current Marlin Derek Dietrich, pointing out that he’s actually been a better hitter than Marwin Gonzalez over his career and brings comparable positional flexibility.

Former Twins prospect Chih-Wei Hu has joined a division rival. He was traded from the Rays to Cleveland on Monday. Originally sent to Tampa Bay in the Kevin Jepsen trade, Hu has pitched to a 3.52 ERA in 23 innings with the Rays over the past two seasons.

Ballpark Digest honored the Twins with their Best Renovation award for Target Field’s switch from the Metropolitan Club to Bat & Barrel. I know that change rubbed some season-ticket holders the wrong way, understandably, but the difference in utility between the Met Club and Bat & Barrel is night and day.

The Met Club was mostly a giant waste of space and the few times I visited there was very little atmosphere. It was just way too stuffy. The few times I visited Bat & Barrel this past season it was a completely different vibe, it was always buzzing in there. I also love the Adam Turman murals and all the awards on display. Here’s hoping the Twins can be a repeat winner for their renovations taking place at Gate 34.

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58 Comments

People in sports sure know how to spin the word 'rebuilding' into a positive these days... If they're not competing for a playoff spot, they're rebuilding.

Evidently now the Twins are 'building' and the Gophers football team is in 'Year 1 of building.' So positive!
    • Mike Sixel, mikelink45, Sconnie and 1 other like this

 

In his column for the Pioneer Press over the weekend, Charley Walters had some quotes from Jim Pohlad that should temper expectations for this offseason. Here’s what Pohlad said regarding Joe Mauer’s contract coming off the books: “It’s not like ‘OK, we’ve got this money now, and we didn’t have it before, so we can do so much more.”

 

Actually, it is like that.

 

 

"I don’t feel that way.” - Jim Pohlad.

 

#$&% your feelings Jims Pohlad.

    • Mike Sixel, gunnarthor, snepp and 9 others like this

 

Actually, it is like that.

 

 

#$&% your feelings Jims Pohlad.

 

 

Judy from Big Lake was spot on “First of all, I wanted to tell you what a horribly disappointing season this was for season-ticket holders; and I want to know how long do you think it’s going to be before you put a competitive team back on the field?”

 

If Pohlad would rather not spend the money to buy pieces to a good team, then how long will it take to build a good team and will we the fans continue to buy tickets, concessions and shirseys?

 

This really sounds bad in context with Mauer's retirement tribute of something to the effect of "I remember when we extended him, we were in Costa Rica on vacation" or something. 

    • Mike Sixel, mikelink45, nytwinsfan and 4 others like this
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diehardtwinsfan
Nov 20 2018 12:57 PM

 

People in sports sure know how to spin the word 'rebuilding' into a positive these days... If they're not competing for a playoff spot, they're rebuilding.

Evidently now the Twins are 'building' and the Gophers football team is in 'Year 1 of building.' So positive!

First thing I thought of when I read this piece was the material you could use for the whine line... 

    • USAFChief, Mike Sixel, nicksaviking and 4 others like this

"I don’t think it’s a good thing in the grand scheme of things that a competitive team from the prior year is already apparently throwing in the towel for 2019."

 

Welcome to the unintended, yet completely predictable, consequences of TV contracts and revenue sharing....when combined with no real regulation of team player salaries.

 

The intent of the sharing was to level the field for talent acquisition and development. But no amount of 'revenue sharing' will ever get us to 'revenue equal'. So, sharing doesn't solve for the imbalance without accompanying (and effective) governance of team salaries. Meanwhile, the real-world outcome is that...with less than 30% of revenue (on average, and shrinking) coming from gate receipts, and long-term TV contracts signed/sealed/delivered...there's precious little incentive (in any given year) for a 'small/medium' market owner to do anything other than pocket the money. It'll get worse before it gets better.

 

    • mikelink45, Sconnie, Rigby and 2 others like this

Well, no surprise there. They have done nothing to make the MLB team better on long term acquisitions in the first two years, and Sano and Buxton's play last year can't make them thrilled to bother trying this year either. 

 

I hope no one buys a single ticket, frankly.

    • gunnarthor, mikelink45, Hosken Bombo Disco and 1 other like this

It really was a disappointing comment by Pohlad, yet still completely predictable.

 

The bottom line is that he's satisfied with the occasional random good season. It's just so disappointing to have ownership that thinks talking about wanting to have a winning team is the same thing as committing to having a winning team.

    • USAFChief, luckylager, Mike Sixel and 11 others like this

 

It really was a disappointing comment by Pohlad, yet still completely predictable.

 

The bottom line is that he's satisfied with the occasional random good season. It's just so disappointing to have ownership that thinks talking about wanting to have a winning team is the same thing as committing to having a winning team.

 

He doesn't even really talk about winning at all.....let alone try to win big. 

 

Maybe Portland will get a team, and I can care about baseball again. I'm only here for the conversation at this point.

    • SD Buhr, mikelink45 and Sconnie like this

I don't have a problem with the word "building" from Thad. It's what I want... I want the team to be building every year. If they were the Red Sox... I'd want them building. All in all, the proof will come in their actions... not their words. 

 

If they coast through the off-season with a couple of low level deals and don't make any significant trades for upgrades... I'll be disappointed for sure but I'll survive it.

 

However... If we have another season where a player or players get to play every day with below .200 production at the plate and alternatives are not attempted. I won't survive that. I don't care if we sign Machado and he tanks like that, I don't care if it's Buxton tanking again and I don't care if it's Michael Reed. Every day jobs need to be given to the players who produce at a level deserving of every day play.If they think Michael Reed can do it... I'm all for it... but they better give him a chance to do it and if he fails, they better try something else. 

 

As for Baldeilli's comments on Astudillo. Perfect,,, that's the exact comment I want to hear.... "He's going to have to earn it again". If I got a manager talking about earning the job... I'm beyond happy... now I need the front office to provide that manager with a 40 man roster full of players that are capable of earning the job. 

 

Like Judy from Big Lake... I can't do it again. I can't go through another season of mediocre to terrible play being rewarded. I have never blamed the team for signing Morrison, in hindsight it was a mistake but they went for it by offering him a contract and I'd like them to keep trying that kind of stuff. However... I do blame the team for doubling down on the mistake by allowing him to contribute to the sinking of this team. 

 

Pohlad, actually everyone is just going to be white noise until I see what they actually do. It better be a 40 man roster that is fully utilized to find the players who are "PRODUCING". 

 

Yeah... and the building of a long term model of consistent competitiveness and world peace while they are at it. 

 

I'm not messing around anymore... I've seen other teams give playing time to players who are producing while lessening the playing time of those producing less... it's not hard to believe... but something that simple actually works. Imagine that, productivity increases by turning to more productive things. 

 

And I have been watching teams for decades go down with the ship with struggling players. No more of that... I'm done with it. I don't care how much money they spend... just get some players who will compete for their careers. Let them feel uncomfortable because player Y is breathing down player X's neck. Produce! 

 

They can say anything they want... I'll be watching what they do. They still have my benefit of the doubt. 

    • glunn, birdwatcher, nicksaviking and 7 others like this

Kinda beside the point, but Adam Turman's art is awesome.

    • Mike Sixel likes this

 

Here’s what Pohlad said regarding Joe Mauer’s contract coming off the books: “It’s not like ‘OK, we’ve got this money now, and we didn’t have it before, so we can do so much more. I don’t feel that way.”
 

 

He continues to make stupid statements like this. Makes it very hard to continue to be a fan of his ballclub. 

 

    • Mike Sixel, beckmt, mikelink45 and 5 others like this



Here’s what Pohlad said regarding Joe Mauer’s contract coming off the books: “It’s not like ‘OK, we’ve got this money now, and we didn’t have it before, so we can do so much more. I don’t feel that way.”


He continues to make stupid statements like this. Makes it very hard to continue to be a fan of his ballclub.


Agreed. It also doesn't take into consideration the other $20+ million off the books as well releasing Morrison, Erv, Dozier, etc.
    • luckylager, glunn, Mike Sixel and 4 others like this
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nicksaviking
Nov 20 2018 02:57 PM

Baldelli and company are going to need to find a way to get more out his players than what Molitor did from the sound of it. Reinforcements do not appear imminent. 

 

I am a believer that managerial changes can have significant positive yet intangible impacts, so I don't think better baseball is out of the question by any means.

One thing is for sure, if they don't add talent, people can come here (and will) and say the team wasn't good enough to add to....it's really a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

    • glunn, Hosken Bombo Disco, Dr. Evil and 3 others like this

The Pohlad comment is what i have been saying all along that the Twins don't have as much money as to spend as people think. The Pohlads look at the Twins as business investment meaning that priority one is that the Twins maintain there rate of return to the Pohlads based on value of the club. The club in last 10 years has more than triplled in value meaning the amount of money needed to maintain same rate of return has tripled too. I believe if you used 10% rate of return the increased value of the Twins would equate to needing another 60 million dollars from revenues. This may not what people want to hear but that just plain truth about baseball it comes back to business side of the business. 

 

    • glunn likes this

 

The Pohlad comment is what i have been saying all along that the Twins don't have as much money as to spend as people think. The Pohlads look at the Twins as business investment meaning that priority one is that the Twins maintain there rate of return to the Pohlads based on value of the club. The club in last 10 years has more than triplled in value meaning the amount of money needed to maintain same rate of return has tripled too. I believe if you used 10% rate of return the increased value of the Twins would equate to needing another 60 million dollars from revenues. This may not what people want to hear but that just plain truth about baseball it comes back to business side of the business. 

 

They have plenty of money to spend. Teams sell for record amounts every time they sell. The national TV contract just went up. Mauer is off the books, as is another 20-30MM minimum. It hurts my brain how much people defend billionaire owners, who get huge tax subsidies, in not spending on the people that actually produce the product. But then, I'm kind of on the labor side of that discussion....

 

And, no, that's not how rate of return works.....

    • wagwan, James, Sconnie and 4 others like this

OK, we know the Pohlad's are crap owners. We've always known that. And Falvey and Levine know it too. 

 

Last year, Levine made comments about not being a high-payroll team. Falvey came from Cleveland and saw how the teams were built up without using free agency. These two guys understand the issue and they've both accepted it. It's an open question as to whether they can create something like Terry Ryan managed but I'm not quite ready to give up on them. Yet. But I think we'll have to see some smart trades rather than hope for high priced talent coming in. I'm not going to dump on Levine for his comments about building. It is what it is.

    • nytwinsfan, howieramone2 and caninatl04 like this
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Major League Ready
Nov 20 2018 03:31 PM

We could go after Donaldson but there simply are not real good MI or 1B options that can be bought. 

 

Free agent SP has not been a good bet either. There were several 5+ year contracts in 2016. None of them have been good and now we are going into the years likely to be even less productive. 

 

Price / Age 30 / 7-217 / 4.5 / 1.6 / 2.7 for a total WAR of 8.8 and which is $10.23M/WAR

 

Greinke / Age 32 / 6-206.5 / 2.2 / 5.1 / 3.5 for a total 10.8 which is $9.72M/WAR

 

Cueto / Age 30 / 6/130 / 5.5 / 1.2 / .2 for a total of 6.9 WAR which is $12.6M/WAR

 

Zimmerman / Age 30 / 1.3 / 1.0 .9 for a total of3.2 which is $18.75M/WAR

 

Samardzia / Age 30 / 5-90 / 2.6 / 3.8 / -.2 for a total of 6.2 which is $8.7M/WAR

 

Wei-Yin Chen / Age 31 / 5-80 / .9 / .5 / 1.2 for a total of 2.6 which is $11.8M/WAR

 

Leake / Age 28 / 5-80 /2.5 / 3.2 / 2.3 for a total of 8 which is $5.5M WAR

 

Kennedy / Age 31 / 5-70 / 1.6 / -.2 / 1.0 for a total of 2.4 which is $15.4M/WAR

 

 

    • caninatl04 and DannySD like this

They have plenty of money to spend. Teams sell for record amounts every time they sell. The national TV contract just went up. Mauer is off the books, as is another 20-30MM minimum. It hurts my brain how much people defend billionaire owners, who get huge tax subsidies, in not spending on the people that actually produce the product. But then, I'm kind of on the labor side of that discussion....

And, no, that's not how rate of return works.....


Most mid-market teams like the Twins are profitable before they even step on the field because of everything you mentioned, plus revenue sharing from the big market teams. Ticket sales, concessions, and merchandise are the cherry on top of already absurd profits.
    • wagwan, Sconnie, Dr. Evil and 2 others like this

 

We could go after Donaldson but there simply are not real good MI or 1B options that can be bought. 

 

Free agent SP has not been a good bet either. There were several 5+ year contracts in 2016. None of them have been good and now we are going into the years likely to be even less productive. 

 

Price / Age 30 / 7-217 / 4.5 / 1.6 / 2.7 for a total WAR of 8.8 and which is $10.23M/WAR

 

Greinke / Age 32 / 6-206.5 / 2.2 / 5.1 / 3.5 for a total 10.8 which is $9.72M/WAR

 

Cueto / Age 30 / 6/130 / 5.5 / 1.2 / .2 for a total of 6.9 WAR which is $12.6M/WAR

 

Zimmerman / Age 30 / 1.3 / 1.0 .9 for a total of3.2 which is $18.75M/WAR

 

Samardzia / Age 30 / 5-90 / 2.6 / 3.8 / -.2 for a total of 6.2 which is $8.7M/WAR

 

Wei-Yin Chen / Age 31 / 5-80 / .9 / .5 / 1.2 for a total of 2.6 which is $11.8M/WAR

 

Leake / Age 28 / 5-80 /2.5 / 3.2 / 2.3 for a total of 8 which is $5.5M WAR

 

Kennedy / Age 31 / 5-70 / 1.6 / -.2 / 1.0 for a total of 2.4 which is $15.4M/WAR

 

it is certainly possible they are bad bets.....but how has relying on the farm system worked out? Worse results, I'd argue. It's kind of like when you read how RPs are a bad FA investment, w/o anyone ever contemplating how bad those results would be with the next AAA pitcher coming up and taking innings.....If we care more about efficiency than effectiveness, it's hard to see them ever going in on a legit FA signing that changes the team in any meaningful way, without major luck. 

I am not on Pohlad side of this thing but i watched this team for better than 50 years and one truth i have seen in baseball very rarely does ownership gets cut first. We have seen GM's come and go over the years

but we still have basic philosophy this team no money is going to come out of ownership return its just a fact. Now if I was owner like Pohlad's having billions of dollars already I would want my sports franchise to win even if I were in break even position. The reason I would have for this I would love to give my community the feeling of winning and beside that local fans would remember you as one that gave them that feeling. To be remember so positively by people would out weigh amount of money that you died with.

Like I said you would be remember by people long after your dead. That is why I will never have kind of money the Pohlad's have. I think George Steinbrenner kind of knew this just he had nasty way of getting to winning but he knew he would be remember more winning with his club than all money he had.

    • Mike Sixel, beckmt and Sconnie like this

Problem is for mid and small market teams, the window is much tighter.Big market teams can spend their way through problems, if they do not create so many payroll issues to be in luxury tax hell.Rest of the teams have to work hard, develop their players and get creative and lucky in roster makeup.

    • Major League Ready and howieramone2 like this
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birdwatcher
Nov 20 2018 04:23 PM

 

 

Here’s what Pohlad said regarding Joe Mauer’s contract coming off the books: “It’s not like ‘OK, we’ve got this money now, and we didn’t have it before, so we can do so much more. I don’t feel that way.”
 

 

He continues to make stupid statements like this. Makes it very hard to continue to be a fan of his ballclub. 

 

 

 

Jim Pohlad is a public relations nightmare. He's so out of touch with how his answer might be perceived. To keep our sanity we should probably be mindful that when any of the Pohlad Company businesses experience fundamental changes in revenues or costs, they respond to the changes differently than all of us are thinking in terms of a simple "found money" thing with contracts coming off the books. He isn't capable of adapting the way he thinks and speaks to reflect the fans' viewpoint, so he's a smart guy who can say "stupid" things. I'll wait to see what happens myself. But I don't dismiss the possibility that he'll reverse course here and tighten the pursestrings. So frustrating.

    • USAFChief, luckylager, wagwan and 3 others like this
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nicksaviking
Nov 20 2018 04:25 PM

 

it is certainly possible they are bad bets.....but how has relying on the farm system worked out? Worse results, I'd argue. It's kind of like when you read how RPs are a bad FA investment, w/o anyone ever contemplating how bad those results would be with the next AAA pitcher coming up and taking innings.....If we care more about efficiency than effectiveness, it's hard to see them ever going in on a legit FA signing that changes the team in any meaningful way, without major luck. 

 

How can anyone look at most of the league's elite teams like Houston, Boston, Cleveland , the Yankees or the Dodgers and think that relying on the farm system hasn't worked out?

    • ashburyjohn, glunn, birdwatcher and 2 others like this

 

How can anyone look at most of the league's elite teams like Houston, Boston, Cleveland , the Yankees or the Dodgers and think that relying on the farm system hasn't worked out?

 

I was talking about MN.......of course you need to develop players, but you also need to sign FAs and make trades for long term assets, not just rentals, and not just 1 year deals. 

    • USAFChief, birdwatcher and beckmt like this

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