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Article: What's A Realistic Timeline For Byron Buxton?

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Shift In Free Agency Strategy Doesn't Favor The Minnesota Twins

Attached Image: Baker_Scott.JPG The Minnesota Twins might be looking back to the good old days wistfully for a reason other than wanting to relive their decade of glory. For instance, signing free agents used to be a relatively orderly business:</SPAN></SPAN>

  • Teams that needed a great pitcher would chase the best (or best remaining) pitcher, hoping to get him.</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN>
  • One team would get him.</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN>
  • Lather. Rinse. Repeat.</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN>

That’s oversimplifying a little, but in general, free agents would sign from the top down. [PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]In fact, free agents might wait to sign until the guys above them signed, knowing the remaining teams would probably chase him, driving up his demand.</SPAN></SPAN>

But the market has matured. General managers seem to have a willingness to sign a slightly lower level or pitcher rather than be shut out of a better one. Meanwhile, free agents recognize their value a little better, are willing to take snap up a generous offer early (and probably like the lack of risk that comes with it.) It might also be that teams are recognizing the value that can come in from the second and third tier pitchers exceeds that which can come from the top guys. </SPAN></SPAN>

Whatever the reason, it sure isn’t top down this year. Here is the starting pitching free agent list I used when I started making the list for the TwinsCentric Offseason Handbook</SPAN>. They are roughly sorted in order of desirability. The crossed out names are the guys that have signed with someone. </SPAN></SPAN>


  • Zack Greinke</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN>
  • Anibal Sanchez</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN>
  • <STRIKE>Jake Peavy</SPAN></SPAN></STRIKE>
  • Edwin Jackson</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN>
  • Ryan Dempster</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN>
  • <STRIKE>Hiroki Kuroda</SPAN></SPAN></STRIKE>
  • Kyle Lohse</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN>
  • Brandon McCarthy</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN>


  • <STRIKE>Ervin Santana</SPAN></SPAN></STRIKE>
  • <STRIKE>Dan Haren</SPAN></SPAN></STRIKE>
  • Shaun Marcum</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN>
  • <STRIKE>Joe Blanton</SPAN></SPAN></STRIKE>
  • <STRIKE>Jeremy Guthrie</SPAN></SPAN></STRIKE>
  • <STRIKE>Scott Baker</SPAN></SPAN></STRIKE>
  • <STRIKE>Colby Lewis</SPAN></SPAN></STRIKE>
  • Joe Saunders</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN>


  • Carl Pavano</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN>
  • Francisco Liriano</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN>
  • Scott Feldman</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN>
  • Carlos Villanueva</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN>
  • Chris Young</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN>
  • Roy Oswalt</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN>
  • Kevin Millwood</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN>
  • Erik Bedard</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN>


  • <STRIKE>Bartolo Colon</SPAN></SPAN></STRIKE>
  • Kevin Correia</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN>
  • Derek Lowe</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN>
  • <STRIKE>Jason Marquis</SPAN></SPAN></STRIKE>
  • Daisuke Matsuzaka</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN>
  • Carlos Zambrano</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN>
  • Freddy Garcia</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN>
  • <STRIKE>Jeff Francis</SPAN></SPAN></STRIKE>


  • Roberto Hernandez</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN>
  • Chien-Ming Wang</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN>
  • Aaron Cook</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN>
  • Jamie Moyer</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN>
  • Jonathan Sanchez</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN>
  • Kip Wells</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN>
  • Randy Wolf</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN>

It isn’t the top tier that has signed – only two of those guys have signed already. It’s the second-tier that has been snapped up so far. Another fell yesterday, when Joe Blanton, clearly a second/third tier guy signed with a team that was linked to a lot of top-tier talent, the Angels. </SPAN></SPAN>

Overall, this feels like bad news for the Twins. The Twins have never chased top-tier talent, as they are (probably justifiably) hesitant to commit to the long-term deals that talent demands. But now the second tier is almost completely spoken for. This leaves third-tier talent, or non-tendered pitchers, all of which are by definition third-tier guys.</SPAN></SPAN>

The hope might be that it goes the other way. Perhaps some of the guys at the top will find their demand slipping away somewhat as top-tier teams gravitate toward the middle of the list. But from the rumor coming out of the winter meetings, it doesn’t sound like any of these guys are lacking for suitors right now. </SPAN></SPAN>

It seems more and more like the Twins choice is to </SPAN>overpay or to settle</SPAN>, and settling now means going to third and fourth tier pitchers. This further raises the question </SPAN>whether the Twins should place much hope in 2013 or look forward to 2014</SPAN>, and what that does to their offseason strategy. </SPAN></SPAN>


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