Twins' Payroll Analysis: Three Pitchers, $70M
But let’s give a little more. For a complete breakdown, make sure to grab a copy of the Twins Daily Offseason Handbook which you can pre-order today. There you’ll find names, amounts, contracts and details on the decisions that the Twins will likely make. Plus, you get a handy worksheet where you can figure out how you’re going to fit your dream rotation into the Twins starting staff. Honestly, just dreaming through that is worth the price of admission. But here’s a high level breakdown.
The Lineup - $50-55M committed
Essentially, the only decisions are whether to offer arbitration to C.J. Cron and whether to entice Jason Castro or another catcher back to the Twins. The rest of the decisions are no-brainers. Even without Cron and Castro, all of the positions are covered, provided you’re not trading anyone away for some pitching (and then maybe even if you are). The total cost of all those players will be about $50-55M.
The Rotation - $5M committed
Jake Odorizzi, Kyle Gibson, Michael Pineda and Martin Perez are all either free agents or likely to be, though there are some decisions the Twins need to make. Jose Berrios sticks around, gets a raise due to arbitration, and one spot at least is probably saved for a competition between Devin Smeltzer, Randy Dobnak and Lewis Thorpe. That leaves three spots to fill and $55-60M spent.
The Bullpen - $10M committed
The youth that filled up the Twins bullpen will likely fill it up, but they’ll need to decide whether to try and retain (and pay) Sergio Romo who will be a free agent. If you think they do, or need to add another big arm to the bullpen, you need to add to the committed payroll, but without that they are only spending $65-$70M and can fill all the slots on the 25-man roster.
Payroll Space - $60M - $75M available
Two years ago, the Twins had about $130M payroll for their Opening Day roster. Last year it shrunk down to $120M, reflecting decreased interest in ticket sales due to a disappointing 2018. This year, the opposite is true; anything less than $135M should be considered gross negligence.
That leaves about $70M to spend on three pitchers. Maybe that means signing a free agent, like Gerrit Cole, whose price tag will be $30-35M/year. Maybe that means trading for a veteran whose salary has become an albatross. (Could the Nationals be in teardown mode yet?) Or maybe that means acquiring a high-end pitcher by trading some top prospects (or even everyday players) and backfilling them with free agents.
The story of the offseason will be how the Twins attack their top three problems: pitching, pitching and pitching. They have a lot of work, but all the resources they should need to get the job done. It sounds crazy to say this as a Twins fan (and it probably is) but payroll really should not be a limitation.
We’ll follow their progress (or lack therof) every day here at Twins Daily. If you would like to get a head start, preorder the Twins Daily Offseason Handbook.
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