Report From The Fort: Peeking Ahead At Payroll
Image courtesy of © Brad Rempel-USA TODAY SportsOPTION ONE: Most hitters walk.
There has been a lot of talk about Brian Dozier hitting the free agent market next year. There have also been some questions to Joe Mauer about the end of his mega-contract. Eduardo Escobar will also be a free agent and so will closer Fernando Rodney. The Twins will likely have options on Logan Morrison and a choice on whether to offer arbitration to Robbie Grossman.
First, we’ll include anticipated raises to Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Jorge Polanco, Eddie Rosario and Max Kepler. Then, let everyone but Morrison test the free agent market. Finally, bring back all their starting pitchers.
The Twins would have a payroll at about $93M heading into the 2019 offseason. This year’s payroll is about $118M, and if we assume a modest increase to about $130M, they would have almost $40M to spend. Plus, they really only need to replace Mauer (who will likely be available for less than $10M on the free agent market) and Dozier (who might be replaced by top prospect Nick Gordon.)
That would leave $20-30M to fill… bullpen? Upgrade some positions? Add to the starting rotation?
OPTION TWO: Strategic decisions on the rotation.
If the Twins want to overhaul the starting rotation, it could mean even more available money. The Twins could free up as much as another $30M by declining options or not offering arbitration to three members of the rotation: Ervin Santana ($14M team option), Kyle Gibson (~$7M arbitration option) and Jake Odorizzi (~$9.5M option).
Turning all three down would drop the payroll to about $60M, leaving the team as much as $70M to spend, but it also opens more spots that the team would need to fill. It’s worth noting that the Twins do have some promising (and cheap) arms in AAA this year who could be competing for rotation spots by midyear.
LOOKING AHEAD: More in 2020
Things get even crazier in 2020. Santana, Gibson and Odorizzie will all be free agents. So will Phil Hughes, who is chewing up $13.5M of salary the next two years. So would reliever Addison Reed (8.5M/year), Jason Castro ($8M) and Morrison. That leaves a lot of gaps to fill but also a lot of money to use.
Of course, there are lots of other scenarios. If you aren’t crazy about the two I listed, feel free to play with the numbers yourself. Maybe you want to keep Dozier? Maybe you want to only give up on Gibson. You can do whatever you like: just follow this link, download the google sheet to your own spreadsheet program, and have fun.
The remarkable story of this offseason isn’t just how inexpensive some of these players have been. It’s been how short their deals are, and that becomes apparent when looking at the Twins payroll over the next few years. It also means there is some urgency in each of these next couple years. There is going to be some major turnover to this roster. For these players, the time to compete is right now.
- Cory Engelhardt, BuxtonBandwagon and caninatl04 like this