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Off Season BluePrint: Money Laundering

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Mr. Miami in Twins Territory?

Posted by Ted Schwerzler , 22 October 2018 · 813 views

minnesota twins manny machado
Right now, the most pressing question for the Minnesota Twins revolves around who will be managing the club during the 2019 Major League Baseball season. Beyond that however, the questions revolve around how the club will allocate something like $50 million in salary dollars to round out their squad for the upcoming season. Two names highlight this free agent class, and one of them is worth taking a deeper look into. The stage is yours Mr. Machado.

Entering free agency for the first time in his career, Manny Machado will have just experienced a new clubhouse for the first time as a big leaguer. Being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, he’ll have some knowledge as to what awaits him in acclimating to what could end up being his third team in the last calendar year. With just over $34 million in career earnings to date, the massive payday awaiting him is one that should destroy historical precedents.

Given the level of talent Machado possesses, and combined with the expected digits on a check presented to him, it’s fair to wonder why the Twins in this scenario. There’re more than a few reasons in which a marriage of the two makes a good deal of sense.

Minnesota Needs a Shortstop

Jorge Polanco has dedicated himself to his craft, and the strides he’s made at short have been admirable. Having initially been nothing short of a complete abomination, he’s embarked upon the category of passable. The reality though is that his arm still plays better at second base, and he could end up being the answer to who replaces Brian Dozier is he moves over to the right side of the diamond.

Yes, the best prospect in the Twins system is a shortstop, and there’s ever reason to believe that Royce Lewis is destined to be a superstar. You don’t pass up franchise altering players for the possibility of how a prospect may round out. Lewis looks like a better bet to stick at short now than he did at the time he turned pro, but there’s plenty of positional flexibility to be had. Two or three years from now is when the alignment should enter the equation.

The Dollars Make Sense

Joe Mauer and his $23 million average annual value are removed from the books. Even if Machado were to command something like 10 years and $300 million, Minnesota has the financial flexibility to absorb the deal. In an uncapped sport, there’s always going to be money to spend, but the reality is that payrolls are reflections of revenues driven largely by TV contracts. Yes, the Pohlad’s are rich, but so is every other owner in the sport. Sticking within logical spending parameters Minnesota can add Machado and still afford multiple other upgrades.

There’s little reason to believe that the Twins wouldn’t need to slightly overpay in acquiring Machado’s services, but we aren’t talking about a bottom of the barrel organization here. Minnesota plays in a poor division and is embarking upon a window of contention. Machado didn’t have a choice in his Orioles assignment but will go to a much better place this time around. Also, should he be coming off a World Series victory, priorities regarding winning or financial capital could also be impacted.

A Trial Run

Last season Derek Falvey and Thad Levine were in the running for premiere starting pitcher Yu Darvish. At this point, it certainly looks like a good thing that the Twins lost the contest, but they were right near the finish line according to reports. Given that they were involved with the “must have” free agent a season ago, this green front office isn’t afraid or unaccustomed to making a big move.

At 26, and looking for a mega-deal, Machado would be in an entirely different category. The practice and knowledge gained from last offseason certainly isn’t going to hurt the Twins front office however, and it could better position their tactics this time around. Looking to find players worthy of long-term commitments appears to be part of the goal as well, and this is about as long as it gets.

I could make a list of positives as long as I’d like, but there’s no denying that the detractors would dwarf the total. Any time the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, or Boston Red Sox are going to be involved on a player, everyone else is put on notice with a wait a see plan of action. Fortunately for Twins, the biggest market players are relatively set at the position Machado would most like to play. That won’t stop them from flashing cash, but it could temper the level to which the pursuit is made.

When the dust settles, the Minnesota Twins are always going to face long odds when it comes to landing the biggest fish. There’d be some irony in it happening following the retirement of their last big fish however. Joe Mauer provided the hometown team with an inside edge and replicating that type of a contract would be contingent upon an incredible sell. If there’s an opportunity to make it happen however, Falvey and Levine are staring it right in the face.

For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz

  • Cory Engelhardt and nclahammer like this



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Cory Engelhardt
Oct 22 2018 01:32 PM

I like all of this, and I think he would help the team long term. My only question is, other than money (which every team will be able to offer) why would Machado choose Minnesota?

    • DocBauer likes this
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Ted Schwerzler
Oct 22 2018 01:35 PM

 

I like all of this, and I think he would help the team long term. My only question is, other than money (which every team will be able to offer) why would Machado choose Minnesota?

And that's where the sell job for Falvey and Levine comes in. It's whether or not he wants to go to an established winner already (NY/BOS type) or if he wants to be a part of the expected winning here.

    • MN_ExPat likes this

My boyfriend actually told me I should write a "Twins should sign Manny Machado" post earlier tonight as a joke... :/

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Ted Schwerzler
Oct 22 2018 05:38 PM

My boyfriend actually told me I should write a "Twins should sign Manny Machado" post earlier tonight as a joke... :/


There’s no comedy in thinking they should. If you want to make a joke, it’d be at the expense of the FO and their ability to pitch they why.
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tarheeltwinsfan
Oct 22 2018 07:31 PM

 

I like all of this, and I think he would help the team long term. My only question is, other than money (which every team will be able to offer) why would Machado choose Minnesota?

To be perfectly frank, I hope the Twins don't try to sign Manny Machado because I'd rather not pull for Manny Machado. His recent obvious and admitted lack of effortin a playoff game running to first base, his arm slinging slide into second base, his kick of the first baseman's leg as Machado ran by the bag, and his interviews after these events, were enough to keep me from being a fan of Machado, even if he is one of the best SS'sin baseball. Plus how do you think Machado would react to the Twins moving him from SS to 3B when Lewis beats him out for SS?He belongs in NYC as a Yankee. Perfect fit.

    • Kelly Vance and MN_ExPat like this

I like all of this, and I think he would help the team long term. My only question is, other than money (which every team will be able to offer) why would Machado choose Minnesota?


And an excellent question!

Ted, once again, you post an intelligent article. And your references to Mauer and his signing/contract as well as the Darvish attempt have merit. And there is no doubt the Twins could afford Machado. But I have to reflect on two primary points, based on your post, and Corey's question.

1] I am a mid-western man, born and raised. Like Joe Mauer. Doesn't matter, like Joe, that I grew up a Twins fan. Pretty sure Machado didn't. Despite a down and disappointing 2018 season, I can see a top farm system, tons of talent and potential in that system, and guys like Berrios, Gibson, Sano, Rosario, Buxton, etc, just waiting to break through and reach their potential. I can play half my games in one of the top ballparks in all of MLB, and be a STAR in a city that doesn't overwhelm compared to others, and make the same $30M per season I could anywhere else.

That is all a wonderful positive! Especially if Machado was thinking about his personal life, family, atmosphere, etc.

2] Machado is from Miami, not the mid-west. East-coast busy/crazy and now the same in LA may simply be more who and what he is and is used to. Endorsement deals to add even more to his coffers could be an enticement. Despite down years in Baltimore, maybe more because of those years, he could see the finances of a big market like LA, N.Y., Boston filling in a competitive team around him yearly.

I have absolutely no idea who Machado is, or how he ticks, but money being even, I just don't see him here.
    • Platoon likes this

 

To be perfectly frank, I hope the Twins don't try to sign Manny Machado because I'd rather not pull for Manny Machado. His recent obvious and admitted lack of effortin a playoff game running to first base, his arm slinging slide into second base, his kick of the first baseman's leg as Machado ran by the bag, and his interviews after these events, were enough to keep me from being a fan of Machado, even if he is one of the best SS'sin baseball. Plus how do you think Machado would react to the Twins moving him from SS to 3B when Lewis beats him out for SS?He belongs in NYC as a Yankee. Perfect fit.

 

I agree... Not the type of player we need. Spend $15M per year on 2 good pitchers and we'll be better off than $30M on a Machado.

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ChrisKnutson
Oct 23 2018 01:28 PM
I know I may be speaking too soon, but what if New York decides to let Didi Gregorius walk next offseason?? Seems like a lot more of a realistic FA for the Twins compared to signing Machado (who could be the reason why Didi leaves NY).
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Kelly Vance
Oct 23 2018 04:28 PM

Manny is fools gold. He doesn't belong in Minnesota and it would be a huge mistake to sign him. 

There's no way the Twins should touch this situation. If they commit 30-35 million a year to Machado, what are they going to do when the rest of their supporting cast reaches arbitration or free agency and they can't afford them. Then it wil be Machado and not much else just like it turned in to Mauer and not much else. Just because there are dollars available in this year's budget doesn't mean you can make a 10 year committment like this. If he ends up being a shell of himself like Mauer did, you have your hands tied for another decade. Too much risk. Let the big boys fight it out to take on that risk.