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  • If 2013 Isn't Realistic, Twins' Focus Turns To 2014

    Will Justin Morneau And Josh Willingham Be Teammates Next Year?
    In an interview with reporters on Monday night at the Winter Meetings, Minnesota Twins General Manager Terry Ryan tamed expectations. When asked if the Twins will be competitive in 2013, he said, "We will try to have that happen... We have to be realistic on all fronts."

    This most likely means that the Twins won't be handing out buckets of cash to front-line starting pitching but that could be expected from the start of the offseason. There could be some other deeper meanings that are going to transpire in the rest of this offseason or before the end of the year.


    If the Twins can't be competitive in 2013, what else should the club accomplish before the start of next season?

    Is it time to dump Justin Morneau and/or Josh Willingham?

    From the sounds of reports, neither Morneau or Willingham will be changing jerseys before the start of the year. Morneau will be entering the last year of his contract and is due $14 million. Willingham only joined the club last season but his value might be at its highest after a career year. If the Twins were able to trade both of these players for talent that would be ready in the next couple of seasons, it could be a step in the right direction. Morneau's money will also be off the books for 2014 so this could help the Twins add depth at other positions.

    Will the outfield of the future be able to breakout by 2014?

    Oswaldo Arcia and Aaron Hicks each had fantastic seasons in 2012, but were at the Double-A level. Both players will likely start at Triple-A in 2013, and both could see their major league debut at some point next season. An outfield with Arcia, Hicks and Ben Revere could be in place for multiple seasons if all of these players can stay healthy and productive. The jump from Double-A all the way to the big leagues can come with some bumps and bruises so the Twins might have to be patient with their rising prospects.

    Could the rotation be stronger by the start of 2014?

    Entering next season, the Twins have plenty of question marks in the rotation. By 2014, some of those question marks might be dissolved.

    Kyle Gibson will most certainly be on an innings limit in 2013 after coming back from Tommy John surgery and he might not even start the year in the rotation. In 2014, he should be able to pitch a full season and he should be in the starting rotation from the start of the year. Newly acquired Alex Meyer will most likely start next year in Double-A, which could mean he debuts with the Twins by the end of 2013. If Gibson and Meyer can put together positive seasons, these two pitchers along with Scott Diamond could make up three-fifths of the rotation in 2014.

    For a successful 2014, a lot of things have to go right in 2013. The Twins need Arcia and Hicks to continue to progress and Diamond, Gibson and Meyer to stay healthy. When relying on younger players, there can be a learning curve and that might be why the Twins would want to trade other player this offseason. By giving some of these younger players time to iron out the kinks, the team could be better set up for success in the future.

    Most fans know the Twins aren't going to win 100 games next year. It would be nice to see the Twins be competitive in what has been a very winnable division during the last few seasons. But the time doesn't feel right for the Twins to charge back in the Central. It might be more important to focus on the future and moves that will help the Twins succeed in the long run.

    This article was originally published in blog: If 2013 isn't realistic, Twins' focus turns to 2014 started by Cody Christie
    Comments 20 Comments
    1. Alex's Avatar
      Alex -
      Quote Originally Posted by Cody Christie View Post

      Nice article.

      I am wondering if the higher cost of FA SP is going to mean the Twins are going to back off starting pitching from even what was intended when John Bonnes interviewed Ryan. Even pitchers like Edwin Jackson may be asking too much for them. However, it's not like the market will be cheaper next year.

      If they aren't going to delve as deeply this year, they will pay a price in that people won't show at the games. There's also no reason to keep Willingham and Morneau, and they'd need to trade them now.

      There's still some time left, but the quotes do seem ominous.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      And the pitching will be even more expensive next off-season. And the season after that. And the huge drop in attendance when they punt? How will that help the payroll?
    1. Physics Guy's Avatar
      Physics Guy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Alex View Post

      If they aren't going to delve as deeply this year, they will pay a price in that people won't show at the games. There's also no reason to keep Willingham and Morneau, and they'd need to trade them now.
      I'd agree more with Willingham since he is unlikely to increase his value during the season. If Morneau can show health and slight improvement from last year he would certainly gain value and might be a good July trade to a contending team in need of a 1B who at that point is only owed $7M.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      I was thinking that we should consider tearing this thing down back in May. It don't sound like TR was going to go that direction as the season progressed... so I thought... Ok... Let's get some pitching and give it a shot in 2013.

      Now I'm back to...

      I don't know... someone tell me where I'm at...
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Not long ago it sounded like Gardenhire had one year left to right the ship. Does the coaching staff still get cleaned out if Ryan once again fails to do his job by giving the on-field staff anything close to a competent rotation?
    1. AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS's Avatar
      AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS -
      Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
      I was thinking that we should consider tearing this thing down back in May. It don't sound like TR was going to go that direction as the season progressed... so I thought... Ok... Let's get some pitching and give it a shot in 2013.

      Now I'm back to...

      I don't know... someone tell me where I'm at...
      Im in your boat, like this is mind bottling.
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      If the Twins go into rebuilding mode, they need to advertise the team in a different way. They will save on payroll (might even get something from mlb) and revenue will slip. But that means - THEY HAVE THAT MUCH MORE TO SPEND IN 2014 - RIGHT?!?
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      Just because they won't be competitive in 2013 doesn't mean they should avoid FA starters. There is no reason they can't go out and sign a solid pitcher to a 3 yr contract even if that is overpaying. Rebuilding does not mean that every veteran has to be traded regardless of the trade package and FA's need to be avoided. There is virtually nobody that will be blocked by signing a solid veteran starter or two.

      I think they should consider dealing Morneau or Willingham if the deal is right but they can wait until midseason. They aren't blocking anyone since Hicks and Arcia could use half a year in AAA.
    1. PseudoSABR's Avatar
      PseudoSABR -
      Dove tailing with kab...

      The Twins should be in the business of acquiring assets whether they are competitive or not in 2013. Any players in acquired during this free agency can be used to acquire additional assets for when we actually are competitive. To simply hold onto our money or spend it in another year misses myriad opportunities this offseason. The Twins should be thinking about what players that are available now will have inflated values during the trade deadline or the next offseason if they truly are punting 2013.

      The myth of competing in 2013 can lead to real assets moving forward, but that myth probably needs to be maintained to acquire such players (at least through FA).
    1. Top Gun's Avatar
      Top Gun -
      No way, I still expect the Twins to sign Greinke, Sanchez, and Dempster to long-term contracts and go for it all in 2013!
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
      I was thinking that we should consider tearing this thing down back in May. It don't sound like TR was going to go that direction as the season progressed... so I thought... Ok... Let's get some pitching and give it a shot in 2013.

      Now I'm back to...

      I don't know... someone tell me where I'm at...
      You're at . . . as clueless as I am. Ridding the team of Span for someone who will not pitch legitimately for the Twins before 2014 indicates a blowup and that is what should be done with one more trade of Morneau for another similar pitcher. I said go big or go big. That meant stick with this team with no trades and load up on FA pitchers or trade multiple players for the future.

      half-assing it is a terrible idea. That is what they will do. Saunders and Liriano!!???
    1. Highabove's Avatar
      Highabove -
      Last September, Ryan directly told the Season Ticket Holders that he would do what was necessary to build a contending Team in 2013. That was when the Twins were asking for our Money. Now that they have it, the story might be changing. Keep dumping on us and see what happens!
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      If the Twins are essentially giving up on 2013 they should be looking to trade Willingham and Morneau this season as well. If they trade Morneau and Willingham then realistically the Twins won't be competitive until 2015 or perhaps 2016. In 2015 Mauer will be 32 years old. The Twins will be paying $25M still for his services but we will have wasted his best years on non contending teams. So just as we are becoming competitive again Mauer will be winding down his career and still owed a boatload of money. I am not sure how I feel about that. Should we be looking to trade Mauer (assuming he gives the OK) just because we don't want a $25M anchor around our necks in the out years without the benefit of being competitive during his productive years?
    1. JP3700's Avatar
      JP3700 -
      Quote Originally Posted by PseudoSABR View Post
      Dove tailing with kab...

      The Twins should be in the business of acquiring assets whether they are competitive or not in 2013. Any players in acquired during this free agency can be used to acquire additional assets for when we actually are competitive. To simply hold onto our money or spend it in another year misses myriad opportunities this offseason. The Twins should be thinking about what players that are available now will have inflated values during the trade deadline or the next offseason if they truly are punting 2013.

      The myth of competing in 2013 can lead to real assets moving forward, but that myth probably needs to be maintained to acquire such players (at least through FA).
      Very well stated. I completely agree. Marcum, McCarthy, Myers, Liriano and Villanueva are guys that can be had on 1-2 year deals and have the upside to be able to get a decent to good return in a future trade.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      If you sign Marcum for three years, he is here in the years you are planning for. If you cannot sign 3 pitchers in one year, why not sign at least one now?
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by PseudoSABR View Post
      Dove tailing with kab...

      The Twins should be in the business of acquiring assets whether they are competitive or not in 2013. Any players in acquired during this free agency can be used to acquire additional assets for when we actually are competitive. To simply hold onto our money or spend it in another year misses myriad opportunities this offseason. The Twins should be thinking about what players that are available now will have inflated values during the trade deadline or the next offseason if they truly are punting 2013.

      The myth of competing in 2013 can lead to real assets moving forward, but that myth probably needs to be maintained to acquire such players (at least through FA).
      I still have a glimmer of hope that the Twins can compete in 2013. This division is pretty bad.

      With that said, Pseudo is 100% correct. You spend some money now and try to keep it within reason so you're not hamstrung in 2015 and beyond. If the Twins continue to be awful, then trade off some of those assets you bought in FA.
    1. birdwatcher's Avatar
      birdwatcher -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by PseudoSABR View Post
      Dove tailing with kab...

      The Twins should be in the business of acquiring assets whether they are competitive or not in 2013. Any players in acquired during this free agency can be used to acquire additional assets for when we actually are competitive. To simply hold onto our money or spend it in another year misses myriad opportunities this offseason. The Twins should be thinking about what players that are available now will have inflated values during the trade deadline or the next offseason if they truly are punting 2013.

      The myth of competing in 2013 can lead to real assets moving forward, but that myth probably needs to be maintained to acquire such players (at least through FA).
      I still have a glimmer of hope that the Twins can compete in 2013. This division is pretty bad.

      With that said, Pseudo is 100% correct. You spend some money now and try to keep it within reason so you're not hamstrung in 2015 and beyond. If the Twins continue to be awful, then trade off some of those assets you bought in FA.
      I'm in agreement with this sentiment. What do you think Ryan and his team, in the privacy of their own conference room, are shooting for in 2013? I believe they view the worst case scenario as maybe 77 wins, and this means you have to pick up at least two starters that surpass the "Diamond Standard" (Edward Thoma's term). Now, if those two are Saunders and McCarthy as opposed to Sanibel and Jackson? Then I think they fall short of their best case scenario, which is competing for the division. I think it's very likely that they've given up hope of the best case because the trade and FA market are being uncooperative. But that doesn't preclude them from still signing, say, Marcum, Lannan, Liriano, etc. and expecting to win closer to half their games in 2013. We all know there are two things they will NOT do, which is to mortgage their future or to break the bank.

      Bottom line is I still think it's reasonable to hope they add two pitchers in that 2nd tier of Marcum/McCarthy, and maybe one or two Liriano/Lannan/ Jurgens types to vie for the #5-6 starter role with the 9 other guys we have of that ilk.
    1. rogrulz30's Avatar
      rogrulz30 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Highabove View Post
      Last September, Ryan directly told the Season Ticket Holders that he would do what was necessary to build a contending Team in 2013. That was when the Twins were asking for our Money. Now that they have it, the story might be changing. Keep dumping on us and see what happens!

      Saunders and Liriano would really question TR and the Twins, in my mind it has to be a younger guy like McCarthy, otherwise let everyone get there money from another team, and unload Morneau/Willingham and let the Hendriks, DeVries, Gibson, Deduno, Meyer thing work. We can't just sign guys to fill a rotation and spend needless money, if you are going to rebuild, let the fans know that and take the lumps in 2013.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by rogrulz30 View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Highabove View Post
      Last September, Ryan directly told the Season Ticket Holders that he would do what was necessary to build a contending Team in 2013. That was when the Twins were asking for our Money. Now that they have it, the story might be changing. Keep dumping on us and see what happens!
      Saunders and Liriano would really question TR and the Twins, in my mind it has to be a younger guy like McCarthy, otherwise let everyone get there money from another team, and unload Morneau/Willingham and let the Hendriks, DeVries, Gibson, Deduno, Meyer thing work. We can't just sign guys to fill a rotation and spend needless money, if you are going to rebuild, let the fans know that and take the lumps in 2013.
      If you have the money (and the Twins do), there's no reason you can't do both. Trade some of your valuable assets to restock the farm (as it appears Ryan is doing) and pick up some free agents that won't do damage to your longterm payroll. The path to winning is homegrown talent but in the meantime, that doesn't mean you can't field a team that isn't awful through the help of free agency.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      Why can't you spend money when you rebuild? The Twins picked up Willingham last year and now he is worth a decent prospect or two.

      The rule for signing FA's should be: Will it affect the long term payroll? Will this veteran block a good prospect? As far as the rotation and MI is concerned there are almost no options and nobody will be blocked. I'm all for rebuilding but that doesn't mean the Twins can't sign a couple of veterans (max 3 yr contract) to fill gaping holes in the org. It's possible that these vets can be traded in a year or two for more prospects which wouldn't have been possible if the Twins never got them.
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