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  • The Scope of a Rebuild

    There is little debate over the fact that the Twins' moves this offseason haven't done much to help ensure significant improvement in 2013. This club appears to have its sights set fully on a target somewhere further down the line. Among fans and media, there seems to be a split between people who question this approach and those who accept it.

    Whatever your feelings on the matter, it's important to be realistic about the timeline for building a contending team around players that are currently in Double-A (or lower). It's also important to remain cognizant of the organization's outlook going forward.

    Minnesota's present payroll commitment for this year of about $80 million has been a much bandied number. But the numbers get more interesting as you start to look ahead. By using Jeremy Nygaard's excellent Roster & Payroll resource, we can see that in 2014 the team is tied up for about $45 million in six existing contracts. They will have many league-minimum youngsters and a number of players eligible for arbitration (many for the first time) but you could generously assume that $20 million will be more than enough to cover all that. It'd still leave them an Albert Pujols short of their 2012 level.

    The following year, with Josh Willingham, Kevin Correia, Jared Burton and Ryan Doumit eligible to come off the books, the Twins aren't attached to anyone beyond Joe Mauer and Glen Perkins.

    This organization has been burdened by some bad contracts in recent seasons, but in two years the Twins are looking at only $26 million in firmly committed money, which is undeniably an enviable position for a rebuilding team. They will have a great deal of flexibility to sign strong performers to contract extensions, fill holes that they can't patch internally and perhaps even make a blockbuster signing. It's not hard to see the big-picture wisdom in this strategy.

    At the same time, they would have had plenty of flexibility even if they splurged on more than the Correia and Mike Pelfrey types in an effort to boost the quality of their current product. And if they thought signing free agents has been challenging this winter, the competition for desirable players only figures to get tougher going forward with fewer options available and more teams eager to spend added revenues.

    It sounds like Terry Ryan is at least somewhat interested in luring Joe Saunders, which would change the complexion of this offseason somewhat, but if that doesn't happen and he moves forward with what he has, it would signal his belief in a few things.

    First, that the current pipeline will produce a core capable of taking this team to the next level, and quickly enough that the organization is not mired in this dismal state for three or four more years.

    Second, that the pieces he needs to add through free agency and trade (and there will be needs) will be available and will be better investments than pitchers added with multi-year deals now.

    Finally, that this year's team – which does feature a number of quality players between Mauer, Morneau, Willingham, Doumit, Perkins and others – will not be particularly close to competitive and that he won't regret taking such minimal steps to provide them with legitimate help.

    I'm skeptical about all those things proving true, but they seem to be the gambles Ryan is prepared to take. He's the guy in charge and it's safe to say he knows a little more about this whole rodeo than me or any other fan expressing puzzlement with his approach, so with the season drawing near, I guess we'll just have to hop on board and hope for the best.
    This article was originally published in blog: The Scope of a Rebuild started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 52 Comments
    1. mnfanforlife's Avatar
      mnfanforlife -
      Yep, the twins are going to suck next year. Maybe in 2014 too. Doesn't matter if people agree with this approach or not. Its really the only way to ensure long-term success. You could spend all the millions you want on veteran pitchers, but those dollars wont get you into the post-season, just ask Boston.
    1. mlhouse's Avatar
      mlhouse -
      The reason why rebuilds need to happen sooner rather than later is that it does take time to fill in all of the holes. Look at the Twins World Series rebuild that began, essentially, in 1982. It took 5 years to completely rebuild. THe reason for this is that some of the prospects and other additions fail: like closer Ron Davis and you then have to find another plug.

      We are already 2 years behind in the rebuild mode. Lets get the Aaron Hicks and Kyle Gibson's on the roster and see what we got.
    1. mnfanforlife's Avatar
      mnfanforlife -
      Quote Originally Posted by mlhouse View Post
      Lets get the Aaron Hicks and Kyle Gibson's on the roster and see what we got.
      Gutsy and I love it
    1. mnfanforlife's Avatar
      mnfanforlife -
      Its like the FO didnt want to admit they needed to rebuild following 2011
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      Considering the people added for 2010 season and the looming impact of Mauer's contract [to be], they should have realized the need.
    1. mnfanforlife's Avatar
      mnfanforlife -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kwak View Post
      Considering the people added for 2010 season and the looming impact of Mauer's contract [to be], they should have realized the need.
      An all-out gutting was in order, and it finally happened with Span AND Revere getting moved. Great moves, even if it cost us another awful season.
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      Quote Originally Posted by mnfanforlife View Post
      An all-out gutting was in order, and it finally happened with Span AND Revere getting moved. Great moves, even if it cost us another awful season.
      Still got 5 more to trade if you ask me
    1. mnfanforlife's Avatar
      mnfanforlife -
      Quote Originally Posted by johnnydakota View Post
      Still got 5 more to trade if you ask me
      Check out the two trades I proposed here. I suggested they bring pitching back in trade...
    1. mako83's Avatar
      mako83 -
      I still belive in Saunders it means no rush to bring up gibson also allows us to bring all those guys up at the right time. So would a poseidnick, sweeney, or inge signing in the outfield. Outerwise its a lot of cheap tickets on stubhub.
    1. mnfanforlife's Avatar
      mnfanforlife -
      I have absolutely no faith in what Joe Saunders brings to the table. He is just as likely to regress hard, as he is to reproduce his Baltimore numbers next year. But he is a Twins-style pitcher, in that he throws a lot of strikes. Would be a solid #4 or 5 starter on an average MLB team. So, why not make him our highest paid pitcher and anoint him our ace?
    1. beckmt's Avatar
      beckmt -
      Do not think Saunders will take a one year contract. Two years would not be bad, just unwise. 2014 rotation:
      Diamond
      Gibson
      Worley
      Correra
      Meyer/May

      And this does not allow for another young pitcher to make the team. I hope Harden stays healthy and the Twins could resign him if he rebounds to have a good year. Pelfrey is a one year rental. To compete in 2015 and beyond, you have to start giving the youngsters experience sooner rather than later and if that means a bad year this year, so be it.
      That is also why Hicks should be the center fielder to start the year.
      One last point, Parmalee should play this year, because if he does not make it, you still have the option of signing Morneau to a 2 - 3 year extension(hopefully for around 9 - 10 million a year.
      Do not forget the Twins will have $25 million more in TV revenue next year.
    1. Brandon's Avatar
      Brandon -
      I think we are close to atleast being competetive this year. I mean we have Mauer, Doumit and 4 others capable of hitting 25-30 HR (Morneau, Willingham, Ploffe, Parmalee) Carrol is a solid on base guy. If we get someone who can be a 4th OF/ CF for insurance and maybe Kelly Johnson or Freddy Sanchez then we have a good lineup....Defense leave alot to be desired. The bullpen is above average. If we get Saunders then our rotation has a better chance to be average. That would give us a chance to be competetitve if all breaks right. That is not quite the same as what we have comming in a few years when we are hoping the next wave of prospects makes us a legitimate contender again.
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      The bullpen is above average? It wasn't last year, and they haven't done much to improve it for this season.
    1. mnfanforlife's Avatar
      mnfanforlife -
      Quote Originally Posted by snepp View Post
      The bullpen is above average? It wasn't last year, and they haven't done much to improve it for this season.
      Twins were 17th in the league in bullpen ERA
    1. silverslugger's Avatar
      silverslugger -
      Always enjoy your articles Nick. I was hoping, based on the title, this article would be more about the expected timeline of rebuilds by comparing previous rebuilds of other teams. We all know about our own rebuild of the 80's. The players were up between '82 and '84 and we didn't see a championship until '87. Most of the minor leaguers we are talking about won't be up until '14 and '15 which means we should be talking about playoff baseball with that core more along the lines of '18,'19, and '20. Talking of competitiveness in '14 and '15 might be short-sighted if the core is expected to be Sano/Hicks/Arcia/Rosario/May/Meyer/Berrios.

      Thoughts?
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      Quote Originally Posted by mnfanforlife View Post
      Twins were 17th in the league in bullpen ERA
      Do we have a couple of left handed relievers who can make the jump to the majors?
      I have little faith in Mr. Robertson,and question the lack of attention we had to fill the void
      or at least signing competition for that spot this off season.
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      Quote Originally Posted by mnfanforlife View Post
      Twins were 17th in the league in bullpen ERA
      Yes they were, which was below average (3.55 AL ERA for relievers, Twins were at 3.77). And they were fortunate to rank even that "well," as suggested by their 25th/28th FIP/xFIP rankings and third lowest BABIP mark.

      Duensing being back in the bullpen on the full-time basis will help, as will Fien pitching a full season (assuming he continues to pitch well), but above-average as a whole? That may be asking for too much.
    1. mnfanforlife's Avatar
      mnfanforlife -
      Quote Originally Posted by johnnydakota View Post
      Do we have a couple of left handed relievers who can make the jump to the majors?
      I have little faith in Mr. Robertson,and question the lack of attention we had to fill the void
      or at least signing competition for that spot this off season.
      Theilbar is ready to contribute next season, after some time in AAA. Then Williams is probably the next best lefty, still a year or two away. Melotakis is next
    1. mnfanforlife's Avatar
      mnfanforlife -
      Quote Originally Posted by snepp View Post
      Yes they were, which was below average (3.55 AL ERA for relievers, Twins were at 3.77). And they were fortunate to rank even that "well," as suggested by their 25th/28th FIP/xFIP rankings and third lowest BABIP mark.

      Duensing being back in the bullpen on the full-time basis will help, as will Fien pitching a full season (assuming he continues to pitch well), but above-average as a whole? That may be asking for too much.
      Duensing is gonna get lit up. It seems like his best years are behind him. But hey, we got player control well into his sh**ty years
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      Quote Originally Posted by mnfanforlife View Post
      Duensing is gonna get lit up.
      Did he forget how to get lefties out?
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