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The 2014 Officially Unauthorized Minnesota Twins Offseason Video Tutorial
Today’s Lesson: Just How Much Pitching Can The Minnesota Twins Afford?
Summer is giving way to winter and the baseball season is turning to the baseball offseason, when Major League teams rain money on free agents. The Twins will enter the offseason with a payroll of $59 million dollars, which means they should have as much as $25-$30 million to spend this offseason.
There is plenty they could buy with that money. , especially when one considers the Twins finished the regular season with the WORST starting pitching rotation in MLB. So what can $25-30M buy on the starting pitching free agent market? Let’s look at last year’s free agents and find out.
Last year, the market had a clear ace – Cy Young Award winner Zach Greinke. The closest this year’s market has to an ace might be Masahiro Tanaka, an ace from Japan that might be joining the MLB ranks. Greinke was signed by the Dodgers for almost $25 million per year for 6 years, so $25 million gets approximately ONE Ace.
Five other pitchers signed deals that topped $10 million per year. The number of guaranteed years in those contracts varied in length, basically being inversely proportional to the pitchers age, unless you had Dan Haren’s hip. Only two of those pitchers had excellent years - though they all pitched plenty of innings.
After that group there was a significant drop to several different groups of pitchers. For instance, there were the end of the rotation innings eaters who made $5-7 million per year. Three guys filled that role, including Kevin Correia who was the only one of the three that had anything resembling a good year and actually performed better than some of the $10 million guys.
Because pitching was so expensive, many GMs tried to catch lighting in a bottle by signing players with injury concerns. Unfortunately, most of them pitched like – surprise – they were hurt. Five players signed deals between 4 and 8 million dollars, most for just one year, (including the Twins signing Mike Pelfrey). Of the five, only Cubs pickup Scott Feldman was less than terrible.
General Managers had significantly better luck gambling on healthier guys with upside but question marks. Four such pitchers signed for less than $5 million. Dice-K flamed out, but Carlos Villanueva was serviceable in dual roles. The third, Bartolo Colon, led his Athletics to the postseason. So did the fourth.
So last year, $25-30 million would have bought an ace, two starting pitchers who were among the best in the market, or nearly a whole rotation of more questionable guys.
What will it buy this year? Well, for specific names and estimated contracts, you might want to invest in the 2013 Offseason GM Handbook
, which is on sale for just $4.95. And of course, check out Twins Daily’s stories and forums for all the Twins offseason analysis.