Starting Pitching and the Folly of the Pohlad Fortune
by, 04-25-2013 at 08:34 AM (418 Views)
I was reading this article and in the comments section came across this blurb in the comments section concerning the Twins not being able to get FA starting pitching:
I'm not saying the Twins will be signing David Price anytime soon but if the young field players improve and the Twins have 3-4 starters in place (May, Gibson, Diamond, Meyer?) I can see them finding a starting pitcher in that second rung of free agent pitchers for $10 million/yr - $15 million/yr for 3-4 years and rolling with it. It depends how much they're spending filling other holes (particularly the middle infield and first base) but it remains a distinct possibility.
This is especially true since one of the benefits of trading Span/Revere is that the Twins don't have a lot of their core (and potential core) coming up for big $$$ for a solid 4-5 years. They've paid Mauer, the outfield will be all young guys and outside of maybe Plouffe - and even then he won't be pricey - all they've really got to worry about is perhaps inking Scott Diamond. The team even sheds a ton of salary via Morneau and Willingham this year and next. This is a team that profiles to be incredibly cheap, even with Mauer's well-deserved $23 million, for the next 3-5 years.
That means the Twins will have the flexibility to throw out $10 or even $15 million/yr for 3 years and bring in a more elite starter. Or even two. I get not wanting to sign the seven year pitcher deals (and think its smart businses) but there's a value in the layer underneath. The obvious historical precedent would be Jack Morris, an aging elite pitcher who was available on a short-term high-dollar deal. A less apt one is Carl Pavano the second time - more of a stretch since he was coming off of injuries but in that same ballpark money wise. The point is, there are great #2 or #3 starter types out there who I expect the Twins to sign if the mini-rebuild goes as planned. Who knows who those pitchers will be in the future, but to say the Twins won't be able to go after them seems premature.
Now I know everyone is going to point at the Twins current roster ($90 million-ish?) and say that they're already cutting spending but at least the front office is talking the talk about using that money for a sunnier day. As long as they do tuck that $20 million into a savings account with a nice interest rate (instead of a Pohlad's suit pants pocket) with the idea to make their dollars count, I have a hard time faulting them. This team wasn't going to take a huge jump by signing one solid pitcher this year (much as we'd like it) but that may not be true next year or (more likely) the year after.
Its like a kid knowing that he could buy a crappy Craigslist bike in March and maybe ride when it isn't too cold but instead hoping for some snow so he can shovel some walks and sve the cash get a sweet brand-new bike in June, when having a bike really matters.
*A note on this which is a huge aside and a whole different post: when we say the Twins can't afford it, it's because we ignore the fact that the Pohlads are freaking billionaires. Owning a sports team should be the uber-rich guy equivalent of buying a Maserati - you don't buy it cuz it makes fiscal sense, you buy it because its fun to drive really, really fast and meet some babes. You know, like Mark Cuban.
We forget that behind our mumblings about Bill Smith's trade abilities or Gardy's love of light-hitting middle infielders lurks the beast in the corner - the Pohlads run the Twins like an actual business and as cheapskates at that. The fact that they make significant money off of the Twins is an insult. Especially since the family fortune (that's right, not actually earned by the current trust fund bunch) was founded on Smilin' Carl foreclosing on families during the Great Depression. No really. Wikipedia him. No idea why we celebrated this man when he died. We didn't need to boo but I for one turned the channel. Foreclosing homes, trying to contract the Twins, squeezing every penny of profit out - this guy was Scrooge but without the redeeming flash of insight.
It's almost enough to make a guy like the publicly owned Packers. Almost.
When I think about what the Twins could do if the Pohlads (A) decided to just try to break even each year rather than make a profit (B) decided to accept a $20 million loss each year as a public gift or (C) even accepated a $50 million loss each year (doable since they sold a side beverage business in 2010 for $2.12 billion and also totally tax deductible) it makes me want to cry. And hit someone.
Stupid rich people. I get not wanting to pay taxes, that must suck to have your (hard earned?) money taken away. But let's do some real charity work, let's improve some lives. Life is better when the Twins win. Make it happen Pennypincher Pohlad Jr.