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Balance vs. Star Power

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#1 MileHighTwinsFan

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 10:17 AM

I am struck by the Cardinals and Red Sox lineups and the balance from 1-9, compared to the reliance on star power in Detroit and Los Angeles. The injuries to Hanley Ramirez and Cabrera, and Fielder's lack of productivity pretty much doomed these teams to failure in the LCS. Meanwhile the Red Sox and Cardinals persevered relying on a different star every night.

It seems those who are looking for the big free agent signing should beware of what happens when too much salary is wrapped up in one or two players.

#2 ThePuck

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 11:00 AM

You think Boston's 154M team is lacking star power and highly paid players?
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#3 mike wants wins

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 11:15 AM

Ya, not sure how anyone can claim Boston is not reliant on some stars. Agreed, their depth is very good, but that might have something to do with spending in the top 5 in baseball.....
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#4 Winston Smith

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 12:07 PM

"It seems those who are looking for the big free agent signing should beware of what happens when too much salary is wrapped up in one or two players."

I don't get the point of this. Help please!
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#5 Zephrin

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 12:23 PM

The Cardinals might be a bit less free spending but they have plenty of stars themselves. 4 players (Beltran, Wainright, Yadi and Holliday) account for more than half their payroll (all make $12 million or more)

They (similarly to Tampa) are just much better at resisting bad contracts (see Pujols, Albert), and developing (and paying) the next generation that replaces the high-priced veterans that leave for the coasts.

#6 Yoosh

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 12:29 PM

I think what he's trying to say is it's better to have 6 above average players at 10-12mil each then 3 "stars" at 20-25 mil each.
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#7 Zephrin

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 12:37 PM

To the latter point, Twins management should take note of Allen Craig's contract. He was going into his 3rd year of serfdom this spring when they signed him to a contract that fixed the price for his arbitration years plus 2 of his FA years (one of which is a team option) Total price? 5 years $31 million (including buyout) or 6 for $43.

As part of the deal they agreed to pay him $1.75 this year instead of the standard price for a 3rd year player, but that seems a small price to pay for a fairly team-friendly deal for a borderline star player entering his prime.

#8 Jim Crikket

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 12:40 PM

I think what he's trying to say is it's better to have 6 above average players at 10-12mil each then 3 "stars" at 20-25 mil each.


That's what I took from the initial post, as well, and I certainly agree.

That said, I don't think too many people here are arguing for the Twins to wade in to the FA pool and going after $20 mil a year position players. Just 2-3 years ago, the Twins broke camp in April with a batting order that appeared to be a pretty balanced. I recall being encouraged that there weren't many automatic outs in the 6-9 spots of the order, for a change.

But what we all have found out is that it doesn't matter much whether your batting order is balanced or star-heavy in the 3-5 spots when your starting pitchers are essentially AAA-AAAA level and/or your defense gives opponents 4 outs in several innings per game.

I'm fine with a batting order of 8 good-but-not-great hitters plus Mauer. I'm not fine with 5 starting pitchers who are #4s, at best. Two "stars" could make a pretty significant difference there.
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#9 Kwak

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 12:51 PM

Or, did things hinge on the removal of Scherzer too early, especially in Game 2?--thus making this "point" completely irrelevant. The $10-12MM player probably falls into these categories: 1) the guy on his way to $20+MM (ex. Mauer in '09); 2) the fortunate mid-range guy who was highly sought after by several teams; 3) the aged star, getting a 1-yr deal. Player #1 should not be confused with the others despite their salary similarity--which is temporary.

#10 Major Leauge Ready

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 01:10 PM

To the latter point, Twins management should take note of Allen Craig's contract. He was going into his 3rd year of serfdom this spring when they signed him to a contract that fixed the price for his arbitration years plus 2 of his FA years (one of which is a team option) Total price? 5 years $31 million (including buyout) or 6 for $43.

As part of the deal they agreed to pay him $1.75 this year instead of the standard price for a 3rd year player, but that seems a small price to pay for a fairly team-friendly deal for a borderline star player entering his prime.


Very good point. The Ray's have done this with a few key players like Longoria. I hope the Twins FO follows this model in the future as you suggest.

#11 gunnarthor

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 01:57 PM

To the latter point, Twins management should take note of Allen Craig's contract. He was going into his 3rd year of serfdom this spring when they signed him to a contract that fixed the price for his arbitration years plus 2 of his FA years (one of which is a team option) Total price? 5 years $31 million (including buyout) or 6 for $43.


Ryan did plenty of those - Hunter, Mauer, Santana. Our problem right now is we don't have young talent like Craig to lock up.

#12 mike wants wins

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 02:36 PM

That's correct, there are zero players in their prime that need to be locked up. That is the problem with this team.
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#13 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 03:48 PM

That's correct, there are zero players in their prime that need to be locked up. That is the problem with this team.


Yep. I could see Dozier making a case next year if his surge was for real, but even as the next wave arrives, it's good to let them play at least a year if not two before locking them up. That said, Ryan did this quite frequently during the metrodome era, so I don't see why he wouldn't continue doing it.

#14 Jim Crikket

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 03:49 PM

Yep. In an ideal world, guys like Plouffe, Gibson, Dozier, Revere and Parmelee would have stepped up and been considered for early extensions.

Edited by Jim Crikket, 21 October 2013 - 06:21 PM.
typo

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#15 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 03:52 PM

I am struck by the Cardinals and Red Sox lineups and the balance from 1-9, compared to the reliance on star power in Detroit and Los Angeles. The injuries to Hanley Ramirez and Cabrera, and Fielder's lack of productivity pretty much doomed these teams to failure in the LCS. Meanwhile the Red Sox and Cardinals persevered relying on a different star every night.

It seems those who are looking for the big free agent signing should beware of what happens when too much salary is wrapped up in one or two players.


I think you want both personally. I never bought into the "that guy doesn't have to hit" line of thought that some people have. Depth wins games. The best model, at least for a mid-market team like the Twins, is to extend your stars while continuing to pump out better than average players (and hopefully a few more stars) while supplementing from FA in the few places where you have holes or potentially need a role player. While the stars are nice here, going after the Willingham and Cuddyers of the world is probably far more beneficial long term than a Pujols.

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 08:45 PM

The Cardinals might be a bit less free spending but they have plenty of stars themselves. 4 players (Beltran, Wainright, Yadi and Holliday) account for more than half their payroll (all make $12 million or more)

They (similarly to Tampa) are just much better at resisting bad contracts (see Pujols, Albert), and developing (and paying) the next generation that replaces the high-priced veterans that leave for the coasts.

Keep in mind the Cards reportedly offered Pujols 10/$200. They didn't so much "resist" Pujols as stop bidding at a very high level.

They also didnt let the loss of Pujols derail the team, nor did they put that money in their pocket. They reinvested it...payroll has actually gone up since Pujols left.

#17 John Bonnes

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 09:14 PM

That's interesting. I think the common sentiment is that to win in the playoffs you need the big gun - to pitch. But in this round, the Tigers & Dodgers had the big pitching arms and lost.

I hate to say the cliche, but I really think the playoffs are just a craps shoot.

#18 Trevor0333

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 09:38 PM

Ultimately you want consistent players all across the board besides a few places. Your #1 & 2 SP, the 3 & 4 hitters you want the stars to carry your RBI's with 1 & 2 OBP guys. Prefferably the rest of the team is quality guys who can hit a lil & play D.

#19 beckmt

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 09:51 PM

I think the play here is to have 3-4 top flight starters or 1-3 top flight starters and a very good hitting club with a great bullpen. St. Louis has both, it will be interesting to see if the Twins can step up their front end pitching, in the near future, it means buying FA pitchers on 2-3 year contracts. Hitting will improve hopefully as the better minor league starts come up.

#20 glunn

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 10:44 PM

That's interesting. I think the common sentiment is that to win in the playoffs you need the big gun - to pitch. But in this round, the Tigers & Dodgers had the big pitching arms and lost.


The final 4 teams all seemed to have great pitching. Watching some of the games has confirmed in my mind the importance of pitching and defense.

I would love to see the Twins build a team that can score lots of runs against great pitching and great defense, but after seeing the Tigers flounder, I wonder about the relative importance of having star hitters.

#21 Oldgoat_MN

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 12:12 AM

Very complicated.

I am especially annoyed by the evidence that, "Good pitching beats good hitting".

I so want to believe otherwise, or that they are at an even level.

But the 1987 Twins and the 1991 Twins are evidence to the contrary.

Well, Viola & Blyleven weren't supposed to be better than Atlanta. hehehe
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#22 Seth Stohs

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 04:30 AM

That's interesting. I think the common sentiment is that to win in the playoffs you need the big gun - to pitch. But in this round, the Tigers & Dodgers had the big pitching arms and lost.

I hate to say the cliche, but I really think the playoffs are just a craps shoot.


Correct! Correct! Each of the final for teams are strong, well-rounded teams. The Tigers had Verlander, Scherzer, Sanchez and Foster. BENOIT and Veras each had a big, BAD pitch. Cabrera was so hurt and Fielder and Jackson were bad. These things happen in Short series. The Dodgers had Kershaw, Greinke and Ryu. Ramirez was hurt. Kershaw had a rare bad game. Puig had a bad defensive game. Hey, Iglesius had a big error. Stuff happens.

#23 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 04:36 AM

That's interesting. I think the common sentiment is that to win in the playoffs you need the big gun - to pitch. But in this round, the Tigers & Dodgers had the big pitching arms and lost.

I hate to say the cliche, but I really think the playoffs are just a craps shoot.


Is that why the teams with the best regular season records in their respective leagues are now in the World Series?

#24 gunnarthor

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 08:11 AM

Is that why the teams with the best regular season records in their respective leagues are now in the World Series?


And it's the first time in how long?

#25 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 10:00 AM

The final 4 teams all seemed to have great pitching. Watching some of the games has confirmed in my mind the importance of pitching and defense.

I would love to see the Twins build a team that can score lots of runs against great pitching and great defense, but after seeing the Tigers flounder, I wonder about the relative importance of having star hitters.


I still think well rounded is your best bet. Relying on one or two stars is not a good way to approach it. Having the stars is nice, but 1-9 needs to be a threat at the plate as even stars have bad games.... and they had better be able to get it done with the glove too. People look at Detroit's win/loss numbers and think it's powerhouse. They are a good team, but defensively, they are very flawed, particularly in their infield. That team has 3 DH/1B types.

And let's not pretend that Boston doesn't have pitching either. Yes Verlander is the best pitcher, and Scherzer has been great too, but it isn't like Boston is throwing a rotation of PTC guys either.

#26 TheLeviathan

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 10:41 AM

Every year people overreact and think they can deduce the magic formula for winning it all by analyzing the teams in the Series. It doesn't exist.

I'm with John - it's a crapshoot once you hit the playoffs.

#27 twinsnorth49

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 11:51 AM

That's interesting. I think the common sentiment is that to win in the playoffs you need the big gun - to pitch. But in this round, the Tigers & Dodgers had the big pitching arms and lost.

I hate to say the cliche, but I really think the playoffs are just a craps shoot.


This

#28 JB_Iowa

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 02:02 PM

Albert Pujols had a hand in the Cardinals' Series berth. | SportsonEarth.com : Will Leitch Article

I found this article interesting. Particularly how the Cards started planning early for a big payday for Albert and concentrating on the farm.

Is this partially where the Twins fell apart? Did they fail to have a strategy for the Mauer "big payday" or was it simply that Target Field WAS the strategy?

My personal feeling has always been that the organization got a bit complacent with the looming advent of TF. That they stopped doing the little things well and focusing on things that had made them successful.

Don't get me wrong, draft position and the farm system were also a part of that but I just wonder whether some of their own complacency didn't do them in.

#29 nicksaviking

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 02:44 PM

That's interesting. I think the common sentiment is that to win in the playoffs you need the big gun - to pitch. But in this round, the Tigers & Dodgers had the big pitching arms and lost.

I hate to say the cliche, but I really think the playoffs are just a craps shoot.


Well according to Fangraphs, team WAR for the final four's rotations were:
Tigers- 1
Red Sox- 3
Dodgers- 5
Cardinals- 6

I don't think the Red Sox and Cardinals ending up in the World Series disproves that dominant starters are the best route to success. Of the 16 starters who took the mound in the two Division Series' only Joe Kelly and Doug Fister had a K/9 less than 7.2. It was star pitching or future star pitching nearly everywhere you looked.

Edited by nicksaviking, 23 October 2013 - 02:48 PM.