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Article: Thoughts on the Twins? One baseball agent's perspective on Minnesota's front office

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#1 Parker Hageman

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 08:21 AM

You can view the page at http://twinsdaily.co...-s-front-office

#2 beyondclarity

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 08:47 AM

Good article Parker. It would be interesting to read a similar article with Scott Boras since he seems to be on the opposite side of the spectrum in his industry.

#3 Joe A. Preusser

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 08:51 AM

I predict three pat responses:

1) See, I told you so! The Twins front office and organization as a whole is great and well respected.

2) All this story does is confirm my opinions that the Twins are still mired back in the dark ages, completely out of touch with the reality of modern baseball.

3) It's nice to hear praise coming from an unlikely source, but I am still frustrated with the rebuild and won't be happy until we field a winner.

Variations please.

P.S I enjoyed the article, thanks for writing it.

Edited by Joe A. Preusser, 08 November 2013 - 08:52 AM.
P.S.


#4 AM.

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 08:56 AM

That was a really fascinating read, much different than the usual. Thanks. (And still hoping they spring for JJ.)

#5 Dman

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 09:30 AM

The article fits with what we know about the Twins. Loyalty above all else. When they sign someone they totally stand behind them and give them every opportunity to succeed. They don't easily give up on players or coaches as they believe in the people they have. It is an admirable trait but when so few play that way it makes it harder compete and harder to change with the times. Nice article and nice to know doing the right thing can pay off once in awhile.

#6 Seth Stohs

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 09:39 AM

Joe A, to your points:

1.) It is a bad thing? I don't think there was ever any question about this fact.

2.) I don't know how loyalty and being honorable and such is "old school." If that's not current, it says more about society and that's not good.

3.) I get the frustration, but be happy about other stuff! I'ts just baseball... :-)


Parker, great article, and thank you to Matt for taking his time too.

I like all three of these pitchers. I'm leery of Johnson, but I'm less leery because he finally did have a surgery. Nolasco was always supposed to take that next big step. He was good last year, for sure. Not sure the 5 years, $80M price tag would be worth it, but I'd go 4/55 or something. And, I had Messenger in my blueprint. I'd like to see a 2 year with an option on him as the offer.

I also didn't think about Kepler until reading this. We can bash those things like loyalty and honor and thinking about a person's PERSONAL development (even beyond baseball), but that name and recognition that Mr. Radcliff and others have garnered got them the likes of Kepler and Sano too.

#7 Kwak

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 09:46 AM

Why would a player's agency ever publicly trash a team or it's front office? This is a PR puff-piece. That being, it doesn't mean the Twins (or it's people) aren't first-rate--the article means that this guy (Sosnick) understands the value of "sweet words" (which is a prerequisite for an agent).

#8 spycake

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 10:21 AM

Agreed that it's probably mostly a puff piece. He has multiple clients here now and he represents multiple free agent pitchers this offseason. I know it's always fun to talk to these "inside baseball" types, but I would have been shocked if he had said anything other than this.

Did you ask him about specifics in the Willingham and Kepler deals? Not teams obviously, but dollar amounts? That would be valuable information. Exactly how much more were the other offers? In the case of Willingham, was it more per year, for fewer years, or did it involve options, incentives, etc.?

I am sure that players sometime sign with teams that don't offer the highest total contract value or highest AAV, but I would be shocked if the true money difference ever exceeded ~10% max. Just like bang-bang calls at first, it can go either way but you still have to run and make it close. I suspect the Twins often don't even make an offer to free agents, or when they're forced to, they make a lowball one (remember when Torii Hunter first hit free agency?).

#9 Parker Hageman

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 10:21 AM

Why would a player's agency ever publicly trash a team or it's front office? This is a PR puff-piece.


As far as I can tell, you have an inherent mistrust for people when they open their mouth (see your comment from the Terry Ryan interview: "I think the interview is just PR to mollify the choir so they stop singing off-key").

Do people who are being interviewed on the record speaking towards things that would benefit themselves or their interests? Absolutely. Sosnick may have been saying things to keep things smooth for future negotiations just like Ryan was not going to bash Gardenhire or Molitor. That said, I do believe Sosnick's comments reflect things I have heard from people across the industry: The Twins are a respected organization in baseball. It may not be viewed the same from a fan's perspective when you consider the on-field product as of late but insiders seem to agree that the Twins are a good organization across-the-board.

#10 Parker Hageman

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 10:24 AM

Did you ask him about specifics in the Willingham and Kepler deals? Not teams obviously, but dollar amounts? That would be valuable information. Exactly how much more were the other offers? In the case of Willingham, was it more per year, for fewer years, or did it involve options, incentives, etc.?


Why is that valuable information?

In the case of Willingham, it was same years, more dollars.

#11 spycake

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 10:30 AM

Also, my working theory is that TR and the Twins don't like to work with "outsiders" -- this means players, coaches, and staff from other organizations, but also agents in general. By making few offers, and only targeting low-salary low-interest players, they pretty much minimize the role of the agent (no competitive bidding, lower dollar differences, player preferences more important, etc). Bill Smith seemed to work out of that comfort zone internationally at least (Sano and Kepler were both his), and TR has to deal with agents less now due to draft and international spending caps, but I suspect it still holds true in the domestic (and Cuban and Asian) free agent markets. Would love to see if they could work out of that comfort zone finally to make the team better faster than drafting/developing alone.

I wonder if the Twins have worked more with some agents rather than others? I know a lot of agency info is out there, it would be cool to see a breakdown of it.

#12 Siehbiscuit

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 10:41 AM

A fan's perspective is always so much different than those that aren't emotionally attached to the team. We tend to tear down our greats, because we see their areas of weakness instead of appreciating their excellence (see: Joe Mauer). We also can be blindly optimistic at the beginning of a season, because we see the "potential" for this club to turn it around this year (this tends to be fading considerably fter three straight 90+ loss seasons). We as fan's take it personal, we look through a different set of lenses than someone that can actually be unbiased and take the emotion out of a situation or the team.

Great piece, Parker.

#13 spycake

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 10:53 AM

Why is that valuable information?

In the case of Willingham, it was same years, more dollars.


It's valuable because "leaving money on the table" can mean lots of different things -- AAV vs total dollars, for one difference. Option years for another. Thanks for clarifying in regards to Willingham. Don't know if you know the exact numbers (boy, you guys are quite the "insiders" now! :)) but I'd bet it fits my theory (less than 10% difference) in which case, moving back to his home time zone from the coast makes sense.

TR was once quoted that Correia also "left money on the table" -- has it ever been confirmed what that meant? Was he really offered more than $10 million guaranteed?

Why is it that the Twins two biggest outside free agent signings ever (Willingham and Correia) apparently both "left money on the table" to come here (despite being in a class of "budget" FAs to begin with)? Has TR ever been the high bidder for anyone?

#14 Parker Hageman

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 11:06 AM

It's valuable because "leaving money on the table" can mean lots of different things -- AAV vs total dollars, for one difference.


For multiple reasons, you are not going to get either side to state on the record dollar amounts in those circumstances.

#15 spycake

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 11:40 AM

For multiple reasons, you are not going to get either side to state on the record dollar amounts in those circumstances.


And for multiple reasons, we should be skeptical of such claims. :)

Especially when one team makes the claim about their biggest signings each of the past two offseasons....

#16 MichiganTwins

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 12:18 PM

Do you think puting Kepler in the AFL had anything to do with these 3 pitchers?

#17 Parker Hageman

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 12:47 PM

Do you think puting Kepler in the AFL had anything to do with these 3 pitchers?


No, injuries and lack of playing time during the regular season is why Kepler is playing the fall league. Plus the Twins need to make a decision on placing him on the 40-man.

#18 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 01:35 PM

I enjoyed this article, and while there's a "puff piece" aspect to it, there's probably some genuine respect there too. When you make statements like "There's no GM I respect more than Terry Ryan" you are going above and beyond in lavishing your praise. If the respect wasn't genuine, he would say "I respect Terry Ryan", especially since he basically says he has more respect for Ryan than all of his counterparts.

I'd echo what someone else said, but if Boras wrote the same piece, I really am curious what he'd say...

#19 Seth Stohs

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 01:38 PM

if the twins sign any player, I don't understand why we are so concerned about who else bid what. The twins got the guy they wanted. WWhether it was dollars or how much the intangibles played into it, who cares?as was stated in the story, each player's reasoning is different. For some it might be just money and years.for others, trust and other intangibles, maybe geography is what matters.

#20 nicksaviking

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 01:52 PM

Nice work Parker, you got yourself and this site linked:

Twins Notes: Willingham, Johan, Rotation, Sano: MLB Rumors - MLBTradeRumors.com

Your work is recognized admirably world wide!

#21 nicksaviking

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 01:56 PM

I enjoyed this article, and while there's a "puff piece" aspect to it, there's probably some genuine respect there too. When you make statements like "There's no GM I respect more than Terry Ryan" you are going above and beyond in lavishing your praise. If the respect wasn't genuine, he would say "I respect Terry Ryan", especially since he basically says he has more respect for Ryan than all of his counterparts.

I'd echo what someone else said, but if Boras wrote the same piece, I really am curious what he'd say...


Agreed. No agent is going to trash any team if they are trying to get them to sign clients, but this one seemed pretty sincere. Every indication is that the Twins front office is pretty well respected. I may not agree with everything Ryan and company do but I still recognize them as honest and amicable business individuals.

#22 Physics Guy

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 02:03 PM

Nice article Parker. I enjoyed the read. I would be happy if the Twins signed any of the three pitchers since they would all be an upgrade. I'd prefer Nolasco at $52M/4yrs, maybe a team option for 5. Maybe Ryan could agree to an incentive-laden one year contract for Johnson and turn it into something similar to what we did with Pavano.

#23 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 02:27 PM

Very good reporting.

As an aside, I've got to say this explains the Ryan Doumit 2 year extension mystery.. Now I'm a Doumit guy for sure, he has a place in the majors some where, but I just couldn't understand what the Twins were going to do with him. So reading this article, I'm seeing a degree of "scratch my back" going on in this instance, money poorly spent. But nice work shedding light on a smaller agency.

#24 nicksaviking

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 02:29 PM

I really hope the Twins change their tune on Johnson. I don't think $10 million is too much for him, I think it's low in fact unless there are medical concerns that weren't addressed with his recent surgery.

On a one year deal, he really is the only player the Twins could reasonably get who has the potential to be A) evaluated for future front of the rotation candidacy, or B) flipped for a good haul come the trade deadline. If he returns to form there's no reason to think he can't get a similar return to what Garza and Greinke got the past two deadlines.

#25 Boom Boom

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 02:48 PM

Obviously the Twins are well-respected in inner circles, but this makes me wonder what Sosnick would say about any other team if you asked him about them. I bet he has glowing reports about other teams as well, and those he doesn't care for he probably wouldn't trash down anyway.

#26 mike wants wins

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 03:04 PM

Very cool to get that interview. I enjoyed it. I take some of it with a grain of salt, but that does not mean it is intentionally misleading. It just means you might choose to rub off some the peaks and valleys of the comments. Or, you might just take it at face value. I don't think this is just PR, or negotiations.

#27 birdwatcher

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 03:25 PM

If you've read anything Parker has written in the past, I cannot imagine you'd insult him by accusing him of writing a PR puff-piece.

The Twins organization is almost universally well-respected. Sosnick happens to be a vociferous yet earnest (I believe) admirer. Hageman did a superlative job of detailing those aspects of Sosnick's relationship that inspire (and motivate) his glowing descriptions.

And, if trusting relationships are old school, and it means the Twins are operating uniquely when it comes to loyalty and honesty, that's encouraging.

#28 spycake

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 08:02 PM

if the twins sign any player, I don't understand why we are so concerned about who else bid what. The twins got the guy they wanted. WWhether it was dollars or how much the intangibles played into it, who cares?as was stated in the story, each player's reasoning is different. For some it might be just money and years.for others, trust and other intangibles, maybe geography is what matters.


Well, if one is concerned that the Twins are overly conservative with money, the fact that they've been outbid even on the players they got doesn't help.

If these reports are to be believed, TR has basically never outbid anyone, anywhere. It worked in building a winner before, but it took awhile.

Edited by spycake, 08 November 2013 - 08:13 PM.


#29 spycake

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 08:11 PM

And I hope I didn't come across as overly critical of Parker's work here -- this is an interesting read, and certainly the kind of content that makes Twins Daily special.

I have no doubt that the Twins brass is respected -- they've basically been at the helm of the franchise for 20+ years. You don't get to that point without some success and some respect from your peers.

I wonder where the Twins front office staff ranks, in terms of tenure with the same organization. If you count from his original hire date, TR is the longest tenured GM, and I would imagine a few of his staff would hold similar distinctions among their peers.

#30 TheLeviathan

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 08:51 PM

If you've read anything Parker has written in the past, I cannot imagine you'd insult him by accusing him of writing a PR puff-piece.

The Twins organization is almost universally well-respected. Sosnick happens to be a vociferous yet earnest (I believe) admirer. Hageman did a superlative job of detailing those aspects of Sosnick's relationship that inspire (and motivate) his glowing descriptions.

And, if trusting relationships are old school, and it means the Twins are operating uniquely when it comes to loyalty and honesty, that's encouraging.


I think the idea is that the agent here is puffing up, not that Parker was. I have no doubts that the Twins organization is well respected and for good reason, but I'm not sure how much that really tells us. We all know the Twins are straight shooters and I'm sure that's appreciated, but it has little to do with what the organization does well or what it could improve upon.

Afterall, it's hard to step on toes if you're not on the dance floor.