Why Don't the Twins Re-Sign Minority Players
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Over on the local sports blog The Sport Hole, there was a story a couple of weeks ago that I stumbled upon: Why Don't the Twins Re-sign Minority Players? The author, Jesse Mandell-McClinon, concludes that it isn't a classic "white vs. others" racism. Rather, it is an organization catering to the players with which the majority of their fans identify. And that the Twins aren't the only organization that does this:
This is simply organizations trying to figure out how to garner excitement, and from that more money, from the fans in their city. It discriminates against the fans that make up the minority of a team’s market. It makes it harder for a minority to be re-signed by the Twins, just like there may have been superior white players that were looked over in Miami.
I'll start by reporting some of the things that I thought were somewhat factually inaccurate. First, "re-sign" was carefully used instead of "contract extension." That's because the Twins have done a lot of contract extensions with players Mandell-McClinton lists as minority players. Torii Hunter and Johan Santana had very long deals, and he doesn't mention Denard Span, who has one now. Furthermore, he lists Morneau as a white player who "re-signed," but Morneau didn't re-sign an extension. He basically is in the same place Hunter and Santana were.
So really, it comes down to Mauer/Nathan and Hunter/Santana. Why did the Twins get a deal done with the first two but not the other two. Mandell-McClinton thinks the philosophy was different:
I would say he's right on Mauer who was a hometown kid who really did HAVE to be signed. (God knows it wasn't because he took a discount.) But that leaves open the question on why Nathan got paid so well.
As a life-long Twins fan, I remember the general discussion surrounding these minority players usually toeing the ‘I wish we could afford to keep them’ line, as opposed to the Morneau/Mauer/Nathan extension talks, which always seemed to center around ‘we have to keep them,’ which they did.
ON the other side, there was a LOT of talk about how Santana wanted to be in a much bigger market, so I don't know if that should count against the Twins. But Hunter has always been about the money. He certainly would've stayed if he would've been paid.
So my conclusion is that there aren't a lot of data points, certainly fewer than the author suggests there are, and probably too few to draw any big conclusions. But I can see his point and it's probably worth keeping an eye on.