Today is a day to celebrate! Not only did the Twins not go dumpster diving for once, they went out and got someone who was coveted. They set a record today for spending on an external FA no matter what the contract comes out as.
Ricky Nolasco may have not been the first choice of everyone. He wasn't my first choice (Garza is/was). However, he was up there. He was in the top 5 ... he wasn't even the 5th ... more like 3rd (I'm a Hughes apologist). Even though he wasn't the top name, he is by far the BEST pitcher the Twins have signed as an external FA since what ... Jack Morris?
The Twins did something today nobody ever thought they had it in them to do. They spent money. Maybe they had to pull it from TR's cold dead hand, but they did it. Kudos to Jim Pohlad for doing something that might make Carl turn over in his grave. Kudos to the organization for realizing the same formula won't cut it anymore.
There are questions about Nolasco. He's an NL pitcher. He's on the wrong side of 30. He clearly had a very good season in his walk FA year and you wonder if he's going to start regressing now that he has a major contract set. Those are all good concerns. However...
He's durable. He isn't a K master, but he's better than what we have. He's proven. He's a name other teams wanted. Most of all ... he's HOPE!
Another poster suggested Garza will get the Twins into a bidding war and they don't do those kind of things. Do you not think the Twins got into a bidding war for Nolasco? I think they for sure had to out-bid other teams in money, years, or both to get him. Why would Nolasco sign this early if the Twins didn't out-bid other teams right off the bat? Nolasco could have waited for Garza to sign and then really made a team over-spend maybe even more than the Twins had to here. Make no mistake other teams WERE in on Nolasco and the Twins needed to win the auction in order to get him to sign before Thanksgiving.
We're in new territory today. Like many, I agree we need to do more. We need one more pitcher. I'd love Garza as anyone else would. I'd even as close to as ecstatic if we got Hughes. However, being a Twins fans, I'm used to not expecting much. Most likely, Nolasco is our ace next year. I am convinced we WILL get another SP, but it'll likely be Arroyo, which honestly isn't that bad when you think about it. He's under Garza, Hughes, Kazmir, and maybe even E. Santana. However, he's better than Pelfrey, Capuano, and others like that IMO.
If we walk away with Nolasco, Arroyo, and Salty/AJ as our haul this year, it will be the most exciting offseason in Twins history bar none ... even more exciting than when we got Thome (who still had a lot to offer), O-Dog (who was a proven 2b and we got him when we knew we were close), Pavano (re-signed), and traded for Hardy.
We need hope. We need something to make us care. Nolasco represents both of those. He probably has no idea what his signing means to the fans of the team. I hope he understands. Had he re-upped with the Dodgers or went to a team like the Red Sox or Yankees, it would be a ho hum signing for those fan bases. For us, it's a whole other level!
We should thank Ricky Nolasco for signing here. We should thank him for saying he'd play here after 3 losing seasons. We should thank him for being living/breathing proof the team figured out how to spend money on a proven big time player for once (big time enough by our standards).
The Twins now have joined the other 3 teams in town for at least TRYING to win (not saying the other 3 teams are successful, but nobody can accuse them of not spending money to try and win). Welcome to the party, Twins. Never thought I'd see you here in my lifetime.
Like many others, I am happy with what this signing means more so than I am with Nolasco himself. On a championship caliber team, which is what I expect the Twins to strive to achieve every season, he is a #4 starter. That said, it is a nice upgrade to our rotation.
If the Twins acquire another pitcher it should be someone with #1 or #2 starter upside. The Twins have several candidates that could be back of the rotation filler at this point so it makes little sense to bring in an aging vet to fill out the rotation unless he also brings exceptional stuff to the table as well.
This thread is an example of what makes TD great. Lots of good ideas and friendly, respectful discussion.
I am especially impressed by some of the posts by Rookies. Keep it up guys. New voices and different perspectives are always appreciated, so long as you are respectful to those who may disagree.
2014's FA SP class looked much better before Adam Wainwright, RA Dickey, Jake Peavy and Matt Harrison signed extensions. It also looked better before Josh Johnson fell apart and Lincecum had another down year.
Off the top of my head I know that Cole Hamels and Matt Cain both signed extensions before becoming FA's in 2013.
Just because next year looks good now doesn't mean it will when it's actually time to start signing pitchers. Many people made the argument that there was no need to sign Greinke or Sanchez last off season because there was always 2014. Well here we are and now there isn't anyone in their class available.
To be a championship caliber team in 2014 you need to have 3 pitchers who fit that "#1 or #2 starter" description. Then you're fourth starter can be a 3/4.
I'm not sure why you consider SS a position of need or what questions you have about center field beyond 2014 (which is Buxton's isn't it?) -- or maybe I read that 1st graf wrong. I am warming to the idea of signing a free agent catcher, however. Warming to it but not quite there. It would be ideal to see a younger guy win the job.
Just remember if we dont spend it , they put it in there pockets and dont return it to the team the following year,Also by putting a quality team on the field you regain some of that 700,000+ fans that stopped coming, basically every 100,000 fans equal about 5 million dollars.
So if we can regain 600,000 ticket sales we will have an extra 15 million (1/2 of 30 million)
to spend on payroll in 2015 ....
I'm not on board with Half Measures, though. The poster you responded to re-stated the long-time fallacy that the Twins accumulate "rollover" money- while it's readily apparent that they do not do so-there's no such thing as saving up in 2013-14, for purposes of taking a shot at bigger names in 2015. The money is there, the commitment by Pohlad is there, this offseason, right now.
Now that Nolasco is in the fold, why not double down....roll the dice.... doing whatever it takes in insuring the winning bid on Tanaka?.....makes a lot of sense compared to trying to compete for more known quantities, Kershaw, et al, one year later. At least 3/5ths of your rotation would be set up for the arrival of the next wave. If Meyer and Gibson come around and establish themselves in rounding out the rotation sometime during 2014, the Twins could actually be a fringe contender as early as this coming season and can realistically plan to hit the ground running as a full-blown contender in 2015.
It seems to me that some of the best (the garza's of the world) are not going to be interested if we don't show we are serious (Nolasco and a catcher for example, maybe another pitcher like Hughes, Pelfrey)
So anyway, even in the wild-card era, it's expecting a lot to go from 96 losses to playoff contention in one season. So I'm on board for half-measures to get this team back to .500 and finishing strong. Nolasco + Kazmir or Hughes + maybe a catcher would be a good offseason, develop your prospects, figure out a batting order, then go all in for 2015.