That said, I don't see starting pitching as a need. Not any more.
Lastly, teams like the Mariners or Giants can likely view $3-5M a year of his salary as a marketing expense because they are likely to recoup that in ticket sales, concessions, TV viewing, jerseys, etc. The Twins aren't in that position.
None of our best prospects are up yet, and Sano is really the only one with much chance of starting his six year clock this season. We could take on this salary for 6-7 years and still be in position to pay the prospects that effectively develop - hopefully most of Sano, Buxton, Meyer and Rosario in the next wave.
Getting a "proven commodity" like David Price would cost us more dollars and similar years, plus pull from our farm system. All for a guy who is already well into his prime (vs. Tanaka who is just about to enter it).
If the Twins want to go big I would rather they risk it on Tanaka than Price/Jimenez/Garza/Santana.
I think we are going to be surprised and someone is going to blow everyone out of the marketplace and offer $150-200 million over 5-7-10 years. Or teams are going to play it fairly safe, yet still offer $60-75 million in a shorter term contract. They only need to look at past performance (Dice-K) for example. It is an entirely different group of hitters over here, and any pitcher throwing multiple innings and NEEDING to go thru a batting order not just twice but three times to make their worth...well, he did it in Japan, but USA players are a whole 'nother ballgame.
Quite frankly, he is an agents dream. All teams have until Janaury 24th to put their BEST offer on the table...none of this :"here's my offer, get back to me before you actually accept someone elses's.
And whatever offer is made, it could fall fast and flat. It could be the best thing a team has ever done and the guy could pitch for 15 years!
There is room for Tanaka on the Twins.
If the deal is long enough the posting fee becomes manageable as you prorate it based on the number of years in the contract.
While the per year dollars may look off putting at first glance, consider the current contract status of the roster. After 2014, the Willingham and Correia contracts expire ($12 million) and the positions could be turned over to prospects in the system at minimum salaries. The Pelfrey and Burton contracts expire the following year ($8 million).
Mauer is the only other position player signed for more than the major league minimum for multiple years. There are enough prospects coming up to fill the roster with young cheap players so that most of the payroll can be put into pitching. Keep in mind our pitching prospects that are expected to come up soon. They can replace the current starters as their contracts expire at a cheaper rate.
There would be risk to signing Tanaka, as there is with signing any other free agent. But you need to look at the upside as well. He could be a number one or two starter for the Twins. He currently has more upside than anything in the Twins organization. At worse what could he be? A number four/five? That is still better than most of what was pitching for the Twins last year.
1) A mea culpa: I "doubled down", opining that Rakuten would not post Tanaka, and I was as wrong as wrong can be. I will punish myself by drinking sorghum-based 'bai jiu' liquor thru Chinese New Year. Clearly, I misread owner Mikitani's dissenting vote against the new agreement. In hindsight, he needs to look forward and make his club an attractive signing option into the future. Smart guy. Me? Not so much.
2) From all I've read from Tanaka himself, he prefers the west coast, for obvious reasons. If that's truly the case, then I rank this way:
Dodgers, Mariners, Angels, D-Backs, Giants.
Dodgers have the deepest pockets, Mariners less so after Cano, but M's have a track record of NOB-MLB crossover success (as do the Dodgers, of course) = attractive.
Angels? Free-spending all right, but something in that org. and lineup just does not compute. Same for Seattle, though LA A of AA is more stretched than M's. D-Backs? Outside chance at best. Yanquis will wine and dine, and try to sell the Big Apple.
Flying in the face of common sense, I'll make a second prediction on Tanaka:
Dodgers sign him.
3) As for the Twins' interest, to be honest, I am still feeling the after-effects of the Nishioka experience (shudder). In the past few days, many analysts have been weighing in, concluding that he's no Darvish, and that his main asset is his young age (25). So this revelation seems more like a bargaining tactic to get Arroyo.
4) If that's so, then good on TR. If the Twins are serious, then I would welcome it on one front, but would like to see follow-through. At present, even with the recent signings, we are at roughly the same payroll as 2013. Spending to get back to a post-peak par isn't so impressive (especially with all the new money coming in). On the other hand, neither is this year's SP market.
5) Financially, if the goal is $100m again, then it could work, depending on how a deal is structured. However, this feels like just the high-risk FA deal the Twins have always been averse to, TR in particular. We’ll see about those stripes soon enough. Again, if this is a bargaining tactic, then great. If it’s a delaying tactic while looking to make a mid-season pickup, then fine- probably smart considering the roster.
While the Twins’ interest is a surprise, I’ll believe it when I see a deal.
DiceK is a horrible example of a Japanese pitcher that had a couple of good seasons and then fell apart in the US. He had xFIP's of 4.17 and 4.64 in his first two MLB seasons. His decline was entirely predictable even if he hadn't been injured. Tanaka isn't Darvish but he also isn't DiceK.
I would have no problem giving Tanaka 15-20M/yr for 5-6 years (plus 20M) based on how he projects in the majors. The whole deal would depend on the Twins being able to push payroll to 125Mish in 2-3 years. If that is possible (and it should be for a competitive team) then it would be difficult to spend that amount of money considering how many cheap pre-arb players are coming up to fill out the roster.
Numbers: Last season they made $215M. Add $25M for the new TV $. This is $240 M. 52% of that is $125 M. They are sitting around $80 M or so now. So they can spend about $40 M a season more without blinking. They can fit 2 Cano-type contracts.
But would overpaying for Tanaka would be the best investment at this point? I am not sure.
Rank of pitchers I would prefer the Twins get:
1. Homer Bailey (+ extension)
2. Tanaka (16-18 mil a year)
um the high priced free agents pitched great ...Grienke and Sanchez , it was many of the 2nd tier starters who struggled
It's been floated out there that the Cubs formal offer is nearly $160m not including the posting fee.
The Japanese link mentioned teams that made formal offers, but seemed to indicate there were more than just the five or six listed.
Though, in my mind, there is little difference in submitting an offer that has no chance and not submitting one at all.
At this point , the best thing that could happen is to offer garza a front loaded 3+1 contract worth about 17 million per and then trade Corriea and some of the out of option pitchers,We have holes to fill in the outfield SS and catcher , to me trading for sardinas from texas and Stassi (C) from huston go a long way to add to the depth of the team and gives us better odds of fill holes we have. It would have been nice to make a Big splash with Tanaka, but now we need to fill holes with guys that can be part of the future .....Time to drink a coupla RedBulls and get back to work Terry
Pinto's numbers in 2013: AA (453 PA): .307/.406/.490, AAA (75 PA) : .314/.333/.486, MLB (83 PA) : .342/.398/.566
Pinto's numbers in 2012: A+ (393 PA): .295/.361/.473, AA (52 PA) : .298/.365/.553
Stassi's numbers in 2013: AA (TL, 323 PA) : .277/.333/.529, MLB (8 PA) : .286/.375/.286
Stassi's numbers in 2012: A+ (CAL, 360 PA) : .268/.331/.468
It is clear (to me) that Pinto a. is a better player right now (I cannot tell about the future) and b. he has been pretty consistent and put very similar numbers at every level he was the last 2 seasons, which makes me think that his September numbers in the MLB were not a fluke. Also, the Texas and California Leagues are much more hitter friendly than the FSL, EL and IL.
Luis Sardinas is a 20 year old SS with 141 PA in AA (Texas League) as his highest level last season when he hit a robust .259/.286/.311. I cannot see any way that he is better suited for a starting SS this season than Eduardo Escobar who had a higher OPS than that in the majors and hit .307/.380/.500 in 188 PA in AAA (International League.) Even Danny Santana is more ready now ...
As far as the OF goes, I think that Hicks will be fine for 2014 and moving to RF in 2015 with Buxton taking over CF. No need for people who will be blocking either of the 2 and Arcia.
I think you missed the key point:
Those moves could "add to the depth of the team and gives us better odds of fill holes we have".
Suzuki is on a one-year deal, so there is still a need ar catcher. Florimon probably isn't the answer and it could be argues that the Twins don't have a single long-term SS.
That's how I took it anyway.
If the Cubs really made an offer in the $160 range it's time to get out of the pool. I get why a team would pay $18-20 per year. That's #2 money for a guy that you hope pitches more like a #1, as long as you are willing to gamble on a guy based on projections from Japan (and I get that many on this board a skeptical on that point.) $160 means the Cubs, even if they offered a 7 year contract, are in the $23-25 per year range, which is pretty close to #1 money. Where is the upside for the Cubs on that contract?
Also, the "losing" teams in that sweepstakes could pay for 4 years each of Garza and Jimenez for that money (possibly less - especially after posting fee).