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Thread: The True Shape of the Hole

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    Twins Moderator MVP Riverbrian's Avatar
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    The True Shape of the Hole

    Reading the Mauer thread and the claims of Jokin that the Joe Mauer contract has paralyzed the organization.

    I offer a different opinion that calls for a different thread.

    On Joe Mauer... Yes he appears to be falling short of the 23 million dollar yearly value of the contract. However, I look at it in a positive light. To me his contract signifies the willingness to actually spend large money on large players. That was and is a new club in the Twins Bag and in the future can come into play again when the time is right. The time just may not be... RIGHT NOW!!! Yeah it's negative that Joe is taking up 23 million of the payroll for the production and health we have received but it's an overall positive that the money was spent.

    I think this organization is in a hole because of failure to keep a decent farm system supply line. Specifically MLB ready pitching.

    So... How did they get in this hole?

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    Twins Moderator All-Star twinsnorth49's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
    I think this organization is in a hole because of failure to keep a decent farm system supply line. Specifically MLB ready pitching.

    So... How did they get in this hole?
    Many ways but, Santana for a bag of balls and Garza for Delmon Young and Young for another bag of balls is a good place to start.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
    Reading the Mauer thread and the claims of Jokin that the Joe Mauer contract has paralyzed the organization.

    I offer a different opinion that calls for a different thread.

    On Joe Mauer... Yes he appears to be falling short of the 23 million dollar yearly value of the contract. However, I look at it in a positive light. To me his contract signifies the willingness to actually spend large money on large players. That was and is a new club in the Twins Bag and in the future can come into play again when the time is right. The time just may not be... RIGHT NOW!!! Yeah it's negative that Joe is taking up 23 million of the payroll for the production and health we have received but it's an overall positive that the money was spent.

    I think this organization is in a hole because of failure to keep a decent farm system supply line. Specifically MLB ready pitching.

    So... How did they get in this hole?
    Where to start...?

    1. Poor draft choices
    2. The talent drain due to Bill Smith getting fleeced on every deal he made.
    3. Overall organization philosophy is flawed...ie, pitch to contact..etc
    4. Overvaluing their current and past players
    5. Underachieving FO and scouting department...consistently missing on player evaluations
    6. Inability to develop prospects

    To name a few...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
    So... How did they get in this hole?
    It's mostly cyclical. The Twins were a model franchise for a decade and the only small market team that was able to switch its nucleus and remain competitive. It had to end. One of the nice things (I say as I desperately look for a silver lining) is that the Twins didn't go bad slowly. Usually a playoff team misses the playoffs, plays slightly under .500, gets a bit worse, crashes. We skipped all those intermediate steps and went straight to the crash!

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    I keep reading it is cycylical, but Philadelphia has no trouble drafting great players late in the rounds (which they usually trade for vets).

    1. Awful drafting and developing in the minors (mostly pre-Bill Smith) has led to not one legit MLB player coming up in three years. Unreal.
    2. Not signing Santana and/or Hunter when they had the chance, and your GM just quitting and handing the job to someone not ready for it.
    3. Lack of any outside newcomers into the organization. They are stuck in their processes, and not improving over time. Typical big company issue.
    4. Horrible trades by Smith. Just awful. Unreal how bad they were.
    5. cutting the payroll in year three of a new stadium.
    6. Ridiculous preferences for certain types of players (Butera types) that actually decrease the odds of winning the more they play.
    7. Injuries to your best players, on a thin team, you can't afford this. (including minor leaguers)
    8. Bad allocation of resources (with a limited payroll, you need to spend correctly, not on "proven closers")
    9. Horrible use of the DL, leaving the bench thin over and over and over, year after year (an example of lack of external thinkers causing group think).

    As for spending money on Mauer showing they are willing to spend money....no. Willingham is the biggest FA contract they've ever given, ever. They cut payroll this year.
    Lighten up Francis....

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    Mauer's salary is not affecting the ability to spend. As everyone pointed out before they signed him, his money was mostly based on the revenue stream Joe Mauer himself was going to bring to the team.

    Does anyone here really think if Mauer's yearly $23M came off the books the Twins would spend that extra $23M on other players? No way. Maybe an additional $10M would go back into the payroll, the rest gets pocketed.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
    Mauer's salary is not affecting the ability to spend. As everyone pointed out before they signed him, his money was mostly based on the revenue stream Joe Mauer himself was going to bring to the team.

    Does anyone here really think if Mauer's yearly $23M came off the books the Twins would spend that extra $23M on other players? No way. Maybe an additional $10M would go back into the payroll, the rest gets pocketed.
    Agree with your point only to this extent: The Mauer contract demonstrates nothing beyond the Twins' "willingness" to pay $184 million to Joe Mauer. As mike wants wins said above, Willingham's contract is the largest FA contract ever, and anybody who's ever heard Terry Ryan talk on the radio knows that he fundamentally does not believe in free agency as a means of building a club. Heck, until the Morneau, Mauer, and Nathan contracts, it wasn't even clear that he believed in retaining his own players once they got to be THAT valuable. Of course, the passage of the stadium bill in '06 significantly changed the financial outlook for this team.

    But the idea that "it doesn't matter" if we have an extra $23 million or not with a front office that always watches the bottom line closely is borderline delusional. The "what if we didn't sign Mauer" argument is particularly useful anyway because it was always going to happen, and Mauer isn't going anywhere now. I also disagree with the TP, who seems to argue that the fact we're paying Mauer $23 million makes it MORE likely that we'll pay other players that amount. In a different organization - even with certain "mid-market" teams like the White Sox, Tigers, and Angels - I might have seen your point, since those teams have a history of drastically expanding their budgets to go on spending sprees if they believe it will improve the team. The Twins are not that team.

    In fact, I see it completely the opposite - The Mauer signing (and other signings) proved that this front office was willing to spend $100 to $120 million in overall payroll...and we know from recent history that a payroll of that size is plenty large enough be a perennial contender and even win the World Series (see San Francisco Giants, et al). The problem is that the $100 million is configured poorly, and Mauer is the biggest reason for that, though by no means the ONLY reason.
    Last edited by StormJH1; 05-16-2012 at 12:38 PM.

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    Twins Moderator MVP Riverbrian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StormJH1 View Post
    I also disagree with the TP, who seems to argue that the fact we're paying Mauer $23 million makes it MORE likely that we'll pay other players that amount. In a different organization - even with certain "mid-market" teams like the White Sox, Tigers, and Angels - I might have seen your point, since those teams have a history of drastically expanding their budgets to go on spending sprees if they believe it will improve the team. The Twins are not that team.

    In fact, I see it completely the opposite - The Mauer signing (and other signings) proved that this front office was willing to spend $100 to $120 million in overall payroll...and we know from recent history that a payroll of that size is plenty large enough be a perennial contender and even win the World Series (see San Francisco Giants, et al). The problem is that the $100 million is configured poorly, and Mauer is the biggest reason for that, though by no means the ONLY reason.
    I think we actually agree while you disagree with me. I don't expect the Twins to dive into the free agent pool to sign 20 Million plus players.

    As a matter of fact, I'm concerned that the results of Mauer and Morneau since signing the big deals will lead to once bitten twice shy.

    My point was that the Twins were never the organization to pay contracts like Mauer recieved. I've been through Calvin Griffith and the Metrodome era. When a player reached FA... The majority were gone... We didn't spend. We were almost a farm system for the big boys.

    When they signed Mauer to the big contract... it signaled to me... A reason to hope that our Superstars are retainable. That's why I see the Mauer signing as a positive overall regardless if the signing itself has turned out negative.

    I think the team will spend again when just a few holes need to be filled. I think the team will not spend when the holes are many. I think they will pick their spots. It may be my pipe dream and management may not share my view. I think we are about to head down a dark tunnel of low money contracts and youth and I think that is exactly the tunnel needed to be traveled.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
    My point was that the Twins were never the organization to pay contracts like Mauer recieved. I've been through Calvin Griffith and the Metrodome era. When a player reached FA... The majority were gone... We didn't spend. We were almost a farm system for the big boys.
    I see this sentiment a lot and I'm not sure it's true. There are very few times when a player is obviously that elite and special. Off the top of my head, they made Puckett the highest paid player in baseball with an obscene 3-yr/$9M contract (seriously, how hilarious is that). They signed Viola to a ridiculous-at-the-time deal (I recall that one being for like $1.3M or $1.13M or something and the local news putting up a graphic that said "Frank Viola -- Very Rich Man"). Morneau was extended or re-signed at a premium (I forget if he actually hit free agency, but I don't think he did). Obviously small number of examples there, but like I said...for guys in the super-elite (MVPs and Cy Youngs and Pucketts) there has been a bit of precedent to believe they're going to keep their guys around.

  10. #10
    Speediest Moderator All-Star snepp's Avatar
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    Puckett's second big contract was pretty close to making him the highest paid as well.

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    Senior Member Big-Leaguer Highabove's Avatar
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    St. Peter has repeatedly stated that payroll will reflect about 50% of revenue.
    Revenue is going to drop big time next year resulting in a large slashing of the payroll.
    Payroll in the low 80's is not out of the question.
    Deduct Mauer's contract and Ryan will have about the same amount of money to work with as he did at the Dome.
    If the payroll drops below 84 million, Ryan will have less money to work with then he had before Target Field.
    Revenue will decide how much the Pohlad,s spend in the future. A return to being a small market Team is very possible.
    Last edited by Highabove; 05-16-2012 at 03:29 PM.

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    The Twins thought they had the makings of a good young rotation (and so did I) with: Baker, Slowey, Blackburn, Perkins, and Liriano. To me this is the biggest culprit. When they let Santana (which now looks like a good move) and traded Garza, they thought they were flush with good young starters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Highabove View Post
    St. Peter has repeatedly stated that payroll will reflect about 50% of revenue.
    Revenue is going to drop big time next year resulting in a large slashing of the payroll.
    Payroll in the low 80's is not out of the question.
    Deduct Mauer's contract and Ryan will have about the same amount of money to work with as he did at the Dome.
    If the payroll drops below 84 million, Ryan will have less money to work with then he had before Target Field.
    Revenue will decide how much the Pohlad,s spend in the future. A return to being a small market Team is very possible.
    Twins are on pace for about 2,750,000 in attendance. It would be interesting to see how a 85m payroll would go over after that.

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    Senior Member Big-Leaguer jimbo92107's Avatar
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    I do get the impression that the Twins minor league system isn't doing a very good job of teaching winning baseball. Where's the fire? Where's the super-aggressive attitude? A baseball player should learn to apply PRESSURE to the other team with everything he does, like Bryce Harper. It's not just a matter of learning how to field a grounder and swing a bat. These guys need to learn to steal bases and how to rob the other team of base hits. They should be learning smart, aggressive, opportunistic baseball. They should play with constant hustle, like hockey players.

    Frankly, they should all be learning to play like Brian Dozier. He should not be an anomaly; his style of play should be the norm.

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    Senior Member All-Star Thrylos's Avatar
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    I think that there are serious development issues. The guy who runs their minor league system has been in his position since before the Twins won any world series, is way beyond medicare rocking chair and porch time and is the only member of a MLB team's HOF who is still in the position he was elected for. Rantz has to go. He is stuck in the 80s. Time has passed him by. So a huge modernization in the player development and evaluation process (within the organization) is needed. (Like computers anyone?)

    Also, their last 3 high draft picks (as far as SPs go, Hunt, Gibson and Wimmers) developed issues. Before than they picked a lot of High Schoolers who take longer to develop and are more of a non-sure thing. To tell the truth, Bill Smith's drafts and international signings have been way better than Terry Ryan's, so there is a pipeline of talent. Unfortunately it is on high A, AA max....
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
    I think this organization is in a hole because of failure to keep a decent farm system supply line. Specifically MLB ready pitching.

    So... How did they get in this hole?
    You are obviously right about the farm. But the demands have been extraordinary recently.

    Rather, I see the "hole" at the ML level as being multi-dimensional and very convoluted. But, at the base of the hole I see the root problem as attitude. Something happened between 2010 and 2011. Basicly the same personnel went from 95 wins to 99 losses. I've written on this site about my opinion that the Hardy termination is the crux of the attitude degradation, but that's just speculation. But something happened. This attitude has affected (infected?) every aspect of the teams performance. And the FO and/or on field staff has been unable to stem the tide.

    Unfortunately, I believe an almost complete turnover of the players OR the field staff/FO will have to happen before the "we" comes back.

    Or, I might be way off base and it's the "pitch to contact" thing, or the Mauer makes too much money thing.

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    Senior Member All-Star Shane Wahl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nokomismod View Post
    The Twins thought they had the makings of a good young rotation (and so did I) with: Baker, Slowey, Blackburn, Perkins, and Liriano. To me this is the biggest culprit. When they let Santana (which now looks like a good move) and traded Garza, they thought they were flush with good young starters.
    There is no guarantee that Johan Santana would have the same injury or any such injury if he remained with the Twins. It was a terrible decision to make that trade. They should have thrown more money and years to keep him around.

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    Senior Member All-Star Shane Wahl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul View Post
    You are obviously right about the farm. But the demands have been extraordinary recently.

    Rather, I see the "hole" at the ML level as being multi-dimensional and very convoluted. But, at the base of the hole I see the root problem as attitude. Something happened between 2010 and 2011. Basicly the same personnel went from 95 wins to 99 losses. I've written on this site about my opinion that the Hardy termination is the crux of the attitude degradation, but that's just speculation. But something happened. This attitude has affected (infected?) every aspect of the teams performance. And the FO and/or on field staff has been unable to stem the tide.

    Unfortunately, I believe an almost complete turnover of the players OR the field staff/FO will have to happen before the "we" comes back.

    Or, I might be way off base and it's the "pitch to contact" thing, or the Mauer makes too much money thing.
    If the Twins starting pitching was league average, they would be a much different team right now. Attitude has little to do with it. The farm system was depleted after 2010, but the Twins could not have expected so many injuries in 2011 to necessitate making that hole so visible. If the farm system situation in 2012 were moved forward a year to 2011 (and call-ups weren't so mismanaged), last year would have been very, very different, and this year we would be looking at team full of rookies and second or third year players. It is not much more than a one-year gap . . . but there have been major injuries and other issues with Gibson, Wimmers, and Bromberg, all of whom could have somewhat reasonably been expected after 2010 to be involved with the team by 2012, and certainly by the beginning of next year.

    And let's not forget the most ridiculous contract of them all--Nick Blackburn's.

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    Senior Member Big-Leaguer Highabove's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo92107 View Post
    I do get the impression that the Twins minor league system isn't doing a very good job of teaching winning baseball. Where's the fire? Where's the super-aggressive attitude? A baseball player should learn to apply PRESSURE to the other team with everything he does, like Bryce Harper. It's not just a matter of learning how to field a grounder and swing a bat. These guys need to learn to steal bases and how to rob the other team of base hits. They should be learning smart, aggressive, opportunistic baseball. They should play with constant hustle, like hockey players.

    Frankly, they should all be learning to play like Brian Dozier. He should not be an anomaly; his style of play should be the norm.
    Good point
    Many Twins prospects experience a whole lot of losing.
    In 2010, the New Britain Rock Cats with a 48-94 record were the worst Team in Professional Baseball. Twins Prospects such as Joe Benson,
    Chris Parmelee, Ben Revere and Rene Tosoni were able to experience the massive amount of losing. By the time they reach the big club, the players are fully conditioned to play on a bad Team.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shanewahl View Post
    ... Attitude has little to do with it...
    In baseball as in life...attitude is everything.

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