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Thread: Added Pressure.

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    Added Pressure.

    Over the last few years professional sports in Minnesota has been terrible with the obvious exception being the Lynx. If you listen to KFAN (100.3FM) on the radio you probably heard this state being referred to as “Loserville USA” by host Paul Allen. There are several reasons to be optimistic about 2012 and the future. The Vikings had a great draft in April and signed some quality free agents that should help in the rebuilding mode. The Timberwolves improved and were legitimate playoff contenders until point guard Ricky Rubio tore his ACL in March. They recently just signed Brandon Roy and offered forward Nicolas Batum a large 4-year deal. The Wild shocked the world by spending $196 million to sign stars Zach Parise and Ryan Suter in free agency. They have a very talented group of young kids coming up and now have proven stars to go along with it. This brings my topic of conversation to the last place Twins.

    The Twins brought back Terry Ryan as GM in November and he signed three quality free agents Willingham, Doumit, and Carroll. However, Ryan did nothing to address the club's biggest weakness starting pitching. The farm system has absolutely no starting pitching prospects that can help anytime soon. This season we have seen Maloney, Walters, Hendriks, Swarzak, Duensing, DeVries, and Deduno start in the rotation but none are the long term answer. You can cross your fingers and hope Gibson and Wimmers get healthy but you might have better luck playing the lottery. The Twins might get some pitching prospects in a trade but nobody who could make a huge impact. The only way the Twins can improve their starting rotation is by spending big in free agency for a Cole Hammels or Zach Greinke type player. We have seen in past years the Vikings, Timberwolves, and recently the Wild make big splashes in free agency and all three sports have a salary cap. The Twins have no salary cap in MLB and the Pohlad family is one of the richest in the world. They have more dough than Steinbrenner, Henry, and Detroit owner Mike IIitch. The question is do they feel any added pressure now to spend big this winter? Is winning truly important or does the almighty dollar take precedent? I will be curious to find out because as a season ticket holder the Twins cut $20 million after losing 99 games this year.
    Last edited by Fanatic Jack; 07-08-2012 at 12:42 PM.

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    Senior Member All-Star IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
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    There may not be an official salary cap, but there is an unofficial one - salaries will always be capped by available revenue minus other expenses and a profit. Baseball is a business, and owners are there to make money, not lose money. The idea that just because the owners have money there is a moral obligation to let a business be an ongoing loss-maker is wishful thinking at best. New York and Los Angeles will always be able to spend more on salaries, because they will always have more revenue available to them, especially from local TV contracts.

    That being said, I think this whole idea that money would solve the problem is also off-track. Having a high payroll does not guarantee success (Cubs, Twins last year), and having a low payroll is no guarantee of being a celler-dweller (Tampa Bay being the most notable example, but there are others). A good GM can field a competitive team, capable of winning the series, with a payroll of $95-100M, which is right about where the Twins payroll is, so I don't buy the argument that they are being held back by cheapskate owners.

    Personally, I don't want to see Greinke or Hamels recruited by the Twins. Sure, I'd love to see them in a Twins uniform, but I think the money required to sign one Greinke or Hamels could be better spent on 2-3 other players, all of whom collectively could have a larger impact on the team than a marquis pitcher who plays once every 5 days. Do we use that money to fill one hole, or to fill several?

    I agree there need to be some offseason moves, and acquiring some starting pitching is a major necessity, but I'd rather see a plethora of moves that fill multiple needs. That would say to me more clearly that the Twins are serious about improving than signing one big-name player.

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    Senior Member Big-Leaguer J-Dog Dungan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbknudson View Post
    Personally, I don't want to see Greinke or Hamels recruited by the Twins. Sure, I'd love to see them in a Twins uniform, but I think the money required to sign one Greinke or Hamels could be better spent on 2-3 other players, all of whom collectively could have a larger impact on the team than a marquis pitcher who plays once every 5 days. Do we use that money to fill one hole, or to fill several?

    I agree there need to be some offseason moves, and acquiring some starting pitching is a major necessity, but I'd rather see a plethora of moves that fill multiple needs. That would say to me more clearly that the Twins are serious about improving than signing one big-name player.
    What moves are you thinking the Twins will be able to make if they go after a plethora of pitchers instead of focusing on maybe two above-average FA starting pitchers. I mean, the bullpen is fairly solid, and so is the lineup, but the SP really needs work for the Twins to be able to compete. Thankfully, Ryan was always much better at this than Smith was, so the Twins have a chance to make several good moves this offseason with the money coming off of the books. The question really is, will they use it?

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    Senior Member All-Star IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J-Dog Dungan View Post
    What moves are you thinking the Twins will be able to make if they go after a plethora of pitchers instead of focusing on maybe two above-average FA starting pitchers. I mean, the bullpen is fairly solid, and so is the lineup, but the SP really needs work for the Twins to be able to compete. Thankfully, Ryan was always much better at this than Smith was, so the Twins have a chance to make several good moves this offseason with the money coming off of the books. The question really is, will they use it?
    I'd settle for two average, dependable starters, and maybe another middle infielder with a better track record at the plate. I just don't want to chase Greinke or Hamels - we already have two contracts that have hampered our roster flexibility; I don't want to add a third. I'm OK with spending $9-10M a year for a good pitcher. I don't want to spend $15M for one person.

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    9-10M/yr doesn't even buy you a 33 yr old Mark Buehrle in FA. I find it humorous that so many think the Twins are going to be able to sign 2 decent FA pitchers this year when they are likely competing with at least 20 teams for probably 6 decent FA starters. And that includes the too expensive Greinke and Hamels.

    First the Twins need to rebuild (like the Wolves) and then they can use those dollars in FA. The twins don't need a couple of guys like Colby Lewis sucking up 12+M/yr in 2015 and 2016. FA is not how you rebuild. It's how you add to a contending team. that's not to say the won't sign a starter this offseason but anyone expecting the Twins to spend 30-40M this offseason rebuilding is going to be disappointed.

    My predictions for what the 6 decent pitchers will sign for
    Greinke/Hamels - 5/100+
    Sanchez - 5/75 - He's 28 and pretty good
    Marcum - 4/60 - kind of a wildcard because he's injured
    Lewis - 4/45+ - instead of laughing look at what Buehrle got
    McCarthy - 4/40+ - he might get more money/years because he's young
    Last edited by kab21; 07-08-2012 at 10:25 AM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member All-Star Thrylos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kab21 View Post
    My predictions for what the 6 decent pitchers will sign for
    Greinke/Hamels - 5/100+
    Sanchez - 5/75 - He's 28 and pretty good
    Marcum - 4/60 - kind of a wildcard because he's injured
    Lewis - 4/45+ - instead of laughing look at what Buehrle got
    McCarthy - 4/40+ - he might get more money/years because he's young
    That's why a 1/12.5 offer to Liriano makes total sense.
    -----
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    I think the Twins could manage to make one free agent signing - say Sanchez - if they wanted to and it wouldn't wreck their budget. That said, I think Ryan would rather make Bullock for Diamond type moves then spend a ton on a FA pitcher.

    Also, I disagree with FanaticJack that the Twins biggest weakness was starting pitching when Ryan took over. Last year's offense was comparable to the 2010 Mariners and our bullpen was an absolute mess. Ryan did a pretty solid job turning the bullpen around and adding some good, inexpensive bats to improve the offense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thrylos98 View Post
    That's why a 1/12.5 offer to Liriano makes total sense.
    It's a lot and it's risky but I think they can get away with if they don't trade him and he doesn't completely implode. I don't think he has any intention in returning to MN after all of the finger pointing and negative press the last couple of years.

  9. #9
    best thing you can do is NOT listen to KFAN....esp if you want to hear baseball talk. You'll be smarter for it

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    Starting Pitching didn't look that bad...There was hope Liriano would pitch like he's pitching now, Baker had a very good year in 2011, Pavano has been a horse the last couple years and wasn't expected to pitch this bad, and Marquis was expected to pitch at least to his career averages. That left one spot for Diamond, De Vries, Walters, Swarzak, Duensing, Hendricks, Deduno, Maloney and Manship to fight over. We were projected to be at least improved in SP before Baker went down, Pavano got hurt, Liriano lost his mind again, and Marquis melted down.

    Coming out of last year, the bullpen was actually far more a concern than the rotation, and Ryan did a good job addressing that.

  11. #11
    Owner MVP Seth Stohs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spideyo View Post
    Coming out of last year, the bullpen was actually far more a concern than the rotation, and Ryan did a good job addressing that.
    Even though most/many Twins fans thought that he ignored it by not signing all the "names" that were out there.

  12. #12
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    Who was out there to sign? Buehrle at 4/48? CJ at 5/75?

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    They lost 99 games, and didn't fill a single hole. They replaced Cuddeyer and Kubel, but did not upgrade 1 spot by adding players. Yes, Plouffe is better than Valencia, but that is just good luck. I don't know what people were expecting, other than this. This season was built entirely on hope, and hope is not a strategy.
    Lighten up Francis....

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    Seth,

    You know more about baseball than me and are more positive. You were right about Jared Burton and Brian Dozier being quality players and deserve credit for saying so. However, how do you fix this starting rotation without spending big money in free agency. If you build from within than the Twins are looking at 5 years before they might be contenders again. You cannot continue to sign retreads and hope it works out for you. If the Twins are lucky enough to make the playoffs they are swept in three games because they don't have any #1-2-3 pitchers. Everybody in the rotation is a #4 or 5 pitcher. Itís tough to compete with anybody without spending big time money. I just donít understand why fans are ok with management being C-H-E-A-P. We were promised the team would spend more after Target Field was built but instead payroll was slashed by $20 million in the prime of Mauer & Morneau's careers. The Twins even refused to draft a pitcher that could help us right away like Kevin Gausman or Mark Appel because they wanted another 5-tool outfielder. Nobody gets angry and the Pohlad family feels no pressure to do anything of real substance. Hopefully, the Wild signings will put more focus and blame on the Pohlad family because they deserve it. Spending more money is the only way to fix this mess without waiting 5 years.
    Last edited by Fanatic Jack; 07-08-2012 at 01:16 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fanatic Jack View Post
    Over the last few years professional sports in Minnesota has been terrible with the obvious exception being the Lynx. If you listen to KFAN (100.3FM) on the radio you probably heard this state being referred to as “Loserville USA” by host Paul Allen.
    I know it's not the focus of this thread, and maybe it's just a quibble on the use of "a few years," but the Twins won their second straight division 21 months ago and the Vikings were an eyelash from the Super Bowl after a 12-4 season (their second straight division title) just over 2 years ago.

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    CDog,

    The last few years is referring to parts of 2010, 2011, and 2012.
    Last edited by Fanatic Jack; 07-08-2012 at 01:14 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fanatic Jack View Post
    Seth,

    We were promised the team would spend more after Target Field was built...
    Payroll the last seven years at Metrodome: $56M, $54M, $57M, $63M, $71M, $57M, $65.

    Payroll the first three years at Target Field: $98M, $113M, $94M.

    That promise was kept.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer Highabove's Avatar
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    2013 Free Agent Class




    Starting pitchers

    Scott Baker (31) - $9.25MM club option
    Erik Bedard (34)
    Joe Blanton (32)
    Fausto Carmona (29) - $9MM club option
    Bartolo Colon (40)
    Aaron Cook (34)
    Kevin Correia (32)
    Doug Davis (37)
    Jorge De La Rosa (32) - $11MM player option with a $1MM buyout
    Ryan Dempster (36)
    R.A. Dickey (38) - $5MM club option with a $300K buyout
    Zach Duke (30)
    Scott Feldman (29) - $9.25MM club option with a $600K buyout
    Jeff Francis (32)
    Gavin Floyd (30) - $9.5MM club option
    Freddy Garcia (37)
    Zack Greinke (28)
    Jeremy Guthrie (34)
    Cole Hamels (29)
    Rich Harden (31)
    Dan Haren (32) - $15.5MM club option with a $3.5MM buyout
    Livan Hernandez (38)
    Tim Hudson (37) - $9MM club option with a $1MM buyout
    Edwin Jackson (29)
    Hiroki Kuroda (38)
    Colby Lewis (33)
    Francisco Liriano (29)
    Kyle Lohse (34)
    Rodrigo Lopez (37)
    Derek Lowe (40)
    Paul Maholm (31) - $6.5MM club option with a $500K buyout
    Shaun Marcum (31)
    Jason Marquis (34)
    Daisuke Matsuzaka (32)
    Brandon McCarthy (29)
    Kevin Millwood (38)
    Jamie Moyer (50)
    Brett Myers (32) - $10MM vesting option with a $3MM buyout
    Ramon Ortiz (40)
    Roy Oswalt (35)
    Carl Pavano (37)
    Jake Peavy (31) - $22MM club option with a $4MM buyout
    Brad Penny (35)
    Joel Pineiro (34)
    Anibal Sanchez (29)
    Jonathan Sanchez (30)
    Ervin Santana (30) - $13MM club option with a $1MM buyout
    Joe Saunders (32)
    James Shields (31) - $9MM club option with a $1.5MM buyout
    Chien-Ming Wang (33)
    Jake Westbrook (35) - $8.5MM mutual option with a $1MM buyout if club declines
    Randy Wolf (36) - $10MM club option with a $1.5MM buyout
    Chris Young (34)
    Carlos Zambrano (32)
    Last edited by Highabove; 07-08-2012 at 01:33 PM.

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    Senior Member All-Star Badsmerf's Avatar
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    They have to evaluate where they feel Baker, Gibson and Wimmers are. Diamond and Hendriks should be in the rotation. Gibson could be up by June and Baker around the same time. Gibson and Baker aren't for sure things though. Wimmers is probably still too far away to guess an ETA. A decision has to be made about Liriano too, and soon. If they aren't going to sign him they need to trade him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fanatic Jack View Post
    The Twins even refused to draft a pitcher that could help us right away like Kevin Gausman or Mark Appel because they wanted another 5-tool outfielder.
    I guess it will take at least two years to figure out if they missed on the pitchers, and a few more years to see if Buxton is the real deal. To say there was a college pitcher who could help right away is at best wishful thinking.

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