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2015 Opening Day Payroll

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#1 naobermiller

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 10:58 PM

Since a lot of the talk seems to be hovering around prospective trades, I wanted posit a different topic. Projections for opening day payroll in 2015.

What we know:
Payroll is currently at $94 million. The FO spent some money this past off-season, adding $30mil in free agents from the end of the year 2013, and also tried to lure Matt Garza with another with a deal worth another 14mil per year over three years (though whether they would have spent on Morales if they got Garza is something we'll never know). For the second consecutive year, the organization has a fair amount of salary coming off the books.

Morales - 7.5mil
Willingham - 7mil
Correia - 5.5mil
Suzuki - 2.75mil
Guerrier - 0.8mil
Kubel - 2.0mil
Burton (option) - 3.25
-------------------
Total: 28.6mil (31.8mil)

This leaves payroll at around 62mil when you throw in pre-arb/arbitration players. The organization has 53 million in committed contracts heading into 2015.

The question is two-fold:
1) Where do you expect/want payroll to be on opening day in 2015?
2) Where do you expect/want to see the biggest additions to the payroll?

#2 Shane Wahl

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 11:29 PM

I honestly don't see the payroll issue as all that relevant for now. The Twins are going to have to turn to the youth, and they are cheap. If there is a fire sale in the next two weeks (I hope!), then I could see the Twins pursuing someone like Rajai Davis to come in and leadoff. But he won't be grossly expensive. Pitching-wise . . . they can probably just try Hughes-Gibson-Meyer-May-Nolasco.

#3 TwinsTerritory

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 11:53 PM

It is really early to be looking at next year, but I think you could make the argument that the Twins best chance to be better next year (and long term) might be with a similar or smaller payroll. Spending on big free agents would be a band-aid, but letting the kids play would make more sense for the long term. The Twins best chance at returning to the top of the division long term will come in the form of Buxton, Sano, Meyer, May, etc.

To answer your question, I would guess payroll is in the $90 million range and I'd like to see the Twins sign the following:
Catcher to split time with Pinto (hopefully Suzuki for a reasonable 2-year deal)
An centerfielder on a short deal to hold down until Buxton is up (maybe Colby Rasmus or Denard Span?)
A bullpen arm to replace Burton (lots of options)
A starter if Nolasco can't figure it out or is injured

The free agent group doesn't look real strong and I'd only offer more than two years to the following:
Hanley Ramirez
Jon Lester
Max Scherzer
James Shields

#4 naobermiller

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 11:54 PM

I honestly don't see the payroll issue as all that relevant for now. The Twins are going to have to turn to the youth, and they are cheap. If there is a fire sale in the next two weeks (I hope!), then I could see the Twins pursuing someone like Rajai Davis to come in and leadoff. But he won't be grossly expensive. Pitching-wise . . . they can probably just try Hughes-Gibson-Meyer-May-Nolasco.


I was reading the story on here about the Yankees prodigous spending in the international market and various ways of approaching the international market. The most interesting line I pulled from it actually came from the comments (Oxtung);

They have money to spend and need to spend it somewhere. The questions really just becomes where should that be?

I think this really describes the Twins heading into this off-season. As you said, the hope is that Meyer and May will get called up this year and be able to settle in to the starting rotation at the start of next year, so pursuing a big name starter seems doubltful. Arcia, Mauer and Dozier will be on the opening day roster in LF, 1B and 2B respectively. Whoever is at 3B is keeping the seat warm for Sano, and Plouffe is still under team control, so why not let him stay there in hopes that he has a breakout year and maybe can be a big trade piece in 2015. Pinto is waiting in the wings to catch, and Suzuki will likely be the cream of the free agent catching crop anyway, but that's only about 7-9million invested. CF is ear marked for Buxton, and I think the hope is that Hicks can find it and be your RF, with a very real possibility that both of those guys are up here mid to early 2015. We have a closer locked up for another couple years, and Fien is just heading into Arbitration. We also have Burdi who should move up through the minors pretty quickly.

What I'm getting at....Where do you spend the money? Casual fans won't be happy if the payroll is sitting around 70million, so I think ownership will want to stay on par with what they did and be around mid to upper 90s, if not jumping up into 100million.

#5 naobermiller

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 11:56 PM

It is really early to be looking at next year, but I think you could make the argument that the Twins best chance to be better next year (and long term) might be with a similar or smaller payroll. Spending on big free agents would be a band-aid, but letting the kids play would make more sense for the long term. The Twins best chance at returning to the top of the division long term will come in the form of Buxton, Sano, Meyer, May, etc.

To answer your question, I would guess payroll is in the $90 million range and I'd like to see the Twins sign the following:
Catcher to split time with Pinto (hopefully Suzuki for a reasonable 2-year deal)
An centerfielder on a short deal to hold down until Buxton is up (maybe Colby Rasmus or Denard Span?)
A bullpen arm to replace Burton (lots of options)
A starter if Nolasco can't figure it out or is injured

The free agent group doesn't look real strong and I'd only offer more than two years to the following:
Hanley Ramirez
Jon Lester
Max Scherzer
James Shields


If Nolasco struggles coming back this year, do you cut your losses, look at him as a long man/6th starter and pursue a big name starter like Lester/Scherzer/Shields with the worst case scenario being you have an expendable young arm to use as trade bait (e.g. Dan Straily with Oakland)

Edit: I should clarify, by worst case scenario, I mean Nolasco performs well and maybe one of your young guys doesn't

Edited by naobermiller, 18 July 2014 - 12:09 AM.


#6 goulik

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 05:50 AM

The real question is where are the holes in the roster.

Pitching is taken care of for better or worse. Correia will be off the books but Meyers/May/Johnson/Gilmartin/Pino/Deduno/Pelfrey (yes he is still lurking) will be added to Nolasco/Hughes/Gibson and there are plenty of minor league bullpen arms to fill the bullpen plus some.

Fielding, pencil em in now:
1B Mauer, 2B Dozier, 3B Plouffe(moved to bench when Sano is ready) RF Arcia,
Bench: 1B/RF Parmalee, Utility Inf Escobar, One or two of Hermann/Pinto/Fryer (You know its true so don't get your undies in a bundle)

Needs Catcher, SS, OF, DH. Spend your money here.

#7 SgtSchmidt11

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 05:56 AM

Hanley would be an interesting pickup, but then again if it were for more the two years, i would be terrible. I wouldn't mind seeing them pickup a SS. Jed Lowrie?

#8 drjim

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 06:12 AM

I think they go big on a starter and also add a corner bat. Unless they trade Fien I would be surprised if they spent anything on a reliever, plenty of in house options.

Payroll ends more or less the same as it is this season.
Papers...business papers.

#9 TKGuy

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 06:41 AM

From the perspective of a casual fan, the payroll may well be lower next year, which will bring out the Pohlads are cheapskates yahoos. We have plenty of young relievers in the minors (Tonkin, Achter, etc.) that could move into the middle relief roles next year. Spending big on middle relievers always turns out to be a disaster, ask the Dodgers about Guerrier, etc. I am guessing Duensing will be traded, so his salary could come off the books.

Roll with the rotation of Hughes, Gibson, May, Meyer and Nolasco. Too early to cut bait with Nolasco and maybe the elbow pain is the cause of this subpar first year. I don't think the Twins would have any chance with the FA starters, who would get big money, although a James Shields signing would make me happy. I wouldn't mind the Twins trying to resign Suzuki for a couple of years at a reasonable price after they trade him before the end of the month. Pinto can catch and DH 5-6 times a week. I would just go with Santana as a SS/CF type and sign another stopgap in CF and put Escobar back as the UT player. Plouffe still fits nicely as 3B and probably can also be an extra OF. However, even he will get too expensive in my opinion for the value he brings.

It's time to let the kids play. Unfortunately, the injuries to Sano and Buxton may delay their arrival next year, but there is no reason that we should be signing veterans to block their arrival unless its only on a one-year deal.

In short, I don't think there will be too many big splashes in FA over the offseason. The improvement to me will come with the arrival and maturation of the kids. Don't spend $$ just to spend, maybe go bigger into the International Market.

Edited by TKGuy, 18 July 2014 - 06:43 AM.


#10 The Wise One

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 06:50 AM

The real question is where are the holes in the roster.

Pitching is taken care of for better or worse. Correia will be off the books but Meyers/May/Johnson/Gilmartin/Pino/Deduno/Pelfrey (yes he is still lurking) will be added to Nolasco/Hughes/Gibson and there are plenty of minor league bullpen arms to fill the bullpen plus some.

Fielding, pencil em in now:
1B Mauer, 2B Dozier, 3B Plouffe(moved to bench when Sano is ready) RF Arcia,
Bench: 1B/RF Parmalee, Utility Inf Escobar, One or two of Hermann/Pinto/Fryer (You know its true so don't get your undies in a bundle)

Needs Catcher, SS, OF, DH. Spend your money here.


The free agent class is like a Cadilac Escalade. Bright and shiny, and they cost a lot of money. The sad reality sets in after the newness wear off that you would get the same thing for less money from Chevy

#11 Kirby_waved_at_me

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 06:57 AM

You can never have too much pitching - the Twins could certainly make offers to all the big FA pitchers, though I'm guessing the money that Lester/Scherzer/Shields will sign for will be more than they are realistically worth to the Twins. They'd be a noticeable step up from the Pelfrey signing. Speaking of, Pelfrey will still be under contract with the Twins for 2015. What are they going to do about that?

I think the best use of funds would be to acquire a catcher to pair with Pinto, a left fielder to take Willingham's place (with better defense/speed, hopefully not much of a drop off in power), and at least one starting pitcher to fill in whichever guy doesn't make it to the rotation in 2015 (Nolasco, Pelfrey, or the 5th starter spot).

#12 tobi0040

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 07:04 AM

If Nolasco struggles coming back this year, do you cut your losses, look at him as a long man/6th starter and pursue a big name starter like Lester/Scherzer/Shields with the worst case scenario being you have an expendable young arm to use as trade bait (e.g. Dan Straily with Oakland)

Edit: I should clarify, by worst case scenario, I mean Nolasco performs well and maybe one of your young guys doesn't


I think Ricky signed a big contract, was hurt and tried playing through it. He had a career 4.35 ERA prior to this year in over 1,000 IP and he K'd something like 7.75 per 9. Something clearly wasn't right. I think it is way too early to cut losses. He can still pitch well.

#13 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 07:39 AM

I see payroll dropping. There's a lot of kids who will get more time, and not a lot anyone really can (or should) do about it. I could see them exending Dozier this offseason and perhaps using a signing bonus to cheapen the later years of the contract, but that type of thing tends to get sticky with the Union. I could see something similar with Plouffe if the Twins really believe he's breaking out, as that would make him more tradable when Sano is ready, but it could also bite them hard if Plouffe regresses.

The rotation is set.  No way they cut bait with Nolasco 1 year into a 4 year deal. Even if a worst case comes out and he has TJS, the Twins will still likely be going with Hughes, Pelfrey, Meyer, May, Pino/Darnell/Gilmartin/Johnson, with Berrios likely waiting in the wings. I suspect that one of those guys can stick in the 5 spot, and there's enough upside there that one might turn out better than a #5 guy.

The pen is overcrowded as it is, and there's 2 very deserving candidates in AAA and you have Delios Guerrero who is out of options next season.

The lineup is pretty set too. 1B, 2B, 3B, SS (Santana/Escobar), Util (Escobar), C (Pinto), RF, LF (Parmelee), all have people that should get some playing time. That leaves openings for a 2nd catcher and a CF. I don't see them looking for a long term contract at CF with Buxton, Hicks, and Rosario all likely making a case for the spot at some point in the near future.

I suspect that Denard Span may get a reclamation deal to play CF... I like that idea as well b/c if he pans out, he's tradable when one of the minor league CFs have made a case for themselves. I could see them going with a Hermann/Fryer as a 2nd C or getting a FA to fill that role. Unless Suzuki wants to return, I don't see much in terms of help from the FA market here Other than a bench spot, and maybe a 1 year deal on a DH to give Vargas a bit more time, I don't see a whole lot in terms of need.

#14 Kirby_waved_at_me

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 08:11 AM

Maybe the money goes towards extending someone already on the team... Dozier perhaps?

Players with talent are getting locked up earlier and earlier, so it stands to reason that you can try to build internally through the draft, through trades, and then free agency becomes the third most effective way to add value to your team. There are not a ton of appealing upcoming free agents that the Twins should be spending money to sign.

#15 mike wants wins

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 08:27 AM

I predict it drops. May and Meyer will be here. They won't sign a big time 3B or 1B or RF. They won't be adding a SP (if they do, then they need to be willing to start dealing from the minors backlog), it would be a waste to pay for any RP at this point.

that leaves C, DH, LF, CF, SS

In looking at the available players, I can't see how they come close to spending $30MM to get back to this year's number.

The only way it happens is if they deal for guys with existing deals, imo.
Lighten up Francis....

#16 jay

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 08:32 AM

Maybe the money goes towards extending someone already on the team... Dozier perhaps?

Players with talent are getting locked up earlier and earlier, so it stands to reason that you can try to build internally through the draft, through trades, and then free agency becomes the third most effective way to add value to your team. There are not a ton of appealing upcoming free agents that the Twins should be spending money to sign.


This. I would hope that the payroll flexibility allows the Twins to be aggressive with resigning their young players that are viewed as pieces relevant for the next contending team. Overall payroll number is likely to go down when you look at the circumstances, like it or not.

#17 drjim

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 08:34 AM

It will be interesting to see how this thread clashes with the thread on Pohlad's comments. On one hand, we'll have plenty of people saying payroll will go down as younger players are brought in, while on the other hand plenty of people will say that Pohlad is cheap.

After four years, they will probably get ripped no matter what they do.
Papers...business papers.

#18 mike wants wins

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 08:36 AM

This. I would hope that the payroll flexibility allows the Twins to be aggressive with resigning their young players that are viewed as pieces relevant for the next contending team. Overall payroll number is likely to go down when you look at the circumstances, like it or not.


Since Dozier and Gibson are the only player the minors have delivered in 4 years, not sure who needs to be extended in the next 5 years, other than them.
Lighten up Francis....

#19 nicksaviking

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 08:47 AM

I would also think payroll drops simply because most of the holes will be filled by young players. Whether the produce or not is another story.

Unless Nolasco (or any projected starter) ends up needing TJ, I just don't see the team getting a free agent arm as we really have to expect them to finally give May and Meyer a shot.

That is of course unless they trade someone. Maybe they end up trading Gibson, and then a spot opens up to add a free agent pitcher.

#20 Kirby_waved_at_me

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 08:53 AM

Meyer, May, Nolasco, Hughes, Gibson, and Pelfrey will all be under contract next year; someone will be the odd man out. There will either be an injury or someone will be so bad that they won't make the starting rotation. I think Pelfrey is going to get every opportunity to be in the rotation next year.

#21 drjim

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 08:55 AM

I would also think payroll drops simply because most of the holes will be filled by young players. Whether the produce or not is another story.

Unless Nolasco (or any projected starter) ends up needing TJ, I just don't see the team getting a free agent arm as we really have to expect them to finally give May and Meyer a shot.

That is of course unless they trade someone. Maybe they end up trading Gibson, and then a spot opens up to add a free agent pitcher.


I would be very surprised if they break camp with two rookies in the rotation, recipe for problems all year. I think one makes it, one starts in the minors, and I don't think they are counting on Pelfrey to come back in anything other than a Deduno role.
Papers...business papers.

#22 drjim

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 08:55 AM

Meyer, May, Nolasco, Hughes, Gibson, and Pelfrey will all be under contract next year; someone will be the odd man out. There will either be an injury or someone will be so bad that they won't make the starting rotation. I think Pelfrey is going to get every opportunity to be in the rotation next year.


May in AAA and Pelfrey in the pen.
Papers...business papers.

#23 Kirby_waved_at_me

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 08:57 AM

May in AAA and Pelfrey in the pen.


So the fifth starter in that scenario would be another one of our AAAA guys, like Pino/Johnson/Glimartin ?

#24 drjim

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 08:58 AM

So the fifth starter in that scenario would be another one of our AAAA guys, like Pino/Johnson/Glimartin ?


Free agent.
Papers...business papers.

#25 Kirby_waved_at_me

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 09:03 AM

Free agent.


That would be nice - Scherzer? Justin Masterson? That would possibly be a buy-low target...

#26 drjim

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 09:09 AM

That would be nice - Scherzer? Justin Masterson? That would possibly be a buy-low target...


Scherzer would be nice but a pipe dream considering who the Twins would be bidding against. I'm thinking Shields.
Papers...business papers.

#27 jay

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 09:13 AM

Since Dozier and Gibson are the only player the minors have delivered in 4 years, not sure who needs to be extended in the next 5 years, other than them.


Well, there's that whole trend of signing guys within their first year or two of service time...

#28 mike wants wins

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 09:26 AM

Well, there's that whole trend of signing guys within their first year or two of service time...



true, but everyone is saying no one is coming up next year, right? Sano needs a year, Buxton might, maybe, possibly come up some time next year. that means they are at least 2 years from extending them, at least. And, those don't happen for pitchers. And, no one is else is close to coming up that you would extend. There has been very little help from the minors for years, there aren't players to extend. that's really the root of the problem here.
Lighten up Francis....

#29 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 09:38 AM

true, but everyone is saying no one is coming up next year, right? Sano needs a year, Buxton might, maybe, possibly come up some time next year. that means they are at least 2 years from extending them, at least. And, those don't happen for pitchers. And, no one is else is close to coming up that you would extend. There has been very little help from the minors for years, there aren't players to extend. that's really the root of the problem here.


I suspect Sano and Buxton will be knocking on the door next year and will likely earn a callup at some point. Sano should still get some PT yet this year and if he hits well in AA could start next year in Rochester. Once Buxton gets back into a groove (and that could be happening based on his play the last two days), he'll be moved to NB as well. He may also find himself starting in Rochester next season or if he does really well in NB, they may put him in CF on opening day. I'm a bit skeptical of that given the Hicks fiasco. Meyer will be up at some point next year or possibly even this year. May will probably be up this year.

And there are extension candidates: Dozier, Plouffe, and Gibson will all be in conversation. Not sure I'd do it for Plouffe, but there are advantages to doing it now if the Twins think he's turned the corner.

#30 pierre75275

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 09:45 AM

It is really early to be looking at next year, but I think you could make the argument that the Twins best chance to be better next year (and long term) might be with a similar or smaller payroll. Spending on big free agents would be a band-aid, but letting the kids play would make more sense for the long term. The Twins best chance at returning to the top of the division long term will come in the form of Buxton, Sano, Meyer, May, etc.

To answer your question, I would guess payroll is in the $90 million range and I'd like to see the Twins sign the following:
Catcher to split time with Pinto (hopefully Suzuki for a reasonable 2-year deal)
An centerfielder on a short deal to hold down until Buxton is up (maybe Colby Rasmus or Denard Span?)
A bullpen arm to replace Burton (lots of options)
A starter if Nolasco can't figure it out or is injured

The free agent group doesn't look real strong and I'd only offer more than two years to the following:
Hanley Ramirez
Jon Lester
Max Scherzer
James Shields


On no planet do the four listed agents sign for two years. The Twins need a catcher and a center fielder in my opinion. They are set for bullpen and I would rather May and Meyer get shots as well as Johnson and Gilmartin before any more free agent pitchers are brought in