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Article: Projecting Payroll: 2015

payroll opening day rosters
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#1 Jeremy Nygaard

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 04:00 PM

When the Twins opened Target Field in 2010, they did so with a $97 million payroll. This was the highest payroll the Twins have had by a whopping $25M. They broke $100M the next year by spending $113M and fell back to just a shade over $100M in 2012. However, payroll fell to the mid-$80 million range in both 2013 and 2014.

Enter 2015.The Twins have spent on free agent outfielder Torii Hunter, extended Phil Hughes and signed free agent pitcher Tim Stauffer. But the biggest addition was the four-year commitment the team made to pitcher Ervin Santana. Now the Twins have gone back over $100M. Let's take a closer look.

Multi-year Deals**
1B Joe Mauer: $23M (3 yr/$69M remain for '16-'18)
SP Ervin Santana: $13.5M (3 yr./$40.5M remain for '16-'18)
SP Ricky Nolasco: $12M (2 yr./$24M remain for ’16-’17)
SP Phil Hughes: $9.2M (4 yr./$48.8M remain for for ’16-’19)
C Kurt Suzuki: $6M (1 yr./$6M remain for ’16)
RP Glen Perkins: $4.65M (2 yr./$12.8M remain for ’16-’17
Commitments: $68.35M in 2015 ($201M in commitments through 2019)

Pending Free Agents
RF Torii Hunter: $10.5M
P Mike Pelfrey: $5.5M
P Tim Stauffer: $2.2M
Commitments: $18.2M in 2015
Total commitments in 2015 to players with six-plus years of experience: $86.55M

Arbitration-eligibles
3B Trevor Plouffe (second of four): $4.75M
LRP Brian Duensing (third of three): $2.85M
P Tommy Milone (first of four): $2.75M
OF Jordan Schafer (second of four): $1.45M
RP Casey Fien (first of four): $1.25M
INF Eduardo Nunez (first of three): $1.05M
Projected total: $14.1M in 2015.
Commitments plus arbitration: $100.65M (for the above 15 players)

That leaves 10 spots unfilled for the opening day roster.

With nine pitchers already penciled in, there are three spots for pitchers: Kyle Gibson ($520,000), Caleb Thielbar ($520,000) and J.R. Graham ($507,500***). The seven fielders that could fill out the opening day roster are Brian Dozier ($580,000), Oswaldo Arcia ($525,000), Eduardo Escobar ($520,000), Danny Santana ($512,500), Kennys Vargas ($512,500), Aaron Hicks ($510,000) and Josmil Pinto ($507,500).
These ten pre-arbitration players total $5.215M for a grand projected total of $105.865M, the second-highest total in franchise history.

---
Some other things could affect this figure:

--The Twins sign Brian Dozier to a contract extension. Jason Kipnis signed an extension as a 2+ player, which Dozier is now, and got $2M for his last pre-arb year and $4M/$6M/$9M to buy out his arbitration years. Signing Dozier to a similar contract would increase payroll by $1.42M. (The Indians also committed $30.5M for his first two free agent years with an option for the third year.)

--The Twins don’t roll with those 12 pitchers, which is probably likely. There are many options for the fifth rotation spot and the loser(s) could be pitching successfully for the Pirates next year.
--I’m not convinced the Twins break camp with Hicks and Nunez on the roster. If Hicks wins the CF job, Santana plays SS and Escobar is a utility player. Nunez is out. If Hicks doesn't win the job, Santana moves to CF, Escobar is the SS and Nunez is a utility player. Hicks heads to Rochester. Both scenarios leave Schafer as the fourth OF and opens up another bench spot. Chris Herrmann, at the minimum, is where I’d put my money. This decreases payroll, too.
Of course, there’s still the possibility the Twins add another veteran or make a trade.

**Future commitments don't figure in option years or their buyouts.

***The CBA calls for an increase in the minimum and reports have put that figure at $507,500 for 2015.

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#2 JB_Iowa

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 05:37 PM

Thanks fot setting it out so clearly.

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#3 tobi0040

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 06:27 PM

I like the ring of "Pending free agent Mike Pelfrey $5.5 million"


#4 John Bonnes

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 06:32 PM

The extension to Dozier seems inevitable, right? I wonder how long they'll go.
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#5 Jeremy Nygaard

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 06:40 PM

The extension to Dozier seems inevitable, right? I wonder how long they'll go.

 

With Span, the Twins had an option on this year (his first free agent year). If they followed that pattern with Dozier, and using Kipnis's deal as an outline, I could see Dozier get 4 years and $23. That would be $2/$4/$6/$9 and a $2m buyout on $12 or $13m for his first FA year. Maybe tack on another option year at the end. 


#6 nater79a

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 07:27 PM

I guess I wouldn't consider an extension for Dozier until we see what kind of year Jorge Polanco has in '15. If he has a breakout season he may be the long term future at 2B instead of Dozier. Would be easier to move Dozier a year or two from now without a 4 or 5 year deal tied to him.

Of course, the other option is to trade Polanco and extract value that way. Feels like Jorge's position is 2B and not SS.

In any event, I would wait another season before talks with Dozier.
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#7 nater79a

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 07:29 PM

How does Hicks-y make 2G's less in year 3 than Santana or Vargas in year 2?

#8 DocBauer

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 08:07 PM

It's not like a Dozier extension suddenly makes him a $10M man overnight. And with even a small amount of improvement he could be considered in the upper echelon of ML 2B. (If he's not there already) He would still be very tradeable in the next year or two should Polanco step it up.
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#9 Jeremy Nygaard

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 09:04 PM

How does Hicks-y make 2G's less in year 3 than Santana or Vargas in year 2?

 

I had compared raises given over time. For example, Arcia got a bump from minimum to $512,500 last year. Hicks got only a slight bump from minimum last season ($507,500) and I don't see him getting a big one next year based on his season in 2014. The Twins have a formula, but they aren't willing to share with me.


#10 Jeremy Nygaard

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 09:05 PM

It's not like a Dozier extension suddenly makes him a $10M man overnight. And with even a small amount of improvement he could be considered in the upper echelon of ML 2B. (If he's not there already) He would still be very tradeable in the next year or two should Polanco step it up.

Guys who have signed deals through their arbitration years aren't harder to trade (if they're good). They're easier. Teams know exactly what guys are going to cost. Span is a perfect example. You have one good year and your contract is very team-friendly and movable.

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#11 nater79a

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 10:17 PM

I had compared raises given over time. For example, Arcia got a bump from minimum to $512,500 last year. Hicks got only a slight bump from minimum last season ($507,500) and I don't see him getting a big one next year based on his season in 2014. The Twins have a formula, but they aren't willing to share with me.

 

Do non-arbitration eligible players have any type of negotiations with the club at all? Or do they pretty much have to accept what the club offers?


#12 PseudoSABR

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 11:50 PM

A Span like extension makes a lot of sense.  Part of why Span netted a prospect like Meyer was because his affordability was locked in over several seasons.  Even if 2014 establishes Dozier's ceiling, he's still likely a trade asset if the contract follows Span's.

Edited by PseudoSABR, 27 December 2014 - 11:52 PM.

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#13 jorgenswest

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Posted 28 December 2014 - 01:17 AM

The Twins extended Span through his age 31 season. The Twins already have that team control with Dozier. It isn't a good comp unless the ages are the same. Two guys that started at a similar are Donaldson and Carpenter. They have career OPS+ of 125 (far better than Dozier's best single season). Kipnis is a year younger on the path and has a career OPS+ of 109. All have space for decline.

Dozier has a career OPS+ of 98. There is no space for the decline. Shouldn't they at least wait until the career number look closer to 110 in OPS+?

The best path is to sell high by age 30 and let someone else buy the decline. His contract will be easier to trade if it does not include age 32 or 33 seasons. They must not extend now and buy a free agency year. Span is not a good comp. They didn't commit to Span's age 32 season and even age 31 was an option.

#14 Jeremy Nygaard

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Posted 28 December 2014 - 07:24 AM

Do non-arbitration eligible players have any type of negotiations with the club at all? Or do they pretty much have to accept what the club offers?


No say. Contracts are simply renewed.

#15 Jeremy Nygaard

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Posted 28 December 2014 - 07:31 AM

The Twins extended Span through his age 31 season. The Twins already have that team control with Dozier. It isn't a good comp unless the ages are the same. Two guys that started at a similar are Donaldson and Carpenter. They have career OPS+ of 125 (far better than Dozier's best single season). Kipnis is a year younger on the path and has a career OPS+ of 109. All have space for decline.
Dozier has a career OPS+ of 98. There is no space for the decline. Shouldn't they at least wait until the career number look closer to 110 in OPS+?
The best path is to sell high by age 30 and let someone else buy the decline. His contract will be easier to trade if it does not include age 32 or 33 seasons. They must not extend now and buy a free agency year. Span is not a good comp. They didn't commit to Span's age 32 season and even age 31 was an option.


Age is probably a factor and you make fair points, but it's about service time when extensions get compared to one another. You are making a comparison on controlable years. Now, if Dozier's side approaches the Twins wanting the Kipnis deal, you've outlined a few great points to negotiate around, maybe making it for less guarantee through the arb years and a smaller buyout on the option year(s).
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#16 stringer bell

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Posted 28 December 2014 - 08:11 AM

No say. Contracts are simply renewed.

I'll quibble with that answer.The clubs have the hammer of renewing a contract, but a contract is negotiated.IIRC, Trout received a few hundred K extra after his near-MVP season I believe Dozier got a little extra after assuming a regular position in 2013.I checked--Trout received a million after his rookie year, and Dozier got 540K.Escobar, with similar seniority got $507,500.It is peanuts, but there can be a negotiation. 

 

These guys are human beings and I think a little sweetener for guys who figure to be regulars is probably a good thing.For instance, Escobar probably should get an extra 50K or more than a simple renewal, giving Dozier a million this year won't break the bank and probably gives him a bit more incentive.Treating guys well who make serf wages is smart and not that costly.


#17 ND-Fan

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Posted 28 December 2014 - 11:40 AM

Twins projected payroll is based on full year runs with the Twins. I could see where Hunter ( if he choose could be Traded), Pelfry, Plouffe, Milone, and Duensingcould all be traded before year is done. Which could effect Twins payroll. This club is set up to make a run for wild card this year and if not they will fall back to grand plan of the rebuild bring up remainder of the youngster before year end unless they are contending. The rebuild plan I believe was for us contend in 2016 but this has been shoved back to 2017 because of all injuries to the prospects last year. I believe that is why your seeing signings of pitchers and lengths of the contracts. This could be a very good baseball team from 2016 1/2 thru 2019 with very affordable payroll and could become one of the elite teams again MLB.


#18 ken

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Posted 28 December 2014 - 04:24 PM

With the recent signings, they have really committed to keeping a payroll above $100 million through at least 2017.In 2017, they will have about $70 million committed to 5 players with not counting Dozier in his second year of arbitration and Arcia in his 3rd year.

 

I hope the commitment to these player pay off but I would be concerned about Mauer, Santana, and Nolasco being on the downside of the career and receiving big money.


#19 Jeremy Nygaard

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Posted 28 December 2014 - 08:22 PM

I'll quibble with that answer.The clubs have the hammer of renewing a contract, but a contract is negotiated.IIRC, Trout received a few hundred K extra after his near-MVP season I believe Dozier got a little extra after assuming a regular position in 2013.I checked--Trout received a million after his rookie year, and Dozier got 540K.Escobar, with similar seniority got $507,500.It is peanuts, but there can be a negotiation. 
 
These guys are human beings and I think a little sweetener for guys who figure to be regulars is probably a good thing.For instance, Escobar probably should get an extra 50K or more than a simple renewal, giving Dozier a million this year won't break the bank and probably gives him a bit more incentive.Treating guys well who make serf wages is smart and not that costly.


The Twins have a formula they use to determine the renewal rate. It's almost like they use a tier system. If you look at all the pre-arb deals over the last handful of seasons, you'd see it. I would guess that almost everyone of my proprojections will be within $5,000 to $7,500 cause that seems to be the value of a tier. I'd have to go back and look, but I believe the highest renewal last year (or possibly the year before) was $520,000.

And as far as Trout goes, the Angels gave him more because there was rumblings that if they renewed him at near-minimum, he wasn't going to consider a long-term deal. He had leverage. Nobody on the Twins roster has any leverage. They'll get what their formula tells them.

#20 Jeremy Nygaard

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Posted 16 January 2015 - 12:35 PM

Two arb-eligible players to go... I'm pretty happy with my projections thus far.




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