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#1 Fanatic Jack

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 02:36 AM

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.

Edited by Fanatic Jack, 08 July 2012 - 11:42 AM.


#2 IdahoPilgrim

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 06:44 AM

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.

#3 J-Dog Dungan

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 08:12 AM

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?

#4 IdahoPilgrim

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 08:35 AM

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.

#5 kab21

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 09:23 AM

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

Edited by kab21, 08 July 2012 - 09:25 AM.


#6 Thrylos

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 09:46 AM

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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#7 gunnarthor

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 10:00 AM

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.

#8 kab21

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 10:14 AM

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 greengoblinrulz

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 10:15 AM

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

#10 spideyo

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 10:49 AM

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 Seth Stohs

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 11:07 AM

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 kab21

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 11:26 AM

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

#13 mike wants wins

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 11:55 AM

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....

#14 Fanatic Jack

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 11:58 AM

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. It’s tough to compete with anybody without spending big time money. I just don’t 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.

Edited by Fanatic Jack, 08 July 2012 - 12:16 PM.


#15 CDog

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 12:09 PM

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.

#16 Fanatic Jack

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 12:11 PM

CDog, The last few years is referring to parts of 2010, 2011, and 2012.

Edited by Fanatic Jack, 08 July 2012 - 12:14 PM.


#17 CDog

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 12:16 PM

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 Highabove

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 12:31 PM

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)

Edited by Highabove, 08 July 2012 - 12:33 PM.


#19 Badsmerf

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 01:03 PM

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.

#20 old nurse

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 01:13 PM

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.

#21 Brandon

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 01:32 PM

How bout Lohse, Livian Hernandez and Moyer.

#22 gunnarthor

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 01:35 PM

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.


They middle infield is better with Carroll and Dozier. The team is getting nice results from Revere, Dozier and Plouffe. That's probably not "luck" but rather part of regrouping a team. Ryan said in the offseason that Plouffe had enough bat to play RF, if need be. Burton and Walters were solid cheap pickups and the team has a number of bullpen type arms in AA and AAA that could allow us to move Burton or Capps. Willingham has been much better than either Cuddy or Kubel. Doumit has been a very good addition as well. Kind of hard to say they didn't fill a single hole or, as you say in many other posts, haven't been able to bring up minor leaguers to be regulars at the ML level.

This team has horrible starting pitching and isn't getting much production from first base. Ryan will probably focus on those issues going forward but it doesn't have to be a 20m FA signing. He could make several small moves that work - like Bullock for Diamond, having success with another Blackburn type minor leaguer (maybe BJ Hermsen?), getting Gibson healthy, doing something with Liriano (trade, extension or arbitration offer) or signing some inning eating Pavano type pitchers.

#23 kab21

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 01:37 PM

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.


Perhaps they realized that they weren't one player away from being good and didn't feel like sacrificing future payroll flexibility to pick a couple extra wins. I feel like I'm repeating myself but rebuilding through FA is pretty much a guarantee to prolong that rebuilding. Outbidding the Marlins for Buehrle at 4/48 or Wilson at 5/75 (IIRC) is not a good strategy to fix the team.

#24 jokin

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 01:38 PM

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.


94-38=$56 Million (courtesy of M&M Marketing Ltd.)

#25 Kobs

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 01:54 PM

They middle infield is better with Carroll and Dozier.


Better than what?

#26 powrwrap

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 02:07 PM

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.


I haven't listened to KFAN for ages but am familiar with Paul Allen and Loserville, USA. It has to do with the major market areas with pro teams in the Big 4 sports (baseball, football, basketball, and hockey) and how long it's been since any one of their teams have won the championship. Turns out Minnesota is the city with the longest championship drought. It has nothing to do with contending or making the playoffs and has everything to do with winning the championship title. So I don't see the Twins Cities getting that monkey off their back in "2012 and the future."


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 think the Twins feel pressure to spend, esp. on starting pitching just to ensure that their fan base doesn't completely desert them. They've got to keep attendance steady or increase it so that wonderful cash ATM machine known as Target Field Concession Sales will keep churning out the dough. Although the Pohlad family might be richer than those other families (not sure) it has more to do with how soon can they recover any money they personally lend to the team than any other factor. That is essentially what we mean when we say "owners spend big". They are actually making personal loans to the corporation, of which they are CEO's or CFO's, that owns the Twins.

Suppose if they inject $30M more for payroll for next year it will ensure that they will profit $10M a year. That's a three year recovery period. But suppose they spend $50M on payroll next year. That's a 5 year recovery period and they still don't know if they will win it all.

The Pohlad's are from Minnesota. I say the almighty dollar overrules the desire to say they won it all. Other owners from other cities might be OK with saying they won it all and they don't care if they won't recover their money for 10 years or more. I don't see the Pohlad's having that mindset.
[FONT=comic sans ms][COLOR=#000000]"Baseball is like church. Many attend, few understand." [/COLOR][/FONT]

#27 Badsmerf

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 02:32 PM

My theory and I stick to it is that a guy like Hamels is a better investment than 2 average guys at half the price. Think of it this way, if the Twins have Hamels, Diamond, Hendricks going into next year you have 3 solid pitchers (yes I am saying Hendricks is a solid pitcher). Add in that Baker or Liriano (hopefully both) will be kept going into next season and you only have one spot open. An ace like Hamels or Grienke makes any pitching staff look instantly better. Its really too bad Baker needed surgery, with him healthy this team could easily have 5+ more wins right now.

#28 J-Dog Dungan

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 02:41 PM

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.


They did, though. They picked up a kick-a$$ replacement for Cuddy in Willingham, got a better offensive back-up catcher in Doumit, stabilized their middle-infield in regards to fielding and veteran presence in Carroll, and they picked up Gray, Burton, and Fien to help out Perkins, Burnett and Capps in the bullpen, which was one of the huge problems last year.

Unfortunately, you are still right that the Twins didn't fill a single hole in the Starting Rotation. They were just kind of hoping that in-house options and Marquis would be able to cut it. After seeing Hendriks, Blackburn, April/May of Liriano, and god-awful Marquis, the Twins hopefully realized that if they want to compete in this extremely winnable division and against high-payroll, high-talent teams like the Yankees, Rays, and Rangers, they need to pick up a good front-line starter to pair with guys like Diamond who have shown themselves to be capable starters.

Honestly, if Baker had managed to stay healthy, Liriano had shown at the beginning of the year that he can pitch like he is now doing, and the Twins had kept Diamond up with them when they broke from ST, they might be a lot closer to competing than they are right now, because three above-average pitchers like they are could probably keep them afloat if they mixed in guys like Walters and Hendriks, whenever he figures things out.

Seriously, if I were the Twins, I would trade Liriano, then try and re-sign him when he becomes a FA, because he is a #1 starter when he cam hold it together. However, I don't think that the Twins should just stop at resigning Liriano after the season. If Baker can show that he can remain healthy and be effective, they 1) should not accept his option and 2) resign him on a one-year deal kind of like Liriano's for this year to prove that he can stay healthy for a full season. If the Twins then went out and got a guy like Anibal or Jonathan Sanchez, they would have four fairly good starters and people would believe that they would have a chance at competing for the central and then plop in a WIP in the #5 hole, because you could afford to have a guy who they think will be a starter but hasn't quite put everything together yet (like a Liam Hendriks).

Therefore this is what I would have the Twins rotation look like next year:
1. Liriano
2. Diamond
3. Baker if healthy, FA pitcher if Baker isn't healthy; also could be a guy like Hendriks when he figures things out.
4. for sure a FA pitcher (not necessarily me saying the Twins should sign a #4 guy in the rotation)
5. guy like Hendriks/Deduno/DeVries/Walters who can be relied upon to make a start every five days, but not be more than a ceiling #4 guy

P.S. Yes, this is my way of saying that the Twins should keep Blackie in the Minors or trade him if possible, because he has not been able to keep his sinker around for a full season (not saying that that is even possible, but he should be more consistent that what he has shown the Twins the last few years if he wants to be a MLB Starter).

#29 DJSim22

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 02:50 PM

Whenever Paul Allen gives an opinion, bet the other side. The guy knows nothing about any sport other than the NFL and horse racing and his knowledge of those two are suspect. Banking on Baker, Gibson and Wimmers is foolish. I suspect its possible all 3 could be on innings counts. Do not take the option on Baker, offer a smaller contract with incentives. Elminiates alot of cash and risk. Signing a high profile pitcher is generally for a playoff push, not a rebuild, but the team needs a pitcher able to go 200+ innings and stabilize the rotation. I would atleast entertain the idea, although interest could be a whole other matter. Right now a rotation would come from: Diamond DeVries Walters Liriano- if signed Baker- if option is accepted or new signing Deduno Gibson Hendriks Duensing Not sure I see a 200+ inning guy in that list right now.

#30 glunn

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 03:00 PM

My theory and I stick to it is that a guy like Hamels is a better investment than 2 average guys at half the price. Think of it this way, if the Twins have Hamels, Diamond, Hendricks going into next year you have 3 solid pitchers (yes I am saying Hendricks is a solid pitcher). Add in that Baker or Liriano (hopefully both) will be kept going into next season and you only have one spot open. An ace like Hamels or Grienke makes any pitching staff look instantly better. Its really too bad Baker needed surgery, with him healthy this team could easily have 5+ more wins right now.


I agree, and would add that there were doubters when the White Sox signed Jake Peavy, but this year that decision is looking very smart. Also, if the Twins make the postseason next year or in 2014, an ace or two will be vital to having a good chance of advancing.