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Article: Let's Make A Deal, Part II: Payroll

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#1 Jeremy Nygaard

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 08:00 AM

As the Twins navigate a rough stretch while privately considering how to upgrade the team in advance of the trade deadline, we fans continue to publically look at all the options. Bullpen help? Give me a couple. Upgrade in the rotation? We’ll take that too.On Wednesday, a series was introduced that will look at this trade deadline, but from the perspective of next year’s Opening Day. While it wasn’t meant to be a projection - we know that the team is going to make many moves between now and then - it was meant to see how things would look if they didn’t.

Some brief conclusions: The lineup should be great. The bench could use some tweaks. The rotation has an engine, but no cars. The bullpen… well, there’s some work to do there.

While we looked at how the team could look next year, we neglected to consider a very important part: the financial aspect.

From here, we’ll start to narrow in on the deadline that is less than two weeks away: who could go, what teams could sell, what players the Twins could make a move on, and, finally, what I would do if I sat in the GM seat.

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In regard to payroll, we’re only going to consider the 25-man roster. The same 25-man roster that was presented on Wednesday will be used. (Yes, that means Magill and Duffey instead of Littell and HIldenberger, even though the latter seems to be a more realistic pair to be difference-makers in next year’s bullpen.) (Edit: Magill was DFA'd Thursday afternoon.)

Jake Odorizzi, Kyle Gibson, Michael Pineda, Jason Castro and Jonathan Schoop are all free agents, which removes $41,125,000, roughly one third of this season’s payroll.

Here’s what we know right now:

The Twins are likely, barring something unforeseen, to pick up DH Nelson Cruz’s $12m option. SP Martin Perez also has a team option and based on his innings projection, it will be increasing from $7.5m to $8m.

The only players guaranteed a certain amount for next year are UTIL Marwin Gonzalez ($9m), RF Max Kepler ($6.25m) and SS Jorge Polanco ($3.83m).

Going through arbitration will be 10 players. All of these figures are rough estimates. In their final years of arbitration are 1B C.J. Cron ($8.5m), RP Blake Parker ($2.7m), bSS Ehire Adrianza ($1.5m) and RP Trevor May ($1.6m), Entering their second-to-last round of arbitration are LF Eddie Rosario ($8.3m) and 3B Miguel Sano ($5.1m). CF Byron Buxton ($5.2m) and RP Taylor Rogers ($3.7m) all got a Super-2 bump last year but will have three more off-seasons of arbitration. SP Jose Berrios ($3.7m) and RP Tyler Duffey ($900k) will both receive their first arbitration raise.

C Mitch Garver, bOF Jake Cave, RP Ryne Harper and RP Matt Magill all will slot in above the minimum but haven’t reached arbitration yet, so we’ll use $750k as placeholders for them.

Rounding out the roster are players at or near the minimum. Though that figure hasn’t been released yet (it’s based on cost of living increase), we’ll use $570k as a placeholder. This will include 2B Luis Arraez, bC/3B Willians Astudillo, SP Devin Smeltzer, SP Lewis Thorpe, SP Sean Poppen and RP Fernando Romero.

Before you get hung up on any of those figures - they admittedly may be way too high or way too low on any individual - the point of this exercise was to get an idea of what payroll would look like on Opening Day. The math works out to $86,700,000. (EDIT: We'd need to replace Magill's $750K with either Hildenberger or Littell, but the bottom line wouldn't change more than a couple hundred thousand dollars.) Though we don’t know what the team would be comfortable spending, it would not be out of the question to see a payroll approaching $135 million. That would allow the team to spend nearly $50 million between now and next March.

The core of Rosario, Buxton, Rogers and Berrios will be even more expensive the following year, without the relief of over $40 million in expiring contracts. Cruz, Cron, Perez and Gonzalez figure to be the only pending free agents on a multi-million dollar deal.

It’s not a certainty that the Twins wouldn’t be willing to take on players with more than just one year left on their contract, but at this point in time, it’s obvious that the team - would have said publicly that they aren’t interested in rentals - would have payroll both this year and next year to add impact players.

Popular names on the trade market that have one more year of arbitration before free agency - think guys the Twins could easily take on from a payroll perspective without impacting their 2021 payroll - include starting pitchers Blue Jay Marcus Stroman, Diamondback Robbie Ray and Indian Trevor Bauer. Padres Kirby Yates and Robbie Erlin, Blue Jays Ken Giles and Aaron Sanchez, Diamondback Andrew Chafin, Gian Sam Dyson, Royals Ian Kennedy (expensive) and Jake Diekman, Tiger Shane Greene and Alex Colome of the White Sox are all relievers with one more year of control.

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#2 J_Dobs

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 08:22 AM

Man out of the list of starters you posted, I really only like Robby Ray. I mean I would love to have Bauer but no way the Indians throw away a race to us. I just don't believe Stroman is the guy, in his career he has not played well in Yankee stadium, and to be honest the road will more than likely go through them.

For relievers I think anyone in the list will help one way or another, I just want to get a closer of some sorts just so we can move Rodgers into the fireman role much like Andrew Miller.

Also I personally did not realize Rosario only has 2.5 years left with us, he is someone we need to lock up. He finds a way to impress me year after year.


#3 JW24

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 09:08 AM

I would be really surprised if the Twins do not extend Buxton this offseason. Considering the front office did not call him up last September, resulting in an extra year of team control (a move I was in favor of and got somewhat roasted on Twitter for supporting), offering Buxton an extension to buy out his remaining years of arbitration and then some should be a priority. Does an extension like Acuna's get the job done (8 years, $100M)? I suspect that is not enough, but I think Buxton deserves a big contract at this point.

 

I really like Rosario, but I don't think the Twins can extend everyone, and I think he is the odd man out at this point, given the OF depth the Twins have coming up through the minors. Kirilloff and Larnach should help offset Rosario's offensive production at a much lower price tag in coming years. I can't see the Twins trading Rosario this season, but another year in the minors for Kirilloff and Larnach might have them ready to take over next year when Rosario still has 1.5 years of control.

 

Really good write-up. The Twins front office has done, in my opinion, an awesome job creating flexibility in how they will spend moving forward. They have a lot of options, which is a good thing.

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#4 SwainZag

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 09:17 AM

 

Man out of the list of starters you posted, I really only like Robby Ray. I mean I would love to have Bauer but no way the Indians throw away a race to us. I just don't believe Stroman is the guy, in his career he has not played well in Yankee stadium, and to be honest the road will more than likely go through them.

For relievers I think anyone in the list will help one way or another, I just want to get a closer of some sorts just so we can move Rodgers into the fireman role much like Andrew Miller.

Also I personally did not realize Rosario only has 2.5 years left with us, he is someone we need to lock up. He finds a way to impress me year after year.

 

Looking for a guy who has been good at Yankee stadium because the road might go thru there is flawed IMO.While Stroman might not be an ace, he would certainly be an upgrade to the rotation.As much as I think all of us want an ace, I don't think the front office should be thinking "Ace or bust" and upgrades to the team should be considered.

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#5 spycake

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 09:22 AM

 

I just don't believe Stroman is the guy, in his career he has not played well in Yankee stadium, and to be honest the road will more than likely go through them.

I don't know how much stock I'd put in such small splits, but Stroman has actually done just fine vs the Yankees overall (4.23 ERA in 17 starts, versus a career ERA of 3.82). I guess you could look at his 6.13 ERA in 10 starts in Yankee Stadium as a problem, but it also suggests he's been pretty good against the Yankees at home. Unless it's the wild card game in NY, I suppose you could start him at home. (FWIW, his worst year vs the Yankees was also his worst year overall, 2018.)

 

Stroman has been solid in/vs. Boston and Houston too.

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#6 dbminn

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 09:27 AM

Good summary, Jeremy. The Twins will have plenty of salary room next year but it will get eaten pretty quick by two SP and a quality RP.

 

I think 2021 will have roughly the same contract value dropping from the books. Cruz, Gonzalez, Perez and Cron will all become FA. By my Fergus Falls math, those four contracts add up to just short of $40M.

 

While several arb-eligible players will take up some available money, the budget will already include slots for the 2 SP and RP noted above. They should have plenty of room to remain competitive.


#7 rdehring

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 09:36 AM

Excellent, Jeremy.Have been waiting for this and future articles.

 

I see some of those extra dollars used to extend all four of your 'core'.Yes, that includes Rosario, who I view and the heart and soul of this team.I also see Cron as more valuable to this team than most, thus, see him also being extended for a few years this off season.  

 

Don't see the Twins trading for a starting pitcher between now and July 31.Problem I see as who will be better than the five we are running out there.If they do, however, it is going to be someone who is younger who is guaranteed to be around for several years.If they do make that trade, do they then trade one of the current three who are going to be free agents?

 

I look for the Twins to do nothing regarding starting pitching before the deadline.Then look for them to extend one, or two, of Gibson, Odorizzi or Pineda in August.

 

The trade I do see them making is to get at least one dominant reliever.Could include several very good prospects for someone with a couple years on their contract.Or lessor prospects for a very good rental...like Smith.


#8 Jham

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 09:43 AM

I would be really surprised if the Twins do not extend Buxton this offseason. Considering the front office did not call him up last September, resulting in an extra year of team control (a move I was in favor of and got somewhat roasted on Twitter for supporting), offering Buxton an extension to buy out his remaining years of arbitration and then some should be a priority. Does an extension like Acuna's get the job done (8 years, $100M)? I suspect that is not enough, but I think Buxton deserves a big contract at this point.

I really like Rosario, but I don't think the Twins can extend everyone, and I think he is the odd man out at this point, given the OF depth the Twins have coming up through the minors. Kirilloff and Larnach should help offset Rosario's offensive production at a much lower price tag in coming years. I can't see the Twins trading Rosario this season, but another year in the minors for Kirilloff and Larnach might have them ready to take over next year when Rosario still has 1.5 years of control.

Really good write-up. The Twins front office has done, in my opinion, an awesome job creating flexibility in how they will spend moving forward. They have a lot of options, which is a good thing.


I actually somewhat disagree here. Mauer, Santana, and Hughes came off. That has nothing to do with the FO. Instead of extending Escobar, they traded him for 2 semi-prospects and signed a more expensive worse replacement in Marwin. (slight hindsight). Traded Presley who was also extended cheaply by his new team. Arguably, they cost the team money. JoPo and Kep are great contracts. But perhaps almost too good. If I'm Polanco I'm looking for the next contact already or asking for a trade to a team that will re-extend.

This year we have flexibility to add and somewhat squandered it. I suspect extensions and raises will eat up much of the money coming off the books. It is extremely doubtful in my opinion that we can field as strong a team next year as this year without overhauling the budget.

The model of aiming for windows has proven itself to be very risky and volatile. We have everyone reaching their prime production at the same time (great!) but also set to get expensive at the same time (not great). Replace 2 of Gibby, Pineda, and Odo with Smeltzer, Stewart, Thorpe, Gonsalves, or Romero and I do not think we're leading the division, and certainly not a threat in the playoffs. If they can make the right extensions and still add to this team, I'll change my mind, but they failed on extending Berrios, Rosario, and Buxton already at least once. They never offered Gibby, Pineda, or Odo, and they seem to be sticking to the old regime's antiquated policy of no negotiations in season. IMO, a Rosie, Gibby, or Odo extension would be an uplifting wind in the sails for this team and for their fans right now.

#9 SwainZag

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 10:00 AM

 

I actually somewhat disagree here. Mauer, Santana, and Hughes came off. That has nothing to do with the FO. Instead of extending Escobar, they traded him for 2 semi-prospects and signed a more expensive worse replacement in Marwin. (slight hindsight). Traded Presley who was also extended cheaply by his new team. Arguably, they cost the team money. JoPo and Kep are great contracts. But perhaps almost too good. If I'm Polanco I'm looking for the next contact already or asking for a trade to a team that will re-extend.

This year we have flexibility to add and somewhat squandered it. I suspect extensions and raises will eat up much of the money coming off the books. It is extremely doubtful in my opinion that we can field as strong a team next year as this year without overhauling the budget.

The model of aiming for windows has proven itself to be very risky and volatile. We have everyone reaching their prime production at the same time (great!) but also set to get expensive at the same time (not great). Replace 2 of Gibby, Pineda, and Odo with Smeltzer, Stewart, Thorpe, Gonsalves, or Romero and I do not think we're leading the division, and certainly not a threat in the playoffs. If they can make the right extensions and still add to this team, I'll change my mind, but they failed on extending Berrios, Rosario, and Buxton already at least once. They never offered Gibby, Pineda, or Odo, and they seem to be sticking to the old regime's antiquated policy of no negotiations in season. IMO, a Rosie, Gibby, or Odo extension would be an uplifting wind in the sails for this team and for their fans right now.

 

Polanco hasn't even started on his 6 year extension yet, and if you are him you are already looking for a trade to a team that will re-extend you 6+ years down the line?This makes zero sense.

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#10 JW24

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 10:01 AM

 

I actually somewhat disagree here.

 

Sorry, but I am not sure what you are disagreeing with. Is it the Rosario situation, or the payroll flexibility as a whole? I am happy to continue to discuss, I just want to make sure I understand what you are saying to make my opinions relevant.

 

For the record, I would love to see an Odorizzi extension. I think the Twins should look to extend Odorizzi, Pineda, and Gibson in that order, and Gibson needs to be at a very team friendly price. Thorpe could take his spot in the rotation next year and provide the same performance at a fraction of the price.


#11 SwainZag

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 10:10 AM

 

Sorry, but I am not sure what you are disagreeing with. Is it the Rosario situation, or the payroll flexibility as a whole? I am happy to continue to discuss, I just want to make sure I understand what you are saying to make my opinions relevant.

 

For the record, I would love to see an Odorizzi extension. I think the Twins should look to extend Odorizzi, Pineda, and Gibson in that order, and Gibson needs to be at a very team friendly price. Thorpe could take his spot in the rotation next year and provide the same performance at a fraction of the price.

 

I wouldn't mind at all if they gave Gibson a 3 year deal with a 4th year option.Statistically speaking, he is having the best year of his career.Pineda is only a year younger than Gibson, has always had trouble staying healthy and wouldn't surprise me one bit if he was headed towards a bullpen role later in his career.I think he would thrive in a set up type role....now the question is would he be willing to accept that role.

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#12 spycake

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 10:14 AM

 

Also I personally did not realize Rosario only has 2.5 years left with us, he is someone we need to lock up. He finds a way to impress me year after year.

Rosario is a solid player, but it looks like he is reaching a plateau as a 116 OPS+, 3.5 WAR type corner outfielder. Still plenty useful at arb prices for age 28-29, but I'd hesitate to extend for age 30+ without a significant discount.

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#13 JW24

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 10:36 AM

 

I wouldn't mind at all if they gave Gibson a 3 year deal with a 4th year option.Statistically speaking, he is having the best year of his career.Pineda is only a year younger than Gibson, has always had trouble staying healthy and wouldn't surprise me one bit if he was headed towards a bullpen role later in his career.I think he would thrive in a set up type role....now the question is would he be willing to accept that role.

 

When it comes to Gibson (or any player, for that matter), the question is, at what price? Gibby is having a respectable year, and for the right price I think the Twins would certainly extend him.

 

Pineda is starting to regain his velocity, and if he is able to get back to sitting mid-90s, I think he provides more upside over the same timeframe than Gibson does, at a comparable price I suspect. After this season, I would imagine Pineda will have a number of teams willing to offer him a starting role in their rotation next season, so I cannot see him signing with the Twins in a relief role.


#14 Rosterman

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 10:39 AM

The Twins need to make long-term decisions on Berrios and Rosario sooner rather than later, as well as Buxton and Sano. I'm less worried about the outfield and the chance of trading away, say, Rosario as there are prospects in the wings. If you keep the above core intact, you have prospects to tradde for sure. That is the BIG DECISION.

 

Payroll should go up. After some lax seasons with the Twins id the middle of the apck...well, 2019 could easily have broken $135 million and if the Twins don't totally tank, they will be a revenue machine this season. They should be able to start ushing the $150 million envelope. 

 

The whole 55% of revenue is always a joke. What are the costs of front office and minors and others that changes drastcially every season. Not much, if you generate $10 or $20 or $40 million of revenue. If you take in $250 million, you can pay a payroll of $125 million. If you take in $300 million, your operating costs don't icnrease that much...like $25 million...no. You should be able to increase payroll to $150 million easily. But $175 could also happen.

 

All the names you mntioned above could easily fill the roster in 2020. But who will be here in 2021, or better yet what will the 2022 Twins look like.

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#15 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 10:50 AM

You didn't mention Matt Boyd, but that's probably a top name for a rotation piece next year.

 

I'd argue that one or both of Gibson/Odorizzi should be potential QO/extension candidates... Pineda is slowly moving into that group too. 


#16 SwainZag

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 10:59 AM

 

When it comes to Gibson (or any player, for that matter), the question is, at what price? Gibby is having a respectable year, and for the right price I think the Twins would certainly extend him.

 

Pineda is starting to regain his velocity, and if he is able to get back to sitting mid-90s, I think he provides more upside over the same timeframe than Gibson does, at a comparable price I suspect. After this season, I would imagine Pineda will have a number of teams willing to offer him a starting role in their rotation next season, so I cannot see him signing with the Twins in a relief role.

 

While I agree with you Pineda probably has more upside, but he also provides a lot more risk.This will be his 9th year in the league and he has started more 20 games three times, with 2 more starts it will make 4.He hasn't exactly been durable.Pineda at his peak in 2011 was throwing his fastball an average of 95.4.In this years with the Yankees it was 94.7 and 94.1.Gibson this year is sitting at 93.9.There isn't a big difference in velocity at this point.

 

Like I said, and I doubt he takes that role, but he has good stuff, he would probably make for an above average setup arm, but we all know how valuable starters are, even the ones that routinely only go about 5 innings.

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#17 SwainZag

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 11:01 AM

 

The Twins need to make long-term decisions on Berrios and Rosario sooner rather than later, as well as Buxton and Sano. I'm less worried about the outfield and the chance of trading away, say, Rosario as there are prospects in the wings. If you keep the above core intact, you have prospects to tradde for sure. That is the BIG DECISION.

 

Payroll should go up. After some lax seasons with the Twins id the middle of the apck...well, 2019 could easily have broken $135 million and if the Twins don't totally tank, they will be a revenue machine this season. They should be able to start ushing the $150 million envelope. 

 

The whole 55% of revenue is always a joke. What are the costs of front office and minors and others that changes drastcially every season. Not much, if you generate $10 or $20 or $40 million of revenue. If you take in $250 million, you can pay a payroll of $125 million. If you take in $300 million, your operating costs don't icnrease that much...like $25 million...no. You should be able to increase payroll to $150 million easily. But $175 could also happen.

 

All the names you mntioned above could easily fill the roster in 2020. But who will be here in 2021, or better yet what will the 2022 Twins look like.

 

The decision on Berrios should already be made but now it's just how much is it going to take to get done.

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#18 Jham

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 11:40 AM

Sorry, but I am not sure what you are disagreeing with. Is it the Rosario situation, or the payroll flexibility as a whole? I am happy to continue to discuss, I just want to make sure I understand what you are saying to make my opinions relevant.

For the record, I would love to see an Odorizzi extension. I think the Twins should look to extend Odorizzi, Pineda, and Gibson in that order, and Gibson needs to be at a very team friendly price. Thorpe could take his spot in the rotation next year and provide the same performance at a fraction of the price.


I'm only disagreeing on the "great job" part. They inherited much of flexibility. Some of the other flexibility is their own inability to negotiate other extensions. Moreover, valuing flexibility over stability has it's own costs. Like stock piling prospects and shedding payroll, flexibility is only good if you use it. Historically this ownership group...

#19 Jham

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 11:44 AM

Polanco hasn't even started on his 6 year extension yet, and if you are him you are already looking for a trade to a team that will re-extend you 6+ years down the line? This makes zero sense.


Gloating over a lopsided deal makes zero sense either. The terms you described are exactly the terms that could leave Polanco very very frustrated. Think Berrios and Buxton, for instance, notice? My only point is that taking your best players isn't likely to help you much.

What do you do if you're Polanco or his agent?

#20 JW24

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 11:49 AM

 

I'm only disagreeing on the "great job" part. They inherited much of flexibility. Some of the other flexibility is their own inability to negotiate other extensions. Moreover, valuing flexibility over stability has it's own costs. Like stock piling prospects and shedding payroll, flexibility is only good if you use it. Historically this ownership group...

 

Thanks for the clarification.

 

The current FO has never had the type of flexibility they will have entering next offseason, and much of that has been created by their negotiating the past couple years and their refusal to offer long term deals to free agents.

 

The Pressly trade, in hindsight, was bad, but I think they did the right thing with Escobar in trading him for something rather than risking him leaving in the offseason for nothing.

 

The FO is working towards some expensive extensions for Buxton, Berrios, and others. Hopefully those extensions create some stability for a number of years.

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