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Front Page: Twins' Payroll Analysis: Three Pitchers, $70M

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#1 John Bonnes

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 05:47 AM

It is rare that the offseason machinations of a billion-dollar team can be distilled down to a Twitter hashtag, but the headline says it all: #3Pitchers70Million. The Twins have a nearly empty starting rotation and, even by their modest standards, a lot of money to spend. This essay could end right now, and you would know enough to follow developments this offseason.But let’s give a little more. For a complete breakdown, make sure to grab a copy of the Twins Daily Offseason Handbook which you can pre-order today. There you’ll find names, amounts, contracts and details on the decisions that the Twins will likely make. Plus, you get a handy worksheet where you can figure out how you’re going to fit your dream rotation into the Twins starting staff. Honestly, just dreaming through that is worth the price of admission. But here’s a high level breakdown.

The Lineup - $50-55M committed
Essentially, the only decisions are whether to offer arbitration to C.J. Cron and whether to entice Jason Castro or another catcher back to the Twins. The rest of the decisions are no-brainers. Even without Cron and Castro, all of the positions are covered, provided you’re not trading anyone away for some pitching (and then maybe even if you are). The total cost of all those players will be about $50-55M.

The Rotation - $5M committed
Jake Odorizzi, Kyle Gibson, Michael Pineda and Martin Perez are all either free agents or likely to be, though there are some decisions the Twins need to make. Jose Berrios sticks around, gets a raise due to arbitration, and one spot at least is probably saved for a competition between Devin Smeltzer, Randy Dobnak and Lewis Thorpe. That leaves three spots to fill and $55-60M spent.

The Bullpen - $10M committed
The youth that filled up the Twins bullpen will likely fill it up, but they’ll need to decide whether to try and retain (and pay) Sergio Romo who will be a free agent. If you think they do, or need to add another big arm to the bullpen, you need to add to the committed payroll, but without that they are only spending $65-$70M and can fill all the slots on the 25-man roster.

Payroll Space - $60M - $75M available
Two years ago, the Twins had about $130M payroll for their Opening Day roster. Last year it shrunk down to $120M, reflecting decreased interest in ticket sales due to a disappointing 2018. This year, the opposite is true; anything less than $135M should be considered gross negligence.

That leaves about $70M to spend on three pitchers. Maybe that means signing a free agent, like Gerrit Cole, whose price tag will be $30-35M/year. Maybe that means trading for a veteran whose salary has become an albatross. (Could the Nationals be in teardown mode yet?) Or maybe that means acquiring a high-end pitcher by trading some top prospects (or even everyday players) and backfilling them with free agents.

The story of the offseason will be how the Twins attack their top three problems: pitching, pitching and pitching. They have a lot of work, but all the resources they should need to get the job done. It sounds crazy to say this as a Twins fan (and it probably is) but payroll really should not be a limitation.
 We’ll follow their progress (or lack therof) every day here at Twins Daily. If you would like to get a head start, preorder the Twins Daily Offseason Handbook.

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#2 BBAM

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 06:35 AM

They need to lock in Cruz for a few years too.But they can/should spend the most on pitching and be able to re-sign Buxton, Sano, Kepler, Garver and Rosario.  


#3 mdawg888

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 06:38 AM

 

They need to lock in Cruz for a few years too.But they can/should spend the most on pitching and be able to re-sign Buxton, Sano, Kepler, Garver and Rosario.  

Kepler received a 5 yr/$35M extension with club option in 2024...Loving that contract, along with Polanco's after this year. 

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#4 rdehring

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 06:57 AM

I expect there will be a few extensions to the lineup, John.Maybe add $10mm or so by locking up two of Buxton, Sano, or Rosario.  

 

But it sure should be interesting to see how they end up spending money for the rotation.I am hopeful that they bring in a very good left handed reliever.

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#5 IAMNFan

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 07:09 AM

Nothing needs to be done with Cruz.Has another year, and will probably gladly take another similar deal at the end of it if offered at his age.It's value may go down.

I'll be interested to see what they do in pitching.I'd dangle Rosario, but he alone probably won't fetch much more than a Gibson.Would adding Rooker move the needle?

Gerrit Cole would be awesome, but it will probably take closer to 40mil to get him to spend his summers in MN.

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#6 twinfan

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 07:18 AM

If the Twins really need pitching, then signing Cole would be a mistake as he would gobble up most of what we have to spend. I'd rather have 3, 15 game winners than one 18 game winner and 2, 8-10 game winners.They need to re-sign Odorizzi and Gibson and look at some mid-priced starters and relievers. The scouting is where we need to make the best decisions on which starters will work at Target field and win 15 games with the lineup we should have. I don't know if there is anyone in our minor league system that will help here and am not sold on a guy like Dobnick. Don't expect 300 homers again but maybe 240 or so and get fewer strikeouts though I think we reduced those this year.

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#7 Dome Dogg

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 07:25 AM

 

If the Twins really need pitching, then signing Cole would be a mistake as he would gobble up most of what we have to spend. I'd rather have 3, 15 game winners than one 18 game winner and 2, 8-10 game winners.They need to re-sign Odorizzi and Gibson and look at some mid-priced starters and relievers. The scouting is where we need to make the best decisions on which starters will work at Target field and win 15 games with the lineup we should have. I don't know if there is anyone in our minor league system that will help here and am not sold on a guy like Dobnick. Don't expect 300 homers again but maybe 240 or so and get fewer strikeouts though I think we reduced those this year.

Yes, this strategy has worked well with Lance Lynn, Phil Hughes, Mike Pelfrey, Kevin Corriea, Hector Santiago, Bartolo Colon, Anibal Sanchez, Martin Perez and more! 

 

The 20-game winner can start two games in the ALDS and three in the ALCS/WS. That's why its needed in my opinion. Having a bunch of middling starters and hoping for career years has not worked out for this organization, especially when it comes to winning in the playoffs. 

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#8 SomeGuy

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 07:38 AM

I don't think the National are going to tear it down (already offered a 7 year contract to Rendon) but it will be interesting to see what the Cubs, A's, and Rockies do.

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#9 KL1551

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 07:41 AM

 

They need to lock in Cruz for a few years too.But they can/should spend the most on pitching and be able to re-sign Buxton, Sano, Kepler, Garver and Rosario.  

 

They don't have to do anything with Garver for quite awhile. He's not even arbitration eligible until 2021. I love Nelson Cruz, but the fact is that he's going to be 40 next year. I think the year-to-year contracts are best with him. And they signed Kepler to a long extension last offseason.

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#10 KL1551

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 07:45 AM

 

If the Twins really need pitching, then signing Cole would be a mistake as he would gobble up most of what we have to spend. I'd rather have 3, 15 game winners than one 18 game winner and 2, 8-10 game winners.They need to re-sign Odorizzi and Gibson and look at some mid-priced starters and relievers. The scouting is where we need to make the best decisions on which starters will work at Target field and win 15 games with the lineup we should have. I don't know if there is anyone in our minor league system that will help here and am not sold on a guy like Dobnick. Don't expect 300 homers again but maybe 240 or so and get fewer strikeouts though I think we reduced those this year.

I strongly disagree with this. I do not want Kyle Gibson anywhere near this rotation next year. If you want to beat the Yankees and the Astros in a playoff series, you are going to have to sign a guy like Cole and maybe even another top-end pitcher.

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#11 FritzDahmus

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 08:01 AM

The goal should be to beat the Yankees. To beat them....you should probably act like them.

 

What do they usually do?? They never get rid of people [don't know exactly why....guess because they always make good decisions]. They develop and groom and make people fit in. Then they add expensive free agents to make all those marginal types look good.

 

So, keep everyone [including Gibson], and then sign the best available starter and the best available reliever.....and keep developing the players you have.

 

I think Syndergaard would be a good start...........

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#12 Yoke

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 08:12 AM

My plan would be to sign one high level starter and a strong RP, trade an OF for a starter, and re-sign Romo and Odorizzi.

 

That leaves the 5th starter spot open, and the OF spot that can be filled in-house.

 

You could talk me into signing two RP, too. You wouldn't have to try hard, either.

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#13 Captain Kirkus

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 08:22 AM

What is the return in a trading Eddie scenario? Do we get a 3 or 4 spot in the rotation? If yes, I would be temped because we have OF prospects near ready and flexible position players already on the roster for corner OF depth. 

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#14 Puckett34

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 08:36 AM

See the issue I think is the Twins front office offers what the pitcher is worth. Look no further than Darvish, Yu. They offered him what he was worth, maybe more now that there is two seasons under the belt of that contract.

 

With doing that and then getting mocked for "being in on" seemingly every big named free agent.Then coming up short is the Twins will need to overpay to get big names to come. For whatever reasons, payroll "restrictions" (which I don't think are much of a thing as they used to be), past culture (2016 and beyond excluded), weather, etc, is not landing the Twins the big fish.

 

I hope this can change in this off season

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#15 Puckett34

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 08:41 AM

 

What is the return in a trading Eddie scenario? Do we get a 3 or 4 spot in the rotation? If yes, I would be temped because we have OF prospects near ready and flexible position players already on the roster for corner OF depth. 

I do not think Eddie alone lands a #3-4. Pair him a top 5 prospect and a throw in, maybe.

 

I'm not so sure trading Eddie would be a answer either. When healthy, (big when) a outfield of Rosario-Buxton-Kepler is as good as any outfield in the league.

 

Having said all that, you gotta trade from depth to get a decent return. Gotta spend money to make money kind of thinking.

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#16 Rosterman

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 08:42 AM

Yes, the Twins can EASILY spend $135 million. EVen long-terming some players on contracts still means those players could be tradable as other assets arrive from the world of prospect land (i.e. Rosario, maybe Buxton, possibly Polanco).

 

In reality, with the lower payrolls of a couple of seasons and decent attendance, the Twins could puish closer to $150 million if not even $160 million. WInning games puts fans in the stands. Lastseason would've been dynamite if they had better weather at the beginning of the year.

 

There really isn't a lot of piching out there. Odorizzi will land a job somewhere on a multi-year contract. Pineda would be a good solid low-end pickup for 3/4s of a season. Gibson will basically be in a tryout stage no matter where he signs. All three could come back to the Twins, although what is the cap you would spend on Jake...3 years $45 million do it?

 

Needing just a back-up catcher. Maybe another bat> That's it for offense.

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#17 Dome Dogg

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 08:46 AM

 

What is the return in a trading Eddie scenario? Do we get a 3 or 4 spot in the rotation? If yes, I would be temped because we have OF prospects near ready and flexible position players already on the roster for corner OF depth. 

The only reason the Twins would trade Rosario is so they don't have to pay him what he's worth. 

"Kid, don't you think there's a problem when you get that excited over a seeing-eye single?"


#18 Mike Sixel

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 08:53 AM

What is the return in a trading Eddie scenario? Do we get a 3 or 4 spot in the rotation? If yes, I would be temped because we have OF prospects near ready and flexible position players already on the roster for corner OF depth.


The return is a minor league player. No non contender trades for a corner OF with two years if control left, and what contender trades starting pitching for an asset they can sign for a free million in free agency.

They have sixty million to spend. They can afford anyone they want to afford.
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It's been a fun year so far, GO Twins. 


#19 Mike Sixel

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 08:55 AM

The only reason the Twins would trade Rosario is so they don't have to pay him what he's worth.


He's a slightly below average corner outfielder. He's not worth what they have to pay him going forward.
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It's been a fun year so far, GO Twins. 


#20 Winston Smith

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Posted 09 October 2019 - 08:56 AM

$135? Wonder what the over/under would be in Vegas on that.

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