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Minnesota and Big Contracts

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#1 goulik

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 04:30 PM

For more than 2 decades I have listened to Minnesota Twins fans complain that the Pohlads never give out big contracts. This is mostly but not necessarily 100% true. As a market that is not close to top 10 in the U.S., we, like most markets deal with the rise and fall of team salaries and our clubs are working within a more constrained budget than teams from Los Angeles, New York, Boston, or even Chicago. Now I'm not gonna be a Pohlad Pocket Protector, but there are times this team has handed out big contracts. Let's examine some truth in history:

 

In 1989, Kirby Puckett was being courted by the big market teams and everyone knew he was going to become the highest paid player in baseball. There were lots of rumors of the Yankees trying to sign him and everyone in Minnesota was anxious that we were about to lose our favorite player to the Evil Empire. Turns out that the biggest offer he got was from the Red Sox but Kirby took a home town discount and stayed here. He also became the first player in MLB history to make 3 million dollars a year.

https://www.nytimes....illion-man.html

 

Fast forward past all the losing of the 90's and nearly getting contracted. We lose Hunter to free agency and Johan Santana is demanding a trade,We are finally out of the Dome and immediately we offer up not one, but two big contracts starting with the MVP himself Justin Morneau and the much loved Michael Cuddyer. 

https://www.espn.com...tory?id=3214732

 

Two short years later, the home town hero is rumored to be a future Yankee. The hand wringing has started all over again and Minnesotan's are sweating. But before Mauer even gets to the open market and tests those waters, the 4th largest MLB contract ever at that point in History is:

https://bleacherrepo...sion-with-twins

 

Let the record show, the Pohlads are usually cheap, but not always. For more signing history, see also:

http://twinsdaily.co...s-history-r8447

and 

https://puckettspond...ee-agents-ever/

 

My end note: It was also cool when we brought home Dave Winfield

 

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#2 dex8425

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 04:46 PM

The problem with your argument is that none of those were open market FA signings. They were extensions, no? Not to mention that I'm too young to have seen Puckett, Molitor or Dave Winfield play in person. That was a long time ago. 

 

Even the small market teams occasionally dip into the top 10-12 in payroll a couple times each decade. Twins will be nowhere near that this year, even after 101 wins, and that is why everyone is complaining. 

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#3 goulik

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 05:47 PM

The problem with your argument is that none of those were open market FA signings. They were extensions, no? Not to mention that I'm too young to have seen Puckett, Molitor or Dave Winfield play in person. That was a long time ago. 
 
Even the small market teams occasionally dip into the top 10-12 in payroll a couple times each decade. Twins will be nowhere near that this year, even after 101 wins, and that is why everyone is complaining.


Yes, these all were resignings from home grown talent. I never said they were free agents but My point remains, the Twins have (Rarely) doled out large contracts. They happened during windows of opportunity Like most small markets do. As often as others? As often as they should? Probably not. For huge free agents? Nope! But it can be argued that its not just because of money.

Will the Twins spend big this time? Probably not. No one expects us to get Cole, Strasburg, or Rendon. But even if we got Bumgarner or Donaldson, they would not be the big, top line free agents and those that complain about the Pohlad pocket protectors could still make the same claims next year as they are this year. Just like they still did after Mauer and Morneau were signed. That’s just not a fully fair complaint and the whiners annoy me as much as the Pohlad pocket protectors.

#4 goulik

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 06:15 PM

FWIW, here’s a ranking of payrolls by year since 98. In 2010 we were 11th and in 11 we were 9th.

http://www.stevetheu...om/Payrolls.htm

10 teams have not cracked the top 10 in the last decade but we have...
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#5 dex8425

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 09:44 AM

Donaldson is definitely a big top line FA. He's won an MVP. No way the Twins will sign him as we will be outbid. 

 

I'd be thrilled if we signed Madbum but even he is the fourth best SP on the FA market this year. I wouldn't complain with Kuechel and Madbum as the SP signings but I can see why some people would. 

 

I'm afraid the Twins will end up with someone like Wade Miley or Rick Porcello and that's it, plus internal options at 1b. The team needs to be better for 2020, not worse.  

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#6 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 10:30 AM

 

FWIW, here’s a ranking of payrolls by year since 98. In 2010 we were 11th and in 11 we were 9th.

http://www.stevetheu...om/Payrolls.htm

10 teams have not cracked the top 10 in the last decade but we have...

 

I'm not sure the metric should be to crack the top 10 in payroll. That's probably not the best way to look at it.

 

The metric should be on whether or not they plugged their holes (starting pitching) with impact pitching. I don't care if they trade prospects and get cheap impact pitching. I'd prefer they spend money because I'd rather not gut the system to get it, but at the end of the day, if they have impact pitching and a bottom 20 payroll, I'm quite happy. 

 

The metric should be on how well they solve the problem, not how much they spent to do it. 

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#7 raindog

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 10:35 AM

The Pohlads are the 4th richest owners in MLB, and the 75th richest family in America.

 

Sources: https://moneyinc.com...s-in-the-world/

Sources: https://www.forbes.c...d/#3818177f5b07

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#8 bustedstuff88

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 10:53 AM

So the Twins will once every decade or so hand out a large contract to a homegrown talent....

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#9 gunnarthor

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 11:21 AM

The original post reads like an apology for the Pohlads. The Morneau and Cuddyer extensions happened after the voters gave them Target Field and, combined, only risked about 55m that wasn't already promised to those two players.

 

We have 25+ years of Pohlad ownership under three different GMs. Until they start showing that they can play in the big boy end of the free agency pool, we shouldn't pretend they can.

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#10 bighat

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 11:24 AM

 

 

I wouldn't complain with Kuechel and Madbum as the SP signings but I can see why some people would. 

 

Getting either of those guys feels like a pipe dream right about now.
 


 

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#11 DutchFarmer

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 11:29 AM

 

For more than 2 decades I have listened to Minnesota Twins fans complain that the Pohlads never give out big contracts. This is mostly but not necessarily 100% true. As a market that is not close to top 10 in the U.S., we, like most markets deal with the rise and fall of team salaries and our clubs are working within a more constrained budget than teams from Los Angeles, New York, Boston, or even Chicago. Now I'm not gonna be a Pohlad Pocket Protector, but there are times this team has handed out big contracts. Let's examine some truth in history:

 

In 1989, Kirby Puckett was being courted by the big market teams and everyone knew he was going to become the highest paid player in baseball. There were lots of rumors of the Yankees trying to sign him and everyone in Minnesota was anxious that we were about to lose our favorite player to the Evil Empire. Turns out that the biggest offer he got was from the Red Sox but Kirby took a home town discount and stayed here. He also became the first player in MLB history to make 3 million dollars a year.

https://www.nytimes....illion-man.html

 

Fast forward past all the losing of the 90's and nearly getting contracted. We lose Hunter to free agency and Johan Santana is demanding a trade,We are finally out of the Dome and immediately we offer up not one, but two big contracts starting with the MVP himself Justin Morneau and the much loved Michael Cuddyer. 

https://www.espn.com...tory?id=3214732

 

Two short years later, the home town hero is rumored to be a future Yankee. The hand wringing has started all over again and Minnesotan's are sweating. But before Mauer even gets to the open market and tests those waters, the 4th largest MLB contract ever at that point in History is:

https://bleacherrepo...sion-with-twins

 

Let the record show, the Pohlads are usually cheap, but not always. For more signing history, see also:

http://twinsdaily.co...s-history-r8447

and 

https://puckettspond...ee-agents-ever/

 

My end note: It was also cool when we brought home Dave Winfield

 

What's difficult about this subject, as a Twin's fan and resident of MN, is that the message in the leadup to the Twin's stadium funding debate was that a stadium would allow them to spend more. The general theory was that they could/would spend 50-52% of revenues on salaries. I don't have the data on hand at the moment, but if memory serves me correctly they have yet to come very close to that 52%. So while it can be accepted that we are a smaller market than the NYs or LAs of the league, it shouldn't stop us/them from spending quite a bit more than we are now, given that was the rationale behind public funding of the stadium. 


#12 Major League Ready

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 11:40 AM

 

I'm not sure the metric should be to crack the top 10 in payroll. That's probably not the best way to look at it.

 

The metric should be on whether or not they plugged their holes (starting pitching) with impact pitching. I don't care if they trade prospects and get cheap impact pitching. I'd prefer they spend money because I'd rather not gut the system to get it, but at the end of the day, if they have impact pitching and a bottom 20 payroll, I'm quite happy. 

 

The metric should be on how well they solve the problem, not how much they spent to do it. 

 

How do all of us determine our spending. By income, right. Why is it so hard for people to figure out that's what drives / enables the spending of major league teams?In 2018, the Twins were 22nd in revenue and 20th in spending. Revenue was up somewhat in 2019 so it is reasonable to expect an uptick in spending.

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#13 goulik

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 12:22 PM

 

What's difficult about this subject, as a Twin's fan and resident of MN, is that the message in the leadup to the Twin's stadium funding debate was that a stadium would allow them to spend more. The general theory was that they could/would spend 50-52% of revenues on salaries. I don't have the data on hand at the moment, but if memory serves me correctly they have yet to come very close to that 52%. So while it can be accepted that we are a smaller market than the NYs or LAs of the league, it shouldn't stop us/them from spending quite a bit more than we are now, given that was the rationale behind public funding of the stadium. 

Using the link I shared above, Check out where we ranked in spending before and after building the new stadium. There actually was a huge uptick in how much the pohlads spent. A lot of that spending went to Mauer and Morneau which is also why there was a lot of vitriol towards Mauer and his contract as a 1B instead of being a Catcher.

 

Again, I do not think the Pohlads have done as much as they should have at times and I definitely will be upset if they do not spend big on someone or even a couple someones this off season.

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#14 Mike Sixel

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 12:31 PM

How do all of us determine our spending. By income, right. Why is it so hard for people to figure out that's what drives / enables the spending of major league teams? In 2018, the Twins were 22nd in revenue and 20th in spending. Revenue was up somewhat in 2019 so it is reasonable to expect an uptick in spending.


Of course, they could occasionally choose to make less profit. They aren't obligated to, but fans aren't obligated to buy tickets to teams that value profit over winning either. It's a balance, that I think the owners have rarely sided on the side of spending more when the team was great. That's their right, of course, but they chose this business. If you judge success by winning playoff games, they are not so successful lately. If you judge it by profits, I'm sure they are plenty successful.
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#15 goulik

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 12:51 PM

 

Of course, they could occasionally choose to make less profit. They aren't obligated to, but fans aren't obligated to buy tickets to teams that value profit over winning either. It's a balance, that I think the owners have rarely sided on the side of spending more when the team was great. That's their right, of course, but they chose this business. If you judge success by winning playoff games, they are not so successful lately. If you judge it by profits, I'm sure they are plenty successful.

This is why I think they actually spent big on Puckett and Mauer. Both times it would have been REALLY bad for business to let them get away. Even worse than letting Hunter and so many others leave. It could be fairly argued that the only reason they spent big on those two contracts was for business reasons and not to try and win.

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#16 scottz

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 12:53 PM

I'm not sure I understand the point of the original post. The Pohlads have paid some money to baseball players since Carl took over in the 80s? Did I get the point? If so, well, that's a position I can get behind. They sure have paid some money to baseball players.

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#17 jkcarew

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 01:47 PM

I guess the argument, over time, would be where the Pohlads have ranked in payroll and other baseball-related expenditures vs where they've ranked in revenue. If I was an owner, regardless of my wealth, I'd aim for 'good' margins for all my businesses, based on how that specific business defines good. The question, IMO,...has this ownership consistently tried to squeeze more margin out of the business than the competition? Is it close or is it egregious? Would we likely be better off as fans with different owners? My sense is that the Pohlads have been average in this regard, and we wouldn't necessarily be better off with different owners. (But a thorough/objective analysis of the data could convince me otherwise.) 

 

In the meantime, I save 50% of my frustration for the baseball people that have let the organizational pitching situation get to where it is in the first place. Also, fwiw, I would think that...in a scenario like the Wheeler scenario...that if the FO felt strongly enough (and had the opportunity) to recommend that ownership pay an additional $20M over 5 years...that the Pohlads would have agreed. Pulling this stuff off isn't easy.

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#18 Major League Ready

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 02:21 PM

 

I guess the argument, over time, would be where the Pohlads have ranked in payroll and other baseball-related expenditures vs where they've ranked in revenue. If I was an owner, regardless of my wealth, I'd aim for 'good' margins for all my businesses, based on how that specific business defines good. The question, IMO,...has this ownership consistently tried to squeeze more margin out of the business than the competition? Is it close or is it egregious? Would we likely be better off as fans with different owners? My sense is that the Pohlads have been average in this regard, and we wouldn't necessarily be better off with different owners. (But a thorough/objective analysis of the data could convince me otherwise.) 

 

In the meantime, I save 50% of my frustration for the baseball people that have let the organizational pitching situation get to where it is in the first place. Also, fwiw, I would think that...in a scenario like the Wheeler scenario...that if the FO felt strongly enough (and had the opportunity) to recommend that ownership pay an additional $20M over 5 years...that the Pohlads would have agreed. Pulling this stuff off isn't easy.

 

I agree with the acquisition and development of pitchers but that's on the old regime. Is there really a point in belaboring what happened under the previous regime.

 

Where relative spending is concerned... In years past I could find Forbes earning projections going back several years. Apparently they delete that content now. Statistica has these estimates but I no longer have a Statistica account. I looked through several years of Forbes data about three years ago. Part of my interest was to get a handle on operating expenses so that I had a sense of what they could spend on players. I never compiled that information but I can tell you the Twins organization has probably been slightly under average in terms of net profit as a percentage of sales and in the bottom third on average in terms of profit dollars. You may have noticed that none of the people who proclaim the problem to be that the Pohlad’s are cheap ever back-up their accusation with facts or even estimates from credible sources.


#19 Major League Ready

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 02:28 PM

 

Of course, they could occasionally choose to make less profit. They aren't obligated to, but fans aren't obligated to buy tickets to teams that value profit over winning either. It's a balance, that I think the owners have rarely sided on the side of spending more when the team was great. That's their right, of course, but they chose this business. If you judge success by winning playoff games, they are not so successful lately. If you judge it by profits, I'm sure they are plenty successful.

 

I am pretty sure you have stated here that players should never be expected to take less than the max they can get no matter what. Owners should abide by a different standard. The Twins average a little under $30M/year in net profit if my memory is correct. I doubt $10M has a meaningful impact so what you are suggesting they would require they cut profits in half or more but players should never be expected to take anything less than max. Sounds like a very biased position to me. Should Ford take less profit so that I can get more options for the same price. 


#20 Mike Sixel

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 02:34 PM

 

I am pretty sure you have stated here that players should never be expected to take less than the max they can get no matter what. Owners should abide by a different standard. The Twins average a little under $30M/year in net profit if my memory is correct. I doubt $10M has a meaningful impact so what you are suggesting they would require they cut profits in half or more but players should never be expected to take anything less than max. Sounds like a very biased position to me. Should Ford take less profit so that I can get more options for the same price. 

 

Ford isn't in the baseball business. I was pretty clear, they probably do well in making profit, which is their right. They aren't doing so well in the winning business. 

 

I guess Ford could build cars that weren't as good, and try to make more money......

 

I'm not any more/less biased than other fans. I'd rather the team win more, than make more money. If a fan cares more that the owners make the money they "should", that's cool with me. But I have no rooting interest in the owners making money or not, but I do in winning and entertainment. I've been pretty clear, it is their right to choose to make more or less profit......I guess I don't understand why a fan would care how much that profit is, over caring how much the team wins....but I'm ok if there are fans that do.

 

It's not like they are losing money....it's not like if they started not making enough profit year over year they couldn't find a buyer and make large profits.....all I'm saying is that as a fan, I'd rather they win more, and make less money. 

 

Are people Ford fans, like they are Twins' fans? Do they keep buying bad Fords, because they are fans? Do Ford buyers care if Ford makes money, or if they make good cars?

 

Because I'm not an owner, I'm a fan. It would be irrational for me to care more about the owners making money than winning games, but then, all fandom is irrational. 

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