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The "Nobody Wants To Come Here" Theory

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#1 John Bonnes

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 08:24 AM

Where does the "Twins Must Overpay" theory (or myth) come from?

I've seen this referenced in a few threads and from (I think) different people, so I thought I'd dedicate one thread to talk about it. Usually, in the middle of a thread, I hear something like "No way this guy gets signed because not only would the Twins need to pay for a guy, they would need to pay a lot MORE for the guy." I'm always baffled by it, but I'm willing to listen. I have a few questions for those that espouse it:

1. Since when does anyone need to overpay for a guy in MLB?
This isn't the NBA. In the NBA, where there are individual salary caps, players are far more likely to take other things - like how competitive the team is or the weather or whatever - into account, because there isn't more money. But in MLB, that cap doesn't exist. In fact, usually, the biggest criticism about free agents is just the opposite - that all they care about is the money.

2. Since when are the Twins so unappealing?

This is especially true for pitchers. The Twins are generally know, at least under Ryan, as being a well-run organization. Gardy is known as a players manager. The ballpark is a dream for pitchers, especially those looking to regain some market value. They've sucked the last two years, but if everyone was chasing a ring, the only team everyone would sign with is the Yankees. (Again, usually the criticism is just the opposite - that players don't care enough about winning.) I think if you go down the list of all 29 other teams, you're going to find the Twins somewhere with the mass of other teams.

3. Is someone leading the charge on this?
Is there someone in the media espousing this? I'm just wondering because I have no idea where this idea is coming from. I'm just curious. It is such a consistent comment that I assume someone is saying this on the radio or something. I was just wondering if anyone is hearing this talked or written about somewhere.

#2 Tcrose3636

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 08:40 AM

I have also been seeing the weather. To me, this isn't a factor either since the summers are nice and the majority of the players live south for the winters in the off-season anyway.

#3 Shane Wahl

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 08:46 AM

I am sure there is a spectrum involved here. On one end there are players who would never come to the Twins on one end (and I wouldn't be surprised if weather WAS a factor for those people--like D-Howard in basketball) and the Jim Thomes, Josh Willinghams and Ryan Doumits on the other end (guys who like playing for the Twins and would rather have the security of playing for them for some time as opposed to trying for more money on the open market). And there are likely those guys who are in the twilight of their careers and want to compete for a championship NOW. Other than that, I suspect that most players are dead in between and that this "won't come here" stuff is very much overblown.

#4 Rick Blaine

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 08:55 AM

"[COLOR=#333333] but if everyone was chasing a ring, the only team everyone would sign with is the Yankees." The perception is there a maybe a half dozen teams with no or little chance of competing for a playoff spot. Right now the Twins are one of those. So if a player wants a perceived chance for a ring--- they would not consider the Twins, regardless of the team atmosphrere, the stadium, the manager etc. So--- to get players to consider coming here, the Twins need to try to improve their odds --and what's left to do is to offer more money.[/COLOR]

#5 nicksaviking

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 08:59 AM

There will always be players who say they want to play on the west coast or in the national league, but other than those few players, the only reason players wont come here we can't complain about. Those reasons are because a player wants to sign with a contender or the Twins wont offer the same amount of years.

#6 kab21

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 09:10 AM

For the most part players follow the money. Willingham came here because the Twins offered the most money/years. A guy like Haren/Marcum will come here if the Twins are the high bidder or first to meet his demands.

#7 Top Gun

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 09:20 AM

It' all about the money and the Twins are cheap.

#8 old nurse

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 09:23 AM

If the money is similar I would think the player then decides based on environment of the club (winning, coaching, location). A lot more money and you will hear the player talk about how they are going to help turn a franchise around. A discount to play somewhere is rare. That would be a player losing value, happy to have a contract, and trying to save face.

#9 Rosterman

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 10:06 AM

I am one that marvels when people say "sign so-and-so." My attitude, right now, coming off two losing seasons, is why the Twins would be a priority team to look at for signing. Two years ago, it was different. But now the Twins have two losing seasons.

This is compounded by the fact that Minnesota is a decent market, you can be a mini-star and get some promotional money, there really are few attitudes on the squad, and for some reason they paid Joe Mauer a ton of money and -- to my understanding -- Joe probably wouldn't have signed if the team wasn't going to be competitive.

If you look at the factors for the team collapse the last two seasons, in 2011 it was a number of injuries. The team did manage to climb near .500 and contention for a moment. There was some spark. In 2012, the rotation of Baker (14-18), Pavano (14-18), Blackburn (12-15), Liriano (14-20) and Marquis (10-14) looked like it would be more than adequate for the dvision. In hindsight, the hitting was there although the runners didn't score often enough, and the bullpen was strong.

By why come to the Twins. Upper level free agents want to be with a competitive team. Not everyone can play for the Yankees, they only have so much money and so many open spots. Last year, we supposedly lost (also because of money) because Nathan and Cuddyer saw either prospects in their new team choices. For some reason, Willingham went with the Twins. They gave him that third year, a competitive salary, and it seems the only other teams looking at him were in the same mix as the Twins.

I am not sure what players look for, when given the ability to choose, the team they will play for. It is the first or second time they actually get to choose stadium, organization, part of the country and combine that with salary. Yet they can also choose and be traded away (both Cuddyer and Kubel are tradebait, I hear.....what keeps a Willingham from signing with Minnesota and ending up in Kansas City or Pittsburgh).

And why do I disparage Kansas City or Pittsburgh or Houston. If nothing else, signin with those teams AND the Twins probably means you will get a chance to shine and play. Any of those teams would be perfect for a Liriano or Young or even a Baker looking to be in a comfortable playing environment and seeking a bigger contract come 2014.

Sometimes, though, a starter has to question going to a lesser team. Will runs be scored for them. A 4.00 ERA on a contending team is better than a 4.00 ERA on a losing team. And how many pitchers like to end a season 5-12 or something of the ilk.

The bigger problem the Twins face is that they have little incentive to lowball pitchers, except for the fact that they can offer innings, than other teams. They might have to pay a bit more than or be creative, even to retain Scott Baker, for example.

John, would you sign with the Twins, today, right now, as a top tier player in baseball? If you were 29 and looking at a nice 3-4 year contract, would you seek out the Twins? If you were 35 with some energy and spark, would you commit to the Twins for 2 years if they offered. I think you'd look at every other opportunity available, first.

Yes, the Twins CAN spend and get a rotation and an infielder and maybe a bench. It can happen in one fell swoop. Then all you have to hope is that no one pulls up lame and the other teams in the division stay the same or get weaker.

But right now, in the FREE AGENT market, I think the Twins are callers only. I see few agents ringing their phones for an offer for their client or players looking out on their backyards and saying "I wonder what it would be like to play for the Minnesota Twins."
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#10 Kwak

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 10:11 AM

I am one of those who made the comment ..." would have to pay MORE..." . Free agents are savvy, and have the confidence earned from the experience of success. These men are adults--careers don't last forever--they must "look out for #1" and decide how best to meet their personal goals. Each man has his personal agenda, and money and winning are going to rank very high on their personal priority list. Face it, the Twins are not one of the premier franchises, Minneapolis has a boring cache`, and the Twins are known to be penny-pinchers. True, the Twins can and have paid well for a few players, but when it comes time to reach for the stars--they don't. Any FA who signs with the Twins this year will be well aware that the Twins aren't going to the world series any time soon and that man will require additional payment to compensate for the lack of winning as well as being in Minnesota.

#11 Paul Pleiss

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 10:48 AM

I don't know if people want to or don't want to come to Minnesota to play baseball, but money talks. I do know, however, that most people I've met across the nation, except those from the Mid-West area have little to no interest in moving up to Minnesota to take in the seasonal beauty that exists in MN. But, money talks, and have a solid organization. Might be more difficult to sign some of your aging stars looking to chase a ring as the Twins dont look to be hyper competetive the nexy couple seasons, but if the Twins offer them good money, players will sign.

#12 jm3319

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 10:57 AM

hmm let's see. For example: $8million/year to play on a team that's consistently in the playoffs, or $8mill/year to be on a 90+ loss team the last two years, everything else being equal? Pretty obvious choice if the players care about winning.Thus, the crappy team needs to overpay to attract players because they can't use winning as a reason to attract the player looking for a ring.

#13 Brandon

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 11:55 AM

The Twins are only a few pieces away from being a contender again. We already aquired a solid bullpen arm and will likely be able to get atleast one more for next season. If the Twins were able to sign Scott Baker and trade Span for a solid starting pitcher then We are real close to being ready to be competetive. So the arguement about a free agent wanting to be in a competetive environment will not hold at that point. We would be highly competetive with the addition of 1 more above average pitcher. Hopefully Terry Ryan strikes fast in these areas so we can be more attractive to FA pitchers.

#14 YourHouseIsMyHouse

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 12:00 PM

The team that offers the most money seems to usually get the player. Sometimes you have to be safe to be sure you get the guy you want. Since when have the Twins ever been an appealing team to free agents? Minnesota has never been a team that gets many and Willingham was the highest paid free agent they have ever signed. Free agents have a list of things that attract them to a team. "Competitive" and "Weather" are two important things this destination doesn't have.

#15 old nurse

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 12:48 PM

The Twins pre Target Field never went after the high end free agent. There was not the revenue. I don't really think anyone really knows if Ryan can attract a top free agent. Buerle at 4/58 was deemed by most sites as overpaying. Within the budget set forth last year Ryan did not have a lot of room to maneuver. A trade for a good pitcher would help in signing a free agent. That they did not trade Willingham or Doumit at the trade deadline would at least show commitment to those you sign. Extending Doumit may help sign the player to a one year contract as performance was rewarded. The negativity towards Ryan signing a free agent is baseless.

#16 greengoblinrulz

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 01:10 PM

Its 100% the teams record right now, but also that MN would have to 'just normally pay' a star & they wont do this. They dont have to overpay, but just match what the market value is & they wont/havent dont that.

#17 Bark's Lounge

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 01:31 PM

If the Theory that "Free Agents will not sign with the Twins because of the Twin Cities weather" is correct, I may have a solution - an Artificial Biosphere (aka Bio-Dome).

It might be somewhat ironic as most Twins fans fought to escape a domed environment in the 1990's and early 2000's, but obviously, a Bio-Dome built over the Twin Cities will be quite different than a domed stadium. It might cost Minnesota Citizens a pretty penny - but what the hell, in the name of scientific/technological progress - I'm on board, but only if Pauly Shore and Stephen Baldwin are permanently banned from the Twin Cities.

#18 Curt

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 01:49 PM

The bigger question is "why the heck did my Scandinavian ancestors settle here?"

#19 Thrylos

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 01:54 PM

I think that the Twins are appealing to some free agents and unappealing to others for a variety of reasons. As a free agent someone has to decide whether he and his family can enjoy living in a place. The Twin Cities is a great place if you have a family or are from the Midwest. On the other hand, if you are a single Latino (or Japanese or Australian) guy, Miami or LA looks better. Different strokes for different folks. But I do not see a mass appealing or unappealing. NYC is unappealing to some. That's fine. On the other hand, do players want to be part of a championship team? Yes. Do players want to get paid as much as they can? Yes. Those 2 things might be factors.
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#20 minn55441

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 02:12 PM

It's money. Pure and simple. We can talk about weather, stadium chance of making the series and all of the other garbage, but in the end it is who makes the best offer. Not every player gets an offer from 30 teams. In fact I would guess that most FA's get legitimate offers from only 4 or 5 clubs. They don't get to pick between all of the major league cities, only those locations that have teams that want to pay the price. Do you really think Prince wanted to play in Detroit above all other locations? Do you think Yoenis Cespedes wanted to move to Oakland for 4 years?

In both cases they made the best offer. I think we were all surprised by it, I know I was in both cases. There will always be the Greinke's that may place a larger importance on other factors but I think we will find in the end, if Terry Ryan offers the most money to a pitcher this off season, he will be pitching for the Twins next season. It remains to be seen if in fact TR is the biggest spender in any negotiation.

#21 jorgenswest

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 02:17 PM

In their current condition, the Twins can be an appealing place for marginal players to come and get a chance to play.

How many places could Doumit and Carroll have gone last year and get as much playing time. I don't think anyone else was offering at starting SS opportunity. Doumit needed to go somewhere to DH. No one would want his defense as a primary catcher. Minnesota was a good fit.

How many teams do you think offered Willingham the third year? With his injury history and poor defense, it is hard to project that he would be a plus LF for three years. In this case, the Twins may have "overpaid" in years.

Free agent pitchers will see an opportunity in Minnesota to get plenty of opportunities to start. There is an opportunity to sign a guy like Bedard looking to turn around a career to a one year deal.

How do the sign a guy like Sanchez who can join almost any rotation? Why would he choose the Twins if the money is the same? I don't think anyone can objectively state that the Minnesota outlook for 2013, their defense, their coaching staff, their medical staff or local endorsement opportunities will trump other offers. The only way is to stand out is to offer more money or an additional year. Basic market dynamics.

#22 TheLeviathan

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 03:31 PM

No FA offers that are willing to overpay or match + terrible team = not an attractive destination.

#23 old nurse

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 06:20 PM

The bigger question is "why the heck did my Scandinavian ancestors settle here?"


Because it was warmer here.

#24 Ultima Ratio

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 12:04 AM

This sentiment is around because people generally loath themselves.
Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains.

#25 johnnydakota

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 12:14 AM

The Twins are only a few pieces away from being a contender again. We already aquired a solid bullpen arm and will likely be able to get atleast one more for next season. If the Twins were able to sign Scott Baker and trade Span for a solid starting pitcher then We are real close to being ready to be competetive. So the arguement about a free agent wanting to be in a competetive environment will not hold at that point. We would be highly competetive with the addition of 1 more above average pitcher. Hopefully Terry Ryan strikes fast in these areas so we can be more attractive to FA pitchers.

and what color is the sky in your world?, even if the 1 player away was babe ruth and he pitched every 4th day , we still have too many holes..and which quality reliever did we aquire?

#26 old nurse

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 12:33 AM

The Twins are only a few pieces away from being a contender again. We already aquired a solid bullpen arm and will likely be able to get atleast one more for next season. If the Twins were able to sign Scott Baker and trade Span for a solid starting pitcher then We are real close to being ready to be competetive. So the arguement about a free agent wanting to be in a competetive environment will not hold at that point. We would be highly competetive with the addition of 1 more above average pitcher. Hopefully Terry Ryan strikes fast in these areas so we can be more attractive to FA pitchers.

and what color is the sky in your world?, even if the 1 player away was babe ruth and he pitched every 4th day , we still have too many holes..and which quality reliever did we aquire?


A few pieces is not one. Reread if you have the ability to the comment about resigning Baker and trading for a pitcher. In case you can't figure it out, Brandon thinks Roeneke is a quality pitcher. A slightly positive WAR makes him better than half the pitchers the Twins threw out there for the 4-5 man out of the bullpen.

#27 johnnydakota

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 02:55 AM

[quote name='old nurse'][quote name='johnnydakota'][quote name='Brandon']The Twins are only a few pieces away from being a contender again. We already aquired a solid bullpen arm and will likely be able to get atleast one more for next season. If the Twins were able to sign Scott Baker and trade Span for a solid starting pitcher then We are real close to being ready to be competetive. So the arguement about a free agent wanting to be in a competetive environment will not hold at that point. We would be highly competetive with the addition of 1 more above average pitcher. Hopefully Terry Ryan strikes fast in these areas so we can be more attractive to FA pitchers.[/QUOTE]
and what color is the sky in your world?, even if the 1 player away was babe ruth and he pitched every 4th day , we still have too many holes..and which quality reliever did we aquire?[/QUOTE]

A few pieces is not one. Reread if you have the ability to the comment about resigning Baker and trading for a pitcher. In case you can't figure it out, Brandon thinks Roeneke is a quality pitcher. A slightly positive WAR makes him better than half the pitchers the Twins threw out there for the 4-5 man out of the bullpen.[/QUOTE]
sign baker trade for a starter and with the addition of 1 more above average pitcher....this is the 1 pitcher i was speaking of ,as for roenicke,
me thinks his whip will catch up to him sooner then later...

Edited by johnnydakota, 05 November 2012 - 03:09 AM.


#28 johnnydakota

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 03:35 AM

about the only free agents who truely wanted to come here are home town boys wanting to play closer to home before they retire...or retreads who want a chance to show they are ready for prime time not twinkie-time

#29 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 06:28 AM

I don't buy the "no one wants to come here" argument. Yes, if the Twins offered the same amount of money as NY, the player would go to NY. I doubt that's up for debate. 2 years ago, if the Twins offered the same amount of money as any other team, the player would have chosen the Twins over most teams in the league... but the key is "the same amount of money". Very rarely do you hear of players taking a pay cut (like Cliff Lee did a few years back) to go to a city because that's where he wanted to be. It happens, but it happens rarely. Most players will take the extra cash (especially given their short careers), so if MN is offering 12M and NY is offering 11, they'll take the extra mil. That happens all the time. Look at the Yankees. They don't lock up the stars simply because all the stars want to play there and take pay cuts to do so. They lock them up because they offer the most cash.

The bottom line is that if you want a guy, you have to be the highest bidder.

#30 Fire Dan Gladden

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 10:05 AM

I have no clue where the "Nobody wants to come to MN" schtick comes from. Sounds like a Reusse bit.

If this was the NBA, then yes I would put some stock in that argument. In baseball, there are relatively less big dollar contracts to go around (again, relatively), so they usually aren't as picky. Younger players tend to follow the money (to stabilize their future). For older players, money can be lesser of a motivator. It could be family (Thome, Oswalt), location (Petitte, Grienke) or just the need to play somewhere (Giambi, Moyer).

Bottom line is for every FA, you work to determine their needs and wants, make your best offer, and negotiate. The Twins have a strong history of being a player-friendly environment. High priced FA don't come here because the Twins don't chase them to the extent other teams do. The are fairly agressive on the 2nd and 3rd tier FA, and that is what you see. They also don't throw big, long term, money at pitching, as the risk tends to be too high.