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Article: Money Matters

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#1 Jim Crikket

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 09:53 AM

You can view the page at http://twinsdaily.co...7-Money-Matters
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#2 chagen

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 10:20 AM

What amazes me is when you bring this topic up than you have apologists like Phil Mackey write a column saying why the Twins are limited in what they can spend.

Seth Stohs is kinda like this.

The truth is if they really wanted to win they could open up there checkbooks just like the Tigers and we could at least be a playoff team.

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 10:38 AM

Nicely done.

I think proof of your theory can be found in this: there are those on this very site who believe that when a extra $25M drops out of the sky in 2014 (from new national TV deals), the Twins can only put half of that money towards the on field product.

#4 Jim H

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 10:42 AM

The problem with this article is that while spending money should make it easier to be a contender, it sure doesn't guarantee it. Every year high spending teams with impressive looking rosters on paper, don't contend. The Mets seemingly forever, the Rod Sox the last couple years, Miami, the Dodgers, and many others. This is was the first year the Orioles contended much less made the playoffs, even though they nearly always have an impressive payroll. Certainly the last few years Tampa HAS contended while keeping their payroll down. Oakland managed to do that this year.

Whether the Twins should spend more money than they do is largely a matter of opinion. I won't join that discussion. It is true that the Twins spent more on payroll the last 2 years than they ever have and had 2 of their worst seasons, ever. In order to successful the Twins need to spend whatever money they choose to spend, wisely. They also need to be a bit luckier as regard to injuries. They need some of their young players to develop a bit quicker. It would really help if Hendriks is the real deal, if Gibson is completely recovered, and if Hermsen is a lot better than people seem to think.

Finally, it is too early to decide that the Twins won't spend money or do the things necessary to improve their roster. Wait till Feb. 1 and then write your negative article if you feel the need.

#5 Bill Parker

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 10:48 AM

The truth is if they really wanted to win they could open up there checkbooks just like the Tigers and we could at least be a playoff team.


No, they couldn't. That kind of thinking is how decent teams become the late-1990s Orioles and Dodgers. There's a time when opening up the checkbook makes good sense (the Tigers now, the Twins three years ago), and a time when it doesn't (the Twins now, the Tigers a decade ago). There's no amount of money they could throw at this to help things in 2013.

#6 gunnarthor

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 10:48 AM

Payroll matters a lot and it's one of the reasons I think Smith is no longer GM. That said, I do think Ryan is a good GM who can do good things with a cramped payroll. I don't want to blame the FO for what I assume to be ownership issues. It was nice to see Howard at the Strib bring this up last week.

#7 Jim Crikket

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:00 AM

The truth is if they really wanted to win they could open up there checkbooks just like the Tigers and we could at least be a playoff team.


No, they couldn't. That kind of thinking is how decent teams become the late-1990s Orioles and Dodgers. There's a time when opening up the checkbook makes good sense (the Tigers now, the Twins three years ago), and a time when it doesn't (the Twins now, the Tigers a decade ago). There's no amount of money they could throw at this to help things in 2013.


Bill, that's exactly the kind of brainwashing I was referring to. "No amount of money" could help in 2013? I'm sorry, but I don't believe that, even if that is what the Twins want you to believe. If they can convince fans that no amount of money would help, they're off the hook... they don't have to spend ANY money.

While Jim H is correct in that it takes wise decisions to build a contender and it wouldn't hurt to have a little luck, having additional money to work with DOES matter and if used wisely by Terry Ryan, this team could see major improvements in 2013. The Twins, as currently constituted, can score runs. They need better defense in the middle infield, but most of all they need pitching. There's no shortage of pitchers available both via trade and free agency (despite Ryan's contention that it's a 'thin' market). Investing in that pitching would make for a much better product on the field and would stem the dropping attendance, keeping revenues at higher levels necessary to maintain an acceptable level of competitiveness.
[COLOR=#0000cd]I opine about the Twins and Kernels regularly at[/COLOR][COLOR=#800000] Knuckleballsblog.com[/COLOR][COLOR=#0000cd] while my alter ego, SD Buhr covers the Kernels for [/COLOR][COLOR=#0000cd][COLOR=#800000]MetroSportsReport.com[/COLOR][/COLOR][COLOR=#0000cd].[/COLOR] [COLOR=#0000cd]
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#8 Rosterman

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:05 AM

It's a poker game. Too often, don't see the Twins being aggressive, yet they did manage to sign Doumit and extend him for a reasonable contract, and got Willingham for much less than Cuddyer. But sometimes they play "best offer" hardball too much and too late with their own players. It is a carpshoot. Let the Twins spend $100 million more on three top-of-the-line starters and a couple of bats for next year....would they still runaway with the division? Who knows. It's more a fan thin g "where is the money I spend going towards putting a winning team, not just an entertaining team, or a competitive team, on the field." I still don't understand this 50% of revenue thing (which more people take note of now with the additional money coming in for TV....half goes to payroll and half goes where -- get TV a motorized trike?). It is such a fickle business. You have to evaluate new talent, you have to know when to trade old talent for equal or best value, you can't hang onto vets too long and get absolutely nothing. Those are the areas I would question more with the Twins than actual $$$$'s spent, most of the time. Last season, I have nothing against what they got for Liriano. He did nothing for the Sox and if the Twins want him, are actually in a better position to resign him. They threw away money on Zumaya and Marquis. The Toshi thing was an embarrasment, the Japan team basically got the Twins to pay his salary now for the next few years with the fee the Twins played. We don't know offers the Twins may have actually fielded for Morneau and Span. Maybe better stuff will come this winter, or mid-season...but those decisions have to be made before......the stinkers of Pavano and Capps, two chips that wasted payroll space, a draft choice, and not even bringing back a bucket of balls, but who knew. Spending money doesn't always solve the problems, getting the right players do.
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#9 mike wants wins

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:10 AM

It is a straw man to say that money does not guarantee success. No one on the crikkets side is claiming that. What people are saying is that money increases your margin of error, and increases the likelihood of signing better players. No one is saying guarantee. No one. Does anyone doubt this team would probably be better if they spent 50 million more next year? Probably, not guaranteed.

#10 Winston Smith

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:23 AM

From the Strib back in August:
"A unit of Pohlad Companies, the business conglomerate that includes the Minnesota Twins, J.B. Hudson Jewelers and United Properties, Monday upped its stake in the Twin Cities luxury automobile market with the acquisition of Audi, Porsche and Mercedes dealerships.
Pohlad's Twin Cities Automotive (TCA) announced the purchase of Carousel Audi and Porsche in Golden Valley, and Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche in Maplewood."


The Twins are just one of the properties the Pohlads own and they treat it as such. It is about the money, they invest money to make money. The issue is that many owners treat their team as a hobby. Many, many owners only want to win at the game because they have already won at business. However, this is the same ownership that was willing to contract the Twins because it was the best "business" move at the time. That really has to tell us that they value money more than the Twins.
Two owners since 1961 and both were all about the money. Calvin because it was his sole source of income and the Pohlads because that is what they do, make money in any way they can weather it be jewerly, real estate, cars, popcorn or hot dogs.
No spending more money doesn't guarantee a better team but it certainly doesn't hurt your chances on the field, however, it may hurt the chances of buying that next car dealership.

#11 Jim Crikket

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:23 AM

Jeremy Guthrie just got $25 million over 3 years from the Royals. Getting pitching is going to be expensive, folks. It will take money. Obviously, nobody is knocking down Terry Ryan's door anxious to send good pitching to Minnesota in return for Denard Span.
[COLOR=#0000cd]I opine about the Twins and Kernels regularly at[/COLOR][COLOR=#800000] Knuckleballsblog.com[/COLOR][COLOR=#0000cd] while my alter ego, SD Buhr covers the Kernels for [/COLOR][COLOR=#0000cd][COLOR=#800000]MetroSportsReport.com[/COLOR][/COLOR][COLOR=#0000cd].[/COLOR] [COLOR=#0000cd]
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#12 chagen

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:29 AM

The truth is if they really wanted to win they could open up there checkbooks just like the Tigers and we could at least be a playoff team.


No, they couldn't. That kind of thinking is how decent teams become the late-1990s Orioles and Dodgers. There's a time when opening up the checkbook makes good sense (the Tigers now, the Twins three years ago), and a time when it doesn't (the Twins now, the Tigers a decade ago). There's no amount of money they could throw at this to help things in 2013.


Bill last time i checked the Yankees are in the playoffs every year. Now they don't win the world series every year but there in the hunt Money Matters!

#13 chagen

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:30 AM

Jeremy Guthrie just got $25 million over 3 years from the Royals. Getting pitching is going to be expensive, folks. It will take money. Obviously, nobody is knocking down Terry Ryan's door anxious to send good pitching to Minnesota in return for Denard Span.


If you want quality starting pitching via free agency you have to overspend
or you sit back do nothing and lose 90 plus games you decide

#14 nokomismod

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:35 AM

Jim, thank you for stating this point. To me it's very simple. If the Twins do not spend an additional $20-40 million per year on starting pitching starting in 2013, they will see their revenues drop by at least that amount. They have to make smart decisions, but they can't wait to develop this talent from within.

#15 Bill Parker

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:48 AM

Brainwashing, Jim? Please. I have nothing against the current front office, but I can't say I've ever seriously listened to anything they've said publicly.

It's just good baseball sense. Can you list some examples of teams that have lost ~200 games over the preceding two years, have tried to fix all their problems in the short term and with money, and have seen it go well? Because I can't think of any, but can think of quite a few counterexamples. When those teams get better, whether it takes one year or five, it's because they had young players develop and THEN, at a time when free agent adds could actually make a difference, have put up the money.

The Twins currently have exactly three big-league quality pitchers: one who is a #4 starter on a good team in Diamond, and a short reliever from either side in Perkins and Burton. So they need at least three quality starters and two bullpen arms to turn this team around. Say they outbid every other team (read: overpay) for Greinke and two of Sanchez, Dempster, Lohse, McCarthy, Saunders, Marcum, Lewis and Kuroda. That'd be probably something like $30 million (at a minimum) for 2013, plus huge outlays going forward. You've still got a crap bullpen to deal with, so throw another $8 million or so at that, probably with commitments for 2014 as well. You've put together a rotation that could be pretty good, if Diamond repeats and everybody stays healthy, and a bullpen that might be pretty good (but they're inherently fickle and the free agent market for relievers is almost always a losing play), along with an offense that was a little below average in 2012 and doesn't have a lot of room to grow, and has a ton of injury/collapse risk.

If it goes perfectly well, you may be spending something like $140 million next season on a team that's slightly above .500, which in the Central isn't too far from contention. If it doesn't, if one or more of the free agents is injured or suddenly gets old or Mauer, Span and/or Morneau are hurt again, not only have you thrown away a ton of money, but you've completely crippled the team going forward, for at least the next two years. At some point you do run out of payroll room, and spending a big chunk of it on a hope and prayer now makes a lot less sense than saving it to spend on a much better bet later.

I don't care what the front office says -- and if his public comments are to be believed, it sounds to me like Ryan is trying to sign some pitching, which would concern me -- the plainly right thing to do is to sell off every asset that's worth more now than it will be two years from now, wait until some of the prospects who might contribute to the next good team are really ready to do so, and then open up the pocketbook. Or, then, roast them if they don't. Spending significant money right now, as has been shown time and again throughout the history of free agency in baseball, is just not a winning proposition.

Edited by Bill Parker, 20 November 2012 - 12:11 PM.


#16 Bill Parker

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:52 AM

Bill last time i checked the Yankees are in the playoffs every year. Now they don't win the world series every year but there in the hunt Money Matters!


Really, you want to spend Yankees money? I'm not sure you could do that in one year and field a playoff team (Matt Kory tried on Baseball Prospectus a week or two ago and it was so-so), but I was trying to retain some semblance of realism here. And even the Yankees, most years (not so much in 2012), have some pre-free-agency homegrown talent that helps out, more of it than the Twins currently have.

#17 chagen

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 12:00 PM

Bill last time i checked the Yankees are in the playoffs every year. Now they don't win the world series every year but there in the hunt Money Matters!


Really, you want to spend Yankees money? I'm not sure you could do that in one year and field a playoff team (Matt Kory tried on Baseball Prospectus a week or two ago and it was so-so), but I was trying to retain some semblance of realism here. And even the Yankees, most years (not so much in 2012), have some pre-free-agency homegrown talent that helps out, more of it than the Twins currently have.


I was just making the point that payroll matters i didn't say i wanted to spend yankees money i'll try and dumb it down for you next time Bill!

#18 Bill Parker

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 12:03 PM

I was just making the point that payroll matters i didn't say i wanted to spend yankees money i'll try and dumb it down for you next time Bill!

Oh gee, would you? Thanks. This stuff is so hard for me.

You made the point in response to me pointing out (and see it in more detail in response to Jim above) that payroll really doesn't matter to this team, right now. But the insult is appreciated anyway!

#19 JB_Iowa

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 12:03 PM

Three things:

1. It is NOT "overspending" for free agent pitching if you pay the going rate for acquisition of a free agent pitcher. It is paying "market value".

2. I'm less hepped up on spending more and more hepped up on rebuilding. That being said, I am still looking for Terry Ryan to prove to me that he has the relationships with other GMs, the skills, and the guts to make successful and meaningful trades.

3. Regardless of whether it is "opening up the checkbook" and trying to buy a better team for 2013 OR whether it is making trades to acquire starting additional starting pitching prospects to go along with a pretty nice core of upcoming Twins prospects, I just want the front office to pick a course and stick with it. I want to see them make a commitment to excellence (whether that is in 2013 or because they build for 2015) -- not more of this mediocre middling and being content to have just enough gas in the tank to win the Central. And commitment to excellence means starting pitching that is at least "very good".

#20 Bill Parker

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 12:09 PM

1. It is NOT "overspending" for free agent pitching if you pay the going rate for acquisition of a free agent pitcher. It is paying "market value"


False. That's exactly the problem with trying to rebuild through free agency -- by definition, you're overpaying. If you land a free agent, you're paying more than all 29 other teams are willing to pay for that free agent. If that's "market value," something's really screwy with how you're defining the market.

See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winner's_curse

Math and stuff, but this is a pretty good read on bad teams signing free agents: http://www.baseballp...?articleid=9869

Totally agreed with your #3 (though the full-on rebuild is definitely the better course, IMO).

Edited by Bill Parker, 20 November 2012 - 12:14 PM.
Winner's curse link


#21 Kwak

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 12:12 PM

It is true that high payroll doesn't assure success. It is also true that teams do have a spending limit and the exaples of other teams cited is most likely also true. The difference is that the Twins ownership publicly announce that money won't be a hindrance but few other teams make that statement when they really do have a limitation. The premise for the publicly financed new stadium (Target Field) was that it would permit the Twins to re-sign the top players on the team. The implication was that the rest of the team could and would be retained to ensure the same level of competitiveness. The destruction of the 2010 team (in order to extend Mauer) was a clear indication that the original premise was false. The Twins didn't extend Mauer (with his increase) and keep the rest of the team.

#22 MikeBates

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 12:13 PM

Yes, payroll matters. Spending money matters. Teams that can spend more tend to be able to retain and acquire better players. That said, spending excessive amounts on free agent talent is a good way to ruin your chances for 2013-2017, and as Bill points out, the amount of money (or the quality of prospects) it would take to acquire the kind of talent it would take to make the Twins contenders is prohibitive and will cripple this team in future seasons.

To argue otherwise is ludicrously unrealistic unless you're counting on Liam Hendriks and Cole DeVries to take huge steps forward.

#23 Bill Parker

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 12:22 PM

The destruction of the 2010 team (in order to extend Mauer) was a clear indication that the original premise was false. The Twins didn't extend Mauer (with his increase) and keep the rest of the team.


Wait, what? They didn't destroy anything, or at least not for financial reasons. They traded Hardy, stupidly, but it was because they didn't like him, not because he was expensive. They brought Thome and Pavano back. They let Cuddyer and Kubel go when other teams were willing to pay them way, way more than they were worth, and brought back Willingham and Doumit, better players at better prices. The team was "destroyed" by injury, not financial decisions.

#24 Seth Stohs

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 12:40 PM

It's good to have another strong voice for Common Sense here on the site... thanks Bill Parker for stopping by today and sharing your wisdom... When I say stuff like that, it goes on deaf ears!!

#25 Nick Nelson

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 12:51 PM

There's no amount of money they could throw at this to help things in 2013.

This seems like a pretty ridiculous statement to me. Spending money and acquiring good players will certainly help things in 2013. Better players make the team better. Whether spending money will be enough to get them back into contention is another story, but in my view they're pretty close with two of the three units (I disagree the notion that this team has a "crap bullpen").

To be clear, the full-out rebuild that you recommend requires the Twins to:

A) Draft and develop quality pitching, something they haven't done recently.
B) Identify quality pitching prospects to acquire, something they haven't done recently.
C) Keep a quality offensive core intact, while Joe Mauer begins to age past his prime.

I think you're underestimating the challenges and risks involved with your plan. The Twins could easily tread water for years in the name of rebuilding and find themselves in the same spot three seasons down the line, only their best player will be 33 instead of 30.

I certainly don't think the Twins should be making moves that are completely aimed at short-term contention, but signing free agents pitchers to three-year deals when you've got almost nothing in the pipeline is hardly irresponsible.

#26 Boom Boom

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 01:01 PM

Does this issue come up as often with other teams' fans? We sure discuss payroll limits a lot as Twins fans.

#27 Twins Fan From Afar

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 01:14 PM

I commented on knuckleballsblog.com, and will repost it here:

Sort of branching off of your main point about it not being about the money when it really is, I have been thinking about the Twins’ failure to develop talent at certain positions. Over the past several years, we’ve been blessed (more or less) with the ability to field a competitive outfield without having to pay a guy $20 million a year to play center field. Kirby, Torii, Denard, and even Ben Revere have done well in that position and never completly broke the bank. In other words, we haven’t had to grossly overpay for outfielders. And it’s a trend that I think will continue with guys like Oswaldo Arcia, Aaron Hicks and (hopefully) Joe Benson.

But what do you do when you consistently cannot develop MLB average or above-average talent at a particular position? You have to pay market price, whatever that currently is, or you have to trade away prospects that you highly value in order to make up that deficit — if you want to be competitive, that is.

With the Twins, of course, it’s the inability to develop starting pitchers that is extremely problematic (and middle infielders, too, but to a somewhat lesser extent). It hurts as a Twins fan to think that we could have a cost-controlled outfield for the next few years, but that ownership is seemingly unwilling to “make up” for that financial surplus by investing some extra money in starting pitching.

Yes, we’re hardly into the offseason, and I hope that I’m wrong. But I am a little nervous that Joe Blanton is going to be our prized starting pitching pick-up this winter.
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#28 Nick Nelson

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 01:22 PM

But what do you do when you consistently cannot develop MLB average or above-average talent at a particular position? You have to pay market price, whatever that currently is, or you have to trade away prospects that you highly value in order to make up that deficit — if you want to be competitive, that is.

Well said. Too often, I see TR pointing to things like the waiver wire and the Rule 5 draft as if they're legitimate methods of acquiring impact players. Beyond that, he calls out guys like Florimon as if they're actual solutions. Who is he trying to kid? If you can't develop your own talent you need to buy external talent. Sometimes you do have to spend your way out of a hole rather than plugging your ears and pretending it doesn't exist.

#29 Riverbrian

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 01:25 PM

The Farm is the long term solution. I'd spend money on scouts and coaches. I'd make the minor leagues palaces of development.

As for 2013... We have a big need and money to spend. Lets see what happens.

This discussion goes so many ways on this site. We have some who say Joe Mauer is paid too much and people who say that we are too cheap.

I don't think we are cheap... Mauer and Morneau are examples of an organization that is willing to spend.

#30 mike wants wins

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 01:33 PM

When have they spent to fill that one hole? According to Hunter and Santana, and many fans, never. What good does not spending money this year do? Will they then spend that savings in a year or two? Of course not, " because spending on free agents is no way to build a team" apparently. Take out Mauer, is the payroll really that much more than the dome?