Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.

Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

Photo

Article: Money Matters

  • Please log in to reply
90 replies to this topic

#41 mike wants wins

mike wants wins

    Would Like to be More Positive

  • Members
  • 7,437 posts

Posted 20 November 2012 - 02:34 PM

If you have 1 starting pitcher, 1, you need to spend money.....should I point out how the Phillies got better before your examples? There are anecdotes both ways, the question is, which way is more likely to produce a winning team given the position they are in now? And cost cutting does not help them long term, because they do not reinvest those savings later.

#42 Guest_USAFChief_*

Guest_USAFChief_*
  • Guests

Posted 20 November 2012 - 02:39 PM

And how will they have pitching in2015 if they do not sign free agents then? What are the odds they have hitters as good as morneau and Willingham and span? Or that Mauer is still great?


Haha, I give up. I'm just going to repeat my request from the message to Jim above: please find me examples of teams that lost around 100 games two years in a row, then spent a bunch of money, and it ended up as anything but a disaster for the team. Even just one example would really be something.



FInd me examples of teams with clearly defined needs, and no relief in sight, that sat around and did nothing but hope, that magically became WS contenders.

Find me examples of periods where the Twins saved payroll space, put it in the bank, and then spent it a few years later to fix holes on later teams.

You spend one page arguing that signing free agents is stupid, and then turn around and tell us the Twins should (and will) sign free agents in a couple years when a minor league system with few potential impact players magically turns their every day lineup into a serious contender. If signing FAs is inherently stupid, why will it be a good idea a couple years from now?

There is room to improve the team now, and still hope to improve the team later. Even IF this optomistic rebirth occurs in some unspecified year, there isn't enough pitching in the minor leagues to fill out a competitive staff. Nothing says you can't start assembling that staff now.

#43 Kwak

Kwak

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 1,563 posts

Posted 20 November 2012 - 02:45 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.


But payroll wasn't a problem? Overpaid? Denver is a losing team that has neither rudder nor engine. Cuddyer was very well received by COL. Kubel definitely helped AZ and appears to me he earned every dollar he was paid. What? Are you implying the Twins couldn't afford Willingham and one of these guys? The Nathan/Capps two-headed closer? Nathan was injured and Gardenhire requires a defined closer--the Twins were stuck with two salaries to play one position rather than an attempt to have an elite bullpen to win more games. True, injuries did hurt the Twins badly--and those guys are being removed one-by-one from the active roster as their contract expires--and replaced by low salaried players. I can live with a rebuilding team--one that admits to it as they do it. I don't appreciate the facade of "we'll be competitive next year after we..."--when that isn't the plan. We were informed early on that Ryan believed there wasn't much in pitching free-agency, so there is no need to be coy about being competitive in 2013.

#44 JB_Iowa

JB_Iowa

    Ready For Baseball

  • Members
  • 4,378 posts
  • LocationNorthwest Iowa

Posted 20 November 2012 - 02:59 PM

It seems to me that there is a common consensus that the Twins need to acquire significantly better starting pitching than they have had for a number of years. I think there is also a general consensus that, although the Twins farm system has generally improved, the starting pitching prospects in the minors aren't optimal even allowing several years for development.

What should make every Twins fan concerned (if not hopping mad) is that we have yet to see a willingness by this team to spend ANY ASSETS to acquire the pitching they need. Assets are assets. Whether they are existing players, prospects or cash. Some are more valuable than others and some have more potential than others but they are all assets (basically with an assignable dollar value if you are all astute enough to do that).

We're getting caught up in how many cash assets should be spent for next year. The real question, for me, is whether the Twins are willing to spend ANY assets to acquire better starting pitching or whether they are just going to keep looking in the bargain bins.

#45 Jim Crikket

Jim Crikket

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 1,134 posts

Posted 20 November 2012 - 03:25 PM

I mean, let's be honest here, guys -- the 'we don't spend enough money' meme is starting to sound like a broken record, getting repeated over and over again even when it's not deserved. The Twins were in the upper half of baseball in payroll in 2012, and half the teams in the playoffs spent less money than they did. The Twins were in the top 10 in payroll in 2011, and over half the teams in the post-season spent less money, including the division-winning Tigers.


I see... so since the Twins ponied up $23 mil a year for Mauer, the front office is off the hook and any criticism is unwarranted because his salary alone moves them in to the mid-range of MLB payrolls. I guess none of us need to bother even mentioning payroll throughout the remainder of Mauer's contract because that alone proves the Pohlads are willing to spend enough money to field a quality product, regardless of results on the field.
I opine about the Twins and Kernels regularly at Knuckleballsblog.com while my alter ego, SD Buhr covers the Kernels for MetroSportsReport.com.

~You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant~

#46 MWLFan

MWLFan

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 197 posts

Posted 20 November 2012 - 03:34 PM

JC- Your point about people saying it is not about the money is true for the owners as well as for the players. Both sides drink from the same cup of BS on that one.

I guess it doesn't really rattle me all that much on how other people spend their money. Sometimes it is foolish, I had a friend with a extensive Zubaz collection in the day, and have learned not to get to involved in the idiocy of others. Now what it does mean is that the longer it goes on for the Twins not putting a competitive team on the field the less interest and $$$ I will spend on them and MLB altogether. (No MLBTV subscription next year for example.) Just more time pursuing other interests in the summer time and less worrying about the twists and turns of various millionaires and billionaires. Hence my affection for the minor leagues.

If folks want to get all their tighty whities bunched up around themselves because the Twins didn't pick up Buerhle, Johnson and Reyes in November of 2012 have at it. Only time will tell if this was wasted $$ on the Blue Jays part and wasted time, wind, energy and brain cells for us.

Could be worse, try being a baseball fan in the Florida. One teams management doesn't care if the team is awful and the others fan base doesn't care that they have a very good team.

Hope you all have a truely wonderful Thanksgiving and take some time away from the trials and tribulations of the Twins for a couple of days.

#47 DAM DC Twins Fans

DAM DC Twins Fans

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 537 posts

Posted 20 November 2012 - 03:39 PM

Having just spent 20 minutes reading all these messages--I think the main point has been lost. The Twins have poor pitching and middle IF. Spending $35 million (over 3 years) on starting pitching like Jackson, Blanton, etc. is not going to help much. If we are lucky the cost will be slightly less than a million a win...none of these guys are aces...none will win 15 games next year with the current Twins. The one thing the Twins have done over the past 5 years is develop OF--the obvious answer is to trade one of Span, Revere, Arcia or Hicks or Willingham for a decent starter (as good as Jackson at least) and figure how to develop pitching and infield...spending $60million on two of this year's free agent pitchers will not help anything...

#48 ThePuck

ThePuck

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 3,232 posts

Posted 20 November 2012 - 03:40 PM

It seems to me that there is a common consensus that the Twins need to acquire significantly better starting pitching than they have had for a number of years. I think there is also a general consensus that, although the Twins farm system has generally improved, the starting pitching prospects in the minors aren't optimal even allowing several years for development.

What should make every Twins fan concerned (if not hopping mad) is that we have yet to see a willingness by this team to spend ANY ASSETS to acquire the pitching they need. Assets are assets. Whether they are existing players, prospects or cash. Some are more valuable than others and some have more potential than others but they are all assets (basically with an assignable dollar value if you are all astute enough to do that).

We're getting caught up in how many cash assets should be spent for next year. The real question, for me, is whether the Twins are willing to spend ANY assets to acquire better starting pitching or whether they are just going to keep looking in the bargain bins.


Like this post a lot...

#49 Willihammer

Willihammer

    ice cream correspondent

  • Members
  • 3,488 posts
  • LocationSaint Paul

Posted 20 November 2012 - 03:46 PM

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.


Your guy Scott Boras has already worked this fact into his negotiations. Probably all the agents. If you think the FA SP market is spendy now, it is only going to get worse after that kicks in and the FA supply maybe isn't so deep.

#50 Jim Crikket

Jim Crikket

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 1,134 posts

Posted 20 November 2012 - 03:52 PM

Having just spent 20 minutes reading all these messages--I think the main point has been lost. The Twins have poor pitching and middle IF. Spending $35 million (over 3 years) on starting pitching like Jackson, Blanton, etc. is not going to help much. If we are lucky the cost will be slightly less than a million a win...none of these guys are aces...none will win 15 games next year with the current Twins. The one thing the Twins have done over the past 5 years is develop OF--the obvious answer is to trade one of Span, Revere, Arcia or Hicks or Willingham for a decent starter (as good as Jackson at least) and figure how to develop pitching and infield...spending $60million on two of this year's free agent pitchers will not help anything...


I agree that perhaps the point I was trying to make with the original post has been clouded through the comment thread, even if I don't 100% agree with the rest of your comment. To get back to my original point, take another look at this quote from Terry Ryan:

“I think we can quit fooling ourselves that money is the answer,” Ryan said. “We’re going to have to make good decisions to create a pitching staff that’s going to give us a chance.”

While I absolutely agree that making good decisions is critical and that having money will not assure that all of your decisions are good ones, the first part of the quote is what bothers me. You simply can not minimize the fact that money IS a big part of the answer. Having it available means you have more options from which to choose as you ponder those "good decisions" than if you don't have it available. As for the "quit fooling ourselves" part, I suspect his bosses would have had a problem with him saying such a thing when they were lobbying for a new stadium a few years back. At that time, ownership was indeed contending that their existing stadium situation put them at a financial disadvantage... making money certainly a big part of "the answer." So were the Twins fooling themselves then? Or were they fooling their fans... and local taxpayers?
I opine about the Twins and Kernels regularly at Knuckleballsblog.com while my alter ego, SD Buhr covers the Kernels for MetroSportsReport.com.

~You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant~

#51 Winston Smith

Winston Smith

    Old Geezer

  • Members
  • 1,532 posts
  • LocationOceania

Posted 20 November 2012 - 03:54 PM

I guess I should give up also, since no one will answer how they will ever have pitching if they will not sign free agents.....look, I cannot name a team other than Philly or new York or the dodgers or Marlins that have tried this. That does not imply it cannot work. Your path is virtually certain to condemn them to being awful for at least two more years, and even then, they still will not sign free agents. So it seems they are stuck


A good example is the Tigers. Fister from the Mariners, Sanchez from the Marlins and Sherzer in the Granderson trade. However they traded a lot of prospects and for the most part those prospects like most prospects haven't done much. Ryan hasn't ever shown that he is willing to do these kinds of trades, so signing free agents is what's left.

May all our prospects be All Stars and the beer be free.


#52 ThePuck

ThePuck

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 3,232 posts

Posted 20 November 2012 - 04:09 PM

'As for the "quit fooling ourselves" part, I suspect his bosses would have had a problem with him saying such a thing when they were lobbying for a new stadium a few years back. At that time, ownership was indeed contending that their existing stadium situation put them at a financial disadvantage... making money certainly a big part of "the answer." So were the Twins fooling themselves then? Or were they fooling their fans... and local taxpayers?'

As soon as Ryan said that whole quit fooling ourselves statement about money, a reporter with some nads should have asked him why a new stadium was needed then. Cause you're right, that's exactly what they told us, and now they said spending isn't the answer.

#53 Jim H

Jim H

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 439 posts

Posted 20 November 2012 - 04:48 PM

A good example is the Tigers. Fister from the Mariners, Sanchez from the Marlins and Sherzer in the Granderson trade. However they traded a lot of prospects and for the most part those prospects like most prospects haven't done much


What I find interesting is that 3 weeks before the end of the regular season, Detriot didn't look like a particularly good example of anything. They looked like a high priced, poorly constructed, under achieving, deeply flawed team about to finish 2nd to a much less talented team. Thanks to a collapse by the White Sox, and a nice post season run, they are now a team to emulate?

Give Detriot credit for spending money and having things work out for them, at least in 2012. Whether things will continue to work for them remains to be seen. They could very easily find themselves saddled with injured/unproductive players with unmovable, huge, long term contracts. Sort of like what some people say about the Twins and Mauer.



As far as the Twins go, they have gotten into a position where they will have to acquire starting pitching, and much of it will likely come through free agency. That is risky and if you end up handing out large multi year contracts, has a good chance of both not working out due injury or underperformance and making future moves difficult.

#54 ericchri

ericchri

    Generally Clueless

  • Members
  • 391 posts

Posted 20 November 2012 - 04:50 PM

Have the Twins ever "blown up" the team completely? In other words trading away many of their best players simultaneously and not backfilling with mediocre veterans to pretend they're still trying? I can't help wondering how that would be received by the fandom. The proximity to Target Field opening would certainly be a hindrance to that, but it would be refreshing to see them taking a clear path towards a specific goal of future contention as opposed to just sticking their fingers in the holes and hoping the leaks don't grow. I can't honestly see it happening, but I'd rather watch a bunch of rookies lose 100 games than a bunch of veterans lose 85-90.

For me to be fairly confident the team was going to be a legitimately competitive team next season, I think they need 3 starting pitchers, one bullpen arm, and a middle infielder that isn't a well-below-average hitter. And that doesn't guarantee anything, cause then you're banking on health and continued above average production from a lot of people it wouldn't be shocking to see not produce like they did this year (Willingham, Plouffe, Burton, Burnett, Diamond).

A part of me thinks my offseason plan might be to go ahead and give Grienke and Anibal Sanchez what they want and call it good. I honestly don't care much for most of the other FA pitchers as any kind of solution that helps us long-term. If you can get the Pohlads to let you spend $110 million next year, you might actually have a team that can compete in the AL Central if everything breaks right (yes, that means everything, which isn't likely, but who knows), and if not, sell off assets (Willingham, Morneau, Span/Revere, Burton, etc...) at the deadline or next offseason. At that point we should have more players looking major league ready (Arcia, Hicks, Parmelee who probably is right now, Gibson, a whole bunch of minor league relievers to choose from). And we might have as many as four theoretically legit starters (Grienke, Sanchez, Gibson, Diamond) to anchor the rotation for many years. With the rotation and Mauer eating up most of the money we have to go young everywhere else, but that's where our minor leagues look decent anyway.

#55 Jim Crikket

Jim Crikket

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 1,134 posts

Posted 20 November 2012 - 05:04 PM

Haha, I give up. I'm just going to repeat my request from the message to Jim above: please find me examples of teams that lost around 100 games two years in a row, then spent a bunch of money, and it ended up as anything but a disaster for the team. Even just one example would really be something.


I suspect even one example won't change your mind, but the one that immediately lept to my mind was the 2006 Detroit Tigers. I do have a day job (despite what it may seem like, given how much time I spend here during the day some days), so I didn't have time to actually check my memory until now.

The Tigers lost more than 90 games FIVE years in a row, from 2001 through 2005 (and more than 100 in two of those seasons). From 2001 through 2004, their payroll ran between $47 mil and $55 mil every year. In 2005, it jumped from $47 mil up to $69 mil... and it netted them exactly one extra win.

But in 2006, they shelled out an additional $13 million, going up to $82 mil in payroll, largely on the basis of signing two pitchers, starter Kenny Rogers ($8 mil) and closer Todd Jones ($5.8 mil). The only other significant addition in 2006 was a rookie pitcher named Verlander. They also called up Curtis Granderson, but he was hardly a standout that year (as his 98 OPS+ will attest).

So yes, they got a boost from a rising young ace, but there's no way that he alone would have accounted for the Tigers going from losing 91 games in 2005 to winning 95 games and a spot in the World Series in 2006.

Rogers more than doubled his salary when he signed with Detroit. Was he worth it or did they overpay for a 41 year old innings-eater? Jones certainly wasn't perfect as a closer, so did they overpay for a 38 year old reliever near the end of his career? I don't know... but I do know they increased their payroll by nearly 20% and ended a five year run of futility by going to the World Series.

And in today's dollars, you should probably just about double those player's salaries. It would be comparable to the Twins signing two pitchers for about $15 million and $10 million... both got multi-year deals, too, I believe.

Is this a perfect analogy for today's Twins? Of course not. But you'll never find perfect matches for any example. That said, I think it does demonstrate that making smart free agent signings, even if it means you spend a bit more than you're accustomed to, in combination with development of young players and getting a bit of luck, can result in something quite a bit better than "a disaster."

Edited by Jim Crikket, 20 November 2012 - 05:09 PM.

I opine about the Twins and Kernels regularly at Knuckleballsblog.com while my alter ego, SD Buhr covers the Kernels for MetroSportsReport.com.

~You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant~

#56 peterb18

peterb18

    Member

  • Members
  • 88 posts

Posted 20 November 2012 - 05:33 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.


I agree with the above statement completely. It makes so much sense. Also, there is too much worrry on this site about how the Pohlads spend their money. Their obligation is to put a competitive team on the field, especially after the new ballpark was built. Bottom line: If you want to be competitive, and your minor leagues can't produce the necessary talent(at certain positions) then you must pay market price. Not a guarantee--but, it is the most sensible way to get back into contention.

#57 Linus

Linus

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 637 posts

Posted 20 November 2012 - 05:35 PM

A good example is the Tigers. Fister from the Mariners, Sanchez from the Marlins and Sherzer in the Granderson trade. However they traded a lot of prospects and for the most part those prospects like most prospects haven't done much


What I find interesting is that 3 weeks before the end of the regular season, Detriot didn't look like a particularly good example of anything. They looked like a high priced, poorly constructed, under achieving, deeply flawed team about to finish 2nd to a much less talented team. Thanks to a collapse by the White Sox, and a nice post season run, they are now a team to emulate?

Give Detriot credit for spending money and having things work out for them, at least in 2012. Whether things will continue to work for them remains to be seen. They could very easily find themselves saddled with injured/unproductive players with unmovable, huge, long term contracts. Sort of like what some people say about the Twins and Mauer.



As far as the Twins go, they have gotten into a position where they will have to acquire starting pitching, and much of it will likely come through free agency. That is risky and if you end up handing out large multi year contracts, has a good chance of both not working out due injury or underperformance and making future moves difficult.


There seems to be a lot of love for the Tigers here. If the Sox wouldn't have spit the bit in September they wouldn't have even made the playoffs. Lets acknowledge a whole bunch of this is a crapshoot.

#58 LaBombo

LaBombo

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 3,309 posts

Posted 20 November 2012 - 05:57 PM

There seems to be a lot of love for the Tigers here. If the Sox wouldn't have spit the bit in September they wouldn't have even made the playoffs. Lets acknowledge a whole bunch of this is a crapshoot.


Let's hope that the Twins can find some of that random division-winning good luck that's totally unrelated to having a half-dozen All Star-caliber players on the roster.

#59 Riverbrian

Riverbrian

    Goofy Moderator

  • Twins Mods
  • 10,192 posts
  • LocationGrand Forks

Posted 20 November 2012 - 06:26 PM

Of course money matters. The option to spend and acquire Pujols matters... Of course it does. But what do you do when Pujols can't deliver a title by himself? Cuz he can't.

The Twins problem going into 2013 has nothing to do with payroll. Another 4 million spent and the Twins are top Ten in payroll. I aint gonna complain about that. The talk on this thread leaves the impression that we are the Padres or A's.

We made some bad decisions and we are going thru a bad harvest on the farm as a result. Real life farmers struggle when harvest sucks. No different for the Twins.

#60 Fire Dan Gladden

Fire Dan Gladden

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 382 posts

Posted 20 November 2012 - 07:00 PM

Wow. A wide variety of responses and posts so far. Let me add to the mix.

1) It has been and always will be about the money for the Pohlads. They have never said otherwise. They treat the Twins like a business, worried more about fiscal returns than winning. Payroll is not the issue, as if they spend more money correctly, they will win more and bring in more money. I believe TR in this regard that he has the ability to go "over budget" with the right sign, but those rarely come along. A large, long term contract that blows up could destroy the Twins for years and years to come.

2) People forget that during the Johan years, the Twins were more or less a one-horse show. I think it was 2006 (could be wrong) where in games Johan started the Twins were 25 games over .500, and 1 game over with everybody else. It doesn't necessarily take a rock-star laden team to win, just a good team with some luck.

3) Spending big money on FA starters doesn't work very often. Occasionally true aces hit the market (Halladay), but that doesn't happen very often. True aces typically stay with their team until they are no longer an ace, or are traded to a team to be signed to a big contract (see Johan Santana). Considering the Twins track record, I don't expect a sign or trade.

4) True "rebuilding" is more risky then spending big money on FA. Ask the Pirates (who have essentially been rebuilding since Barry Bonds left) and the Royals (1985 anyone?). It took the Twins 10 years to get out of their last rebuilding mode, and it took a couple of large lucky breaks for that to happen. Everybody clamoring for the "blow up the ship" approach needs to understand the failure rate of prospects.

5) Question:
At what point does it become "enough" money or "not enough" money to spend on payroll?
I suppose one answer would be:
It is enough money if they win the World Series. It is not enough if they don't.

I don't believe spending more money will necessarily make a difference for this team. I also believe it is too early in the offseason to complain about what they have or have not done yet. We should have a better idea next February. We should probably cool our jets until then.