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Spend money just to spend money?

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#1 Parker Hageman

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:22 AM

Here at Twins Daily, Twins general manager Terry Ryan has faced some criticism for his handling of the offseason as it relates to improving his team for 2013.

Twins Daily's Nick Nelson pointed that out that Ryan's statements from earlier in the winter did not quite jive with his actions when it came to fixing the pitching staff. In their weekly podcast, John Bonnes and Aaron Gleeman addressed the same topic and discussed how the team's projected payroll ($78.5 million) is essentially the same as the 2007 opening day payroll of $71 million.

Both pieces make compelling arguments for spending more on resources for 2013. Meanwhile, 1500ESPN.com's Phil Mackey takes the stance that the Twins should not feel pressured to invest in this current season:

[SIZE=3][FONT=arial][COLOR=#000000]Why not spend more money and improve the staff even more for 2013?

Well, Ryan has yet to say so publicly or off-the-record, but it has become obvious that the Twins -- by adding young, talented pitchers, rather than throwing money at veterans -- are attempting to build a crescendo that leads into 2014 and beyond.
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[COLOR=#000000]One could make a case for adding another piece, such as unsigned free agents Joe Saunders or Shaun Marcum, or signing one of those guys instead of Correia, who is likely to get hit hard.
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[COLOR=#000000]But would Marcum or Saunders -- on multi-year deals, no less -- really make a big difference in 2013 for a team chasing the Detroit Tigers? Probably not. And spending money just to spend money doesn't make any sense either.[/COLOR][/FONT][/SIZE]

[COLOR=#222222][FONT=Arial]

[/FONT][/COLOR]Mackey is likely correct in assuming Marcum and Saunders would be better than Correia in terms of moving the win-column needling upwards but not to the point where it would help them necessarily compete. However, let's say the Twins spent that remaining $20 million and added Marcum, Brett Myers and/or Dan Haren/Ryan Dempster to the equation. Now they have a rotation of Dempster/Marcum/Diamond/Worley/Myers in 2013. Would that elevate this team to be able to compete in the AL Central? Or would it be spending money just to spend money?

Which side of this debate to you come down on?

#2 Rosterman

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:28 AM

You hopefully spend money to buy more wins, which makes you more competitive, which puts fans in the seats. If you can keep your team in the hunt, flexing between 4-10 games out of first throughout the season, you will appear as having a chance. An injury or two to the wrong player can make a team less competitive. On another note, even though the Twins didn't get any of the starting pitchers we wanted to see, how about shoring up the infield, or getting a better place filler than Mastro. We are sitting here without a leadoff or reliable #2 hitter entering spring training, to go with a weak up-the-middle, and no guaranteed 200 innings workhorses.
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#3 sorney

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:32 AM

I drink the *there is no such thing as a bad one year contract* kool aid.

#4 Nick Nelson

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:49 AM

I don't know that anyone realistically believed the Twins could have -- or should have -- signed all three of those guys. One would have been nice.

Mackey did some statistical work in the linked column showing projections that have the Twins' staff, as currently assembled, shaving 100 runs off last year's total and allowing 730 this year. Trim another 20 or so off that (which could conceivably be done by signing a superior pitcher to Correia) and you're talking about a middle-of-the-pack pitching staff. Certainly not going to make you a division favorite on paper, but with a good offense it's enough to potentially keep you afloat with an outside shot at hanging in the race. Take a look at the 2008 and 2009 Twins, both of which allowed far more than 730 runs (granted, in a more offense-heavy setting).

Mackey's projections were ostensibly aimed at proving that the Twins are too far away from competitiveness to warrant spending on a legitimate rotation upgrade, but in my mind he did the exact opposite.

#5 beckmt

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:52 AM

I would not spend the money this year. The pitchers named are all looking for 3 year and more contracts. That could affect the future of the Twins to spend money on needed free agents(especailly to fill the middle infield hole that probably will not be fixed before the Twins are ready to compete. Also bullpen and one very good starting pitcher may be needed. All this money will have to come from somewhere. Tying money into 3 year contracts at this time is not wise until TR sees what we need.

#6 ThePuck

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:57 AM

I would not spend the money this year. The pitchers named are all looking for 3 year and more contracts. That could affect the future of the Twins to spend money on needed free agents(especailly to fill the middle infield hole that probably will not be fixed before the Twins are ready to compete. A


How do you figure? In 2015, most, if not all, of our starters are gonna be pre-arbitration players or 1 year arbitration players? Sano, Parmelee, Rosario, Florimon (or another young guy), Hicks, Arcia, Benson/Buxton, Gibson, May, Meyer, Diamond, Worley (or Berrios). Other than Mauer, where are they spending?

#7 Parker Hageman

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:58 AM

[COLOR=#333333]The pitchers named are all looking for 3 year and more contracts. That could affect the future of the Twins to spend money on needed free agents[/COLOR]


Just to be clear: Haren and Myers both received one-year deals. Dempster got a two-year deal. Marcum, because of his injury, is heading for a one-year deal.

#8 jokin

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:04 PM

I don't know that anyone realistically believed the Twins could have -- or should have -- signed all three of those guys. One would have been nice.

Mackey did some statistical work in the linked column showing projections that have the Twins' staff, as currently assembled, shaving 100 runs off last year's total and allowing 730 this year. Trim another 20 or so off that (which could conceivably be done by signing a superior pitcher to Correia) and you're talking about a middle-of-the-pack pitching staff. Certainly not going to make you a division favorite on paper, but with a good offense it's enough to potentially keep you afloat with an outside shot at hanging in the race. Take a look at the 2008 and 2009 Twins, both of which allowed far more than 730 runs (granted, in a more offense-heavy setting).

Mackey's projections were ostensibly aimed at proving that the Twins are too far away from competitiveness to warrant spending on a legitimate rotation upgrade, but in my mind he did the exact opposite.


Who fills the 1 and 2 spots in the batting order in your "good offense" in this 2013 Twins pitching-upgraded "middle-of-the-pack" juggernaut scenario?

Who is left to field all those one-hop liners up the middle and catches those gappers and off-the-wall dingers in your pitching up-graded juggernaut scenario? (Florimon, Dozier, Parmelee, Willingham and Mastro don't exactly instill a lot of confidence amongst the pitching staff.)

They should spend on pitching, for both the short and long-term, but this boat won't be floating until well after the next wave of talent gets their feet wet at the major league level.

#9 Willihammer

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:05 PM

Instead, the path is clear for high-upside youngsters like Alex Meyer and Trevor May to join the rotation anytime between now and 2014.


So we put the whole operation on hold for two guys, who are certain to achieve their potential sometime in the next two years?

Heck, even if they do knock down the door this year, right out of spring training say - why call them up? The Twins will only score 701 runs again, just like last year, because nothing ever changes!

Nope, don't want to start that arb clock ticking until our all-stars Aaron Hicks and Oswaldo Arcia are ready. The Twins will score dozens more runs when they get here certainly. In the meantime, a healthy Willingham, Morneau, and Mauer be damned!

#10 ThePuck

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:06 PM

So we put the whole operation on hold for two guys, who are certain to achieve their potential sometime in the next two years?

Heck, even if they do knock down the door this year, right out of spring training say - why call them up? The Twins will only score 701 runs again, just like last year, because nothing ever changes!

Nope, don't want to start that arb clock ticking until our all-stars Aaron Hicks and Oswaldo Arcia are ready. The Twins will score dozens more runs when they get here certainly. A healthy Willingham, Morneau, and Mauer be damned!


I'd be shocked if either was pitching for us before mid-July 2014...that's the very earliest...figure more like 2015

Edited by ThePuck, 14 January 2013 - 12:10 PM.


#11 jokin

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:10 PM

Just to be clear: Haren and Myers both received one-year deals. Dempster got a two-year deal. Marcum, because of his injury, is heading for a one-year deal.


If this is solid info, this is TRs opening, it's the right move on many levels- just not for Marcum- unless the Twins blow him away with their offer. TR won't pull the trigger.

#12 Willihammer

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:12 PM

I'd be shocked if either was pitching for us before mid-July 2014...that's the very earliest...figure more like 2015


As would I. Heck I'd be shocked if May starts a single MLB game ever. He was a RP prospect with the Phillies. Only when he came here did he become the next Cy Young in the wings.

#13 Bombo Rivera

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:14 PM

Obviously we all want the pitching staff upgraded. As the current roster looks the positions of CF-SS-2B look to be filled by guys who are pretty much automatic outs who don't do anything particularly well on offense or defense. Perhpas some consideration should be given to upgrading any of these positions? The Twins will be the exact opposite of the philosophy of "strong-up-the-middle".

#14 jokin

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:15 PM

As would I. Heck I'd be shocked if May starts a single MLB game ever. He was a RP prospect with the Phillies. Only when he came here did he become the next Cy Young in the wings.


Heresy!

I have a feeling your ears will be stinging and you will soon be summarily added to numerous "Ignore" lists among the "Hear No Evil" crowd.

#15 johnnydakota

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:18 PM

You hopefully spend money to buy more wins, which makes you more competitive, which puts fans in the seats. If you can keep your team in the hunt, flexing between 4-10 games out of first throughout the season, you will appear as having a chance. An injury or two to the wrong player can make a team less competitive. On another note, even though the Twins didn't get any of the starting pitchers we wanted to see, how about shoring up the infield, or getting a better place filler than Mastro. We are sitting here without a leadoff or reliable #2 hitter entering spring training, to go with a weak up-the-middle, and no guaranteed 200 innings workhorses.


We missed our chance when Toronto signed Macier Ituris to a 3 year 11 million dollar contract....grrrrrr

#16 John Bonnes

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:18 PM

Mackey's projections were ostensibly aimed at proving that the Twins are too far away from competitiveness to warrant spending on a legitimate rotation upgrade, but in my mind he did the exact opposite.


I agree. I wanted to check the math, because it looked just so much better than I anticipated.

If anything, it begs for the Twins to spend some of that money. Not necessarily a mult-year deal for Saunders, but overpaying a bit for Marcum makes a lot of sense.

#17 ThePuck

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:19 PM

'In their weekly podcast, John Bonnes and Aaron Gleeman addressed the same topic and discussed how the team's projected payroll ($78.5 million) is essentially the same as the 2007 opening day payroll of $71 million.'

If you look at standard inflation that's true...when you consider players salaries have risen at a higher rate than standard inflation, we're behind 2007 payroll.

Now, imagine if Morny gets traded. We'd have payroll in the mid-60s.

#18 johnnydakota

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:20 PM

How do you figure? In 2015, most, if not all, of our starters are gonna be pre-arbitration players or 1 year arbitration players? Sano, Parmelee, Rosario, Florimon (or another young guy), Hicks, Arcia, Benson/Buxton, Gibson, May, Meyer, Diamond, Worley (or Berrios). Other than Mauer, where are they spending?


on extra security for the brinks trucks?

#19 Steve Penz

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:23 PM

Why Cheap = Smart in 2013 - Puckett's Pond - A Minnesota Twins Fan Site - News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Puckett's Pond addressed this topic also. Based on their (front office) actions it seems pretty obvious that they never intended to truly compete in 2013. I could go either way on that subject so here is a different question. How do you rebuild and admit that w/o driving your fan base away? I don't have knowledge on other teams who have done this and the approaches they have taken from a Marketing perspective. Is it better to just come out and say we are rebuilding or is it better to say we are going to try and compete when they know it is not true? What sucks more? The Twins are coming off 2 awful seasons. If they feel that they now have a better plan and it means sacrificing 2013 then how do you properly market/sell that plan to the fans? I think they are making an error by not owning up to it. If they partially reveal a plan like that and it works then they build a lot of rapport with the fans. Per usual I am probably being too idealistic so please go easy on me.

#20 johnnydakota

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:24 PM

As would I. Heck I'd be shocked if May starts a single MLB game ever. He was a RP prospect with the Phillies. Only when he came here did he become the next Cy Young in the wings.

4.86 ERA in AA , this season will probally dictate wether or not May is a starter or a relief pitcher, some people believe

#21 ashburyjohn

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:30 PM

Based on their (front office) actions it seems pretty obvious that they never intended to truly compete in 2013.


It's possible they ended up changing plans; a few lowball 1- or 2-year offers to pitchers got them laughed out of the room, and they had the opportunity to trade both Span and Revere for younger prospects than they had intended originally.

#22 Jim Crikket

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:30 PM

I am SO friggin tired of the "don't spend just to spend" crap. You spend to put a better product on the field and win more games than if you don't spend. People that think unless you're challenging for a World Series title there's no point in spending any money have obviously never run a business. If the Twins won't spend enough to keep fans interested in attending games and buying merchandise in 2013, they'll have lower revenues and they'll use that as an excuse to keep an even lower cap on payroll in 2014. So much for the "save money this year to spend it next year" line of BS. It simply doesn't happen with this organization.
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#23 johnnydakota

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:30 PM

Why Cheap = Smart in 2013 - Puckett's Pond - A Minnesota Twins Fan Site - News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Puckett's Pond addressed this topic also. Based on their (front office) actions it seems pretty obvious that they never intended to truly compete in 2013. I could go either way on that subject so here is a different question. How do you rebuild and admit that w/o driving your fan base away? I don't have knowledge on other teams who have done this and the approaches they have taken from a Marketing perspective. Is it better to just come out and say we are rebuilding or is it better to say we are going to try and compete when they know it is not true? What sucks more? The Twins are coming off 2 awful seasons. If they feel that they now have a better plan and it means sacrificing 2013 then how do you properly market/sell that plan to the fans? I think they are making an error by not owning up to it. If they partially reveal a plan like that and it works then they build a lot of rapport with the fans. Per usual I am probably being too idealistic so please go easy on me.


Just like huston did... Or if im Jimmy Pohlad , i address the media , trade them all and give out a 10/15% discount on ticket prices.
Why trade them all, because in 2015-2017 when we are ready to compete again , who is going to be left? Why not add some pirces now, i would rather watch kids develope , then to watch mulity millionaire loss 100 games.

#24 Willihammer

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:30 PM

4.86 ERA in AA , this season will probally dictate wether or not May is a starter or a relief pitcher, some people believe


It is funny how perceptions of guys on the farm differ depending on what the FO is willing to spend on free agency. The Phillies do it, the Twins don't. So May is a RP talent in one organization, and a SP talent in the other.

#25 josecordoba

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:35 PM

First Time Poster Here who defended Mackey over at AM 1500.

1. The first question to ask is what the Team's True Talent Level. We've won 63 and 66 games the last two years. We also traded away nearly 7.5 WARP in Revere and Span. I realize the pitching probably couldn't be much worse. But it seems even the most optimistic gauges of the Team's True Talent Level would put it between (65-70 Games). Even accounting for Random Variation of perhaps 10 games either way. This doesn't place us real close to contention.

2. Could the Twins spend more money? Sure- I would never debate this. What I might question is whether this is the best idea. If you use the commonly assumed figure of 5 Million-6 Million Dollars for 1 WAR as cited by Dave Cameron this means spending an Extra 25 Million Dollars on Payroll only upgrades the team to a true talent level of 70-75 wins. The reality of this is the Twins are going to end up eating most of this money since they'll be hard pressed making this amount of money up at the gate. Even upgrading the payroll 50 Million Dollars. Still in most scenarios leaves them far from the playoffs.

3. Why not sign Maicer Izturis? I believe him to be better then the current option which is most likely Florimon. I happen to believe Florimon wouldn't hit enough to be a starting MLB Shortshop (Even with great defense). Yet if the Twins believe Florimon can be a long-term solution at the position (It's not absurd considering the value of Brendan Ryan) they may as well experiment. I would say the same thing about Plouffe (They're not finding anyone better in Free Agency). I'm not a Parmalee Fan but I'm alright with seeing what they have till Arcia is ready sometime in the next 18 months. Basically the types of players the Twins could acquire- I just don't see a lot of long-term gain from their acquistion. A guy like the Cuban Short-Stop Diaz (Would be a totally different story).

#26 FrodaddyG

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:36 PM

Just like huston did... Or if im Jimmy Pohlad , i address the media , trade them all and give out a 10/15% discount on ticket prices.
Why trade them all, because in 2015-2017 when we are ready to compete again , who is going to be left? Why not add some pirces now, i would rather watch kids develope , then to watch mulity millionaire loss 100 games.

I put this in Google Translate, and my computer blew its brains out.

#27 ThePuck

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:44 PM

First Time Poster Here who defended Mackey over at AM 1500.

1. The first question to ask is what the Team's True Talent Level. We've won 63 and 66 games the last two years. We also traded away nearly 7.5 WARP in Revere and Span. I realize the pitching probably couldn't be much worse. But it seems even the most optimistic gauges of the Team's True Talent Level would put it between (65-70 Games). Even accounting for Random Variation of perhaps 10 games either way. This doesn't place us real close to contention.

2. Could the Twins spend more money? Sure- I would never debate this. What I might question is whether this is the best idea. If you use the commonly assumed figure of 5 Million-6 Million Dollars for 1 WAR as cited by Dave Cameron this means spending an Extra 25 Million Dollars on Payroll only upgrades the team to a true talent level of 70-75 wins. The reality of this is the Twins are going to end up eating most of this money since they'll be hard pressed making this amount of money up at the gate. Even upgrading the payroll 50 Million Dollars. Still in most scenarios leaves them far from the playoffs.

3. Why not sign Maicer Izturis? I believe him to be better then the current option which is most likely Florimon. I happen to believe Florimon wouldn't hit enough to be a starting MLB Shortshop (Even with great defense). Yet if the Twins believe Florimon can be a long-term solution at the position (It's not absurd considering the value of Brendan Ryan) they may as well experiment. I would say the same thing about Plouffe (They're not finding anyone better in Free Agency). I'm not a Parmalee Fan but I'm alright with seeing what they have till Arcia is ready sometime in the next 18 months. Basically the types of players the Twins could acquire- I just don't see a lot of long-term gain from their acquistion. A guy like the Cuban Short-Stop Diaz (Would be a totally different story).


If Florimon was anywhere near the defensive player Ryan normally is, I'd be fine with him not hitting that much.

#28 johnnydakota

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:45 PM

First Time Poster Here who defended Mackey over at AM 1500.

1. The first question to ask is what the Team's True Talent Level. We've won 63 and 66 games the last two years. We also traded away nearly 7.5 WARP in Revere and Span. I realize the pitching probably couldn't be much worse. But it seems even the most optimistic gauges of the Team's True Talent Level would put it between (65-70 Games). Even accounting for Random Variation of perhaps 10 games either way. This doesn't place us real close to contention.

2. Could the Twins spend more money? Sure- I would never debate this. What I might question is whether this is the best idea. If you use the commonly assumed figure of 5 Million-6 Million Dollars for 1 WAR as cited by Dave Cameron this means spending an Extra 25 Million Dollars on Payroll only upgrades the team to a true talent level of 70-75 wins. The reality of this is the Twins are going to end up eating most of this money since they'll be hard pressed making this amount of money up at the gate. Even upgrading the payroll 50 Million Dollars. Still in most scenarios leaves them far from the playoffs.

3. Why not sign Maicer Izturis? I believe him to be better then the current option which is most likely Florimon. I happen to believe Florimon wouldn't hit enough to be a starting MLB Shortshop (Even with great defense). Yet if the Twins believe Florimon can be a long-term solution at the position (It's not absurd considering the value of Brendan Ryan) they may as well experiment. I would say the same thing about Plouffe (They're not finding anyone better in Free Agency). I'm not a Parmalee Fan but I'm alright with seeing what they have till Arcia is ready sometime in the next 18 months. Basically the types of players the Twins could acquire- I just don't see a lot of long-term gain from their acquistion. A guy like the Cuban Short-Stop Diaz (Would be a totally different story).


Nice 1st post , welcome aboard

#29 twinsnorth49

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:48 PM

Just like huston did... Or if im Jimmy Pohlad , i address the media , trade them all and give out a 10/15% discount on ticket prices.
Why trade them all, because in 2015-2017 when we are ready to compete again , who is going to be left? Why not add some pirces now, i would rather watch kids develope , then to watch mulity millionaire loss 100 games.


I put this in Google Translate, and my computer blew its brains out.


I'm on my 3rd CPU because of JD.

#30 Winston Smith

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:49 PM

"Spend money just to spend money?" I'm not sure anyone has ever said that. Spending money to make the team better when the money is there is what a good gm does. We know they don't roll the unused payroll into future years so don't you owe the fans the best team you can afford to field?

Sitting on a bunch of payroll dollars and not giving the fans the best possible team to watch and support is simply BS!

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