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Why Don't the Twins Re-Sign Minority Players

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#1 John Bonnes

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 01:22 PM

First, I'll say to our community, this is a sensitive topic, so please be sure to follow the forum guidelines:
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2. No profanity, vulgarity, racial slurs or personal attacks.
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Over on the local sports blog The Sport Hole, there was a story a couple of weeks ago that I stumbled upon: Why Don't the Twins Re-sign Minority Players? The author, Jesse Mandell-McClinon, concludes that it isn't a classic "white vs. others" racism. Rather, it is an organization catering to the players with which the majority of their fans identify. And that the Twins aren't the only organization that does this:

This is simply organizations trying to figure out how to garner excitement, and from that more money, from the fans in their city. It discriminates against the fans that make up the minority of a team’s market. It makes it harder for a minority to be re-signed by the Twins, just like there may have been superior white players that were looked over in Miami.


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I'll start by reporting some of the things that I thought were somewhat factually inaccurate. First, "re-sign" was carefully used instead of "contract extension." That's because the Twins have done a lot of contract extensions with players Mandell-McClinton lists as minority players. Torii Hunter and Johan Santana had very long deals, and he doesn't mention Denard Span, who has one now. Furthermore, he lists Morneau as a white player who "re-signed," but Morneau didn't re-sign an extension. He basically is in the same place Hunter and Santana were.

So really, it comes down to Mauer/Nathan and Hunter/Santana. Why did the Twins get a deal done with the first two but not the other two. Mandell-McClinton thinks the philosophy was different:

As a life-long Twins fan, I remember the general discussion surrounding these minority players usually toeing the ‘I wish we could afford to keep them’ line, as opposed to the Morneau/Mauer/Nathan extension talks, which always seemed to center around ‘we have to keep them,’ which they did.


I would say he's right on Mauer who was a hometown kid who really did HAVE to be signed. (God knows it wasn't because he took a discount.) But that leaves open the question on why Nathan got paid so well.

ON the other side, there was a LOT of talk about how Santana wanted to be in a much bigger market, so I don't know if that should count against the Twins. But Hunter has always been about the money. He certainly would've stayed if he would've been paid.

So my conclusion is that there aren't a lot of data points, certainly fewer than the author suggests there are, and probably too few to draw any big conclusions. But I can see his point and it's probably worth keeping an eye on.

#2 Riverbrian

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 01:38 PM

I can't accept the premise. 1)... This is 2012... and I really don't even want to think this way. 2)... Why draft a minority in the 1st place or trade for them or anything if they fear upsetting the fan base. 3)... Nathan at the time was perhaps the top closer outside of Mariano Rivera in Baseball. I love Hunter but he wasn't the top OF in Baseball at the time. 4)... Timing was everything with Mauer and Morneau. MVP's and a new stadium right around the corner. Hunter left pre-Target field Move. 5)... I really don't want to think this way. I'd be horrified if there was a kernal of truth... It's 2012. I refuse to think that Minnesota is Burning.

#3 Buddy14

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 01:44 PM

Interesting topic. I do think much more than race was involved in any decisions regarding hunter and santana. When hunter was a free agent, much like now the Twins seemed to have enough outfielders and I don't think spending payroll dollars on him would be prudent. As for Santana, I agree with the Twins' philosophy of not giving huge contracts to starters (that philosophy relies on developing quality young starters which I'm not really seeing right now). Its easy to look backwards but I bet the Mets would rather not have signed that contract either.

#4 Shane Wahl

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 01:45 PM

Well, they often SIGN minority players who aren't very good (Batista, White) or are washed up (Roberto Kelly, Ruben Sierra) so re-signing would be rather stupid. Not re-signing Santana was a terrible thing. If they wouldn't have thrown $3 or $4 million around at garbage players instead of equal players at the league minimum (looking at you, Nick Punto) they could have afforded him. And who knows if he would have gotten injured.

Now generally, I look for "hidden" racism in stuff like this, but I don't really see it here. Hunter wanted too many years and the Twins were right to not re-sign him for more than 3 years since he was already aging. Maybe I am wrong, but I think Morneau will be about the same age after 2013 that Hunter was back then? We'll see how that plays out if is an issue (Morneau miraculously stays healthy). Also, the Twins had been drafting OFs and Span was to join the Twins that next year. In Morneau's case for his current contract, the Twins had and still have nothing like him at 1B/DH.

God, I haven't even mentioned Livan and Ramon yet . . . that's actually a good place to stop.

#5 stringer bell

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 01:55 PM

No two situations are exactly the same and some that appear to be equivalent are not similar at all. I don't think there is any racism on the Twins--if there is any evidence it wouldn't be in who they employ on the field, it would be in who they employ off the field. The Twins let three popular white players go this offseason, including one who had to be considered a fan favorite. That is baseball and the timing for the three they let go didn't pan out.

#6 John Bonnes

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 01:56 PM

I think it's fair to say that Hunter and Santana both got WAY too much money from other teams. But it's also fair to say the Twins gave WAY too much money to Mauer and Nathan to re-sign them.

#7 SweetOne69

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 01:59 PM

Both Hunter and Santana wanted the years and the Twins wouldn't give them the length of contract they desired for their ages as they felt it was too much of a risk. It had nothing to do with race as the Twins offered both players extensions, they just got better offers elsewhere.

#8 birdwatcher

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 02:14 PM

This guy's premise is unadulturated nonsense. It's a bit offensive if you ask me.

#9 Thrylos

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 02:18 PM

I have been on the record saying similar things regarding the Twins for a while now, but I do not buy Jesse Mandell-McClinon's premise. It is not all minorities and the Twins made an African American the highest paid player in Baseball once. My premise is that the Twins, since after Andy McPhail, are treating Latino players differently than non-Latinos in the organization. And not only on contact extensions/re-signings/non-tenders etc. but in day to day cultural & language support (compare what they are doing for the Latinos in the MLB club to what they are doing for the Japanese player in AAA). And not only players; look at how many FO and field management staff are Latinos for the Twins' compared to the rest of baseball, for example, in addition to how many Latino players are on their 25 men roster compared to the average team...
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#10 Riverbrian

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 02:19 PM

KIRBY PUCKETT!!! There I can put this nightmare thread behind me.

#11 The Greatest Poster Alive

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 02:21 PM

I think it's fair to say that Hunter and Santana both got WAY too much money from other teams. But it's also fair to say the Twins gave WAY too much money to Mauer and Nathan to re-sign them.


I diagree that Nathan got too much money, and it's far too early in Mauer's contract to say that about him.

Nathan was paid like an elite closer. He produced like an elite closer until his injury. Was he overpaid for his final year? Of course, but you can't predict injuries and it's unfair to blame the twins or Nathan for that.

#12 John Bonnes

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 02:22 PM

. And not only players; look at how many FO and field management staff are Latinos for the Twins' compared to the rest of baseball, for example, in addition to how many Latino players are on their 25 men roster compared to the average team...


The Twins struggled in Latin America markets, to be sure. If I remember correctly, their pride and joy was the Venezuelan academy, which is not closed, partly because I think Venezuela is such a mess. That can't help their ability to have Latino player on the 25 man roster. It may be that this just hasn't been an organizational strength.

#13 Seth Stohs

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 02:25 PM

Santana and Hunter each signed four year extensions before they could become free agents and each got too much the next time around. I used to hear rumblings about the Twins on this topic, but following the minors and the majors, I dont' think it can be said at all.

#14 Seth Stohs

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 02:27 PM

The Twins struggled in Latin America markets, to be sure. If I remember correctly, their pride and joy was the Venezuelan academy, which is not closed, partly because I think Venezuela is such a mess. That can't help their ability to have Latino player on the 25 man roster. It may be that this just hasn't been an organizational strength.


There are only 5-6 mlb teams that have an academy in VZ. The Chavez regime has chased teams out. It doesn't stop the Twins from signing players from there though. They still have scouts there. And they have the Dominican academy. And last year they signed the #1 player out of Panama. I'd say they're doing well in Latin America.

#15 John Bonnes

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 02:28 PM

I diagree that Nathan got too much money, and it's far too early in Mauer's contract to say that about him.

Nathan was paid like an elite closer. He produced like an elite closer until his injury. Was he overpaid for his final year? Of course, but you can't predict injuries and it's unfair to blame the twins or Nathan for that.


Well, sure, Nathan was paid like an elite closer. Hunter was paid like an elite center fielder. Santana was paid like an elite starting pitcher. They were all paid about the market value. They were also all given very long contracts. The difference is that the Twins paid Mauer and Nathan, but didn't want to pay the market value for Hunter/Santana. I'm just wondering why the difference?

It's not like Santana/Hunter were more replaceable. The Twins didn't have a high upside center fielder when Hunter left - that's why they traded for Gomez. And when Santana left, Liriano was recovering from Tommy John.

I'll also ask another question: was the author right? Was there more urgency from the media/public/bloggers for Mauer/Nathan? And if so, why?

#16 The Greatest Poster Alive

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 02:29 PM

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#17 The Greatest Poster Alive

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 02:35 PM

Well, sure, Nathan was paid like an elite closer. Hunter was paid like an elite center fielder. Santana was paid like an elite starting pitcher. They were all paid about the market value. They were also all given very long contracts. The difference is that the Twins paid Mauer and Nathan, but didn't want to pay the market value for Hunter/Santana. I'm just wondering why the difference?

It's not like Santana/Hunter were more replaceable. The Twins didn't have a high upside center fielder when Hunter left - that's why they traded for Gomez. And when Santana left, Liriano was recovering from Tommy John.

I'll also ask another question: was the author right? Was there more urgency from the media/public/bloggers for Mauer/Nathan? And if so, why?


Hunter was overpaid. The Twins may have lowballed Hunter, but the consensus of MLB analysts was that the Angels blew everyone out of the water to get Hunter. Also, Hunter has not been able to hold down centerfield for the duration of his contract. A big part of his value was his production at his position.

Santana was a move I understood. While the Twins are finally stepping into the lower-upper tier of payroll, 7 year contracts to pitchers with a lot of miles on their arms is not a good business model. The Mets were somewhat able to overcome Johan's Tommy John injury, but that's something that would have sunk the Twins. The Twins got high-end talent from the Mets, but those prospects just didn't pan out. Gomez was projected as a 20+ HR centerfielder with elite defense. The Elite defense appeared but the bat never came around. Guerra was projected as a high-end talent that had top of the rotation potential, and it just didn't work out. The trade was a good idea, since the Twins needed to get value out of a player they were unlikely to be able to re-sign.

My biggest issue with your post is you said that nathan was paid too much money. He wasn't. The Twins simply paid market value for a guy who was neck and neck with Mariano Rivera as far as best closer in baseball goes.

Edit: Also the Twins DID have a high upside centerfielder in the pipes. Denard Span was well established in the minors and was very close to being MLB ready. Gomez was not a player they absolutely needed, simply a high-end talent that their scouts felt could make the jump. They were wrong, but it's not fair to say the Twins made these moves for racial reasons.

They replaced Hunter with Gomez and Span (both minorities), They've tried to make LIriano the Twins new ace... yet another minority. This is a stupid premise.

Edited by The Greatest Poster Alive, 13 April 2012 - 02:39 PM.


#18 SweetOne69

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 02:42 PM

The Twins didn't want to commit more than 3 years to Hunter as he was already 32. They offered him a market value offer for 3 years, but Hunter wanted more years. Until the Angels offered 5yrs, Hunter was going to sign a 4yr deal. Santana was never going to resign with the Twins. He was pissed of that we traded Castillo (?) at the trade deadline and wanted to go to a large market. Mauer was 27 when sighed his contract and will be 36 when it ends.

#19 MWLFan

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 02:44 PM

I think it situational. Now the Twins have had in the past a undercurrent of racial whisperings when it seemed like a very light skinned team in the early 80's. But that changed with the influx of Kirby, Willie Banks, Pat Mahomes, Torii, J. Jones and other very good African American players. (Also it was felt that Calvin Griffith was not the most elightned of owners in a racial sense. I don't know that personally, but he had one speech....) However I think that that it was situational with Mauer being the hometown kid, MVP, Batting Chap etc...wtf you going to do with him. Then with Nathan the supposed importance of the "closer" within the organization. See Ramos v. Capps for more information. Hunter and Santana wanted the $$ and would have stayed, but both wanted too many years. One has turned into a RFer and is getting paid to be a power hitting CFer, and most starting pitchers are one call to Dr. Andrews away from wasting millions. So from the outside looking in I see no evidence that the decisions are based on any racial motivation. But nothing surprises me anymore, I mean Snooky is pregnant. Who would of thought she would have been so careless with sex.

#20 VodkaDave

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 02:45 PM

Wow, this thread, wow, just wow. Wow. Wow! Wow! Colin Cowherd wants his bit back.

So 12 months from now when the Twins fail to resign Pavano will we have a thread titled:

Why don't the Twins Re-Sign bisexual* players?

Or perhaps:

The Pohlads: Haters of America, lovers of Socialism: The Justin Morneau and Corey Koskie theories.

*According to some seemingly shady guy who was trying to extort Pavano.

#21 funoka

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 02:47 PM

Since the free agent era started, the Twins really have not been that active -- either signing their own free agent stars or letting them go, have they? They traded or traded for some other guys that got a paid like Viola, Brunansky, Shane Mack, Shannon Stewart. This is what I remember off the top of my head. Guys they've let walk -- who signed for big money (or big money at the time) elsewhere Larry Hisle Rod Carew Lyman Bostock Dave Goltz -----Pohlad family Gary Gaetti Greg Gagne Torii Hunter Jaque Jones Johan Santana Michael Cuddyer Jason Kubel (Cuddyer and Kubel are making some pretty good money over the next three years) Guys they re-signed for big money -- Puckett Nathan Mauer Free agents they signed from elsewhere for decent money Chili Davis Jack Morris Dave Winfield Paul Molitor Willingham?

Edited by funoka, 13 April 2012 - 03:03 PM.


#22 VodkaDave

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 02:49 PM

I have been on the record saying similar things regarding the Twins for a while now,

Sweet! On the record? Sounds professional.

#23 John Bonnes

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 02:52 PM

The argument in the story isn't that these moves were made for racial reasons. The suggestion was that a team feels more pressure to hang onto players with which that fan base identifies and a Minnesota fan base identifies more with Mauer and Nathan than Hunter and Santana.

We can go back and forth on specifics, but I don't see any significant differences in the situations that explains why two deals got done and two didn't. If the Twins would've kept Hunter and Santana and let Mauer and Nathan go for exactly the same money, we would be saying the same thing about Mauer/Nathan that we say about Santana/Hunter: they wanted too long of a deal, they were too expensive, etc.

That doesn't mean that the Twins made a decision based on the color of the players' skin. They may have made it because they felt like the fan base demanded it, or because they felt like the players wanted to stay more, or because they were more popular. But then the question can be asked: why would the fan base demand it more, why would the players want to stay more, why were they more popular?

#24 peterb18

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 02:55 PM

I can't believe that somebody would call Punto a garbage player. I consider him a high level athlete! He is so talented--was a high- light reel fairly often on ESPN. Gardy and most baseball people really like him. Every team needs players like Punto. Such a team oriented player-infectious! He and players like him will always have jobs in the big leagues.

#25 Riverbrian

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 03:05 PM

The argument in the story isn't that these moves were made for racial reasons. The suggestion was that a team feels more pressure to hang onto players with which that fan base identifies and a Minnesota fan base identifies more with Mauer and Nathan than Hunter and Santana.

We can go back and forth on specifics, but I don't see any significant differences in the situations that explains why two deals got done and two didn't. If the Twins would've kept Hunter and Santana and let Mauer and Nathan go for exactly the same money, we would be saying the same thing about Mauer/Nathan that we say about Santana/Hunter: they wanted too long of a deal, they were too expensive, etc.

That doesn't mean that the Twins made a decision based on the color of the players' skin. They may have made it because they felt like the fan base demanded it, or because they felt like the players wanted to stay more, or because they were more popular. But then the question can be asked: why would the fan base demand it more, why would the players want to stay more, why were they more popular?


If True... Someone in Twins Management is making that decision based upon what he thinks the typical Twins Fan thinks and that person is an idiot.

If True... You would have to assume that a poll or research project was done to gauge the typical Twins fan commitment to the Twins based on this tricky subject, so they could tailor their roster based actual information.

If True... A poll of this sort in the field would be a political nightmare. Therefore if True... Someone is making these decisions based on no basis what so ever and is an idiot.

If True... any roster or contract decision based upon the un-informed... un-scouted opinion of fans who are not even intelligent enough to be enlightened. Would be the workings of an idiot.

If true... The only way this happens is under the radar and made by the decision maker himself and he is too busy drafting Aaron Hicks and signing Sano.

The only conclusion is not true... (Bang the gavel down)

#26 @_2244

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 03:06 PM

I couldn't care less if our players are white Minnesota natives or purple Martians. I just want the team to win, couldn't care less about what the players look like or where they hail from. As far as that article goes, I feel like commenting on it at all gives it undue publicity. Sadly, there's still more than enough real race issues that people have to deal with every day. No need to go about minimizing that fight by drumming up fictitious ones.

#27 Riverbrian

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 03:12 PM

I couldn't care less if our players are white Minnesota natives or purple Martians. I just want the team to win, couldn't care less about what the players look like or where they hail from.

As far as that article goes, I feel like commenting on it at all gives it undue publicity. Sadly, there's still more than enough real race issues that people have to deal with every day. No need to go about minimizing that fight by drumming up fictitious ones.


BINGo with a capital BING.

#28 Ultima Ratio

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 03:13 PM

Totally reject the premise of the question. In fact, it commits a fallacy called 'complex question' in which you force any answer to already assume something is in the question is true.
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#29 Bark's Lounge

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 03:15 PM

ON the other side, there was a LOT of talk about how Santana wanted to be in a much bigger market, so I don't know if that should count against the Twins. But Hunter has always been about the money. He certainly would've stayed if he would've been paid.

I am glad you started this post. It is good to bring up these kind of topics sometimes as to keep it fresh in our minds that racism still exists and to firmly entrench in what we have control over to not let the horrible injustices and attrocities we faced as a nation happen again. I feel pretty confident the Twins are not a anti Latino or African American organization, but maybe we are Pro Hometown players and Pro Canadians... oops strike (Canadians), we did not resign Koskie. I agree with your view on Santana not wanting be a Twin. On the T-Hunt contract - his contract with the Angels is awful. 18M per season? He is at least 6M per season over paid... grotesque.

#30 Shane Wahl

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 03:20 PM

I can't believe that somebody would call Punto a garbage player. I consider him a high level athlete! He is so talented--was a high- light reel fairly often on ESPN. Gardy and most baseball people really like him. Every team needs players like Punto. Such a team oriented player-infectious! He and players like him will always have jobs in the big leagues.



Not for $4 million. Sorry.