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Article: Top '13 Stories: #3 - Twins Spend On Free Agents

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#1 John Bonnes

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 12:35 PM

You can view the page at http://twinsdaily.co...-On-Free-Agents

#2 Boom Boom

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 01:08 PM

It's a change and it also isn't a change.

Even with the "spending spree", the Twins payroll is about the same as it was in 2013. They haven't actually spent more money - they just relegated more of it to the starting rotation than they have previously.

#3 mike wants wins

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 01:20 PM

Correct, with the new money coming in from the tv contract, they have effectively cut payroll again. All they did was take money freed up, and spend it. Nothing new here at all, yet. There is still time to prove the naysayers wrong.......

#4 TwinsTerritory

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 02:43 PM

In my opinion there is a fine line between the Twins spending money because they have it and working to improve the team. When it comes to starting pitching, the Twins have spent some money and have clearly upgraded their options, however they only need 5 starters at a time (obviously depth is important too). I personally liked the Nolasco signing, if he becomes or #2 or #3 in the near future. I'm not as convinced that we needed to sign Hughes and Pelfrey. With the new TV money, I would have liked to see the Twins sign one of those two and bring in a bigger name either this offseason or next. There is a lot of talk about playoff contention on this site and the year 2015 seems to be the consensus of many. I'm not sure that this 2015 rotation puts the Twins in playoff contention:
1. Nolasco
2. Meyer
3. Hughes
4. Gibson
5. Pelfrey/Deduno/Worley/Diamond

On the other hand, 1 more big name would look a lot more like a playoff-contending rotation.

1. Tanaka/Garza/Jimenez/Bailey/Scherzer/Shields
2. Nolasco
3. Meyer
4. Hughes or Pelfrey
5. Gibson/Deduno/Worley/Diamond

#5 Seth Stohs

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 03:15 PM

I guess I choose to think about it like this: They're also deciding to give opportunities to some very talented young players with good upside at league minimum. When you do that at several positions, it affects payroll.

#6 PseudoSABR

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 03:24 PM

Correct, with the new money coming in from the tv contract, they have effectively cut payroll again. All they did was take money freed up, and spend it. Nothing new here at all, yet. There is still time to prove the naysayers wrong.......

While it may be true the Twins aren't spending a higher percentage of their financial resources on their payroll, it's unequivocally true that the Twins have far and away spent more on free agency (both in terms of overall dollars and of percentage of payroll/resources) than at any point in the clubs history--which, of course, is the point.

Edited by PseudoSABR, 31 December 2013 - 03:27 PM.


#7 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 03:27 PM

This is another one where being upset makes no sense. There was no SS version of Robinson Cano to spend the money on. I think the pitchers they went after are the ones also most likely to succeed. The only one out there that I think might have been a better get was Garza in my opinion, and I'm not sure that's shared here. Santana makes me nervous personally. Garza is also waiting till after the Tanaka thing happens, so I honestly think the Twins were smart in waiting. People would be complaining on how the market passed them by when suddenly Garza is getting the big money deal from everyone who lost out on Tanaka.

The went and spent money on some of the top options available. I get that they could still spend more, but at this stage of the game, I'm not sure on what. They got 3 guys who all look like they should outperform the contract, they are staggered so as to open up one additional spot each year. They did this right.

#8 oldguy10

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 04:51 PM

So will the Twins jump in and offer Garza something after Tanaka is signed or not? And is it really necessary to even do so? I think there are now enough potential starters either on the MLB roster or in the minor leagues.

#9 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 05:01 PM

So will the Twins jump in and offer Garza something after Tanaka is signed or not? And is it really necessary to even do so? I think there are now enough potential starters either on the MLB roster or in the minor leagues.


That's just it. I personally thought they were done after Hughes and Nolasco... Pelfrey was a bit of a head scratcher, as I think a case could be made for Meyer breaking into the rotation at some point next year, and Gibson, Worley, Diamond, and Deduno all getting another shot... I think they are done, and I wouldn't be surprised at all if TR has a KC trade lined up.

#10 Thrylos

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 05:40 PM

It's a change and it also isn't a change.

Even with the "spending spree", the Twins payroll is about the same as it was in 2013. They haven't actually spent more money - they just relegated more of it to the starting rotation than they have previously.



Well... It is a huge change in mentality. Previously (in the Terry Ryan/Bill Smith years) the Twins extended their own guys or re-signed their own free agents instead of spending $ outside. This season they spent record $ on outside free agents (Nolasco, Hughes and Suzuki so far) and, potentially even more important, they gave an external free agent pitcher a 4+1 contract. This is the same Twins who would not sign pitchers to more than 2+1 contracts and preferred 1+1 contacts.

If this change in MO is not huge news, I don't know what it is....

(And they are not done spending yet; they still have about $50 M to spend to get to 52% of revenue so let it play for a while... I still think that they will get a couple more bats... But spending for spending's shake is nutty.)
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#11 mike wants wins

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 06:06 PM

While it may be true the Twins aren't spending a higher percentage of their financial resources on their payroll, it's unequivocally true that the Twins have far and away spent more on free agency (both in terms of overall dollars and of percentage of payroll/resources) than at any point in the clubs history--which, of course, is the point.


Then they must be spending near a record low on their non-free agent players, for the modern era......
Lighten up Francis....

#12 TheLeviathan

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 07:30 PM

This offseason was a win the moment they went over 3 years and chump change for a FA. That gives me hope for the future.

#13 Major Leauge Ready

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Posted 31 December 2013 - 07:38 PM

Then they must be spending near a record low on their non-free agent players, for the modern era......



Are you really saying that the amount they are spending on non-free agent players is the measure by which to determine if they spent money on free agents?

Edited by Major Leauge Ready, 01 January 2014 - 06:42 AM.


#14 PseudoSABR

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 03:07 AM

Then they must be spending near a record low on their non-free agent players, for the modern era......

Near record? Propably not. But you're right to remark that not many players on the current roster (beyond Mauer) deserve lucrative, long-term contracts. That's an indictment of the past, not the present, and certainly not the future.

You might continue to tell me that I should not be encouraged by the Twins' offseason, and I will continue to contend that it's perfectly reasonable (and very pleasant) to be encouraged by the Twins' offseason. I don't mean to patronize, but dismissing the 'Good' for the 'Perfect' remains a horrible judgment.

#15 PseudoSABR

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 03:23 AM

Well... It is a huge change in mentality. Previously (in the Terry Ryan/Bill Smith years) the Twins extended their own guys or re-signed their own free agents instead of spending $ outside. This season they spent record $ on outside free agents (Nolasco, Hughes and Suzuki so far) and, potentially even more important, they gave an external free agent pitcher a 4+1 contract. This is the same Twins who would not sign pitchers to more than 2+1 contracts and preferred 1+1 contacts.

If this change in MO is not huge news, I don't know what it is....

(And they are not done spending yet; they still have about $50 M to spend to get to 52% of revenue so let it play for a while... I still think that they will get a couple more bats... But spending for spending's shake is nutty.)

This is how I see it too. We're an organization that's known to covet and pay for promotion within, yet we've done such a poor job of drafting/developing/promoting for such a period that free agency has proven a necessity (whither our ****ing payroll).

And let's face it. The Twins are actually buying low on every one of their acquisitions. From Nolasco to Gilmartin. The downside is the Twins get what they paid for. The club needs innings. And if Nolasco played in the nineties (when we were less pitching starved) we might have called him Radke. Hughes and Pelfry are both safe and bold bets. The bet of one year is safe, but the Twins are bold in committing three years to each pitcher (staggered by a year). Indeed, that the Twins payroll remains such a small percentage of revenue, speaks to the deft, if subtle, improvement to the current roster, and what room remains for the future one.

Edited by PseudoSABR, 01 January 2014 - 11:19 AM.


#16 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 03:29 AM

This is another one where being upset makes no sense. There was no SS version of Robinson Cano to spend the money on. I think the pitchers they went after are the ones also most likely to succeed. The only one out there that I think might have been a better get was Garza in my opinion, and I'm not sure that's shared here. Santana makes me nervous personally. Garza is also waiting till after the Tanaka thing happens, so I honestly think the Twins were smart in waiting. People would be complaining on how the market passed them by when suddenly Garza is getting the big money deal from everyone who lost out on Tanaka.

The went and spent money on some of the top options available. I get that they could still spend more, but at this stage of the game, I'm not sure on what. They got 3 guys who all look like they should outperform the contract, they are staggered so as to open up one additional spot each year. They did this right.


Well said.

#17 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 03:41 AM

And let's face it. The Twins are actually buying low on every one of their acquisitions. From Nolasco to Gilmartin. The downside is the Twins get what they paid for.


A great point that too many ignore. I think Nolasco was less of a bet and more of a #3-ish guy but even he projects to do well in Target Field.

Hughes, on the other hand, is a fantastic bet. Everything about the guy suggests that he's a much better pitcher in Minnesota.

#18 Major Leauge Ready

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 07:54 AM

From what I have observed, many fans elect to ignore the strategies of rebuilding because as fans they are desperate for Cano, Tanaka, Ellsbury, Garza, E. Sanatana, or even Jimenez type signings. They ignore the demonstrated practices/principles teams follow when rebuilding, especially mid-market or smaller. They don’t give up draft picks. They don’t trade prospects for established players until their core is established and they believe a trade makes them a contender. And, they don’t sign guys to 5+ year deals. I have asked on two or 3 occasions for the posters who believe the problem is just that the Twins are cheap to post examples of teams in similar positions signing elite FA starting pitchers requiring 5+ year deals. The rarity or perhaps none existence ( I can’t think of one) demonstrates what GM’s think of this strategy.

In addition, once again, we do not have all of the information. Is Garza really willing to come back? Of course, he is going to say he is open to returning publically but the Twins FO obviously has a much better take on his willingness to return. Do they believe they can move Correia if they do land Garza or even Tanaka. Do they expect Deduno to start the season on the DL?

I give them credit for moving very aggressively to assure they had major league pitching this year. They could have waited around for Tanaka / Garza and Santana to shake out and lost out on Nolasco and Hughes. The Yankess, Dodgers or Mariners are going to probably going to make insane bids for Tanaka. Seattle’s new TV deal pays them $115M/yr + the national TV revenue adds up to about $100M additional annual revenue for Seattle. And, they proved their desperation with the ridiculous contract they gave Cano.

Someone is likely to give Garza more years than makes sense for a rebuilding team. Santana and Jimenez are high risk and require draft pick compensation. People get negative on the Pelfrey signing but that signing presents no problems that can’t be easily resolved. They can trade Correia if they actually have excess. They could also trade Schwarzak and use Worley or Diamond in LR.

#19 twinsfaninsaudi

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 08:59 AM

Livan Hernandez was signed in 2008. Recall that he was signed to take Johan's spot in the rotation after he was traded.

#20 mike wants wins

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 11:19 AM

Are you really saying that the amount they are spending on non-free agent players is the measure by which to determine if they spent money on free agents?


no, and you know that is not what I am saying. I am clearly saying that Ryan has not demonstrated any change in his willingness to spend money. The payroll is effectively down again, third year in a row since he took over. Until he shows that he is willing to go for it, there is no evidence he is willing to go for it. I continue to hope he will prove me wrong. And if they are rebuilding, what is the point of a two year deal for a mediocre.bad pitcher? How does the Pelfrey deal help with rebuilding? Adding him, and blocking one of Gibson, Worley, Meyer, May, Deduno, how does that help with the future?
Lighten up Francis....

#21 mike wants wins

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 11:32 AM

To be clear, I am happy they spent better, I hope, on free agency. My comments are about whether it shows that Ryan has really changed or not.
Lighten up Francis....

#22 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 11:42 AM

I really like the Nolasco signing and agree its a change from the same old, same old.

I don't like Hughes at all, although I'm glad they think they can, and should, address holes in their roster from free agency, and not just from the leftovers. That's a change.

Retaining Pelfrey and signing Suzuki don't represent change, IMO. I do like Suzuki, but he's exactly the type free agent they've always pursued. Flawed and cheap.

I'd be more inclined to think things have changed were they to sign Morales and Drew.

#23 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 01:53 PM

no, and you know that is not what I am saying. I am clearly saying that Ryan has not demonstrated any change in his willingness to spend money. The payroll is effectively down again, third year in a row since he took over. Until he shows that he is willing to go for it, there is no evidence he is willing to go for it. I continue to hope he will prove me wrong. And if they are rebuilding, what is the point of a two year deal for a mediocre.bad pitcher? How does the Pelfrey deal help with rebuilding? Adding him, and blocking one of Gibson, Worley, Meyer, May, Deduno, how does that help with the future?


I think the key word is "willingness" and even though he is now addressing needs through FA, and done an overall good job of it IMO, I'm not sure he has done so willingly. So I back you on this. Seems like people forget this is also the GM who praised player development and vowed not to take "shortcuts" not so long ago

#24 PseudoSABR

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 01:58 PM

My comments are about whether it shows that Ryan has really changed or not.

But he has changed regarding the particulars of this thread--in spending on free agency. Whether that demonstrates a totalizing change in strategy who can really say, but it IS a change in tactics.

What exactly is your measure of 'change'? You've characterized this offseason as same-ole same-ole which seems obliquely unfair.

#25 mike wants wins

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 02:58 PM

I acknowledged there is evidence of change, but we cannot be sure yet, didn't i?

For me change would be Ryan increasing payroll, signing a guy that costs a second round pick......since second rounders rarely even contribute to a MLB roster, trading prospects for proven major leguers. Maybe MLR is right, maybe they should just punt the season, again. As a fan and taxpayer subsidizing the profits of billionaires, I have little desire for that to be the strategy again this year.

can anyone explain how signing Pelfrey is about building for the future?
Lighten up Francis....

#26 Major Leauge Ready

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 04:53 PM

I acknowledged there is evidence of change, but we cannot be sure yet, didn't i?

For me change would be Ryan increasing payroll, signing a guy that costs a second round pick......since second rounders rarely even contribute to a MLB roster, trading prospects for proven major leguers. Maybe MLR is right, maybe they should just punt the season, again. As a fan and taxpayer subsidizing the profits of billionaires, I have little desire for that to be the strategy again this year.

can anyone explain how signing Pelfrey is about building for the future?


How in the world do you get "punting the season" out of my comments. Just because I am not a proponent of doing something as stupid as signing Ellsbury to a 7 year deal when this team is three years away from contending in no way whatsover suggests punting the season. Giving away draft picks as well as selling low on players for the sake of signing players that might get us to 500 (Drew / Morales) is also not punting the season. It is managing assets.

#27 Major Leauge Ready

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 05:28 PM

no, and you know that is not what I am saying. I am clearly saying that Ryan has not demonstrated any change in his willingness to spend money. The payroll is effectively down again, third year in a row since he took over. Until he shows that he is willing to go for it, there is no evidence he is willing to go for it. I continue to hope he will prove me wrong. And if they are rebuilding, what is the point of a two year deal for a mediocre.bad pitcher? How does the Pelfrey deal help with rebuilding? Adding him, and blocking one of Gibson, Worley, Meyer, May, Deduno, how does that help with the future?


Pelfrey and even Hughes are bridge strategies. Not giving up draft picks helps with rebuilding. Giving someone like Garza 5 years has a sigificant probability of impeding rebuilding. Why, because they are far more likely to perform the first 2-3 years and underperform in the final years when the team should be contending. Rebuilding teams do not do this because the benfit is a couple wins and maybe reaching 500 in this case. The cost is unknown but potentially very high in that they prohibit bringing in help when it would actually help the team contend. It would make far more sense at this point to wait at least until next year when there is a better crop of true front of the rotation starters and the team is closer to contention.

In addition there is no way Gibson is going to blocked if he has what it takes. I already listed options to assure that does not happen. And, you have made the point in the past this would be a good problem when it fit your narative. You continue to change positions as needed to fit your ideal of what the team should do. When you wanted Ellsbury you told us all how terrible the offense is. Then, a week later, you wrote a piece detailing why the team should break out when you wanted to trade for a front of the rotation starter the team was ready to break out.

Rebuilding teams don't do what you suggest. Show me examples without claiming something as ridiculous as Boston being a parallel situation. Surely, there are numerous examples if the strategies you have suggested have merit. Let's see them!

Edited by Major Leauge Ready, 01 January 2014 - 05:35 PM.


#28 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 06:49 PM

How in the world do you get "punting the season" out of my comments. Just because I am not a proponent of doing something as stupid as signing Ellsbury to a 7 year deal when this team is three years away from contending in no way whatsover suggests punting the season. Giving away draft picks as well as selling low on players for the sake of signing players that might get us to 500 (Drew / Morales) is also not punting the season. It is managing assets.


mod hat on: I think it's possible to disagree with other posters without calling something they've advocated stupid.

Mod hat off:
It seems to me if one is advocating a strategy that precludes "signing players that might get us to 500," that is by definition "punting the season," no?

Edited by USAFChief, 01 January 2014 - 06:52 PM.


#29 Kwak

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 07:31 PM

"Change"? 16 months ago it was "..get three pitchers", all were free agents. This off-season's action--sign three free-agent pitchers, and one (discounted) catcher. The only change I saw is that more payroll was available within the budget to sign these free-agents. Hence, they targeted a "better" group and market conditions dictated that longer-term contracts were required. This is as close of an admission as we'll hear/see that the cupboard is bare for the foreseeable future. Real change would have entailed the signing of two "Nolasco-quality" free agent position players also. That would show that the front-office isn't just trying to "bridge to better" players/team but to commit to doing so now. That action would be enough for me that management is acknowledging that the "old ways" failed and that problems will be addressed ASAP rather than by the "luck-of-the-draw" in the draft and augmented by what can be salvaged from the dumpster.

#30 PseudoSABR

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 07:51 PM

If you're only willing to define 'change' as the payroll surpassing some high percentage of revenue, you're missing out on the real progress the Twins have made so far this offseason.

If we had polled the community and asked whether spending 84 million on free agent pitching constituted a change for the Twins, I imagine the poll would result in an overwhelming yes.

Some how acknowledging the new approach to free agency is being conflated with believing the Twins have done enough to compete for championships in the near-future. No one is suggesting the latter, but the Twins have used an otherwise ignored resource (free agency) to unequivocally improve their product (the team we tune into watch and go to the ballpark to see).

Edited by PseudoSABR, 01 January 2014 - 07:54 PM.