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Article: Did Terry Ryan Act Too Aggressively in Free Agency?

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#1 Nick Nelson

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 10:11 AM

You can view the page at http://www.twinsdail...-in-Free-Agency

#2 tcarlic

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 10:29 AM

Well, let's look at this on the other side. What if he waited and didn't make a move and these dude's signed somewhere else. Without signing these guys, we'd look like the Orioles. I used to like that organization, but the way the conduct business shows the fanbase that they really don't care about the team. TR listened to the fans, well we can think that, when signing these three guys pretty quickly. Keep it coming next year!

#3 nicksaviking

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 10:56 AM

Well, let's look at this on the other side. What if he waited and didn't make a move and these dude's signed somewhere else. Without signing these guys, we'd look like the Orioles. I used to like that organization, but the way the conduct business shows the fanbase that they really don't care about the team. TR listened to the fans, well we can think that, when signing these three guys pretty quickly. Keep it coming next year!


Yes, I agree. Just because Garza, Santana and Jiminez signed/are signing late doesn't mean the Twins would get a bargain on them. Last year Ryan was telling the MLB Network that he couldn't get guys to come here. For all we know, these three would be the kind of arms who have no interest in coming here for whatever reason.

Besides, I've been one of those complaining that Ryan was too passive and conservative, I'm certainly not going to hypocritically flip sides now.

It does seem like the Twins don't have luck on their side though. Usually the free agents that wait until February to sign are either very questionable or out of the Twins price range. Now the one year the Twins were willing to spend money, these guys look to be taking late season discounts; alas the bankroll has been depleted and the roster spaces are nearly full.

#4 whosafraidofluigirussolo

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 11:00 AM

Statements Do Matter
But that approach doesn't really have the same paradigm-shifting effect as signing two pitchers to unprecedented contracts by early December, does it?


Agreed, but I feel as though the front office made the key part of the "statement" with Nolasco, and it would have been just as effective both statement-wise and roster-management-wise if they hadn't made one of the two subsequent deals with Hughes and Pelfrey.
I think it's good that the team acted early in free agency, but I also think they hamstrung their own flexibility for the back half of the offseason.

#5 MileHighTwinsFan

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 11:04 AM

Hindsight is always 20/20. Sure we can second guess all day long whether we overpaid for Nolasco. I would rather have this conversation in May when we can look at Nolasco's and Garza's numbers.

#6 gmarais66

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 11:09 AM

I really dislike articles like this... Second-guessing, just for the sake of trying to be controversial; luring people in to agreements over meaningless retrospect. You can go back and second guess just about anything in life, but what's the point? What do you gain by it? It's rubbish...

#7 Nick Nelson

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 11:13 AM

I really dislike articles like this... Second-guessing, just for the sake of trying to be controversial; luring people in to agreements over meaningless retrospect. You can go back and second guess just about anything in life, but what's the point? What do you gain by it? It's rubbish...


Did you actually read the article or just react to the headline? Guessing the latter.

#8 TheLeviathan

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 11:23 AM

In terms of value, in hindsight, it appears aggression was not the best move this offseason. But in general it is the best way to act. So I can't criticize the team at all. It didn't work out for them but the strategy was sound and will be sound in the future. So I think one can fairly assess the strategy as having been less effective this year than it usually is without blaming Ryan for it. He did the right thing, it just didn't work as well as it usually does.

Also, Nick may want to brace for bizarre arguments that in terms of talent Nolasco = Garza. I still haven't wrapped my head around that.

#9 LewFordLives

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 11:29 AM

I think it's a fair question to ask, but I don't think the Twins had a choice. They are desperate for pitching and everyone knows it. And as mentioned above, they were going to have to overpay to get people to come pitch for a 90 loss team. Would I rather have Garza than Nolasco at that money? Sure, but there's still no guarantee Garza would have come here. And as far as the prices dropping on Jimenez and Santana....they're still holding out....so who knows. I'm sure the Twins made overtures to all these guys...but in the end we can't wait around forever.

#10 Jim Crikket

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 11:31 AM

So if you don't sign those guys in December, they sign with someone else and you're relying on your chances of getting Garza to choose a reunion with Gardenhire/Anderson over pitching for the Brewers in the National League? And if you're wrong about those chances, you're sitting there with nothing but, perhaps, outbidding Arizona for Arroyo? No thanks. Just because Garza signed for less than expected, you don't second guess the aggressive approach. Not when you absolutely needed multiple rotation additions.

#11 gmarais66

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 11:31 AM

Did you actually read the article or just react to the headline? Guessing the latter.



I read it... That's why I commented... Should they have? Could they have? It's pointless....

Edited by gmarais66, 10 February 2014 - 11:34 AM.


#12 JB_Iowa

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 11:31 AM

No, he didn't act too aggressively.

You learn lessons in different ways and in different situations. For a lot of reasons, Ryan needed to do something early -- and, as you mention, he could afford to do it. (Even now, it's not like they've raised payroll by much).

Has TR as GM ever had the flexibility or the need to be as aggressive in free agency as he was this year? Perhaps only in 2012/2013 and I'm not sure he had as much payroll flexibility then (although he seemed to have more than he used).

In the long run, its about finding a balancing point on whether to lead the market or sit back. But the situation varies for each team each season.

I'm pretty much so-so on the Pelfrey signing. I don't think it was a great step but I don't think it hurts that much either.

And bringing Garza back to the Twins always seemed like a really long shot to me.

#13 LimestoneBaggy

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 11:36 AM

Read the title of this article [threw desk over], read first line of article......[calmly spent the morning picking up around the office].

Terry Ryan, making it rain?

#14 birddog

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 11:40 AM

I applaud TR for his quick signings. With the Twins selling out most games at Target Field, fans should no longer have to worry about saving a few million dollars to get inferior players as we have in the past--and in a few years, keeping Sano, Buxton, Meyer, etc. Terry Ryan has always been astute finding players in the bargain bin. Now that he has the money to shop where the top teams shop, we should see significant signings to plug holes and once again make the Twins winners sooner than later.

#15 twinsnorth49

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 11:41 AM

Hard to fault TR for not wanting to be late to the party. The need was obvious, they identified who they wanted and got it done, kudos.

I don't think anyone saw the Garza deal coming or Jimenez and Santana still being unsigned mid February. I'd be curious to see what the feeling would be around here if all TR had done was signed Pelfrey by now, would people still be talking about bargains or saying to raid the piggy bank before it's too late?

#16 PseudoSABR

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 11:43 AM

The Twins signed two relatively good-health starters, who under performed their peripheral statistics. While we might argue that the talent of Santana, Jimenez, and Garza is better than what Twins fetched, the attached draft picks and relative health and inconsistency of the these three are prohibitive for a team so desperate for pitching and far from contention.

#17 Nick Nelson

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 11:46 AM

[quote name='gmarais66']I read it... That's why I commented... Should they have? Could they have? It's pointless....[/QUOTE]
So you're complaining about second-guessing in an article where the basic premise is, let's not second-guess these moves because the strategy behind them was solid? Cool.

Whether you like it or not, the question posed in the header is a talking point among fans, especially after Garza's signing. This has been a very unusual offseason in terms of how the pitching market has played out, and it's worth re-examining the team's approach under the circumstances, IMO. But thanks for sharing your valuable insight on the matter.

[quote]I'm pretty much so-so on the Pelfrey signing. I don't think it was a great step but I don't think it hurts that much either.[/QUOTE]
Agreed. People just need to view the Pelf signing for what it is: a cheap veteran addition to the back of the rotation with a bit of upside. The nice part about his low salary (esp relative to Arroyo) is that it wouldn't be too tough to move him aside in favor of a younger talent should the need arise.

[QUOTE]So if you don't sign those guys in December, they sign with someone else and you're relying on your chances of getting Garza to choose a reunion with Gardenhire/Anderson over pitching for the Brewers in the National League? And if you're wrong about those chances, you're sitting there with nothing but, perhaps, outbidding Arizona for Arroyo? No thanks.[/QUOTE]
Well, the other argument is that they could still be competing to sign Santana or Jimenez, who may both be better than any of the names mentioned, but I don't have much issue with shying away from the draft pick compensation. That's a lot to give up in order to bring on risk-saddled pitching contracts.

#18 tobi0040

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 11:50 AM

In terms of value, in hindsight, it appears aggression was not the best move this offseason. But in general it is the best way to act. So I can't criticize the team at all. It didn't work out for them but the strategy was sound and will be sound in the future. So I think one can fairly assess the strategy as having been less effective this year than it usually is without blaming Ryan for it. He did the right thing, it just didn't work as well as it usually does.

Also, Nick may want to brace for bizarre arguments that in terms of talent Nolasco = Garza. I still haven't wrapped my head around that.


I agree completely. We probably would take a more cautous approach with Nolasco all over again, but you can't argue with the strategy. We could have ended up with nothing. I will take something at a higher price over nothing any day.

I think Nolasco received a premuim for durability and/or Garza less due to injury concerns. Nolasco has pitched 390 innings the last two years and Garza pitched only 258, concerns over his elbow could not have helped.

I think it is fair to say most people who criticize the Nolasco and Hughes signings and/or Terry's approach are the people that are impossible to please.

#19 Willihammer

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 11:50 AM

They agreed to terms with Nolasco on Nov 28 and with Hughes on Dec 5. That's just a tiny bit aggressive compared to the average peak offseason FA signing.

http://twinsdaily.co...81&d=1385569216

^ Taken from jay's blog post: http://twinsdaily.co...arting-Pitchers

Its only the Tanaka/posting system drama and the lack of precedent for this FO that makes it appear more aggressive than it actually was.

In any case, it was the right strategy IMO.

#20 Cris E

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 11:57 AM

It's a silly premise for an article.

<Inflamatory Strawman Title?>
No! Perfectly reasonable action in context, and no one is saying this at all. But if they were this piece would be refuting those arguments.

#21 Jim Crikket

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 12:16 PM

Well, the other argument is that they could still be competing to sign Santana or Jimenez, who may both be better than any of the names mentioned, but I don't have much issue with shying away from the draft pick compensation. That's a lot to give up in order to bring on risk-saddled pitching contracts.


Actually, I question whether shying away from 2nd round draft pick compensation is wise if you've identified a free agent that you believe will help your team compete now and for a year or two in to the future. But I agree with shying away from it with regard to Jimenez and Santana. I really have very little confidence that either pitcher will turn out to be wise investments for the money they've been wanting, alone, much less when you consider the draft pick you lose on top of the money.
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#22 James

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 12:26 PM

Nick, it's a good article that brings up some interesting points.

I don't think we'll really know if he was too aggressive until we see the performance of some of these guys. I am in the camp that he wasn't too aggressive.

First, as you pointed out, sending the message to the fan base was important. Second, there is no way for us to know how the market would have been had the Twins not been aggressive. There is a good chance that if they had not signed anyone early, the price for a guy like Garza may have gone up. TR was pretty much the first GM to act this offseason when it came to pitching, and thus set the market. I think when we look back it a few years from now, these will end up looking like good signings and good values.

Sure, Garza would have been nice at that price, but if was the first guy that the Twins signed, I don't think he would have been here at the same price. I think Garza gave the Brewers a little bit of a discount, and probably got a little nervous about not having a contract in January. Who knows though...

#23 ALessKosherScott

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 12:42 PM

When you're coming off a rotation in 2013 that featured five guys who could best be dubbed 4A starters, I'm not sure you can ever act "too aggressively."

#24 cmb0252

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 12:47 PM

I was happy with the deals when it happened and I'm happy with them now. People complain about how unaggressive Ryan is but then he is aggressive and people complain he was too aggressive.... Can't have it both ways. Even if he over payed, which has yet to be determined, who cares? If he did it isn't by much and we still have plenty of money available.

#25 Kwak

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 01:03 PM

No, Ryan wasn't too aggressive. Acting early to "lock-in" the price prevents a situation where price "runs-away" when the supply dries-up. In this manner, it is more likely that he pitchers waited too long hoping for a higher price--and the demand slacked instead!

#26 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 01:11 PM

No.
"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take"- L. Harvey Oswald

:whacky028::whacky028: :whacky028::whacky028:

#27 Old Twins Cap

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 01:20 PM

If Tanaka is not posted, and there were real questions about that all through December, if he isn't posted, the market would have an extra $150M sloshing around looking for hurlers. Ryan didn't know, nor could he know if Tanaka would be posted. He just knew the risks of waiting to find out. In the long run, needing three arms and having the dough available to spend, he did the prudent and wise thing: lock up the guys you can live with early on.

#28 Dman

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 01:22 PM

I felt Nolasco and Hughes were both overpays but the way the contracts we have are structured I don't see it hampering what they can do in the future so I don't think it really matters. Personally I like the fact they went out and got the guys they liked early rather than waiting for the scraps at the end. I liked the aggressive approach this year and I don't think it hurt them.

I really think teams value the deep talent in this years draft and don't want to lose a pick for the high priced pitchers that are left. It is a very odd year for FA especially considering the extra money coming in for teams. I really thought the prices would go through the roof this year. I hope the Twins make some good selections in the draft and remain aggressive in FA.

#29 troyhobbs

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 01:41 PM

Wish he would've been equally aggressive getting some bats in the lineup. Bottom 5 in BA and runs scored and nothing done to address that. Although I'm not sure competing in 2014 was ever a realistic goal anyway.

#30 Monkeypaws

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 02:06 PM

The Twins targeted a couple guys they wanted, and they got them.

I see nothing wrong with taking care of business like that.