There are relatively few guarantees in baseball, and even less when it comes to what a new CBA will look like. Let's take a look at a few potential additions, and how it can impact the Twins (and other clubs). Today I want to talk about one potentially significant change.
Both sides have spoken about a potential salary floor in some form or fashion. When both sides reference the possibility of something then it is only a matter of the details. It WILL be in the new CBA. How will that impact teams? or better yet how can some teams leverage this to their advantage? Lets assume a $100M floor for simplicity sake.
This would mean there is a TON of money that will HAVE to be spent. If you MUST spend it, you can do 1 of 3 things. #1 spend big on top tier players. Of course there are relatively few top tier players left to spend money on. #2 overpay average players, which is just silly. #3 take on bad contracts.
Lets take a look at a strategy behind #3. First lets identify teams that A) already have very high salaries which could be looking for some relief. B.) Still want to add a big piece or two, and C) have underperforming big salaries they want to dump. D) are in "Win Now" mode. The strategy here is to spend the money you are forced to by taking on bad contracts in exchange for quality prospects. Here are 3 of the top 4 teams in committed salaries for 2021. Each of these teams meet this criteria.
Mets, Dodgers, Padres.
The Mets currently sit at $235M and they still want to add more. They have a bad contract in Robinson Cano. $24M for '21 & '22. They also have some decent young players or prospects I would take a flier on. Would the Mets give up both Dom Smith & Thomas Szapucki for a team to take Cano's salary off the books? You have to spend the money anyways. Dom Smith is a Gold Glove 1B who is stuck behind Alonso. We have Sano, and hopefully he has a great offseason and comes into camp down 40 pounds like Vlad Guererro, but if he doesn't, Smith would be a great long term piece at 1B, and Szapucki would be another MLB ready arm with injury history, and we have enough of those, but he could also be a great buy low candidate.
Dodgers are currently at $213M and still want to bring back Kershaw, and need to replace Seager at SS. Nobody will touch Bauer, but what about taking on the final year of David Price at $32M. There is not a TON I like in their system, but maybe a Ryan Pepiot, but maybe a young player like Gavin Lux.
Here is the one that excites me the most. Padres at $180M, but they would love to either upgrade some spots or swap out contracts. You take on BOTH Wil Myer, and Eric Hosmer. You help SD clear $40M off the books to free that up for them to go after bigger impact players you have to ask what would they give up? Would they give up CJ Abrams? that is a ton, and we already have plenty of SS, but having Lewis, Martin, Abrams all in the system and nearly ready could allow you to use that depth to then trade for potential ACE pitching prospects. Would they give up Gore? How about a trade along the lines of Max Kepler, and Brent Rooker or Trevor Larnach in exchange for either Gore or Abrams along with taking on the contracts of Myer & Hosmer?
What moves would you make if there is a salary floor and the Twins are forced to spend at least another $30M without there being a lot left in FA?