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Post Lock out Moves: Potential Twins Trades


Doc Munson

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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. 

Salary Floor

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.

 

Mets:

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:

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.

 

Padres:

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?

 

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Fantastic Topic Doc Munson !  I've been considering this as well, just not in the more insightful topic you've introduced "The Salary Floor" sure to come from the new CBA.  My whole approach to this Twins offseason has been to scheme ways in which they are competitive right out of the gate for 2022.  In the A.L. Central, and just one year removed from having won back-to-back division titles, I don't think the FO should consider anything LESS than competing in 2022.  One of the prime ways to do that is to take on bad contracts.  Doing this adds players who have talent.  They just don't perform to what their "cost" is.  It's kind of like Kirk Cousins.  He's played very well this year.  Yesterday he converted a late turnover into what should have been the game winning TD drive, only to see Zimmer's defense give up the game losing points in the end (for the FOURTH time this season).   Kirk is not a $40 million player, but in today's sports world this is the norm.  Guys like Myers (LF) and Hosmer (1B) would fill big holes for the Twins both in the field and in the lineup but would also allow us to add a young player or two of tremendous talent/potential by taking on those contracts (Abrams, Gore, Weathers).  It's the dirtiest way but also the quickest way to rebuild the talent.  You could swap an Arraez or a Lewis or Martin to maximize the haul, or swap out lesser pieces but you have to be willing to take on the salary for the period of time before their contracts expire.  I'm not sure how much time Myers and Hosmer have left and what the per season cost is (about $20 for each I'd imagine, Hosmer a little more, Myers a little less) but that's the price of poker.  It's an interesting scenario that is waaay outside what Twins ownership has ever considered.  But it SHOULD be a consideration.

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I love the concept of potentially working with the Padres on a deal. 

If the Twins were open to taking on salary in a deal that included one of / both Hosmer and Myers, the return would be massive.

Kepler makes a lot of sense from a need standpoint for the Pads as well.

The Hosmer contract after this season quite honestly isn't that bad if you look at how its broken down.

2022 - 20 mil

2023 - 13 mil

2024 - 13 mil

2025 - 13 mil

If you really could get back a player like Abrams, I'm all over it. 

Adrian Morejon is also a player I really like and a nice buy low candidate.

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Hosmer is by now established as a well-below average player at a defensive position where you like to have flexibility; he hurts the team each inning he plays.  And you'd be stuck with him for 4 years.  If you take him off the Padres hands, you might as well just cut him, eating $60M of total salary, You'd better be getting back an absolute stud of a prospect, maybe two, for your $60M.  I'm not convinced a team really will let go of a prized top-tier prospect just for money.  A couple of second-tier guys, yes.

The salary floor is a factor, and I like the creative thinking, but some of the guys being discussed are pretty extreme.

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I can't imagine the floor would be anywhere close to $100M, the average is around $120M. Baltimore opened last season at $43M. I'd be shocked if they agree on a floor higher than $80m and probably peg Tampa's $70.8M as s competitive floor.

 

I would think an option to hit the floor would be extending rookies and front-loading contracts

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I can only think of considering positions where we need help which is #1 pitching #2 short term SS and #3 CF back up so the only bad contract I'd like is Price. IMO $100M floor seems high but yet our recent budget has been $130M so what's the problem, am I missing something?

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How about taking on Elvis Andrus contract along with a pitcher from Oakland. Andrus can start the year at SS and hope Lewis is ready by mid year.  Either Andrus rebounds a bit or you have to replace him mid season. We need the pitching

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Teams that are below the floor usually have rosters filled with pre-arb players. An easy solution to help get to the floor would be to raise the league minimum salary. Teams at the soft ceiling would be less impacted by this than teams under the floor. 

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You are thinking way to creatively for the Twins! First of all , whatever the floor is you can be assured the Twins will figure a way to spend the least amount of money. That is always their starting point. How can we spend the least! That keeps them from cutting loose Sano and getting a productive player at first as you suggest. They also showed an unwillingness to spend at a key position like SS. So relax and get ready for another missed playoff season. Broken down pitching, Simmons back at short, Sano waving at curve balls and incompetence in LF will again be the story for 2022.

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I am very Leary of this idea. (1) the big spenders will continue to be irresistible for spending badly with no remorse because the less spending teams will be the financial relief for poor financial decisions. I admire Tampa Bay and their style of management. T.B. until this year has no sacred cow players as the Twins model does believe in. (2) MLB can’t take on the financial sins of the big spenders & poor decision & management. There is already a built in relief mechanism either sell the team or bankruptcy. (3) How about going to the Atlanta plan where all teams have to become a public entity form and have to show financial records. 

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Why is everyone assuming there will be a salary floor?  Sure, it has been mentioned.  But if there is a hard floor, you know the owners are going to insist on some type of cap other than the current tax.  Do you really think the players will accept anything resembling a hard cap?  Although I could be 100% wrong, I don't see that happening in this negotiation.  

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On 12/6/2021 at 1:00 PM, Sconnie said:

I can't imagine the floor would be anywhere close to $100M, the average is around $120M. Baltimore opened last season at $43M. I'd be shocked if they agree on a floor higher than $80m and probably peg Tampa's $70.8M as s competitive floor.

 

I would think an option to hit the floor would be extending rookies and front-loading contracts

I agree with this.  First, I have not heard much on a floor, and I cannot see the owners agree to a floor without a cap of some kind.  In other leagues the floor has a cap and both are established based on revenue.  First, I know the writer just threw out 100 for a number, but I agree it would be no where near that, at least not out the gate.  That would force some teams to spend a ton on lower level FA as many higher ones have signed and the teams with that low of payroll are not going to be signing correa just because they have to spend the money, unless he 100% going after most money.  I agree most lower teams would then lock up their younger guys to front loaded contracts to comply if they needed to act right away, and not take on bad vet contracts, unless the offers were good enough. 

Second, I would take Padres off list, because I do not think they are over the tax number yet.  Sure would they love to save some money and dump those bad contracts yes, but they are not giving up their top prospects to do it.   Unless they had plans to sign a top FA by cutting those contracts, but I doubt that is their idea. 

The Mets may want to cut some money for the Tax but if they really had that in mind they would not have signed who they did this year already.  Sure, if Twins came and said we will take Cano off your hands, maybe throw in Bonilla, Mets may give up a mid-level guy but not top prospects.

I like the outside the box thinking on this, but I highly doubt any team will give up a top prospect or good young players just to dump some bad contracts.  Unless the CBA forces their hand to do so for some reason, but again, I highly doubt any major changes to a floor, cap, or tax level would go into full affect but would go in slowly over the next couple of years. 

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We still have to think of the Twins finances...the team that has said in the past that it will cap spending as close to 55% of revenue as possible.

 

Now, remember, the lost 2020 season, where Minnesota graciously paid ALL minor league players their stipend, which in itself was pretty good for the guys as they could live at home (or most of them could). They also kept the majority of staff on payroll.

 

Plus, as most teams, had to make up for revenue lost in advertising sales to non-existent fans in the stands,m yearbook and magazine sales, signage and such. Some of those rolled over into less advertising revenue for 2021.

 

And 2021 still showed signs of suffering with reduced fans and concessions and sales overall of MLB stuff.

 

So, teams did, in many ways, take a hit (as did players, and msot all of us fans). Yes, the worth of the team overall continues to grow and grow, and if the Twins have a sharpo financial management team they can offset 2020/21 losses against 2022 profits.

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My questions are; will these players count against the 26 man roster or the 40 man roster or clearing waivers to be sent to the minors, who pays these long term years remaining which have to be paid after the player retires. If a older high priced player can’t preform well then what makes him perform better for a weaker or poorer team. The giving up of a prospect doesn’t seem like much of a “loss or penalty” for reckless financial management. Do I have a solution; no.

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How's this sound folks

Joan Duran* , Nick Gordon , and Gilberto Celestino

To D 'Backs

For  RHP Zac Gallen

 

Gallen is gettable coming off a Rocky '21 but looked like a Maddux lite ace in late 2019 and '20. And is controllable for 3 more yrs

*You could sub Petty or Canterino  for Duran . Petty as a ptbnl as he can't be traded till June or July. Also Duran originally signed with Arizona as a teenager.

 

Gallen , Ober , Bundy, Ryan, and Jax gives us one of the youngest and potentially most exciting rotations in the Game.

Factor in Winder and Sands and maybe Balazovic in the 2nd half to give us depth And im at least watching in 2022.

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BEFORE any consideration is given to taking back a bad contract to enable the Twins to add attractive pieces, the trading away of Josh Donaldson and his contract needs to take place.  Arraez needs to be retained to play 3B until the next wave of talent arrives so that a MLB ready 3B is not needed in return.  So, the question remains, which team(s) would be interested in Donaldson if the price is right?

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