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My Offseason Plan


tobi0040

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Here is my off-season plan.

 

What am I trying to accomplish?

 

-Being realistic with payroll, both on dollars and years

 

-Improve the team this year and in the near future

 

-Keep key positions open for guys like Sano and Buxton, and allow young pitchers to emerge.

 

-Address our real needs of OF defense and starting pitching

 

Starting Rotation

 

The Twins ranked second to last in starting ERA last year, behind only the Rockies who play a mile in the air. That is not good. While it is tempting for the Twins to pencil in Hughes, Nolasco, Gibson, Meyer, and May for next season and stand pat, I think that would be a huge mistake. This group needs to add more talent. On top of that, someone will get hurt or be ineffective next year. You just can’t pencil in five guys and hope nothing bad happens. If the worst thing that can happen is you create a healthy competition for the 5th spot or push a guy like May to the pen for awhile, that is OK with me.

 

Let’s face it, the Twins are NOT signing Scherzer, Lester, or Shields. There are some tempting trade opportunities out there like Cole Hamels. But I think it would be a mistake for the Twins to move prospects for a guy making $20M+ a year. Right now we have payroll flexibility and young prospects, we don’t need to blow both on one roster spot. I think any other name out there does not make a ton of sense for the Twins. We don’t need more Correia’s, Worley’s, or Pelfrey’s. If we are going to give up starts next year, give them up to a guy that is a clear upgrade and more than a one year proposition.

 

Verdict: Sign Ervin Santana to a 3 year, $45M deal with a team option for a 4th year and a buyout. I would probably be okay with the 4th year that vests based on 180+ plus innings a year for the three years. Ervin has been a workhorse, averaging 207 innings a year over the last five years. Outside of the poor 2012 in which he had an ERA of 5.16, his ERA has been consistently good 3.92, 3.38, 3.24, and 3.95. In my view he would be our second best pitcher behind Phil Hughes.

 

Outfield:

 

Our OF defense last year was a complete disaster and we had a debacle in CF all year. Josh Willingham is gone and my guess is Oswaldo Arcia is handed a corner spot and he probably should. He ended last year with an OPS of .750, 20 HR’s in 100 games, (4th in OPS on the team) while proving to be a liability defensively (annualized -2.4 dWAR). Other guys in the mix are Hicks, and potentially later in the year Buxton and Rosario. I view Jordan Schafer as a 4th OF. What the Twins should NOT do is sign a guy that may hit a bit and play poor defense, I am thinking Torii Hunter, Melky Cabrera, Nick Markakis. Let’s let another team make that mistake and fix our actual need.

 

Verdict: Sign Colby Rasmus to a 3 year deal for $36M (yahoo projected salary). This signing does a few things. Colby has played almost all of his career games in center and has a positive dWAR of 2.4 over his career. He could start in CF and move to a corner when Buxton arrives. I would expect he would provide plus defense in a corner, which would be a huge upgrade from last year. If we have a bunch of OF prospects turn out in two years, Rasmus has a career OPS of .788 against righties, which would make him a very ideal platoon guy (albeit an expenseive one that one year). I believe this move would stabilize both the offense and defense. He does have an appealing bat as well. He has a career .751 OPS and has averaged 21 HR and 22.5 2B a year over the last three years (while missing about 90 games over that stretch). He had a very good year in 2013, with 22 HR and an OPS of .840. His OBP and K numbers are not good, but he is still 28 and I think the what he provides defensively is going to make this a good signing.

 

 

Infield, Pen, and DH

 

I think the move is to stand pat. Paul Molitor has said he is going to play Danny Santana at short stop. He should be given every chance there. You have Suzuki, Dozier, Mauer, and Plouffe rounding out the infield and Escobar as the utility guy. Pinto should be given a shot to prove himself as a backup catcher getting 60 games. If Molitor concludes that Pinto is not a catcher, he should be traded for a team that has not concluded that and we should sign a backup catcher. Vargas should be handed DH and told to smack the ball around.

 

Our pen is loaded with young guys that should be given a shot, like Burdi, Reed, and Tonkin. No need to spend there or block these guys.

 

I am guessing these two signings bring payroll to about $85M and improve the team. What do you think?

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Simple and reasonable, although I'm not a fan of either player. The payroll figure is off though. 

 

If they tender Plouffe, Milone, Schafer, Nunez and Fien and non-tender Swarzak and Duensing, payroll would be at about $70M before counting pre-arb players. These two signings would take them over $100M. 

 

It's something they can afford, but you did mention being realistic with payroll.

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Instead of signing Santana who will get more than 3/45 on the open market we can trade for a starter.  We can do a combination of Escobar, Pinto and Relievers and prospects and there are numerous pitchers who may be available due to teams over supply (Mets) or because they are a year from FA (Toronto and Cincinnati)  that pitcher would cost less in terms of dollars.  Niese would be around 8 million for example. 

 

For the OF I am ok with Hunter signing cause its just for 1 season.  We have Rosario almost ready, Schaefer, Parmelee, Hicks and possibly Colabello gets another chance since we now know he was hurt last season.  who can all compete for LF as is.  I still think Santana gets a lot of time in CF next year and I am fine with that as it gives Escobar more time to prove he is a starting SS provided he isn't traded during the offseason.  

 

In the bullpen we don't really need to sign anyone, however the fan in me wants to see Neshek back with the Twins. 

 

The only other thing I can think of is making sure we have a solid back up C.  I don't think the Twins want Pinto to be that guy and the guy they had there last year isn't all that good so I would think getting a decent back up is in order.  Where are you Drew Butera?

 

I don't see this as a transaction filled offseason as we now have a pretty stable team and even our bench is solid as well as the pen. Just a tweak in the rotation for depth and some competition in the OF.

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More or less agree completely. But with a couple tweaks.

 

I like Rasmus because he CAN play CF. But I think I'd prefer him to play LF, knowing he can help cover CF, as can Santana here and there possibly.

 

Small trade or inexpensive FA, I'm looking for another Schafer type to bring in to compete with Schafer and Hicks for probably two jobs, primary CF and 4th OF, or a combo/platoon to share those two spots. I want defense and speed for the bottom of the order, and whatever hitting, OB and power I can get.

 

I have a few other ideas for SP signings, but Santana is definitely one of the tops. He's talented, generally consistent, but generally not dominating. He's probably the top SP in the second group of available FA's. Despite his overall ability and numbers, he simply isn't an $18-20M per pitcher. Your $15M per is about right, give or take a little.

 

I think one low cost Burton-like RP should be in order.

 

Totaled up, that's somewhere in the $25M range of moves barring a big market swing either way. IF the Twins keep Duensing and Milone, that outs the Twins around $100M.

 

 

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Simple and reasonable, although I'm not a fan of either player. The payroll figure is off though. 

 

If they tender Plouffe, Milone, Schafer, Nunez and Fien and non-tender Swarzak and Duensing, payroll would be at about $70M before counting pre-arb players. These two signings would take them over $100M. 

 

It's something they can afford, but you did mention being realistic with payroll.

 

Turns out I was off a bit.  No way should Nunez or Fien be back. Using these numbers and only bringing back only Schafer, Milone, Plouffe, and Escobar from the tender portion I think you get close to $95M.

 

Seems reasonable to me given a few things.  None of these are long term contracts. We are going to start to get production from guys making $500K.  And next year you lose Pelfey's $6M, replace Milone and Schafer with guys making $500K, and potentially trade Plouffe and replace him at 3B with Sano making $500K.

 

http://www.twinkietown.com/2014/8/4/5966571/a-first-look-at-the-twins-2015-payroll-and-roster

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Instead of signing Santana who will get more than 3/45 on the open market we can trade for a starter. We can do a combination of Escobar, Pinto and Relievers and prospects and there are numerous pitchers who may be available due to teams over supply (Mets) or because they are a year from FA (Toronto and Cincinnati) that pitcher would cost less in terms of dollars. Niese would be around 8 million for example.

 

For the OF I am ok with Hunter signing cause its just for 1 season. We have Rosario almost ready, Schaefer, Parmelee, Hicks and possibly Colabello gets another chance since we now know he was hurt last season. who can all compete for LF as is. I still think Santana gets a lot of time in CF next year and I am fine with that as it gives Escobar more time to prove he is a starting SS provided he isn't traded during the offseason.

 

In the bullpen we don't really need to sign anyone, however the fan in me wants to see Neshek back with the Twins.

 

The only other thing I can think of is making sure we have a solid back up C. I don't think the Twins want Pinto to be that guy and the guy they had there last year isn't all that good so I would think getting a decent back up is in order. Where are you Drew Butera?

 

I don't see this as a transaction filled offseason as we now have a pretty stable team and even our bench is solid as well as the pen. Just a tweak in the rotation for depth and some competition in the OF.

Torii was always my favorite twin. But he will be 40 next year and vargas needs reps at dh. Torii would be par for the course defensively in the outfield.

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The general plan is fine. I think the prices for Santana (including a draft pick) and Rasmus will be too high. I think picking up a stopgap who can play center would work, and it probably should be a right handed hitter. Bourgos from the Cards, maybe, or Ruggiano from the Cubs. Denorfia is a free agent who is a plus fielder. The pitcher I'd most like to see the Twins land is Masterson. Another might be Anderson, who pitched for the Rockies last year.

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Turns out I was off a bit.  No way should Nunez or Fien be back. Using these numbers and only bringing back only Schafer, Milone, Plouffe, and Escobar from the tender portion I think you get close to $95M.

 

Seems reasonable to me given a few things.  None of these are long term contracts. We are going to start to get production from guys making $500K.  And next year you lose Pelfey's $6M, replace Milone and Schafer with guys making $500K, and potentially trade Plouffe and replace him at 3B with Sano making $500K.

 

http://www.twinkietown.com/2014/8/4/5966571/a-first-look-at-the-twins-2015-payroll-and-roster

 

Here are more accurate projected arbitration salaries. 

 

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2014/11/projected-arbitration-salaries-for-2015.html

 

No chance they non-tender Fien at $1.1M. Nunez I can see being non-tendered. I would non-tender him. I just don't know if the Twins will. But even if somehow they did non-tender both of them, you would still be over $100M as you would only save $1.3M.

 

As for it not being long term, you would have almost $70M locked up in 5 players for the next three years. That doesn't leave much flexibility unless they plan to increase payroll significantly. You'd really have to hit on almost all of your league minimum players and hope that the 5 players taking up about 70% of your payroll produce. 

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I think that if the Twins are committed to Santana at short, Nuñez' chances of staying a Twin take a big hit. A second utility guy with a rep as a below-average glove really doesn't cut it. I like what Nunez has to offer (speed, some pop), but if he's backing up three guys who figure to play every day and also behind Escobar, he isn't needed.

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Here are more accurate projected arbitration salaries. 

 

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2014/11/projected-arbitration-salaries-for-2015.html

 

No chance they non-tender Fien at $1.1M. Nunez I can see being non-tendered. I would non-tender him. I just don't know if the Twins will. But even if somehow they did non-tender both of them, you would still be over $100M as you would only save $1.3M.

 

As for it not being long term, you would have almost $70M locked up in 5 players for the next three years. That doesn't leave much flexibility unless they plan to increase payroll significantly. You'd really have to hit on almost all of your league minimum players and hope that the 5 players taking up about 70% of your payroll produce. 

 

I am assuming we can go up to $115M if we are winning again.  The only other players that should be expensive in the next three years are Hughes and Dozier.  All these deals except probably Mauer come off the books when Sano, Buxton, Meyer, Gibson, etc. would theoretically start getting expensive.  So the timing seems to work out well.

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 The pitcher I'd most like to see the Twins land is Masterson. Another might be Anderson, who pitched for the Rockies last year.

 

I am not a huge fan of Masterson.  Over the last four years he has been really good in two years and really bad in the other two.  You don't want to go multi-year on a guy like that. I am assuming you favor a one year deal....I just don't think it makes sense.  He is still going to cost $10M or something like that.

 

-If he has a really good year, he leaves and does not help this team when we are good again.  Even if he has a good year, I would not want to extend him.

 

-If he has a really bad year, we don't want him.

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Torii was always my favorite twin. But he will be 40 next year and vargas needs reps at dh. Torii would be par for the course defensively in the outfield.

I am not saying that Torii is the best option in terms of best player available.  He's a good one that won't cost a long term commitment As we do have players coming up who can take over LF.  I am putting lower cost options out there to fill the holes.  your 2 moves cost 30 million to the payroll.  Mine are closer to 20 million without a commitment past next year.  The twins management will want to see if we can win and how that affects attendance before they spend again. 

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Re: Masterson, I favor a one-year contract with a relatively expensive team option (maybe $9M with a $14M option). While it would restrict the player a bit, he is still young enough to cash in big if he pitches well. The Twins would get to keep him for a decent AAV, but be protected if 2015 was 2014 redux.

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Re: Masterson, I favor a one-year contract with a relatively expensive team option (maybe $9M with a $14M option). While it would restrict the player a bit, he is still young enough to cash in big if he pitches well. The Twins would get to keep him for a decent AAV, but be protected if 2015 was 2014 redux.

 

I would probably consider something like that. I am not sure Masterson would.  But if it is a 50% shot he has a 4.50 to 5.00 ERA this year....the odds of having another terrible staff are a tad high. 

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