If you've been a fan of the Minnesota Twins for a while, you're probably sick of hearing about payroll. It's a topic that's beaten to death, and the criticisms are often contradictory.
People will rip the ownership for not spending more out of one side of their mouth and ridicule them for overpaying Joe Mauer out the other. You can't have it both ways.
In no way am I trying to suggest ownership or the front office shouldn't be questioned. I'm just saying those are tired and lazy arguments and it's time to point frustrations in a new direction.
The most important positive step the organization could take would be to stop taking into account how much money it has invested in a player when making roster decisions. They need to stop being so cheap, and accept the fact when they've made a poor investment.
As much as I would have loved to see the Twins sign an ace or dump a bunch of money into the bullpen, the team's decision not to is entirely defensible. Big, long-term contracts almost never work out and relievers are pretty unreliable from one year to the next.
It wasn't long ago all these multi-year contracts to relievers would have been met with pretty much universal disdain. But, of course, the Royals have changed all that. It's a copycat league.
What is indefensible is to refuse to give up on guys like Mauer or Ricky Nolasco in an attempt to save face despite having numerous better options.
As a big Mauer apologist, I'll always hold out hope that he'll get back to being an on-base machine. Maybe the farther Mauer gets from his concussion the more likely it gets he'll regain his hand-eye skills. And I don't think we've ever seen Nolasco healthy in a Twins uniform. There's some reason to hold out hope for him, too.
But if it starts to look like more of the same from either Mauer or Nolasco the club must move them into lower profile roles. The goal has to be winning games, not protecting egos.
The Twins don't necessary need to spend a bunch of money to build a playoff team. All they need to do is put the best 25 guys on the roster and set roles based on skills and performance rather than service time and contract status.