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A case against signing the top free agents


Monkeypaws
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There are very few teams in the last 30 years people could point to that was built mainly via FA and trades for MLB vets.  I can think of mainly the Marlins first WS team.  Most teams may use them to supplement the holes they have, but continually going out buying the best FA each offseason does not give for sure success. 

Some will point to Yankees, or Dodgers, but the Yankees core was built from within mostly.  The Dodgers main guys were from within too.  Yes, they would bring in a few pieces but not built fully by FA.  When teams like the Red Sox tried to do this years ago when they signed 3 or 4 top FA, and the Angels for a stretch doing it each year, the teams were terrible.  

One player in baseball makes only a small difference, even the best MVP's get WAR ratings of say 10.  This year the best in AL had 9 WAR and his team finished 8 games below .500.  You need a full team.  I am always a fan of building a sold team across the board and not a top heavy team.  

We had the best pitcher in baseball for a few years when Santana was top of his game, before he was traded.  How many playoff series did we win when we had him?  It was not his fault of course, but the point I am making is you need more than just 1 great guy.

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On 11/11/2021 at 1:20 PM, Mike Sixel said:

They have two young pitchers right now. They lost a year to Covid. How many should be in the majors?

On top of this, I think most have forgotten just how terrible our pitching and pitcher development was under the previous FO. That we have as many guys as we do in the upper minors who look like they are going to be capable MLB pitchers -- even if only two guys have major league experience so far -- is evidence of a lot of progress.

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1 hour ago, Trov said:

There are very few teams in the last 30 years people could point to that was built mainly via FA and trades for MLB vets.  I can think of mainly the Marlins first WS team.  Most teams may use them to supplement the holes they have, but continually going out buying the best FA each offseason does not give for sure success. 

Some will point to Yankees, or Dodgers, but the Yankees core was built from within mostly.  The Dodgers main guys were from within too.  Yes, they would bring in a few pieces but not built fully by FA.  When teams like the Red Sox tried to do this years ago when they signed 3 or 4 top FA, and the Angels for a stretch doing it each year, the teams were terrible.  

One player in baseball makes only a small difference, even the best MVP's get WAR ratings of say 10.  This year the best in AL had 9 WAR and his team finished 8 games below .500.  You need a full team.  I am always a fan of building a sold team across the board and not a top heavy team.  

We had the best pitcher in baseball for a few years when Santana was top of his game, before he was traded.  How many playoff series did we win when we had him?  It was not his fault of course, but the point I am making is you need more than just 1 great guy.

Signing a top free agent, or more than one, prevents you from having your own home grown core? 

Your argument should really be FOR signing top free agent(s). If you want "a solid team across the board," which do you think is the better way to do it:

- use only the players you've developed, ignoring any holes, or

- use the players you've developed, supplemented with players others have developed, that you've acquired through trades and free agency?

 

Which one do you suppose gives you a better chance of having a "solid team across the board?"

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12 hours ago, Seth Stohs said:

The Twins have made two $100M+ signings... 

Both players did well when they were healthy... Immediately after signing, many Twins fans started hating them... So, Twins fans want top free agents and to keep top talent... until they do. 

Two is a pretty small sample size.

And regardless of how the fans liked Mauer or Donaldson, neither contract has come close to hamstringing the roster and both players were/are still competent baseball players.

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4 hours ago, USAFChief said:

Signing a top free agent, or more than one, prevents you from having your own home grown core? 

Your argument should really be FOR signing top free agent(s). If you want "a solid team across the board," which do you think is the better way to do it:

- use only the players you've developed, ignoring any holes, or

- use the players you've developed, supplemented with players others have developed, that you've acquired through trades and free agency?

 

Which one do you suppose gives you a better chance of having a "solid team across the board?"

If you actually go back and construct the rosters of playoff teams for the past decade while identifying how they were acquired (as I have) you will find that the source of the most impactful players for mid and small market playoff teams were drafting or trading established players for prospects.  I have posted that info in the past.  Yes, there was some supplementing with free agents.  However, it should be noted that virtually none of them were top of the market free agents.  Many of them were modest signings that overperformed.  There are 5 players acquired as prospects for every player acquired as an established impact player and that's a generous estimate.

So, if the Twins are a player or even two away, you would have a point.  The Twins would have to build a considerable portion of their team via trading for established players or signing free agents.  How many examples of mid market teams can you find that added the number of players the Twins need through free agency and trades?  Please educate those of us who are unaware of these past examples of success.

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Why does spending in FA equate to team building in FA?  Free Agency is for supplementing.  And you can supplement at high price tags.

And....you can supplement your future teams that may be only 1 or 2 players away a year or two in advance.  I believe this team has a bonafide group of young pitchers.  I think in two years that Miranda, Martin, and Lewis are players for this team.  If so.....I want to add now to have those supports in place for them.  Signing Seager or Ray or any other top FA doesn't mean you wipe your hands clean and pat yourself on the back for a job well done or mission accomplished.  But it means you are one more good player closer to where you want to be in the future.  And you have one less offseason where all your "I need to add one or two players now!" eggs are not in the same basket.  

It's not like St. Louis waited for Arrenado and Goldschmidt to be simultaneously available.  They added periodically.  Ditto the White Sox.  Waiting for the perfect moment is folly.

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4 hours ago, Major League Ready said:

If you actually go back and construct the rosters of playoff teams for the past decade while identifying how they were acquired (as I have) you will find that the source of the most impactful players for mid and small market playoff teams were drafting or trading established players for prospects.  I have posted that info in the past.  Yes, there was some supplementing with free agents.  However, it should be noted that virtually none of them were top of the market free agents.  Many of them were modest signings that overperformed.  There are 5 players acquired as prospects for every player acquired as an established impact player and that's a generous estimate.

So, if the Twins are a player or even two away, you would have a point.  The Twins would have to build a considerable portion of their team via trading for established players or signing free agents.  How many examples of mid market teams can you find that added the number of players the Twins need through free agency and trades?  Please educate those of us who are unaware of these past examples of success.

So just put the money in one of the Pohlad's bank accounts and call it a day. Wait for the minor leagues to provide everything needed for a WS. Gotcha. 

 

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15 minutes ago, USAFChief said:

So just put the money in one of the Pohlad's bank accounts and call it a day. Wait for the minor leagues to provide everything needed for a WS. Gotcha. 

 

I knew I could count on you to completely ignore hard evidence, and provide a reactionary response while ignoring that within these facts lies a blueprint and rationalization for what should be done.  If it's not go all in right now it can't possibly be a good strategy.  Gotcha!  

There is an alternative where the put a good product on the field now while not completely blocking the pitching prospects from getting plenty of time at the ML level.  They find a good but short-term fix at SS.  They could even get 1 high quality SP and another Pineda type.  Good team this year while retooling the roster / establishing pitching / transitioning a couple position players and leaving some payroll flexibility for final pieces.  The position players could include any of Martin / Miranda / Lewis and a couple other guys that showed signs last year.

Contrary to popular opinion, our future success has little to do with the team spending every possible dime.  As a matter of fact, THIS YEAR that's probably counter-productive to sustained success. 

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Really don't need a case against this team signing the top free agents.  Just need to deal in reality.  This team will never sign top free agents.  The hope is that they just re-sign their OWN top free agents.  Sadly, that's starting to look like a pipe dream as well.

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3 minutes ago, dxpavelka said:

Really don't need a case against this team signing the top free agents.  Just need to deal in reality.  This team will never sign top free agents.  The hope is that they just re-sign their OWN top free agents.  Sadly, that's starting to look like a pipe dream as well.

A $100M signing is inconsequential to you?

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I think they should be signing a big, long term free agent every other year or so.

Because if there's one thing we do know, it's that we DON'T know when the window of contention will be open. A guy signed to a five year deal today should be helpful when that next window is open. We won't know when the time will be and we can't expect the club to fill all the holes to make a contending team at the drop of a hat.

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1 hour ago, nicksaviking said:

I think they should be signing a big, long term free agent every other year or so.

Because if there's one thing we do know, it's that we DON'T know when the window of contention will be open. A guy signed to a five year deal today should be helpful when that next window is open. We won't know when the time will be and we can't expect the club to fill all the holes to make a contending team at the drop of a hat.

The right guys signed to 5 year deals should provide help to several potential windows of contention.  That's the beauty of it....sign Corey Seager or Robbie Ray and they should be a factor for several potential runs. 

Signing stop gaps only ensures they never help your future.  That's what a stop gap is.

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I'll repeat: The Twins are making a 130M more in revenue than they were a decade ago and are only spending about 70M more than they were a decade ago.  Mid-market successes like St. Louis traded for Goldschmidt and Arrenado, ChiSox added Grandal, Lynn, Hendricks, Kuechel, Kimbrel over a span of years, Padres are a 'Nuff Said.  Waiting for the stars to align is folly.

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1 hour ago, nicksaviking said:

I think they should be signing a big, long term free agent every other year or so.

Because if there's one thing we do know, it's that we DON'T know when the window of contention will be open. A guy signed to a five year deal today should be helpful when that next window is open. We won't know when the time will be and we can't expect the club to fill all the holes to make a contending team at the drop of a hat.

The best examples I can think of for that strategy would be the Angels / Phillies and Mets.  That has not worked out as a matter of fact it's failed miserably?  Of course, those teams have $100M+ more revenue than the Twins but there is not a team of equivalent revenue that has done what you are suggesting.  At least not if we are talking Donaldson level and up.  If it's such a good idea, why is this true.   The small markets like the Royals certainly did not remotely follow this strategy in route to winning the WS.  Obviously, the Rays and As never do.  What examples of success am I missing?

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33 minutes ago, Major League Ready said:

The best examples I can think of for that strategy would be the Angels / Phillies and Mets.  That has not worked out as a matter of fact it's failed miserably?  Of course, those teams have $100M+ more revenue than the Twins but there is not a team of equivalent revenue that has done what you are suggesting.  At least not if we are talking Donaldson level and up.  If it's such a good idea, why is this true.   The small markets like the Royals certainly did not remotely follow this strategy in route to winning the WS.  Obviously, the Rays and As never do.  What examples of success am I missing?

The Nationals paid Scherzer a boatload of cash and rode him to a world series. 

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3 hours ago, nicksaviking said:

I think they should be signing a big, long term free agent every other year or so.

Because if there's one thing we do know, it's that we DON'T know when the window of contention will be open. A guy signed to a five year deal today should be helpful when that next window is open. We won't know when the time will be and we can't expect the club to fill all the holes to make a contending team at the drop of a hat.

This is what makes this run of short term deals so frustrating.  It's awfully difficult to create and sustain an extended window while needing to turn the roster over as often as they're operating now.  Long term solutions are needed, particularly in the pitching staff.

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14 hours ago, Major League Ready said:

A $100M signing is inconsequential to you?

Please note the word "top."  "Top" free agents are getting contracts that start with  the numbers 2 or 3 or even 4.  $100 Million may not be inconsequential but it's not "Top."

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11 minutes ago, dxpavelka said:

Please note the word "top."  "Top" free agents are getting contracts that start with  the numbers 2 or 3 or even 4.  $100 Million may not be inconsequential but it's not "Top."

Aaaaah yes.  Now I see what you mean.  Of course, it's reality.  None of the other teams in the bottom half of revenue sign those types of free agents either.  I don't expect it just as I don't expect an average person to purchase a million dollar home.  

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3 hours ago, Major League Ready said:

Aaaaah yes.  Now I see what you mean.  Of course, it's reality.  None of the other teams in the bottom half of revenue sign those types of free agents either.  I don't expect it just as I don't expect an average person to purchase a million dollar home.  

What's sad is that we could have probably signed both Buxton & Berrios for less than Carlos Correa's gonna get.

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On 11/22/2021 at 6:18 PM, Brock Beauchamp said:

The Nationals paid Scherzer a boatload of cash and rode him to a world series. 

Had I said adding a premier free agent is never an important contribution … You would have a point.  This started with how successful teams were constructed which is why I tried to be very specific with the assumptions and parameters.  The assumption was a team of equivalent revenue and the parameters were how the players that contributed the most were acquired.  I even broke free agents down to the elite (Scherzer) type and more modest priced FAs given the emphasis here on premier vs lower priced FAs.

Are the Nationals an equivalent team in terms of revenue?  Do they have enough incremental revenue to pay for Scherzer and Donaldson abd have the Twins budget left over?   Yes, the do.  Let’s ignore that as you have here and get to how the team was constructed.  What would be far more relevant to how the Twins should be constructed is how all of SUCCESSFUL below average revenue teams have been constructed but let’s use the Nationals anyway.   

The Nationals sucked bad enough to get two #1 picks in consecutive years and they drafted a couple superstars in Harper and Strausburg.  They also traded for Trea Turner a year before he got to the majors.  Then, another 1st round pick named Anthony Rendon was established two years before Scherzer was add. He produced 7WAR the year they won the WS.  We have not even mentioned Juan Soto who produced 4.9 War and he was a product of their system.  Howie Kendrick who was signed as a free agent for an AAV of $4.4M had the 4th highest WAR among position players that year and Victor Robles another product of their system (Int) was 5th.  Adam Eaton had the 6th highest war among position players but it was 2.4 WAR which is significant.  He was a FA signing and made 8.4M that year.

If we were to sum it up.  Their best position players were drafted and one as traded for as a prospect.  The most impactful free agent the year they won was a $4M/AAV signing.  In other words, there were no major free agent free agent signings.  They got great production out of a low cost free agent and they let their superstar player walk in free agency the year they won the WS.

It’s pointless to even bring up these hard facts because bias prevents many people from even considering the facts and making a legitimate attempt to understand how successful teams are constructed.  If you look back on my posts this fall, I have mentioned more than once that establishing our pitching prospects would position us sign an elite FA.  Obviously, I am not saying that adding a Scherzer is not great but you have to have the rest of the team before the addition of Scherzer matters and there are plenty examples around the league.  The lower the revenue, the higher the correlation to this premise.  To suggest the Twins are in a similar position to the Nationals when they added Scherzer is waaaay out there even if we ignore their revenue advantage.  The only way they can overcome that revenue advantage is to build a staff from within.  It would also help if Miranda is what we hope and they can shed Donaldson's salary.  

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2 hours ago, Major League Ready said:

It’s pointless to even bring up these hard facts because bias prevents many people from even considering the facts and making a legitimate attempt to understand how successful teams are constructed.

Dude, just cut it out already. You've been warned so many times about this. Just because you have an opinion about how something should be done, it doesn't mean your word is gospel and everyone else is wrong. Your tone ignores all nuance because you can't see beyond ANY disagreement to see that I generally agree with your point, I just differ on the implementation and timing of acquiring free agents.

But either way, climb off the soapbox already. It's tiresome.

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1 hour ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

Dude, just cut it out already. You've been warned so many times about this. Just because you have an opinion about how something should be done, it doesn't mean your word is gospel and everyone else is wrong. Your tone ignores all nuance because you can't see beyond ANY disagreement to see that I generally agree with your point, I just differ on the implementation and timing of acquiring free agents.

But either way, climb off the soapbox already. It's tiresome.

So, I suggest that successful teams are almost always constructed in a given way.  You feel compelled to counter that claim and in the process provide one piece of information while completely ignoring if what I suggested had any merit.  In other words, you completely ignored how the team had been constructed which was the entire point.  Now, you have a real problem with me pointing out all the FACTS.  How is it a problem to debate the hard facts?  Isn't it reasonable that we should all want to know what has been successful for other teams instead of just assuming a given strategy will be successful? 

It's quite easy to go to Fangraphs for any team in any given season and determine which players contributed the most and how they were acquired.  How can anyone take a hard stance like so many do here in terms of how the roster should be constructed without studying the construction of successful teams.  Everyone just assumes the people in charge are ignorant and incompetent based on their assumptions of how things should be done.  How does it make sense to be put off by someone asking that we examine how these successful rosters were constructed?  That would suggest you just want to stick to your view regardless of the facts.

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I'm going to be succinct:

Your entire claptrap (and given how often we all have to endure it, I'm sticking with that description) can be boiled down to one fact-free assertion that is not justified: that one must have the other pieces "before" the big FA.  There is no fact about that.  It is undoubtedly true, and no one has asserted otherwise, that teams need to have homegrown and traded-for talent to go with any FAs they have acquired.  The sequencing of how that happens is in no way whatsoever consequential.  If the FA comes a year before the homegrown talent....you still wound up with both, just like if you reversed them.  FA/Trade/Develop....what matters is that you've utilized all three to compose your team.  Not that you HAVE to develop and THEN sign.  That is not supported by any facts no matter how many times you try to bloviate it into existence.

Now it's time for the Twins to spend some of that 130M swell of revenue they've been Scrooging for a decade and go add some talent to their coming wave of homegrown ones.

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On 11/15/2021 at 7:40 AM, Major League Ready said:

What has little to do with the other.  The post I responded to suggested the 1st year of a free agent SPs contract was most likely the best.  I looked into this theory a couple years ago and recorded the facts which support the post I responded to.  Trading Berrios given his desire to hit the free market is a different issue.

Sorry I asked you a question. Yes one has little to do with the other You could have simply said no you have not

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On 11/24/2021 at 2:38 PM, TheLeviathan said:

I'm going to be succinct:

Your entire claptrap (and given how often we all have to endure it, I'm sticking with that description) can be boiled down to one fact-free assertion that is not justified: that one must have the other pieces "before" the big FA.  There is no fact about that.  It is undoubtedly true, and no one has asserted otherwise, that teams need to have homegrown and traded-for talent to go with any FAs they have acquired.  The sequencing of how that happens is in no way whatsoever consequential.  If the FA comes a year before the homegrown talent....you still wound up with both, just like if you reversed them.  FA/Trade/Develop....what matters is that you've utilized all three to compose your team.  Not that you HAVE to develop and THEN sign.  That is not supported by any facts no matter how many times you try to bloviate it into existence.

Now it's time for the Twins to spend some of that 130M swell of revenue they've been Scrooging for a decade and go add some talent to their coming wave of homegrown ones.

The sequence is inconsequential but the timing is not. Say with the number 8 pick in the draft you get Francisco Lindor lookalike/playalike clone. Lindor was a number eight pick, so lightning can strike twice. Would it matter if you signed Scherzer to a 3 year deal and traded for Adam Wainright when the player is ready on the same schedule as Lindor was,  in the major league in 5 seasons?

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