Jump to content
Twins Daily
  • Create Account
  • Twins Front Office Getting Burnt on Both Ends


    Ted Schwerzler

    Earlier this week, the Toronto Blue Jays extended former Twins pitcher Jose Berrios on a seven-year deal. On that same day, The Athletic reported an update in regards to Byron Buxton. Neither looks great for Derek Falvey and Thad Levine.

    Image courtesy of Jeffrey Becker, USA TODAY Sports

    Twins Video

    For years the Minnesota Twins organization has suggested that the goal would be to keep homegrown stars. Yes, they paid Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler, and Miguel Sano. None of those deals were substantial, however. Instead of paying Jose Berrios, who was reportedly intent on reaching free agency, they flipped him for two top-100 prospects.

    Now with the Blue Jays handing out a seven-year deal worth $140 million, it’s clear that it wasn’t about paying Berrios, but probably more about how long they would. Despite Berrios suggesting he wanted to reach free agency, he was perhaps more interested in finding a deal that compensated him correctly. That’s where this begins to break down.

    Before getting into what the front office is trying to do, or more appropriately failing to do, we need to look at Buxton. Dan Hayes and Ken Rosenthal reported, “Talks about an incentive-laden extension in July broke down because of the Twins’ unwillingness to push the potential total value to $100 million.” That’s an awful look for the front office as well. Seven years or not, Minnesota is looking to nickel and dime a superstar they are only invited to the table because he’s been injured.

    Assuming Buxton was a free agent, Minnesota wouldn’t be in the realm of his possible destinations, and if an injury bug hadn’t hit him, the price tag would be well north of $250 million. Trying to piece together a salary that goes long on years and short on average annual value for a talent like Buxton is the exact opposite of the message sent to Berrios.

    The needle Falvey and Levine are trying to thread is a seemingly hopeless one. They appear intent on avoiding long-term deals but also are expecting to play at or below market value. There’s no give and take in that negotiating style, and the alternative is one we’ve yet to hear them dabble in. Should you opt to avoid length, the result has to be higher than the market average annual value. No player will take fewer years for the same amount of money, but they might be lured by a more lucrative deal that makes up for the lacking security.

    There’s no denying that this front office has done a great job establishing a strong culture and organizational structure. Minnesota’s farm system may not be as loaded as it’s ever been, but it’s undoubtedly as deep. The developmental talent is there to push players towards realizing their potential, but there has not been a good enough job done supplementing the talent at the top. Now faced with the opportunity to keep some of their best, Falvey already chose to forgo length on one and is seemingly leaning towards passing up on dollars for the other.

    Should Minnesota sign a top-tier pitcher with the money ticketed for Berrios, then the addition of two top prospects makes a ton of sense as an alternative. There isn’t a situation where Buxton will be replaceable at a similar valuation, though, and skimping on dollars to contradict their length stance could be something that looks like a David Ortiz-esque mistake.

    It’s time to stop stepping toes in the water when filling out the roster and make more than one splash move, then suggesting it’s enough.

    MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
    — Latest Twins coverage from our writers
    — Recent Twins discussion in our forums
    — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email

     Share


    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    Featured Comments

    How the Front Office handles this off season is really going to determine how I feel about them as leaders long term for our Twins.  They've demonstrated in the past the willingness to spend money on players like Donaldson and Nelson - but perhaps they're being forced to rein in the spending now?  To lose Berrios on what appears to be a fair contract, and now to potentially lose Buxton as well isn't a good look.  If they "whiff" on all the FA starting pitchers this year and elect to go with retreads or in-house guys won't look good despite their ability to develop pitchers elsewhere.  If we elect to simply resign someone like Simmons at SS will also simply add to the impression that either they simply don't truly desire to put a quality product on the field - or are the Polads turning frugal again after low revenues in 2020 and 2021?  Either way - as fans we should not be pleased.  They have a lot on their plate - I hope they elect to be competitive.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I think we all have the November/December blues.  We need to have a nice holiday present - signing Buxton, getting a SS, finding a high quality starter - even one or a trade to arrange the table better and get the mix that will help us win again.  But right now the FO is letting us dangle and the news from other teams seems so much better.  I know - next week is only Thanksgiving, but an early Christmas present would still be okay.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    You make the calls, you get the credit when it works and the heat when it fails. The Berrios deal is making them look poor; I can understand the principle of not wanting to go 7 years on arms, but you can't apply blanket rules to anything in baseball. There are always exceptions to everything and the deal Berrios appears to have signed is one the Twins should have been willing to do. they got a good return on him in trade, but if Martin & Woods-Richardson don't pan out, then it's meaningless.

    The Buxton one is making them look even worse, because it sounds like they really are trying to low ball him and find an excuse to deal him, and that's not going to sit well with the fanbase, nor should it. If feeling some heat on this causes them to get a deal done...good.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    "There’s no denying that this front office has done a great job establishing a strong culture and organizational structure."

    Um, can I deny this?

    Great article, but I would actually like to question this assertion. Basically, have they? What does "strong culture" mean here? Their teams aren't particularly tough, they don't play fundamental baseball, young players don't play particularly well here when they start and homegrown players now don't seem to want to sign here. Plus, they don't evaluate talent well, and have lost a ton of value in prospects for absolutely zero return.

    I see this as on often-cited reason why we're supposed to be patient with their moves, but I do not see it. What about this organizational structure is so strong? 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    49 minutes ago, mikelink45 said:

    I think we all have the November/December blues.  We need to have a nice holiday present - signing Buxton, getting a SS, finding a high quality starter - even one or a trade to arrange the table better and get the mix that will help us win again.  But right now the FO is letting us dangle and the news from other teams seems so much better.  I know - next week is only Thanksgiving, but an early Christmas present would still be okay.

    How about an early Black Friday special

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    None of this should really surprise us. For 30 years, no matter who is the GM, the Pohlads have had a tight control of payroll. Falvey and Levine were hired to duplicate the success the Twins managed from 01-10, where they turned over the roster several times and remained competitive. That's really hard to do and these two haven't shown the ability to do it. 

    If the Twins were really committed to being competitive next year (and they're not), they wouldn't have traded Berrios. They would be in on guys like Gausman, Ray, Rodon, Thor, etc. They're not. They would sign at least three top end pitchers. They won't. The money Rodriguez got must terrify the Twins. Instead, they're going to build an ugly pitching staff where no one will hit 140 innings next year and fans will probably see 30+ pitchers throw for us. Again.

    At TT, someone wrote an interesting article that the Pohlads will resign Buxton and use him as the new Mauer - the reason they can't spend more money anymore. I'm not even that optimistic but I can see his point.

    When Falvey and Levine took over, they wanted to rebuild and tried to trade their best player and then screwed up the trade deadline. At the same time the players went out and demonstrated they were actually pretty good and made the playoffs. Since then, the FO's job was to supplement and support the core and extend the window of contention. They failed. Now they get to do a rebuild, even if no one will say it out loud. There's not a lot of reason for optimism that they can do that but the Pohlads will let them try.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    1 hour ago, ToddlerHarmon said:

    I'm ok that Falvey and Levine and Pohlad are trying to find new and efficient ways to build a roster.

    BUT, if that work isn't even *trying* to build a *championship* roster, then count me out.

     

    It appears the F.O. and Ownership want desperately not to enter a rebuild.  I believe that higher spending teams can supplement the lulls in prospects reaching the majors.  The Twins don't appear to be one of the teams willing to pay market rates for players (theirs or others).  We are always shopping in the bargain bin, have a few prospects flame out, and then we are back to losing.  Instead of the F.O. dreading the "rebuild", we may need to embrace it.  We don't seem to be one of the teams that can sustain winning when our talent dries up.  I'd rather be losing while developing quality prospects, with the hope of winning a world series, than watching Andrelton Simmons play while trying to claw our way to .500.  When you can't be the Dodgers, it might be time to go the route of the Astros (tank like you've never tanked before!)....minus the cheating.  Well, if the cheating gets us a W.S. win...maybe cheating too.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    If you think back to when Hunter left the Twins for the Angels I believe the Twins offered him a 3/45 deal.  The Angels went way beyond on the years.  Hunter said it wasn't necessarily the $$$/yr but the number of years.  The Twins didn't want to commit to him LONG TERM!  Players don't see 3 year deals as long term.  They also don't want to be low balled on long term deals.  That is just the price of poker in most of these negotiations especially when the $$$ is guaranteed!  Everyone knows ownership has the funds.  The Pohlad's are amongst the wealthiest of the wealthy in terms of ownerships in MLB.  No one is expecting payroll to be 180+/mill a year.  It could/should be around 150 if need be to be super competitive!   If you swing and miss on a Buxton contract you know one thing.  It wont be because of lack of effort or not wanting to be here.  Guys get injured in professional sports that is just a fact. 

    There are no guarantees.  You could get a haul in terms of 'prospects' but they may or may not pan out.  You have a known talent in Buxton.  Hopefully he understands from time to time he needs to take his foot off the gas to play 145 games or so per year.  Go to him with a genuine offer his team won't look at for 2 seconds and laugh their asses off!  Make it known he is the face of the franchise moving forward and commit to building around him,

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I understand the concern about long term deals on pitching, but that's the only way they're going to be able to sign anyone of the caliber as Berrios. And it's not like the deal he got from Toronto was the kind that could sink the franchise. I get that they're not going to splurge $40 million per year for guys like Scherzer, but Berrios is going to make less per year than Donaldson. Mauer's $23 million per year was close to dead money towards the end, but it would be tough to argue that it prevented the Twins from pursuing other free agents or contract extensions.

    If they will only give short term deals to pitchers it's going to be more JA Happ, Homer Bailey, Schoemaker, Rich Hill...etc..

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    9 minutes ago, spanman2 said:

    You could get a haul in terms of 'prospects' but they may or may not pan out. 

    Chance are they will not pan out.  Seems they don't and as soon as they do and have earned the right for more money they are cleared out for another set up "top" prospects that do NOT pan out.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    That we had a chance to sign Buxton for 100 mil and didn't is grounds to quit watching the team.

    I knew Berrios was gettable. Knowing they wouldn't pay a reasonable price for a homegrown product, how do you all feel about the chances they make a big splash for a FA pitcher?

    This is mismanagement. Indefensible.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I love the The Machined, durable, solid #2 stuck in a role of being a #1.  If he definitely said he wanted to test FA then I would flip him as well.  7 years is a long time for an Arm.

    I tend to favor higher value shorter term contracts for established #1 pitchers.

    For the Twins to ever be viewed as a good destination then need to do what the Nats did with Jason Werth(sp?), pay extra either in years or in annual salary to bring a BIG, (not 2nd tier), FA to Target Field.

    Out of the guys out there, I would go after Mad Max, serious.

    2 years $90M, this gives him possibly one more contract with some team if he stays healthy.  1 year isn't going to do it. I would like to see up to 3 of the young Twins pitchers this year in any combinations.  Growing for the future while they are still affordable.  Get some Frankie Viola years before they leave if possible,   Learning from Mad Max.

    Part of my sales pitch would be to talk to Mad Max about who he thinks would be a good #2 and possibly #3 we could realistically get.  Rodon if his medicals are good?  Trade with Oakland?  Trade with Tampa?

    Yes this would push our budget past the 10% increase, but it would sell tickets and then hire away the 2nd in command from the marketing teams at Barcelona, Man United, Bayern or Man City.  The US pro teams, except the NBA, are behind the soccer world when it comes to marketing merchandise.

    Yeah I am dreaming...

    But we can't simply do what we have always done and expect different results.
    If not Mad Max, then a SS.  But the SS will cost you more years and more money long term.


    Displaced Tom but lifelong Twins fan...(Killer, TonyO, Ceasar Tovar, Jim Kaat, Jim Perry, Rod Carew and the infamous Billy Martin...)

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I always find it interesting when people speculate about contract talks.  Everyone assumes Berrios came to Twins and said 7 years 20 a year will get it done and Twins balked at it.  Maybe he did, maybe he did not.  We have no clue what the talks were.  Maybe he never wanted to resign with Twins no matter what, we do not know.  Maybe his agent was standing strong playing chicken trying to get price up and Twins blinked first trading him.  So much goes on that we will never know. We will hear reports that are never fully sourced so we never know if anything is actually true. 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Has anyone seen the details (I can't find it addressed anywhere) on whether this is Canadian or US dollars? If it is Canadian, and it is Toronto paying him, the talk should be about just under $105 million in US dollars by todays exchange rate - .80

     

     

     

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Berrios was not a #1 and barely a #2. He could be lights out 1 game, average the next game and lay an egg the 3rd game. It was tough to see him go but how did the Twins do after he left? Did they start losing all of their games? I seem to recall they played almost .500 ball after he left and a lot worst than that when he was there, so maybe he wasn't the big difference maker everybody thought he was. We were brainwashed into thinking he was going to be the new Ace of the Twins. It didn't take a trade away from the Dodgers named Maeda long to oust him from the #1 spot in the rotation. Management has over-rated most of the players that came up for the Twins in the last 7 or 8 years and gave the fans all the hype about how good they were going to be. We are now seeing how wrong they were. I can name 2 guys on the roster that were worth a little hype, Polanco and Arraez. Buxton would deserve it if he could stay on the field but he can't be relied on to be there. Who else you got?

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    11 hours ago, Trov said:

    I always find it interesting when people speculate about contract talks.  Everyone assumes Berrios came to Twins and said 7 years 20 a year will get it done and Twins balked at it.  Maybe he did, maybe he did not.  We have no clue what the talks were.  Maybe he never wanted to resign with Twins no matter what, we do not know.  Maybe his agent was standing strong playing chicken trying to get price up and Twins blinked first trading him.  So much goes on that we will never know. We will hear reports that are never fully sourced so we never know if anything is actually true. 

    This is where I am at.  I sense a bunch of anger about the Twins not signing Berrios, but we really don't know what was offered to him.  From my recollection Berrios has made it clear the past couple of years that he wanted to reach free agency, so it would have been crazy not to trade him if he was set on getting to FA. 

    While I agree with much of the article, this part:  "...and if an injury bug hadn’t hit him, the price tag would be well north of $250 million."  seems a bit disingenuous.  Buxton has played over 100 G once in 7 seasons.  It's not just one little injury that has the Twins maybe a bit hesitant to offer big money.  I'm not saying I'm opposed to offering over $100 million on a heavily incentive-laden contract , but let's not act like it's crazy to not want to commit big money to a player who has played less than 40% of the team's games the last four years. 

    That being said I'd honestly be fine with something like a 7 year/$140 M contract, but I'd want the base to start at $70 M.  Allow him to earn up to another $10 M per season based on games played, starting with incentives when he clears 100G.  I'm not sure what is allowed as far as incentives, but I'm pretty sure they can't be performance-based.  I think they have to be based on games or plate appearances.  

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    The FO of the Twins have been hamstrung by parsimonious owner's since they traded Rod Carew away.  That is what they should just do now; as it's embarrassing to  nickel and dime players who KNOW they will get 20% more somewhere else (maybe in geographical locations more appealing than the Twin Cities, just saying).  If they want an object lesson in how things should be done, they can trade him to Oakland, and watch the A's either sign him for an innovative contract, or flip him for more than what they give the Twins.  If they just want to do what they normally do, they can trade him to the Yankees for Gary Sanchez (aka Aaron Hicks for JR Murphy- I almost cried in anger that day).  More seriously, perhaps they trade him to the Yankees for one of their decent SS prospects and get GIl back.  The problem the FO will find is that other teams "know" the Twins are inept with ownership money, so they "know" a player like Buxton is essentially on the market, even though the FO is playing coy with an "extension".  The only way they get close to value (see Cruz, Berrios) is to wait till the deadline, and hope enough suitors create an auction-like environment.  So I WON'T be shocked to see Buxton in uniform to start the season, without an extension.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I totally agree that Buxton will probably still be a Twin on opening day, if we have one.  I am so tired of all the Buxton over-hype.  In my opinion spending $140 mil over 7 years for a .248 lifetime hitter that plays less than half of games due to injuries, is foolish.  Look I like him.  I think the Twins need him but big overpaying him will not leave payroll monies for areas of big need.  All it will get you is a very wealthy part time center fielder, on a team with little else to offer.  I think sanity will bring the issue back to earth and a reasonable contract will be signed.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    22 hours ago, gunnarthor said:

    None of this should really surprise us. For 30 years, no matter who is the GM, the Pohlads have had a tight control of payroll. Falvey and Levine were hired to duplicate the success the Twins managed from 01-10, where they turned over the roster several times and remained competitive. That's really hard to do and these two haven't shown the ability to do it. 

    If the Twins were really committed to being competitive next year (and they're not), they wouldn't have traded Berrios. They would be in on guys like Gausman, Ray, Rodon, Thor, etc. They're not. They would sign at least three top end pitchers. They won't. The money Rodriguez got must terrify the Twins. Instead, they're going to build an ugly pitching staff where no one will hit 140 innings next year and fans will probably see 30+ pitchers throw for us. Again.

    At TT, someone wrote an interesting article that the Pohlads will resign Buxton and use him as the new Mauer - the reason they can't spend more money anymore. I'm not even that optimistic but I can see his point.

    When Falvey and Levine took over, they wanted to rebuild and tried to trade their best player and then screwed up the trade deadline. At the same time the players went out and demonstrated they were actually pretty good and made the playoffs. Since then, the FO's job was to supplement and support the core and extend the window of contention. They failed. Now they get to do a rebuild, even if no one will say it out loud. There's not a lot of reason for optimism that they can do that but the Pohlads will let them try.

    I guess you don't remember what it eas like when Calvin owned the team

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I have something to throw out for discussion that I have not seen discussed yet on the Buxton situation.

    MLB teams insure big, long-term contracts.

    Given Buxton's massive past injury history, is it possible that the Twins are limited in what insurance they can get for a sizeable deal, and the team is unwilling to self-insure a portion or all of a large contract?  Or, alternatively, are the premiums for such a deal so massive they act as a deterrent to a big long-term contract for Buxton?

    Food for thought....

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Wow--Eddie Rosario wasn't a whiff for what $$'s they could have re-signed him instead of the clown show out in LF they still do not have an answer for?

    The Rays and the A's have shown you can construct a contending ballclub on a budget---you just need good coaching and talent evaluators.

    Let's be honest here.  There are some organizations that develop arm talent regularly (Indians, Mets, Rays, Braves, Giants) and those that don't---Twins among them.  It is a top down problem in the organization.  The final polish to a pitcher is the major league pitching coach who helps the [player understand what to throw more of, less of, and in what situations.  That was the gripe against Berrios was that he looked like a #2 pitcher and not an ACE----not his stuff (that is spectacular!) or execution---but his pitch selection situationally that got him in trouble.  That is not a player issue---that is a COACHING issue.  This is why twins pitchers go other places and do well.  

    How long has the same pitching coach and staff been in place?  How long has it been since the Twins have had an Ace?  How many high quality arms have Cleveland, TB, Etc traded away in that period?  It doesn't take a genius to figure that out.  The game now also demands that you retool your bullpen mid season for strength in the playoffs and the stretch run.  That demands you have excellent pitching evaluators.  Until that Twins make the organizational changes to support pitching, you can throw all the money you want at FA's and will continue to come up short.

    C'mon--Buxton is a generational talent--you can't replace him.  Especially not with some 25 yr old that hasn't forced his way into the bigs yet.  Talent like his is in the bigs between 20-22.  Sign him. period..

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    We have a common ground with Miami and Oakland to make a trade. They have what we need and we have what they need. Forget high priced long term contracts for free agent pitchers. We can fill 2 spots in our rotation by making these trades. The asking price is not outrageous and will not break the Pholad's piggy bank. Time for Pholad family to put some pressure on their 2 hires to get this done. I hear about our organizational depth - let us use it. 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    5 hours ago, Steve71 said:

    I have something to throw out for discussion that I have not seen discussed yet on the Buxton situation.

    MLB teams insure big, long-term contracts.

    Given Buxton's massive past injury history, is it possible that the Twins are limited in what insurance they can get for a sizeable deal, and the team is unwilling to self-insure a portion or all of a large contract?  Or, alternatively, are the premiums for such a deal so massive they act as a deterrent to a big long-term contract for Buxton?

    Food for thought....

    I'm guessing he's still insurable it just costs more.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    1 hour ago, howeda7 said:

    I'm guessing he's still insurable it just costs more.

    The bigger question may be the terms of said insurance.  It may not take effect until player X has been injured for X games, say 30.  In most cases, Buxton gets hurt for a month or two, comes back, then is out fo another couple weeks or month.  If insurance is designed for the big, long- term injury it may not help much with most of his missed time.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    On 11/17/2021 at 1:07 PM, Trov said:

    Maybe he never wanted to resign with Twins no matter what

    This is a big concern because it may speak to a toxic environment between the current FO and the players. We just don't know. It is curious though how quickly Berrios managed  to complete a deal with Toronto.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites



    Join the conversation

    You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
    Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

    Guest
    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

    Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...