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Posts posted by JYTwinsFan

  1. It's a very emotional thing for fans to evaluate these situations and we treat them as zero sum games as if Correa is either a perennial All Star or one day he vaporizes walking down the street ceasing to exist and rendering the contract a complete failure. I would guess that since these 30 teams are businesses each worth $1 - $6 billion that they are quite scientific in how they evaluate and manage their risk. Certainly an insurer is VERY scientific in managing their risk. A 1 year vs. 3 year vs. 10 year vs. 13 year contract at different AAVs, total values, and medical ailments ...when combined all carry varying degrees of total risk that they can quantify pretty well. At some point, whatever actuarial process they use, the calculation tips from being in your favor (for fun let's say 10 years @ $285mil was 51% in your favor) to being not in your favor (let's say 12 years at $315mil was only 49% in your favor). Each team has their own threshold and gut, but any sophisticated business these days understands the Sunk Cost Fallacy or in poker terms the err of being Pot Committed. So yes with every incremental change in the variables, the risk calculation changes. The total risk for the Twins in 2022 with a 1-3 year contract given their knowledge of the medical history may have been pretty low. I highly doubt "they missed something" or "they are being cheap" as they negotiated in this offseason. My guess is that for any of the 30 teams, but definitely what we are seeing with the Giants and the Twins, their data is clearly telling them that they are on the losing side of the risk if they go above X. I would also guess that when they are weighing "risk" it is not just the risk of Correa being good or hurt. It is a holistic evaluation of risk that includes all of the potential variables that lead to a) a winning team, and b) a profitable business over some period of relatively predictable time. Anyway, I think it is far less emotional inside their board rooms than we think it is.

  2. I've been trying to monitor the reporting all day on this, so it's possible I've missed something, but I am surprised by the conviction a lot of people have around presuming to know what happened here. There's a pretty real chance that Correa has a significant medical risk that we will never know about (nor should we). For the time being, until further reporting or leaks, it seems worth considering that whatever it is...

    1. It was enough for the Giants, under significant pressure with their fanbase, to walk away from the deal unapologetically risking egg on their face, relationship with Boras, a lackluster 2023 season, and criticism from their fan base equal or greater than the Twins. I suspect they did not do that lightly.
    2. It was significant enough for Boras/Mets to settle on a deal worth $35mil less than the Giants offer.
    3. It's entirely possible the Twins know this mark on his medicals and perhaps led them to cap their offer where they did.
    4. Or perhaps Boras did approach the Twins after the Giants backed out and they stood firm with their offer.
    5. I don't know much about insuring star athletes, but is it plausible that some actuary presented a case for insurance up to a certain amount based on Correa's medical risk and that is a factor that teams have to legitimately weigh. For arguments sake, what if they will only insure up to $285mil? 
    6. Also...the deal with the Mets is not done...and I would think most would agree that the Mets offer here is not a sign of their confidence that the medical risk is insignificant. They are literally throwing money around and the physical is there to protect them too if they calculate differently between now and then. They'd suffer much less backlash because they'd be the second team to pull out validating the Giants move.

    Anyway...fun reading everyone's speculation. But man, there's a lot here we don't know.

  3. With this signing, and partly because it is hitting closest to home, it solidifies for me that the 2022 offseason is a watershed moment for MLB. The size or length of any individual contract doesn't bother me. The AAV is set by the market, and kudos to the players for getting what they can, so that doesn't bother me. What bothers me is the stacking of rosters with superstars by relatively few teams. That's a real problem for baseball when a select few teams go through modes of just buying everything they can. It's essentially the opposite end of the "tanking" spectrum. They have every right to do it, and I don't think they are being foolish with their money (they have plenty, and are finally showing their cards on that fact), but for baseball, it makes a mockery of competition and fandom via sport, and instead it starts to feel like a rigged game (I'm not saying it is rigged, I'm just saying as a fan it leaves you with the same dirty feeling of watching something rigged). In the moment when it's your team and you've had a long drought, sure it can feel good, but honestly who wants to watch that every year? What fun is there in a reward if the risk has no substantive effect on behavior? It simply isn't tenable for the sport to have all of its superstars on just a few teams. It isn't tenable for all of the drama of a baseball season to be bounced around within the confines of 5-6 teams out of 30. The wider the gap gets between exciting baseball (teams) and boring baseball (teams) the worse it is for baseball.

    We'll see what happens with the Twins' pivot. And I still love the Twins no matter what. But sadly this will be the first year where I'll honestly half watch baseball because it's just not setup to hold my attention anymore.

  4. 14 minutes ago, jdgoin said:

    Gerrit Cole and I believe Trevor Story have this clause, or similar, in their contracts. If Cole opts out the Yankees have the option to resign him for 1 year at $36 million. In Story's case he can opt out and Red Sox can add another year onto his deal. But I do like your idea, it puts some risk back on the player.

    Ah thanks for this @jdgoin. I'd not seen those details when those deals were made. I suspect we may see more of this.

  5. Over Thanksgiving, I was pondering something just like this, thanks for crystalizing it so well. If the Twins won 1 world series in that first four years and Correa was an average contributor the rest of his career (or left after 4), that would be well worth it. If you proceed with a strategy like this, I think you start with a bottom line at $300mil and let another team push you up to the $325mil (which is likely to occur).

    I'm also curious about something from the forum community. Opt Outs are clearly around for good barring some larger shift in economics or strategies. Why haven't we (or will we?) start to see Team Options attached to the Opt Out year...essentially the equivalent of a "right of first refusal" for teams...embedded into contracts? It would work something like this as an example:

    • Player Opts out of deal after year 4
    • Team can automatically resign player (like an option) at a pre-agreed price (e.g. the established run rate of $40mil) before they hit the open market.

    This way the player has the ability to leverage their performance potential and seize the market rate, but the team is also protected from outright losing the player to the competitive market if they are still performing at the high level, reducing fan anxiety and continuing player/team partnerships that are genuinely working. You could also get creative with what that option looks like. It could trigger multiple years or just one. It could be a pre agreed price or something similar to the "qualifying offer" where it is an average of the top X players salaries.

  6. Yea love this. Couple notes:

    Trade Ober + Prospect for Jansen from Toronto and you'll save a little money and upgrade the lineup even further. Though you'd lose a little on the Narvaez advantages that you've called out, seems an upgrade overall.

    If you want to still spend 154mil (ok with me!) then move Maeda back into the rotation and spend the 2-3mil catcher savings on another decent reliever.

    If ownership will go to the level of spend you've projected here (which they no doubt should) this would be a very exciting team to watch for the next few years. And each year they'd still have options to free up little bits of cash (Polanco, Arraez, Gray) to keep fine tuning gaps if needed.

  7. 1 hour ago, TopGunn#22 said:

    Tremendous job JY !  My only quibble is that Jansen is twice the player Jeffers is.  Jansen is your starter.  Abreu is a bold signing but could be a great middle of the order hitter, ala Nelson Cruz.  

    Yea good call. Chalk that up to my laziness in not swapping their position on the roster builder! But yea...Jansen would be the primary catcher in all likelihood if not certainty. Which hopefully lights a fire under Jeffers or at least allows him to relax a bit.

  8. Notes on the thinking behind this roster as follows:

    • Trading Ober and Covacco to Blue Jays for Danny Jansen to turn our catching core into an asset. I'm personally a fan of split catching duties, irrespective of platoon batting advantages. If we need to throw in one more prospect to get the deal done, fine, but nothing of significant value.

    • Varland takes the reins of the 5th starter role with SWR and Balazovic as the near term replacements if anyone in the rotation falters early. Paddock comes back late in year as well if needed. Not counting on any of the other upper minors pitchers, but hopefully someone surprises us and makes it a three man race to be first up.

    • Love Winder, but moving him to the bullpen full time given the recurring shoulder issues and turning him into a weapon there. If we don't have confidence he's healthy, we give the nod to Megill instead.

    • Resign Michael Fullmer or someone similar with $3mil. Then go out and get the best veteran reliever you can for $5mil. Admittedly I don't know who to target in a trade or even FA, so I'll just stick to a dollar amount and consider it an upgrade. I'd love some feedback from the forum on potential names to target within this parameter and I can update.

    • I'm not targeting a stud SP until the trade deadline. Let's see this roster get us to the point where we need the late addition. Since we've signed Correa in this scenario Lewis/Lee become our trade bait to land that top SP addition if we see a good fit. We target someone with multiple years or someone we can sign for multiple years and then put the Gray/Mahle/Polanco money toward that pitcher in 2024 and beyond.

    • I traded Kepler and Urshela for a low to mid minors pitchers with upside to clear some salary space and hand the right field keys to Wallner. Or if we can get more for either of them or include in the Toronto trade, even better.

    • A lot hinges on Kiriloff being back to normal. If that fails I've got Arraez jumping back into 1st Base with back up addition signing below also a consideration.

    • The big additions are resigning Correa for the long term, then adding Abreu as fulltime DH for veteran leadership and solid middle of the order bat on a one year deal (perhaps takes two years to get it done, similar to Nelson Cruz Twins era). Alt could be Josh Bell for a slightly longer contract, but feels like the 1-2 year deal is the right play here for the Twins.

    • I'm leaving the budget a tad over, but my wiggle room is in Luis Arraez and/or Jorge Polanco. Both of which I'm fine to trade if it means a potential stud addition in the bullpen or some added salary space to add the starting pitcher at the deadline. I love both Arraez and Polanco, but Arraez' stock will never be higher and Polanco is the easiest player to replace long term at 2nd Base from the minors (Julien, Martin, Lewis, Lee).

    • Alternatively, if I must be at 140MM tops, then we lose the reliever at $3m (Fullmer) commit to both Winder and Megill at 700K, and then whatever is remaining goes to a BP FA or trade acquisition (roughly $4M).

    The day-to-day lineup then looks something like:

    1. Buxton CF

    2. Kiriloff 1B

    3. Correa SS

    4. Miranda 3B

    5. Abreu / Arraez DH 

    6. Larnach LF

    7. Polanco 2B

    8. Wallner RF

    9. Jeffers/Jansen C


    • C: Ryan Jeffers ($0.70M)
    • 1B: Alex Kirilloff ($0.70M)
    • 2B: Jorge Polanco ($7.50M)
    • 3B: Jose Miranda ($0.70M)
    • SS: Correa ($32.00M)
    • LF: Trevor Larnach ($0.70M)
    • CF: Byron Buxton ($15.00M)
    • RF: Matt Wallner ($0.70M)
    • DH: Jose Abreu ($20.00M)
    • 4th OF: Gilberto Celestino ($0.70M)
    • Utility: Nick Gordon ($0.70M)
    • Utility: Luis Arraez ($4.27M)
    • Backup C: Danny Jansen ($4.27M)
    • SP1: Sonny Gray ($12.00M)
    • SP2: Tyler Mahle ($8.00M)
    • SP3: Kenta Maeda ($9.00M)
    • SP4: Joe Ryan ($0.70M)
    • SP5: Louie Varland ($0.70M)
    • RP: Jhoan Duran ($0.70M)
    • RP: Jorge Lopez ($3.00M)
    • RP: Griffin Jax ($0.70M)
    • RP: Jorge Alcala ($1.00M)
    • RP: Caleb Thielbar ($2.00M)
    • RP: Josh Winder/Trevor Megill ($0.70M)
    • RP: Reliever TBD ($5.00M)
    • RP: Michael Fullmer ($3.00M)

    Payroll is 3.97% under budget

    • C: Ryan Jeffers ($0.70M)
    • 1B: Luis Arraez ($4.50M)
    • 2B: Jorge Polanco ($7.50M)
    • 3B: Jose Miranda ($0.70M)
    • LF: Alex Kirilloff ($0.70M)
    • CF: Byron Buxton ($15.00M)
    • RF: Max Kepler ($0M)
    • DH: Luis Arraez ($4.50M)
    • Utility: Nick Gordon ($0.70M)
    • Utility: Gilberto Celestino ($0.70M)
    • SP1: Sonny Gray ($12.00M)
    • SP2: Tyler Mahle ($8.00M)
    • SP3: Kenta Maeda ($9.00M)
    • SP4: Joe Ryan ($0.70M)
    • SP5: Bailey Ober ($0.70M)
    • RP: Jhoan Duran ($0.70M)
    • RP: Jorge Lopez ($3.00M)
    • RP: Griffin Jax ($0.70M)
    • RP: Jorge Alcala ($1.00M)
    • RP: Caleb Thielbar ($2.00M)
    Payroll is 48.00% under budget
  9. I look at it like they have setup 2023 like this:

    Core Starters:  Gray, Ryan, Mahle, Maeda

    Competing Starters: Ober, Winder, Paddack, Archer/Bundy/Similar FA Pickup (let's assume one from this group)

    AAA Starter Depth: Smeltzer, Sands

    AAA Starter Prospects: Balazovic, Enlow, Woods-Richardson

    Core Relievers: Alcala, Lopez, Jax, Duran, Thielbar, Megill

    Competing Relievers: Moran, Varland, Canterino, Henriquez


    • Twins don't offer Pagan arbitration
    • Canterino, Varland, Henriquez are ultimately Jax/Duran-like high leverage bullpen converts
    • Maeda returns to quality starter form and Winder is able to stick as a starter

    All things being equal and healthy (which obviously won't happen) and absent some major shakeup or FA pitching signing, my ideal looks like the following:

    Starters: Gray, Mahle, Maeda, Ryan, Winder

    Relievers: Alcala, Lopez, Jax, Duran, Moran, Thielbar, Paddack, Canterino/Varland

    None of this factors in the $20 - $50mil in FA spending they will have. If Correa comes back for another year, they spend what they have left to sign Willson Contreras at catcher and then a good bullpen arm (replacing Canterino/Varland for 2023). If Correa does not come back they're probably looking at a short term shortstop, a quality  starter on 2-3 year deal, and ideally still have room to go after Contreras.

    None of this factors in any trades they have to make because of lack of 40man space or dealing from other areas of strength (1B/3B/2B) in the system. Too many machinations of how this could play out to be worth typing up here right now, so leaving that alone.

  10. This is not an argument for/against "win now" nor for/against the utility of an "ace". But I enjoy watching the Twins stockpile starting pitching.

    2023 potential starting pitching depth/options

    MLB Roster: Maeda, Paddack, Bundy, Archer, Ober, Ryan, Gray

    MLB Ready (1 Full Yr in AAA): Winder, Henriquez, Strotman, Balazovic, Sands

    MLB Breakout (.5 Yr AA / .5 Yr AAA): SWR, Canterino, Varland,

    *Assuming Duran permanent move to bullpen & Enlow not ready for consideration until 2024

    That's...a lot. And that's before spending any money on free agency (of which they have plenty). This gives them considerable leverage in the market to a) not make a desperation move and spend money unwisely, b) trade from strength where mid rotation controllable & affordable arms can yield outsized return to fill in a missing puzzle piece, c) protect against major injury impact, d) protect against overworking arms in-season, e) shift focus to stockpiling the lower minors upside pitching depth which can be acquired more quietly/cheaply.

  11. Obviously we'd be more excited by spending the money we know is available on less of a lottery ticket (earlier this offseason). And I'm going to assume the cost for Manea or Montas are not reasonable. Given where we are and the Archer signing is done, the Twins continue to build a lot of flexibility into the roster as a means to compete best they can. The creative contracts are windows into this. With the three inning incentive for Archer, perhaps we'll see something like this play out in principle:

    • Archer, Jax, and Cotton splitting the 5th starter "role" in a sense. Archer starts and one of the other two get the second trip through the batting order after 3ish innings. Or some combination of the same idea.
    • This is aided by reduced need for the 5th starter due to off days in April (though that's minimal this year unless we get a bunch of rainouts).
    • Assuming the rosters do expand to 28 to start the year, they can carry a Jax or Cotton or both without much downside (same with the three catcher situation).
    • Builds a bridge to the service time deadline to save on another year of control for any in the prospect pipeline (and lets them develop a little more in AAA to start the year) - though correct me if that's different with the new CBA...I may have missed it.

    This would be consistent with Thad Levine's statement late last year that they were looking at other ways to construct/use a pitching staff.

    I realize this is a rosy way of looking at it. I'm not validating it as an optimal plan, but given the cards dealt with a week and a half until opening day, it's not a bad way to play a mediocre hand.

    I do like the fact that the Twins always grab an affordable option year on these fliers. Not only do they have a pipeline of pitching prospects AA or higher (Ryan, Ober, Duran, Balazovic, SWR, Strotman, Winder, Sands), they have a potential abundance of veteran depth (Bundy, Archer, Gray, Maeda) for 2023. If only one or two stick as affordable back end rotation starters that's fine. So you are looking for 5 guys out of 12 to stick for 2023 and that's before you spend a dime (which they have plenty of in 2023) on free agency.

    Obviously all of these guys could be Shoemakers or maybe one could Hughes. You could also spend a fortune on a free agent elbow that blows out with one random pitch. But it's clear to me the Twins value pitching depth as a more sustainable path to winning (now bolstered by the expanded playoffs).

  12. 4 hours ago, John Bonnes said:

    Fool  me once, shame on you. Fool me a half dozen teams, shame on me.

    How many times now since 2019 have we watched premier starting pitcher free agents sign for reasonable contracts like this one? In 2019 the narrative was just that they couldn't convince them to take their money. Are we going to hear that again with Gausman and Ray? They just couldn't stomach the opt-out, like they hesitated on Buxton's no-trade? 

    Perhaps we just need to accept that this front office doesn't believe in paying for pitching, no matter what they might say about pursuing high-end talent. 

    @John Bonnes I think this is the most likely scenario. When you look at your anecdote above +:

    1. The list of Ryan, Ober, SWR, Strotman, Balazovic, Duran, Winder, Sands all at AA or higher (not to mention Enlow, Petty, Varland, and Canterino all at A or below), each acquired under Falvey and come with their own development accolade (e.g. high draft pick, targeted in a trade, successful development story) that supports the case that this is part of a strategy and not an accident.
    2. Falvey's history building a pitching pipeline in Cleveland.
    3. Levine's comment "We’re going to be as creative as we can be in terms of not being necessarily hemmed into the notion of it has to look exactly the way it has always looked. We may end up looking at this from the lens of how many multi-inning guys can we add to a staff and how far does that take us?" 
    4. The success of the Ray's pitching factory as a model.
    5. The move of the AAA team to St. Paul to make pitcher movement between leagues that much easier.

    I'm not ready to say they're going to flip the switch on the notion of a "starter" per Levine (books will be written about it if they do!) but it's pretty clear to me they have little interest in building a pitching staff around $20mil+ late 20s/early 30s pitchers on contracts longer than...3 years? We know other teams are wise to this as well, though the thresholds are probably different per each team's analytic model.

    It obviously makes good business sense given the cost per inning, the risk of injury, and the obvious decline of aging pitchers. Forget about whether the Twins are a "small market" team or have more money to spend than they allude to. The Twins FO believes there is something off in the way pitching staffs are built and managed regardless of how much money you have. They seem to be going after an approach that puts much less emphasis on any individual contributor and/or you capitalize on an ace pitcher's abilities only while they are affordable and young. Not a new idea, but that only works...if you can build a successful pipeline. So it all starts there.

    They obviously need pitching to fill the gap in 2022, so let's hope they can still bring in Stroman cause they have the money to do it this year, but it seems to fight against their instincts about how to build a sustainable approach to winning.

    Fingers crossed it works.

  13. 52 minutes ago, Sconnie said:

    Really good post! Well written/articulated

    I agree with you of the enormous opportunity in front of the FO and the risks involved for this offseason.

    I think about what it might look like trading Buxton or Garver (or both) for prospects that could be a package for Frankie Montas? The As don’t want Buxton or Garver, but do have pitching to spare and want to reduce payroll.

    A trade like that and a free agent like Ray on a 5+ year 100+ mil contract, 2022 would hurt less and ‘23 might be given a head start because more of the hitters in your scenario have big league experience than the pitchers.

    I would classify it as a rebuild (to Cody’s point) but a quicker rebuild than the Orioles saga.

    Thanks! I agree with you. There are basically two cores right now. The existing core which is still young and inexpensive and the 2023 core which is larger, even cheaper, and arguably more talented given the pitching depth. Regardless of how 2021 turned out, if one flips their mindset to think of the 2023 core as a better foundation on which to build, you look at the scenarios around the current assets and or prospective acquisitions (e.g. Ray or Montas as you've noted) and the 2022 season much differently.

    It's also quite possible that the Twins and Buxton are in agreement on this approach. Maybe Buxton wants to see how the Twins fare on 2022 pitching acquisitions. Maybe they're in agreement that if the Twins can bring in some pitching talent to improve the 2022 outlook AND supplement the 2023 core then it makes sense for him to stay. And if not then it makes sense to cash in Buxton's value in a trade and set him up for a big pay day with someone else.

    All this to say I have no problem with Falvey's comments about navigating the market. It's also why I still think signing Buxton makes sense since we're not talking about 20-30mil AAV.

  14. It's true that if the Twins trade Buxton, they are admitting to not being competitive in 2022. But it won't be because they trade Buxton. If they are not able to find three quality and experienced starting pitchers, it is not realistic to assume they have a shot at the playoffs...probably not even a .500 record. There's a significant chance that they'll simply lose out on most if not all quality experienced starters. If the reality is that 2022 is a lost cause anyway, does that change our view of a potential Buxton trade?
    I think we should consider a new term in addition to "Rebuild" and "Retool". "Rebuild" suggests a team is tearing down to the studs, restocking a depleted farm system, and trading away high priced established stars in their prime in the hopes of returning to competition in 4-5 years. "Retool" suggests a team was recently competitive (meaning you weren't in last place this year) that's shuffling the deck chairs a bit to address a need or maybe up the ante due to a competitor in your division on the rise. Though there are elements of both that apply to the Twins, I think the FO believes they are in a unique situation.
    Consider the following:
    Kiriloff  (1B?)
    Arraez (2B?)
    Miranda (3B?)
    Lewis  (SS?)
    Jeffers / Garver (C)
    Larnach (RF?)
    Celestino (CF?)
    Martin (LF?)
    Rooker (DH?)
    That's an awful lot of multi-year controllable major-league-ready (by 2023) talent across every position on the field. Though there are obvious question marks there and some of that talent will take time to establish quality major league effectiveness, regardless, after 2022 no one on that list will, in theory, have anywhere to go or anything left to prove in the minors. They kinda have to be with the Twins in 2023 at some point, or they're gone for one reason or another. If anyone on that list were a bust, it would be seen as a failure of drafting, development, or evaluation from multiple sources...so this is not fringe talent we're pinning our hopes on, even if they are not all current/former Top 100 prospects.
    Which means that as we sit here ahead of the 2022 season...everyone on this list below is essentially expendable by 2023 or sooner in the sense that there is a legitimate prospective player ready to take their place:
    Polanco (team friendly control)
    Kepler (team friendly control 
    Sano (team friendly control)
    Maeda (team friendly control)
    Whether quantity or quality, what could you add to the 2023-2027 major league roster noted above by trading the 7 (or 6 if you don't count an injured Maeda) players here? A few solid pieces at the very least. With a tiny payroll over those years, what kind of top dollar FA acquisition could you make to supplement a winning team?
    FWIW I think the Twins should sign Buxton to a contract of 100mil / 7 years for no other reason than inflation...in 5-7 years 14mil AAV for an average player will be commonplace (seems like it already is!). And I think they should keep Polanco cause he's very good and he and Buxton would be the veteran leaders for a young team. Heck I'm even fine with them signing an expensive FA shortstop now if they can free up the salary space to do it. I'm not in favor of trading big league ready prospects for 1 year of a pitcher (e.g. Manea) just to be mediocre in 2022.
    But to circle back to the original point...I don't think that "Rebuild" or "Retool" accurately describe the unique situation the Twins FO believes they are in. And I think 2022 might be a lost cause anyway if all you can scrape together are Pineda and 2 x J.A. Happs. I do know that their decision-making in this moment will define the next 10 years, so though I give them the benefit of the doubt...the pressure is most certainly on.
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