For this exercise, I started with Matthew Taylor's spreadsheet on Twinspayroll.com, and used $125 million as the top spending level. My goal is to fall $5-10 million under that to reflect closer to a 15% payroll discount.
When I started the exercise, I wondered how we could best allocate the budget if we elected not to re-sign Nelson Cruz.
Let's get started...
The spreadsheet shows these roster slots available to fill:
Along with 4 bullpen slots and 2 slots in the starting rotation.
Starting amount: $84.6 Million
In this blueprint, I gave LF, 4th OF, Backup C, 5th starter, and the last 2 bullpen slots to internal prospects.
Alex Kirilloff gets my opening day nod in LF. If the team trusted him to start game 2 of the playoffs, they should trust him to start on Opening Day. By seniority, I chose Jake Cave as the 4th OF with a very short leash. Ryan Jeffers showed in the shortened season that he's ready for prime time and makes the team platooning with Garver. The Twins still have 3-4 prospects in the mix for the 5th spot, and I think one of them will win it. For fun, I chose Jhoan Duran. For the last two bullpen slots, Cody Stashak and Lewis Thorpe made the cut. I think Smeltzer and Thorpe will need to move to the bullpen this winter to have a shot at making the team.
Running Amount: $88.2 Million
SP #4 - Corey Kluber $10 million - This guy maybe toast. However, I can't help thinking what if he's healthy? There's very few besides Trevor Bauer who have Cy Young caliber stuff. I take that gamble with this regime's usual 1 + option year contact.
RP Archie Bradley $6.5 million - Bradley instantly becomes the top free agent bullpen arm, and I think he's got the stuff to stay strong for another 2-3 years. I would offer 2/$13 and see if he bites.
RP Tyler Clippard $3 million - Clippard was rock solid in the pen last year, and I'm happy to re-sign him for another season.
Utility - Hanser Alberto $1 million - Admittedly I know nothing about this guy other than a quick glance at Baseball Reference. This isn't a hill I'm going to die on...
DH Yasiel Puig $2 million - Here's the payoff for the blog title. I punted DH by not allocating $15 million towards the position and elect toward a rotational effort. Puig is still young enough, hits RH, and can play in the OF too.
Running Amount: $110.73 million
I only made one trade since they are impossible to predict. I really liked one of our member's suggestions to trade for Chris Taylor on the LA Dodgers. I have been looking for the post to give proper credit where its due and can't find it. Sorry!
Chris Taylor fits the need for depth at 2B, SS, and the OF. He has 1 year left on his contract at $7.8 million. I won't claim to know exactly what it would take to acquire him. However, I believe it won't take more than a prospect playing in the lower levels of the minors, and doesn't affect anyone in consideration for a 2021 MLB roster spot.
ALL IN COST: $118.53 million