Minnesota Twins News & Rumors Forum
  • Cubs Signings Spell Trouble for Twins

    Feldman goes to the Chicago Cubs.With as many as four spots needing to be filled in the rotation, it figured that Terry Ryan with his traditionally risk-averse nature in free agency would target low-cost pitchers with upside who could be acquired on one-year deals. This strategy makes sense for a couple reasons: it adds multiple options to the starting pitching mix without requiring huge commitments, and hurlers looking for the one-year make-good deal ought be more apt to sign with a club that offers such wide-open opportunity in the rotation.

    If that was indeed Ryan's intended tack, he can't be pleased to see the Cubs aggressively following the same course. Already, Chicago has snatched up two of the most intriguing pitchers in this category.

    A few weeks ago, it was Scott Baker. And yesterday, the Cubs announced that they had inked Scott Feldman to a one-year deal. Much like Baker, Feldman is a pitcher with stretches of past success who is coming off a down year and looking to recoup some value. And much like Baker, Feldman hauled in more guaranteed cash than expected at $6 million.

    Yes, six million bucks for a guy who posted a 5.09 ERA last year, owns a 4.81 career mark, and has only once thrown more than 151 innings in a major-league season. Feldman offers some appeal as a guy who can operate in a swingman role and generally posts pretty decent peripherals, but he's nothing close to a reliable bet. His ERA has been above five in four of the past six seasons.

    The total seems somewhat extreme, at least from the perspective of an organization with less money to throw around than the Cubs, but perhaps only by the preset standards we entered this offseason with. As early names have come off the board, the numbers have ranged from eyebrow-raising to jaw-dropping. Purported reclamation projects are commanding as much as established mid-tier guys have in the past. We're to the point where Feldman's deal is actually being lauded by some as a value signing. If the trend continues, the Twins' money isn't going to go very far in free agency even if they hold steady with their budget, which is hardly assured.

    The inflated prices on the open market will also surely have an auxiliary effect on the trade market, where clubs with cost-controlled pitching can now increase their demands. At one point I thought a player like James Shields might come at a relative discount given that he's owed $21 million over the next two years, but now his contract is starting to look like a real bargain that many general managers could be competing to acquire.

    This environment leaves a team with finite funds and few palatable internal pitching options in an extremely tough spot. Even if Ryan has the green-light to spend, it's not clear that he should be splurging on the kind of deals that may be required to lock up adequate starters unless ownership is willing to commit to long-term payroll increases that will enable him to continue to build around large contracts for aging players.

    Yet, if Ryan shies away from the market, he's most likely submitting to at least another year of lousy on-field performance and the inevitable revenue drains that will come along with it. Additionally, he'd be doubling down on the ability of his own personnel to identify and develop young pitching talent for a rebuild, something they simply haven't done in recent years.

    The Cubs' signings of Baker and Feldman are bad news for the Twins, and not necessarily because Minnesota should have signed those players. The financial terms are highly troubling and indicative that there's going to be no such thing as a low-risk signing on the pitching market this winter. That will leave Ryan and Co. with almost no room for error.
    This article was originally published in blog: Cubs Signings Spell Trouble for Twins started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 28 Comments
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Only 1 more year? Where is the pitching in the minors in 2 years? If he isn't willing to sign players this year...why would we expect him to next year? If he shies away from the market, just imagine how bad he is going to view next year, when each team gets an additional $20-25MM and prices go up even more.....
    1. greengoblinrulz's Avatar
      greengoblinrulz -
      Rather spend $6m on Scot Feldman or Scot Baker for 1yr than get Sam Deduno or PJ Walters for 500K or Jason Marquis for $3m.
      Not gonna get any value goin dumpster diving
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      mww - It's a fair point. If Ryan doesn't dive in this offseason there's little reason to think he will next year. I mean, if some teams are already throwing money around in anticipation of next year's TV windfall, it's only going to magnify when those revenues are actually realized.

      When you think about it, this might be Ryan's last chance to get players signed at a remotely reasonable price before an era of across-the-board increased spending commences. (I also think that agents are currently trying to leverage this dynamic, which is why we've seen few signings and those have been on the high side.)
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      At these prices I worry that the Twins won't get anyone decent from the free agent market. It seems to me that we are looking at another losing year or three until some quality pitchers can come up from the minors and/or trading for prospects.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Leaves room for Marcum and others. So it isn't bad at all. Baker doesn't deserve that salary as a base and the Twins would have been foolish to offer it. What if Baker is injured again in ST and the Twins have sunk 11 million bucks between Baker and Blackburn????
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      Leaves room for Marcum and others. So it isn't bad at all. Baker doesn't deserve that salary as a base and the Twins would have been foolish to offer it. What if Baker is injured again in ST and the Twins have sunk 11 million bucks between Baker and Blackburn????
      As I said, the bad news isn't necessarily that these guys got swooped away from the Twins. The bad news is that if they are getting contracts that the Twins would have been "foolish" to sign, what are the pitchers who actually have any sustained track record of durability or success going to get?
    1. twinsfaninsaudi's Avatar
      twinsfaninsaudi -
      It all seems to point towards the wise move being an all out youth movement and trading Span, Morneau, and Willingham, and even Mauer, for the best minor league pitchers they can get that will still be under team control when the Sano/Buxton/Berrios/Rosario era begins.
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      Leaves room for Marcum and others. So it isn't bad at all. Baker doesn't deserve that salary as a base and the Twins would have been foolish to offer it. What if Baker is injured again in ST and the Twins have sunk 11 million bucks between Baker and Blackburn????
      As I said, the bad news isn't necessarily that these guys got swooped away from the Twins. The bad news is that if they are getting contracts that the Twins would have been "foolish" to sign, what are the pitchers who actually have any sustained track record of durability or success going to get?
      They're going to get contracts from teams other than the Twins. That hasn't changed.
    1. Curt's Avatar
      Curt -
      Everyone needs pitching. It is a scarce commodity. It should come as no surprise that the price of mediocrity increases. It should come as no surprise that, if someone has the need and the money, they will spend what it takes. It should come as no surprise that low-bidders will lament the high cost when they are out-bid.

      "I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on here."
      "Your winnings sir."
      "Thank you very much."
    1. Rick Niedermann's Avatar
      Rick Niedermann -
      Have to agree with TwinsfaninSaudi that it appears the next chance for Twins competitiveness is 3 years down the road. I wanted to see the market first and hope that the Twins could get the quickfix done. But with the way things are shaking out, with the Cubs setting this market so high, it might be time to trade for high end prospects and hope it all that youth gels at the same time down the road. I'd sure miss Willingham and the prospect of him hitting one out. Sure fun to have that power threat in the lineup. But if your gonna lose 90+ games ya might as well sell high and bring in the kids.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by glunn View Post
      At these prices I worry that the Twins won't get anyone decent from the free agent market. It seems to me that we are looking at another losing year or three until some quality pitchers can come up from the minors and/or trading for prospects.
      Problem is, they aren't in our minor league system...so trades it is...
    1. dabecka's Avatar
      dabecka -
      Quote Originally Posted by greengoblinrulz View Post
      Rather spend $6m on Scot Feldman or Scot Baker for 1yr than get Sam Deduno or PJ Walters for 500K or Jason Marquis for $3m.
      Not gonna get any value goin dumpster diving
      Easy to spend $6,000,000 when it isn't your money.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      I disagree the market is already set too high. They can sign a 12 million guy, a 6million guy, and deal Span and a prospect for a legit prospect, and stay in their self imposed, too low, budget.
    1. beckmt's Avatar
      beckmt -
      Seeing what 6 million is bringing, do not know if I want a 6 million guy. Would rather sign Liriano back at 3 - 4- mil for one year and use the excess money to get a Marcum and a McCarty or a Jackson. And then make a trade for another starter.
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      Quote Originally Posted by Rick Niedermann View Post
      Have to agree with TwinsfaninSaudi that it appears the next chance for Twins competitiveness is 3 years down the road. I wanted to see the market first and hope that the Twins could get the quickfix done. But with the way things are shaking out, with the Cubs setting this market so high, it might be time to trade for high end prospects and hope it all that youth gels at the same time down the road. I'd sure miss Willingham and the prospect of him hitting one out. Sure fun to have that power threat in the lineup. But if your gonna lose 90+ games ya might as well sell high and bring in the kids.
      Me too--throwing 6mill to mediocre pitchers is ridiculous. Trade off Span, Morneau, etc. for a few good pitching prospects and hope some come out of our current minor league crop and go for 2014 and 2015.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      I'm not sure which bothers me worse...that 3 years into a new stadium that the Twins "needed" to stay competitive (and which has been filled to virtual capacity) they are already making financial excuses, chopping payroll, and contributing nothing to stadium costs...or that many fans seem incredibly eager to embrace this course of action.

      One more time: if they choose to do so, the Twins can handle a MLB payroll in the $125M range now, and more in the future, without losing any money. That they don't is because they CHOOSE not to, not because they CAN'T.

      They can make a reasonable attempt to fix the 2013 team without damaging their chances in 2015. In fact, signing some decent pitching to multi year contracts has at least as good, and probably better chance of helping the 2015 pitching staff than does "trading off Span, Morneau etc for a few good pitching prospects" and hoping. They traded Santana for "a few good prospects." How'd that work out?
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      So people think 6 million is too much now, but think in 2 or 3 years, when salaries will he much higher, that the team should then sign guys to fill holes is confusing to me....or are people saying that if there are holes then they should not also sign free agents then?
    1. beckmt's Avatar
      beckmt -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      So people think 6 million is too much now, but think in 2 or 3 years, when salaries will he much higher, that the team should then sign guys to fill holes is confusing to me....or are people saying that if there are holes then they should not also sign free agents then?
      I think the issue is not 6 mil a year, it is the difference between a Feldman and possibly a Marcum, McCarty or Jackson. I would would spend high and low (Liriano or Myers) then to spend middle for bad pitchers. Any cheap one year deal could work out. 6 Mil puts a hole in the Twins payroll if it does not work out. I think either Myers or Liriano would be an upgrade to Feldman and better than Baker who would not be ready before May at earliest, by that time Gibson could be ready.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by beckmt View Post
      Seeing what 6 million is bringing, do not know if I want a 6 million guy. Would rather sign Liriano back at 3 - 4- mil for one year and use the excess money to get a Marcum and a McCarty or a Jackson. And then make a trade for another starter.
      I don't see any reason why Liriano would get less than Feldman in free agency, so I don't know that signing him will leave as much excess money as you're hoping for, but I still like him as a target.
    1. Jim H's Avatar
      Jim H -
      mike wants wins - Today, 09:29 AM



      I disagree the market is already set too high. They can sign a 12 million guy, a 6million guy, and deal Span and a prospect for a legit prospect, and stay in their self imposed, too low, budget.
      Largely, I agree with this. I doubt if what the Cubs paid Feldman and Baker should have much effect on the Twins. If we go by what the Twins paid their starters last year, it is easy to suggest that there should be $20 million to perhaps as much as $30 million available for pitching this year. I would think that there should be room for multiple year contracts as well.

      I have no idea exactly how Ryan will do it, but it would be nice to see 3 or 4 pitchers acquired. Keep in mind that if Span, Willingham or Morneau is traded, it also sheds salary, possibly freeing up more for pitching.

      I do think that there should be room for a $12 million per year contract. It should be possible to spent around that much more for 2 or 3 more pitchers. Ryan maybe be able to acquire what he wants for less than that. He may spend a little more depending on what contract goes away in a trade. But, assuming that is what he has to work with, I don't think the Baker/Feldman contracts should have a huge impact on what Ryan can do.
©2014 TwinsCentric, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Interested in advertising with Twins Daily? Click here.