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  • Rock Versus Hard Place

    Should The Twins Pay Or Settle?One of the more interesting times in every offseason is when the rhetoric goes away and the choices become, often painfully, clear. Rock, meet Hard Place.

    The Hard Place is where the Twins are: fronting a rotation with Scott Diamond next year. Diamond, by Twins general manager Terry Ryan’s own analysis, is a #3 starter. He’s clearly scouring the winter meetings for upgrades. But like Charlie Brown at Halloween, all he’s getting is a whole lot of Rock.

    Here are the available pitchers who could be considered an upgrade over Scott Diamond. (FYI – These guys are all profiled in the TwinsCentric ffseason Handbook.) Tell me which one you think the Twins should go after.





    Each of these guys (with the possible exception of Haren or maybe McCarthy) is pushing for (and probably likely to get) $13-$15M per year. Also, each is looking for a deal at least one year longer than any fiscally sane club would want to give them.

    Thus, this is the “interesting” time, or, if you prefer, “hellish.” It’s looking more and more like teams are going to need to pay to play. We can look at a 5-year/$65M deal for Jackson or a 3-year/$33 million deal for McCarthy and say that’s “crazy,” and we’re probably right.

    But we can’t do that and then rip Ryan for not upgrading the rotation, or settling for names like Brett Myers, Kevin Correia, Joe Blanton or John Lannan. This is the way free agency works. The vast majority are overpaid. It is the nature of the system. When a player signs with the one team that offers him the most money, instead of the 29 that think that much money is too much, odds are that is too much.

    We can rip the Twins for putting themselves into this position – this is why minor league development is so important – but that ship has sailed. If we want to focus on the problem at hand, the choices seem to be overpay or settle. Rock or Hard Place.

    Which way are you going to go?

    This article was originally published in blog: Rock Versus Hard Place started by John Bonnes
    Comments 60 Comments
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by raindog View Post
      I couldn't care less about Terry Ryan acting like he's going to make the Twins competitive in 2013. That's what he's supposed to say. But realistically, he knows it's going to take some time. Draft well. That's all the Twins can seriously do at this point.

      EDIT:
      And yes, I wish the Pohlads spent more money. They can certainly afford it. But the reality is, they won't. I don't blame TR for that.
      Absolutely correct, raindog. It's Ryan's job to try to make the team semi-competitive in 2013 while really doing what is best for the organization long term. That doesn't mean I wouldn't still go after Sanchez and/or Jackson since they are young and will be around for 4-5 years. But spending (and especially overspending) just because it's what others are doing isn't right at all.
      At some point, overspending isn't overspending anymore. It's what the market price is and any major league GM has to deal with the rules of the game.
    1. SeanS7921's Avatar
      SeanS7921 -
      If the Twins get Dempster or McCarthy and a secondary guy like Shawn Marcum, Saunders, Pelfrey, Lannan etc I'll be happy. They can probably get 2 for 20 million. Lot of guys still available and lot of time left to get a deal done. The Twins would be 7-8 wins better right there since the pitching was so bad. Dempster, Marcum, Diamond, Hendriks, Blackburn w/Gibson replacing him in June or so isn't that bad.
    1. raindog's Avatar
      raindog -
      Quote Originally Posted by SeanS7921 View Post
      If the Twins get Dempster or McCarthy and a secondary guy like Shawn Marcum, Saunders, Pelfrey, Lannan etc I'll be happy. They can probably get 2 for 20 million. Lot of guys still available and lot of time left to get a deal done. The Twins would be 7-8 wins better right there since the pitching was so bad. Dempster, Marcum, Diamond, Hendriks, Blackburn w/Gibson replacing him in June or so isn't that bad.
      This sounds reasonable. And that's what I'm hoping for at the moment.
    1. rogrulz30's Avatar
      rogrulz30 -
      I wouldn't want to overpay for free agents, tr is correct in building the farm system, developing. The teams that are going to stay relevant in mlb the way things are with no salary cap are going to be the teams that have a good farm system, draft well, and don't get bogged down in big contracts, or the major market teams that can just buy there way into the playoffs. The twins blew part of this with bill smith, he didn't make the moves to keep or get pitching in the minors, and the contract to Mauer is going to haunt the twins.
    1. Jim Crikket's Avatar
      Jim Crikket -
      Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by raindog View Post
      I couldn't care less about Terry Ryan acting like he's going to make the Twins competitive in 2013. That's what he's supposed to say. But realistically, he knows it's going to take some time. Draft well. That's all the Twins can seriously do at this point.

      EDIT:
      And yes, I wish the Pohlads spent more money. They can certainly afford it. But the reality is, they won't. I don't blame TR for that.
      Absolutely correct, raindog. It's Ryan's job to try to make the team semi-competitive in 2013 while really doing what is best for the organization long term. That doesn't mean I wouldn't still go after Sanchez and/or Jackson since they are young and will be around for 4-5 years. But spending (and especially overspending) just because it's what others are doing isn't right at all.
      At some point, overspending isn't overspending anymore. It's what the market price is and any major league GM has to deal with the rules of the game.
      EXACTLY! I don't know why people think paying market prices for top pitching is "overspending," other than it means paying more than what the Twins have been willing to pay in the past. But just because the Twins have been dumpster diving for years doesn't mean it's "overspending" to pay market price for top pitchers. To assume that when every team gets an extra $25 million in media revenue, it won't result in market prices for top players going up significantly is a pipe dream that no fan should allow his team's ownership to sell to its fanbase without being challenged.
    1. Dave T's Avatar
      Dave T -
      The time to overpay for a free agent is, when you're one guy away from winning the division. I am OK with aiming for .500 next season, and going all-in in 2014. Gibson will be on an innings count in 2013. Meyer is a year away. The 2013 off-season is when you make your free-agent moves, not now.
      And furthermore, the Twins 3-4-5 hitters are Mauer, Willingham, Morneau. To say that the Twins "have no talent" is ridiculous.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Terry Ryan said it perfectly in an interview last Friday with Judd Zulgad and Coomer on 1500espn... I wrote the quote down somewhere... But to paraphrase, he said that they (front office, scouts, etc.) evaluate all the players, and if you have to go up a 'tick' from that amount to get a guy, you do it... but if you have to go too far from what you believe is right, you run the risk of that guy being available for trade next year with a bad contract.

      So true.
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jim Crikket View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by raindog View Post
      I couldn't care less about Terry Ryan acting like he's going to make the Twins competitive in 2013. That's what he's supposed to say. But realistically, he knows it's going to take some time. Draft well. That's all the Twins can seriously do at this point.

      EDIT:
      And yes, I wish the Pohlads spent more money. They can certainly afford it. But the reality is, they won't. I don't blame TR for that.
      Absolutely correct, raindog. It's Ryan's job to try to make the team semi-competitive in 2013 while really doing what is best for the organization long term. That doesn't mean I wouldn't still go after Sanchez and/or Jackson since they are young and will be around for 4-5 years. But spending (and especially overspending) just because it's what others are doing isn't right at all.
      At some point, overspending isn't overspending anymore. It's what the market price is and any major league GM has to deal with the rules of the game.
      EXACTLY! I don't know why people think paying market prices for top pitching is "overspending," other than it means paying more than what the Twins have been willing to pay in the past. But just because the Twins have been dumpster diving for years doesn't mean it's "overspending" to pay market price for top pitchers. To assume that when every team gets an extra $25 million in media revenue, it won't result in market prices for top players going up significantly is a pipe dream that no fan should allow his team's ownership to sell to its fanbase without being challenged.
      The Twins will definitely feel it this season when attendance dips further than 2012.
      http://www.1500espn.com/sportswire/M..._GM_says120412

      For the Twins sake, I hope that season ticket holders and mid-level free agents don't read TR's comments here.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Market price is market price.....and sure, you overpay when you are one guy away, but the Twins do not do that either. No one is saying " spend for spends sake"....no one. Please do not insult us with that straw man.
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      If we are going to the scrape heap to fill out our rotation , rather then sign a Blanton or Myers, there are a couple of former pitchers who i speculated on a couple of months ago , Brandon Webb and Scott Kasmir....reports are that Scott is hitting 93-94 mph in winter ball, as for Webb i havent heard anything , but 1 or both of these guys could be a low risk high reward signing...
      Last year terry signed Zumaya, most knew he was probally going to get hurt , but i was ok with the signing.I hope terry takes a risk or 2 this off season on high return type players, rather then signing a slowey or blanton as our ace ...
    1. savvyspy's Avatar
      savvyspy -
      Quote Originally Posted by raindog View Post
      Pretty depressing. Makes me wish we could trade Willingham and Morneau and just commit to a full-on rebuild. Sadly, they might not have as much value as we think they do. And of course there would be a massive PR hit.
      This team has lost almost 200 games the last 2 seasons. There shouldn't be a massive anything even if Ryan were to trade the entire roster. This roster needs to be completely rebuilt. There isn't one guy on the major league roster right now any other team would choose to build around as a core guy.

      They have a few nice pieces like Revere, Perkins, Plouffe, Willingham, and maybe Burton & Parmalee but no guys you are definitely building a nucleus around. Those guys are still a few years away.

      I would trade Mauer, Morneau, and Willingham and just get as much young talent as you can. It would allow you to play Plouffe, Parmalee, Florimon, and even Mastroiani everyday and see what you had. They could also end this dumb act that they are honestly pursuing free agent pitching. They aren't looking at anything but roster filler. You want to take anything to the bank bet your friends that Jason Marquis will have a better year than any of the dregs Ryan is going to sign to fill the rotation. Its easy money.

      If they would just firesale the thing we could finally admit what everyone already should know. They are going to lose 90-100 games again next year and they should do it with Diamond, Walters, Devries, and Deduno. See what you have and bring up young guys when these guys falter. If you arent going to sign free agent pitching (the Twins refuse to) then you are going to have to get lucky than 1 or 2 of these guys pan out and can tide you over til Gibson, Meyer, and the younger minor league guys catch up.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      As usual, I like the content and tone of Jim Crikket's posts the best!
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      There is also a way to spend money to make prospects and the Twins don't do that either. Signing somebody doesn't mean you have to keep him for the duration of the contract. No one is asking for the Twins to mimic the Cubs and Soriano here.
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      Let's say the Twins had signed a Haren, or maybe will sign Dempster, and another starter. That gives them 8-10 wins easily over last year, depending on how Diamond and the back of a rotation pan out. The Twins still need two bench guys (one probably a catcher -- if he can play elsewhere, maybe a good DH/PH.) They probably have 1-2 spots in the bullpen that they can rotate around. But, again, two pitchers don't get them the pennant.

      If they sign a pair of starters, maybe we do need them around for 3 years minimum...maybe one 4-6 wouldn't hurt to be the veteran presence.

      But let's look beyond 2013. The Twins will need someone at first. If someone else is at first, then they need a catcher. Outfield will be young. 2B/SS/3B are far from overpowering, they will need to repalce two of those positions. The Twins will basically rebuild their line-up asis in 2014 and 2015, mostly bya dding unproven but promising rookie talent, which can raise havoc and send us abck to .500 or elow status. You don't add 3 or so rookies a season a expect them to shine. Okay, you do expect them to shine, but will they.

      It is a rock-and-hard place, and going back to an earlier discussion, TwinkieTown is n't exactly a joyous place that a pitcher would care to pitch in if thet aren't going to win.

      To win in 2013. Three front line starters, at least one infield upgrade, pray that Parmelee can prduce in right, and the bullpen stays strong. The Twins HAVE to spend above-average on at least thre players.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      Part of the promise for Target Field is that the increased revenue would allow the team to afford enough talent to maintain competitiveness as well as re-sign the fans favorite players. I disagree that if the team trades major league talent for prospects (reducing salaries) that it is wasteful/pointless to spend on lower-level major league talent to improve competitiveness. Many name have been bandied about and claims of "overspending" for free agents--Hogwash!--it's called paying market price. The fans were promised a competitive team--so make the effort and put that team on the field. The revenue streams are adequate to build for the future as well as being competitive in the present. Would it be "risky" to sign a Dempster for three years? Of course! All multiyear contracts involve considerable risk. But the Twins will need pitching in the future as well as now.
    1. rickyriolo's Avatar
      rickyriolo -
      Twins will not sign anyone at the winter meetings. TR will wait it out and see which pitchers are "left over" and then low ball them an offer and pick up a couple warm bodies for the rotation in 2013. For 2014 lather, rinse, repeat...
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      That list is lacking in Shaun Marcums for options who are better than Diamond.
    1. kryptik's Avatar
      kryptik -
      What would be the upper bounds of a contract people would be willing to sign Anibal Sanchez to? No "4/48 would be a great value" herp derp either. I mean realistically how many years/dollars would you give him?

      I don't even think it wouldn't be a bad idea for the Twins to throw a 5-6 year deal at Sanchez. Short of a miracle we aren't going to be .500 in 2013, so why not lock up some pretty good pitching long term to at least show people we are "serious" about competing next year?
    1. TheMix's Avatar
      TheMix -
      Quote Originally Posted by savvyspy View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by raindog View Post
      Pretty depressing. Makes me wish we could trade Willingham and Morneau and just commit to a full-on rebuild. Sadly, they might not have as much value as we think they do. And of course there would be a massive PR hit.
      This team has lost almost 200 games the last 2 seasons. There shouldn't be a massive anything even if Ryan were to trade the entire roster. This roster needs to be completely rebuilt. There isn't one guy on the major league roster right now any other team would choose to build around as a core guy.

      They have a few nice pieces like Revere, Perkins, Plouffe, Willingham, and maybe Burton & Parmalee but no guys you are definitely building a nucleus around. Those guys are still a few years away.

      I would trade Mauer, Morneau, and Willingham and just get as much young talent as you can. It would allow you to play Plouffe, Parmalee, Florimon, and even Mastroiani everyday and see what you had. They could also end this dumb act that they are honestly pursuing free agent pitching. They aren't looking at anything but roster filler. You want to take anything to the bank bet your friends that Jason Marquis will have a better year than any of the dregs Ryan is going to sign to fill the rotation. Its easy money.
      Woah woah woah woah......seriously? I can understand wanting to play Ploufe and Parmalee, but Florimon and Mastoiani?! You've gone out of your gourd man. You want to blow the whole team up? Fine. Don't trade the one centerpiece of the team that's under contract through the years in which we'd see the new centerpieces of the team come up though, and leave us with Mastroiani and Florimon. We KNOW what we have with those two, and it aint good.
    1. luke829's Avatar
      luke829 -
      Quote Originally Posted by raindog View Post
      Pretty depressing. Makes me wish we could trade Willingham and Morneau and just commit to a full-on rebuild. Sadly, they might not have as much value as we think they do. And of course there would be a massive PR hit.
      Throw Joe Mauer into the mix and you would have much more than this.
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