• Twins Punting 2013? Not So Fast

    Ben Revere swingsTrading established players for prospects is the sign of a rebuilding team, and that is certainly what we've seen from Terry Ryan with his first few major moves this offseason. Many casual fans have expressed outrage over trades that sent Denard Span and Ben Revere cornerstones in the Minnesota outfield to the NL East for young pitching geared more toward the big picture than immediate improvement.

    The two prizes acquired in these deals, Alex Meyer and Trevor May, both have what it takes to become true assets in the rotation. In all likelihood it won't happen in 2013, which is understandably frustrating for fans who are tired of all the losing and are yearning for short-term gains. However, the presence of Vance Worley cannot be ignored. He's an established major-league pitcher, and while he's probably more serviceable than great, he fills one of the club's several rotation vacancies at essentially no cost.

    Assuming that ownership is serious about keeping payroll steady, that leaves Ryan with around $20-25 million to spend on starters who can make a more immediate impact. Adding a pair of $10 million pitchers on top of Diamond and Worley, even in this inflated market, would greatly change the complexion of the starting corps. The rotation is not going to suddenly become an asset -- that was never really a possibility -- but could be good enough to compete, and there's always the chance that Meyer or May will perform well enough in the minors to become a late-season option.

    To get themselves into this vastly preferable position with the pitching staff while retaining plenty of financial flexibility, the Twins had to part with a pair of valuable and likable players. But Darin Mastroianni ought to be an adequate placeholder and a guy like Aaron Hicks or Oswaldo Arcia could very well step in and make fans quickly forget about the previous tenants.

    Having lost nearly 200 games over the last two seasons, this team was in need of a major shake-up, and we're seeing it. There's no doubt that it hurts to lose players we've grown to love and appreciate, but at the end of the day the GM has dealt away from a position of depth to address a position of crippling weakness.

    I have held fast to my stance that the best approach for the Twins at this time is to make a modest but meaningful effort at returning to contention next year, with an eye toward the organization's long-term health. After two savvy trades, Ryan is in position to do just that.
    This article was originally published in blog: Twins Punting 2013? Not So Fast started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 121 Comments
    1. birdwatcher's Avatar
      birdwatcher -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by birdwatcher View Post
      The Twins have zero intention to "punt" for 2013.. Ryan made that very clear again today in more than one interview. He said they intend to shore up the rotation. He may misfire, but he isn't punting.

      Now, it could certainly be that Ryan's expectation is to field a .500 ballclub at best for 2013. Isn't it unrealistic to expect a contending club for 2013 AND these great strides towards respectable future results? So, some of you might describe efforts to produce a .500 ballclub a "punt". I don't.
      Not surprisingly, you're a nest-half-full guy. What else would you expect Ryan to say in this situation? Read his actions, they speak far more clearly than his words.
      And of course, jokin, true to form, you are a half nest empty guy. Congratulations. Thanks for the advice, by the way, to rely on Ryan's actions and not his words. Perhaps you should take your own advice, jokin. Ryan's stiil going to take more action, but you judge him on his words and accuse him of various forms dishonesty, don't you? Isn't that hypocritical of you? Isn't that perhaps a form of dishonesty in and of itself?
    1. wavedog's Avatar
      wavedog -
      I like the trades but before talk of contention in 2013 - we certainly have questions at 2B, SS, 3B and CF. Far from strong up the middle and along with questionable starting pitching doesn't sound like a mix to be a serious contender. We will see who else we add in the next couple of weeks.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      I don't think we know yet, until the top 10 pitchers are signed, and we see what the Twins did.....
    1. birdwatcher's Avatar
      birdwatcher -
      Quote Originally Posted by wavedog View Post
      I like the trades but before talk of contention in 2013 - we certainly have questions at 2B, SS, 3B and CF. Far from strong up the middle and along with questionable starting pitching doesn't sound like a mix to be a serious contender. We will see who else we add in the next couple of weeks.
      I agree, wavedog. Ryan can maybe fortify the rotation and tweak the roster enough to give us a team with a 50/50 chance to win that night's game. Any expectation for 2013 beyond that isn't realistic. And Ryan has stated that we have to be realistic.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Realism is great. They realistically could sign 2 really good pitchers if they wanted to. But I think they will not. I think realistic is code for cheap, but I am still hoping I am wrong.....
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      I favor using the 20-25 million as follows: Sign one guy to a long-term deal in the mid teens. Sign the other guy to a one-year deal in the $6-8 million range. This strategy is made possible by the presence of Meyers, May and Gibson in 2013, who, with Worley and Diamond, would make a decent young rotation by themselves. Understanding that you want six capable guys, one of the guys you sign can be a short timer.

      The question is, what will Sanchez cost in $$ and years? If he would accept a 4/56 type of deal, doesn't it make sense to go after him? I like McCarthy and all, but Sanchez is a cut above. Am I estimating too low on him?
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
      The question is, what will Sanchez cost in $$ and years? If he would accept a 4/56 type of deal, doesn't it make sense to go after him? I like McCarthy and all, but Sanchez is a cut above. Am I estimating too low on him?
      Yeah, I think he gets at least 5 years and over 15m per. His agent called a 4/48 offer insulting. Still, I'd be willing to offer him 5/70 and hope that's enough. Also like to see Marcum come here.
    1. birdwatcher's Avatar
      birdwatcher -
      mww, it's also realistic for me to buy a new Mercedes and enter it into a demolition derby. Not gonna do it. Guess I'm just cheap, right?

      You're not wrong for wanting Marcum, Sanchez, or whomever at their asking price. That doesn't make you greedy. But refusing to do that doesn't make the Twins cheap either.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      They have a new stadium, and their payroll has three guys that make 5 million or more. I believe that they would be cheap not to sign a legit pitcher this year. But that is an opinion, not a fact, so your mileage may vary.
    1. birdwatcher's Avatar
      birdwatcher -
      Most of these contracts-Blanton, Feldman, Haren- the ones that have set the market- are going to come back to haunt the teams. Especially the ones with multiple years. The future performance value of these guys will not match the market value. The Twins have been guilty of poor contract decisions, as Ryan has admitted repeatedly. Ryan appears to be determined to avoid these contract errors. It's not a matter of being cheap. This club has been spending money, mre than any other team last year on the draft and on international signings.
    1. minn55441's Avatar
      minn55441 -
      We have punted for the 2013 season. I don't think that is a bad thing, but we are not going to contend this year. If it's 4th and a mile at your own 20 yard line, you don't "go for it", the correct call is to punt and look forward to your next possession.

      I like the moves that TR has made. We aren't signing washed up pitchers to one year deals, everything he has done so far insures that we are looking forward to 2014 and beyond. Not sure how he is going to do it, but I would hope that any investment in the pitching FA market would benefit us not only this year but would be even more geared to 2014 and beyond. Sign quality and lock them up for more than 1 or 2 years.
    1. birdwatcher's Avatar
      birdwatcher -
      If your definition of punting is not contending, then I agree, minn55441. My definition is trying to field a .500 team. If Ryan fails to add at least one more pitcher that meets or exceeds the "Diamond Standard", and maybe one more Liriano-type to compete with the 10 other fringy guys for the #5-6 spots, then I will say he punted.
    1. h2oface's Avatar
      h2oface -
      Quote Originally Posted by johnnydakota View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by clutterheart View Post
      2013 is written off as far as I am concerned.

      If you are going to do it, do it right.
      Trade Mauer. Trade Morneau. Trade Willingham.
      Mlb rumors reports Terry Ryan will listen to offere for everyone including Morneau and MAUER
      so does that mean Ellsbury in cf,and Lester in the rotation?
      If you click the link there it takes you to a cheap and irresponsible twitter post, and someone has sent a reply that states they re-listened to the broadcast and Ryan said Morneau and Willingham. Mauer was not mentioned. I have not heard it.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Will the top pitchers really take this team seriously after they traded both CF's and are reported to be listening to offers for both Mauer and Morneau? True or not, it doesn't sound like a situation that a pitcher who values winning as importantly as money would want to walk into.
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      Quote Originally Posted by h2oface View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by johnnydakota View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by clutterheart View Post
      2013 is written off as far as I am concerned.

      If you are going to do it, do it right.
      Trade Mauer. Trade Morneau. Trade Willingham.
      Mlb rumors reports Terry Ryan will listen to offere for everyone including Morneau and MAUER
      so does that mean Ellsbury in cf,and Lester in the rotation?
      If you click the link there it takes you to a cheap and irresponsible twitter post, and someone has sent a reply that states they re-listened to the broadcast and Ryan said Morneau and Willingham. Mauer was not mentioned. I have not heard it.
      Thanks
    1. joeboo_22's Avatar
      joeboo_22 -
      I think the Twins are making a play for 2014, and that is why they are hesitant to trade Willingham. Even though they have traded Span and Revere, how many 2014 WAR's do they translate to over the replacements of some combo of Hicks/Benson/Parmelee/Arcia? I'm going to say not too many. And because of that I think thats why I'm against and the FO is against a fire sale. I'd still be shopping Carroll as there appears to be some type of market out there for that type of player, and it would cut some more salary. I think Willingham and Morneau are deadline guys where if they feel they are close in 2014 they might try to resign Morneau, keep Willingham and make a play, if not they would trade both, also depends on the market.

      Its all a crap shoot but I don't see the Twins having a worse team after making these moves
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Why do they need to cut salary? Carroll is great at getting on base. There is zero reason to move him.
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Why do they need to cut salary? Carroll is great at getting on base. There is zero reason to move him.
      Not entirely true. I certainly don't think Carroll's salary will break the bank and I agree there is no reason to be actively looking to cut salary; quite the contrary I think they should be actively looking to spend all of their money. However, Carroll does have a player option for 2014 where he will be 40 years old. If the Twins FO has decided to essentially build for 2014+ then IMO looking to move Jamey Carroll is a good option.
    1. by jiminy's Avatar
      by jiminy -
      Quote Originally Posted by strumdatjag View Post
      Why sign two $10 million pitchers? The Twins should sign one of the top available free agent pitchers like Grienke, Jackson, McCarthy, or Dempster and fill out the rotation with Diamond, Gibson, Worley and allow someone to earn the fifth spot in training camp (if nobody earns the spot ofr someone is injured, take a cast-off from anther team at the end of Spring Training).
      Why sign two good pitchers? I think the premise was they were trying to contend.

      Sure they can use castoffs and not-ready minor leaguers; they did that the past two years. But they wouldn't very likely contend.

      Personally, though, I'd rather wait another year or two than take on a Grienke type contract. If that didn't work out, they'd be worse off than they are now.

      I prefer the approach of stockpiling young pitching shown by the Span and Revere trades. I'd keep doing that and hope to build a playoff-worthy rotation the way the A's did. If they could get similar talent for Morneau and WIllingham, the future could become very bright by 2014.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by Oxtung View Post
      However, Carroll does have a player option for 2014 where he will be 40 years old. If the Twins FO has decided to essentially build for 2014+ then IMO looking to move Jamey Carroll is a good option.
      The player option kicks in if he accrues >400 PA in 2013. That makes it somewhat a team option - if he sucks, he'll be on the bench anyway, if he's marginal then his playing time goes down in Aug-Sept if he can't be traded at deadline. Don't know how much, if any, this changes the thinking.
©2014 TwinsCentric, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Interested in advertising with Twins Daily? Click here.