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  • Payroll and Roster Notes


    The Twins made their first round of cuts this morning. I figured this was as good of time as any to highlight some things that are important (to nerds like me) as the regular season opens and progresses.

    The Roster and Payroll page has been updated to include a lot of new information. It was mostly re-shuffling of where minor league guys might go. It also included the batch of most recent international signings.

    PAYROLL

    One of the reasons that I started this page was to keep updated tabs on what the Major League payroll is. We often get reports about what the "Opening Day payroll" is but then after that there aren't many updates.

    Payroll fluctuates whenever there is a transaction. The other thing is that only the 2014 salaries would be included when figuring that payroll. There are a couple other things that affect that number.

    OPENING DAY PAYROLL:
    Without knowing exactly what the final group of 25 is going to look like, it's impossible to say where that number is going to fall. At this moment, we're looking at the neighborhood of $83 million.

    OTHER ITEMS TO CONSIDER: The Twins have three players on their rosters that have an option year at the end of their contracts. Those years can either be picked up or bought out. The "buyout" portion of those contracts are paid out over the life of the contract (up until the option year).

    The Twins have a $1m buyout on the fifth year of Nolasco's contract. The Twins will pay him an additional $250,000 each year for the next four years.

    Both Glen Perkins and Jared Burton are owed an extra $100,000 this year. Burton's option year is next year, while Perkins's doesn't happen until 2016.

    That adds an extra $450,000 to payroll.

    ARTICLE XX(B) FREE AGENTS: The Twins signed both Jason Kubel and Matt Guerrier to minor league contracts. Because those players are coming directly off of major league deals, they would have to be paid $100,000 to be assigned to the minor leagues.

    Both of these players - as well as Jason Bartlett - will make significantly more than league minimum if and when they do suit up for the Twins.

    INCENTIVES: Perkins and Burton both have clauses in their contracts that pay them more for "games finished". Perkins also has a unique clause that will increase his salary for 2015 based on the incentives he earns in 2014.

    Mike Pelfrey and Phil Hughes can both earn more money if they hit innings-pitched milestones. Anthony Swarzak can earn more money by making 10 starts.

    Kurt Suzuki has triggers in his contract that will pay him more, basically, for being the starting catcher.

    And both Kubel and Guerrier have incentives that will pay them for their performances too.

    CREDITS: While it's not common to sell a player's rights, the Twins did just that this year. In agreeing to release Andrew Albers, the Twins were paid about $500,000 by a Korean team. The exact figure is not known, but two outlets have confirmed the amount was very close to that $500,000.

    There also always remains the possibility of trading a player under contract and having that team pick up the contract. That happened last year with Morneau and saved the Twins almost $3 million.

    LOOKING AHEAD

    ARBITRATION: The Twins avoided the arbitration process this past off-season by agreeing to deals with Brian Duensing, Trevor Plouffe and Swarzak.

    Next year, the Twins could face arbitration with as many as eight players. Duensing will enter his third and final year of arbitration. Swarzak will enter his second year of arbitration. Plouffe will enter his second year too, but has three years remaining as he was a Super Two player last year.

    Vance Worley would exceed three years of service if he plays a full year in the majors.

    Scott Diamond, Casey Fien, Eduardo Escobar and Alex Presley all currently have less than two years of experience, but with one more full season should have more than the Super Two cutoff and be eligible for arbitration the first time (of four).

    ROSTER ADDS: The Twins will have to add players to their roster in November to avoid exposure in the Rule 5 draft, and it's never too early to speculate who those guys might be.

    Alex Meyer, Miguel Sano and (the good) Eddie Rosario are must adds.

    Sean Gilmartin, Corey Williams, Brett Lee, Jason Wheeler, Matt Summers, Tyler Jones, Randy Rosario and Yorman Landa are some pitchers that will be discussed. I led off with Gilmartin, Williams and Lee because they're left-handed. Rosario and Landa have not yet played full-season ball, but might have upsides that aren't worth exposing.

    Aderlin Mejia and Niko Goodrum are two hitters worth mentioning. Former first-round pick Levi Michael would also be eligible for the first time. Let's hope Levi puts together a monster season.

    FREE AGENTS: The trio of Kevin Correia, Kurt Suzuki and Josh Willingham all are entering their final season under contract and will be eligible for free agency five days after the conclusion of the World Series.
    ---

    Obviously, that's a lot of information to try to digest. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments or contact me @jeremynygaard on Twitter. If there's anything that can't be covered on either of those avenues, send me an email at [email protected].

    Hope you enjoy!
    Comments 40 Comments
    1. h2oface's Avatar
      h2oface -
      Virtually the same payroll as last year. Middle of the road and worse starters were signed. If the front office was sincere about winning, they would have actually "spent" more money.
    1. Hosken Bombo Disco's Avatar
      Hosken Bombo Disco -
      Quote Originally Posted by h2oface View Post
      Virtually the same payroll as last year. Middle of the road and worse starters were signed. If the front office was sincere about winning, they would have actually "spent" more money.
      I wish they had upgraded the offense, but I think the Hughes signing is a shrewd one. I expect him to do very well.
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      Yeah, pretty much the same. I had their final payroll last year just a bit over $80m.

      I think a big difference, though, is their willingness to spend. They made competitive efforts for both Garza and now, apparently, Santana. Not that there is much they can do with it now - I don't see them blowing by draft and IFA limits - but I think they've set themselves up well to acquire talent next year and have a lot of payroll to throw money at their young studs when they start to get expensive. ("Studs" assuming that Dozier and Arcia progress, Sano returns healthy and Buxton remains all-world. Oh, and Meyer, but he's a Boras guy, so he's seven years from FA regardless.)
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      I don't want to be provocative, but what were the Twins supposed to do? They have either established players or good prospects at almost every position. They tried to sign a fairly two established catchers and made offers to several starters. They could spend a lot of money extending players, but there really is no reason to do this. They have lost more than 90 games three straight years, they have top talent in their farm system that is mostly a year or more away (the top four prospects haven't played above AA, and only one has played a full (injury marred) season at that level. Premium free agents are going to be a tough sell until the team is truly on the cusp. They have money to spend in coming years, they can probably take on a large contract or two in trade and they have some great prospects getting close. I don't think that means the club should overpay for free agents and I don't think it means they should gut their farm system to acquire top talent via trade. Until this year, it appears that money not spent just went into the Pohlad's pocket. This year, they have shown they will spend. It gives us some hope that the team will spend again next year when the market and the team's situation may be considerably different.
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      Quote Originally Posted by stringer bell View Post
      I don't want to be provocative, but what were the Twins supposed to do? They have either established players or good prospects at almost every position. They tried to sign a fairly two established catchers and made offers to several starters. They could spend a lot of money extending players, but there really is no reason to do this. They have lost more than 90 games three straight years, they have top talent in their farm system that is mostly a year or more away (the top four prospects haven't played above AA, and only one has played a full (injury marred) season at that level. Premium free agents are going to be a tough sell until the team is truly on the cusp. They have money to spend in coming years, they can probably take on a large contract or two in trade and they have some great prospects getting close. I don't think that means the club should overpay for free agents and I don't think it means they should gut their farm system to acquire top talent via trade. Until this year, it appears that money not spent just went into the Pohlad's pocket. This year, they have shown they will spend. It gives us some hope that the team will spend again next year when the market and the team's situation may be considerably different.
      There are a lot of ways they could use that money:

      1) Be creative with contracts. Rework Mauer's deal so that he get's $50 million this season and then only $14 million/year in his last 3 seasons. Front load Nolasco's deal so that the Twins pay him $30 million this season but only owe him $6 million per year the rest of the way. Rework Perkins' deal so that you pay him a bit more this season (say an additional $4 million) but you get a second option year for 2017 at just $4 million again.

      2) Offer big money short term deals for great players. Offer Ervin Santana or Matt Garza a 3 year $45 million deal. It's more than he'll get per year on a 5 year deal and he'll have an opportunity to potentially hit FA in a couple more years. The Twins also won't have the big risk of those last few years. Since the Twins won't use that money otherwise the fact that it is an "overpay" is irrelevant.

      3) Go hogwild in international free-agency like the Cubs did last offseason.

      4) Put that money into adding to your analytics staff. Pay an outside company/Professor to study pitchers health and how minor league arms should be treated to best prevent injuries. Use the company/professor to do a comprehensive study on which type of draftee/IFA turns into MLB pitchers, hitters, fielders, sluggers etc....

      5) Pay your minor league players better.

      6) View your minor league players as assets and pay for their food and hire nutritional advisors. Pay for therapists to teach the young guys how to deal with stress and pressure and positive thinking.

      7) Reduce Season ticket prices.

      8) Reduce the cost of concessions at Target Field.

      9) Do a big raffle at every home game where one lucky fan wins big money. Say $300,000.

      10) Make a giant (and very public) donation to charity. Essentially buy good public relations.

      There are some ideas off the top of my head.
    1. howieramone's Avatar
      howieramone -
      My wife's golf partner is related to one of the Pohlads. She said they are big with Save the Whales.
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      Quote Originally Posted by howieramone View Post
      My wife's golf partner is related to one of the Pohlads. She said they are big with Save the Whales.
      This double-entendre made me laugh. I woke my room mate up. Shame on you!
    1. howieramone's Avatar
      howieramone -
      Quote Originally Posted by h2oface View Post
      Virtually the same payroll as last year. Middle of the road and worse starters were signed. If the front office was sincere about winning, they would have actually "spent" more money.
      Last season 3 of the top 10 payroll teams made the play-offs, as did 3 of the bottom 5.
    1. sandbun's Avatar
      sandbun -
      Quote Originally Posted by howieramone View Post
      Last season 3 of the top 10 payroll teams made the play-offs, as did 3 of the bottom 5.
      And if the Twins were a really good and cheap team, that would be relevant. But they're not, they're a team that could easily lose 90 games again this year and shock no one. So when that's the case and people don't see you taking advantage of a way to improve that is open to you, then people are going to rip you for that. And as Oxtung pointed out, there are a ton of ways you could use the gap between what the Twins' payroll is allowed to be and what it actually is that TR could take advantage of that don't even involve signing more FAs.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      There was a total stud Cuban DH available, that will haunt them for years in Chicago. They could have offered more money, and signed one of those catchers. They could trade some of that years away talent (anyone remember Joe Benson) for proven expensive players. They could adjust contracts as suggested above. They could still sign Santana and Drew.
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      There's one more thing that they could have done.

      Publicly announce that the 50% "rule" has gone by the wayside.

      I don't have as much problem with them failing to spend more this year as Mike does but I want some public acknowledgment that down the road when they may be in a contending position, they are going to be willing to go significantly beyond that 50% if that's what it takes to try to put the final pieces in place.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      JB, I agree with you. IF they spent the savings to go over budget, I'd feel better about using tax dollars to subsidize tickets, payroll, and profits.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by howieramone View Post
      Last season 3 of the top 10 payroll teams made the play-offs, as did 3 of the bottom 5.
      So...the answer out of this mess is to cut more payroll?
    1. Jim Crikket's Avatar
      Jim Crikket -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      So...the answer out of this mess is to cut more payroll?
      Don't even joke about that. Especially now that the front office types apparently occasionally peruse TD!
    1. SweetOne69's Avatar
      SweetOne69 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Oxtung View Post
      There are a lot of ways they could use that money:

      1) Be creative with contracts. Rework Mauer's deal so that he get's $50 million this season and then only $14 million/year in his last 3 seasons. Front load Nolasco's deal so that the Twins pay him $30 million this season but only owe him $6 million per year the rest of the way. Rework Perkins' deal so that you pay him a bit more this season (say an additional $4 million) but you get a second option year for 2017 at just $4 million again.
      I believe this is not allowed per the CBA. While the CBA doesn't limit pay increases it does put a limit on pay cut's. I believe a current player's salary can only decrease 20% from one year to the next.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Then make it a signing bonus, sweeetone.....not that hard really. Add 1 dollar to his salary, and convert some of it to signing bonus.
    1. SweetOne69's Avatar
      SweetOne69 -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Then make it a signing bonus, sweeetone.....not that hard really. Add 1 dollar to his salary, and convert some of it to signing bonus.
      I don't think that would still be allowed.
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      There was a total stud Cuban DH available, that will haunt them for years in Chicago. They could have offered more money, and signed one of those catchers. They could trade some of that years away talent (anyone remember Joe Benson) for proven expensive players. They could adjust contracts as suggested above. They could still sign Santana and Drew.
      Another option was to take on a bad contract. If the player is a good player but is just getting over paid the Twins could take that on and perhaps it would require little in return.

      I wouldn't have advocated for say, Fielder, even assuming we could have gotten him for his salary alone, which we couldn't have. But what about Buehrle, Dickey, Alfonso Soriano or Jimmy Rollins? How about some big risk, big reward moves like seeing what Philadelphia wants for Cliff Lee or Papelbon. They are both excellent right now but they also both have multiple big money years left and are getting very old.

      There are probably more out there I'm not thinking of.
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      Quote Originally Posted by SweetOne69 View Post
      I believe this is not allowed per the CBA. While the CBA doesn't limit pay increases it does put a limit on pay cut's. I believe a current player's salary can only decrease 20% from one year to the next.
      I don't think that applies in this situation. There was a team that did exactly what I'm talking about this off season, though not quite to the extreme that I was suggesting perhaps. For the life of me I can't think of who it was though.
    1. Ncgo4's Avatar
      Ncgo4 -
      How about this. The Twins are doing it just right. This is their last year to stockpile a very high draft pick so let's not spend an extra $30 million to go from a top 4 to 7 pick to a top 15 pick. That would make zero sense.

      All the excitement about our prospects will keep the wolves at bay. Next year our drafting begins to pay off. Buxton, Sano, Pinto and Rosario could be in the lineup, with Maye starting and Stewart and a few other pitchers showing well in the high minors.

      This is the year to watch the minors and next year begins the pay off at Target Field.
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