Minnesota Twins News & Rumors Forum
  • Morales Signing Signals Shift in Twins' Mindset

    The last time I can remember the Twins making a "win now" move was prior to the 2011 season, when they re-signed Carl Pavano and Jim Thome in an effort to recapture the magic that led to 94 wins and a playoff berth in the first season at Target Field.

    You can argue that these weren't especially wise moves, but they were clearly aimed at a goal of short-term winning. Pavano, 35, was signed for two years and cost the Twins a potential draft pick. Thome, 40, was signed for one year.

    Things obviously fell apart during that season, and in the years since, while the Twins have made a lot of moves -- some of them very good moves -- I don't think any could be described as aggressive "win-now" maneuvers.

    Not until now.

    Over the weekend, the Twins announced that they have signed Kendrys Morales for the remainder of the 2014 campaign, at a hefty prorated $12 million salary. That's a significant spend for a player whose sole purpose is to make this team better right now.

    What prompted this uncharacteristic shift in approach? In part, it might be frustration. The Twins have been waiting, and waiting, and waiting for their top prospects to progress through the minors and help propel the big-league club forward, only to be met with a seemingly endless string of setbacks.

    Miguel Sano's elbow, Byron Buxton's wrist, Eddie Rosario's suspension… they have all pushed the arrivals of potential difference-makers backward, leaving the team in perpetual limbo.

    And then there are the outside factors in play. You've got a manager and GM who are -- at least to some extent -- on the hot seat after three straight 90-loss seasons. You've got a ballpark with dwindling attendance numbers. And you've got a club with tons of extra money on hand after falling well short of its spending limit during the offseason.

    On top of all that, the Twins are in last place but only five games out of first, and closer than that to wild-card position. So as Terry Ryan aptly put it when discussing the Morales signing, "Why not us?"

    To be clear, Morales is not a slam-dunk signing nor a perfect fit. He hasn't played since September of 2013, and in the two seasons since his devastating leg injury with the Angels he has been a good but not spectacular hitter. He also has limited defensive versatility, so working him into the lineup around young guys who need to be playing, like Josmil Pinto and Oswaldo Arcia, will be a challenge.

    But the bottom line is that Morales is a massive upgrade over the guy he's replacing on the roster (Jason Kubel), and he's a bat that you can immediately slot into the middle of the lineup. This isn't a move that suddenly turns the Twins into a World Series contender, but it does significantly boost their chances of hanging around .500 and remaining relevant late into the season.

    Even more importantly, though, it indicates that the Twins are finally back in a mindset where they're focused on winning baseball games now, not next year or the year after. For fans who have endured some brutal results in recent years, that is a tremendously encouraging development.
    Comments 72 Comments
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      Except you just had nice things to say about Gibson and the potential young arms....baby steps to positivity...I'll take it. And haven't even reacted yet to Hughes, thus far.
      Hughes has been great and Gibson has been much improved. My issues with the pitching staff have been Correia, Pelfrey, and the idea that Nolasco > Garza. Pretty much 3 for 3 on those guys.
    1. frightwig's Avatar
      frightwig -
      So, Morales is a good hitter, but not significantly better than the DH options already on the team. In fact, his production last year was worse than what Twins DH's have done to this point in the season. He's not likely to make the Twins a contender, if he makes the team significantly better at all. He also probably blocks Pinto and other young players from needed playing time, which could mean that they're less prepared to play at their potential next season.

      Management made the move anyway, perhaps because Ryan and Gardy are feeling pressure after three losing seasons to show that the team is turning around. Maybe Gardy really wanted another veteran bat. Maybe Ryan felt he could use some good PR to get fans and media buzzing right about now. Anyway, they decided to throw something against the wall. If it doesn't stick, at least people will be pleasantly distracted for awhile.

      Nick essentially admits this, but still we're excited because it signals a shift to "win now" mode? But if the team is likely to win 75 games or less, with or without Morales, why do we want the front office making this sort of splashy but marginal move at the expense of player development? Why is it so good to see Ryan deviate from the long-term plan for no great reason?
    1. Tibs's Avatar
      Tibs -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      Hughes has been great and Gibson has been much improved. My issues with the pitching staff have been Correia, Pelfrey, and the idea that Nolasco > Garza. Pretty much 3 for 3 on those guys.
      You're due for regression. That rate isn't sustainable, all SSS things considered.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by Tibs View Post
      You're due for regression. That rate isn't sustainable, all SSS things considered.
      Stupid regression to the mean.....
    1. Jack Torse's Avatar
      Jack Torse -
      He's also great trade bait. If 15 other team wanted his services now they will want them in 6 weeks too if he plays well.
    1. Hosken Bombo Disco's Avatar
      Hosken Bombo Disco -
      Quote Originally Posted by frightwig View Post
      So, Morales is a good hitter, but not significantly better than the DH options already on the team. In fact, his production last year was worse than what Twins DH's have done to this point in the season. He's not likely to make the Twins a contender, if he makes the team significantly better at all. He also probably blocks Pinto and other young players from needed playing time, which could mean that they're less prepared to play at their potential next season.

      Management made the move anyway, perhaps because Ryan and Gardy are feeling pressure after three losing seasons to show that the team is turning around. Maybe Gardy really wanted another veteran bat. Maybe Ryan felt he could use some good PR to get fans and media buzzing right about now. Anyway, they decided to throw something against the wall. If it doesn't stick, at least people will be pleasantly distracted for awhile.

      Nick essentially admits this, but still we're excited because it signals a shift to "win now" mode? But if the team is likely to win 75 games or less, with or without Morales, why do we want the front office making this sort of splashy but marginal move at the expense of player development? Why is it so good to see Ryan deviate from the long-term plan for no great reason?
      Welcome to the Glass Half Empty club. There are plenty of open chairs for us to sit.

      I still see a management mindset that favors veterans at the end of their careers over youth. The Morales signing is ok, at least it's proactive, but there's so much else to do.
    1. drivlikejehu's Avatar
      drivlikejehu -
      Quote Originally Posted by Hosken Bombo Disco View Post
      I still see a management mindset that favors veterans at the end of their careers over youth. The Morales signing is ok, at least it's proactive, but there's so much else to do.
      What concerns me the most is player evaluation. They throw players out there who just don't have it - Kubel, Correia, etc. - as if they have no ability to discern what the player is currently capable of.

      Of course fans are excited when this haphazard strategy works, e.g., Phil Hughes, but it doesn't seem like a winning formula to me.
    1. whydidnt's Avatar
      whydidnt -
      Quote Originally Posted by drivlikejehu View Post
      What concerns me the most is player evaluation. They throw players out there who just don't have it - Kubel, Correia, etc. - as if they have no ability to discern what the player is currently capable of.

      Of course fans are excited when this haphazard strategy works, e.g., Phil Hughes, but it doesn't seem like a winning formula to me.
      To me, it seems like they think they are smarter than everyone else and can bring in guys with questionable track records and turn them into good players. They've been doing this for some time now, and their track record is not good. I would much rather have them spend 15 Million for a guy everyone knows will be good than 5 million each on three question marks like Corriea, Pelfry, etc.
    1. the blade's Avatar
      the blade -
      Quote Originally Posted by Willihammer View Post
      Super Two deadline is now-ish, right? Meyer and May, get up here. Let's do this. Nobody wants to see Correia vs. the Blue Jays in 2 days...
      amen, brother.
    1. Oldgoat_MN's Avatar
      Oldgoat_MN -
      Quote Originally Posted by spycake View Post
      If this is a mindset change move, it was served up to them on a silver platter -- how often do you have a fairly young, healthy quality free agent available for nothing but modest cash in June, at the same time that all of your internal options at the same position have struggled mightily over the season's first two months? I'll give them some credit for spending the money -- just like I did after the Nolasco deal -- but all that's basically saying is they're not epically cheap at the moment!

      Although I endorse the Morales signing, if we really want to contend, a better mindset change move might be to avoid a collapse at a position before addressing it.
      Our DH position has actually hit quite well.

      And I don't know what your checking account balance looks like, but I bet the Pohlads don't consider $7,500,000 to be 'modest cash'.
    1. whydidnt's Avatar
      whydidnt -
      7,500,000 sounds like a lot, but based upon a net worth around 2 Billion, it's quite modest. Less than a grand for someone with a net worth of 250k. It's all relative.
    1. oldguy10's Avatar
      oldguy10 -
      ^^^frightwig is 100% accurate in his remarks here in my mind, once again smoke blowing by Twins' management, how many of us will swallow all of that nonsense anymore? Can't they please get serious about cobbling together a decent team instead of all of the "window dressing" machinations? It is way beyond tiresome to have to repeatedly suffer through all of this drama all of the time.
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      Quote Originally Posted by oldguy10 View Post
      It is way beyond tiresome to have to repeatedly suffer through all of this drama all of the time.
      Funny that, I was just thinking the exact same thing.


      Only not about the Twins.
    1. jay's Avatar
      jay -
      Quote Originally Posted by whydidnt View Post
      To me, it seems like they think they are smarter than everyone else and can bring in guys with questionable track records and turn them into good players. They've been doing this for some time now, and their track record is not good. I would much rather have them spend 15 Million for a guy everyone knows will be good than 5 million each on three question marks like Corriea, Pelfry, etc.
      Problem is, you can quite easily spend 15 million and not know the guy will be good...
    1. Blackjack's Avatar
      Blackjack -
      Quote Originally Posted by snepp View Post
      Funny that, I was just thinking the exact same thing.


      Only not about the Twins.

      This deserves more than just a Like!!! Double thumbs up!!! Twins add a good player and its still bad, bad, bad!!! Enough to make you stop reading the comments - except its almost funny after awhile.
    1. spycake's Avatar
      spycake -
      Quote Originally Posted by Oldgoat_MN View Post
      Our DH position has actually hit quite well.
      It's the 2014 Twins DH paradox: our overall line is pretty good there, but all of our potential DHs have struggled mightily or are needed at other positions.

      Quote Originally Posted by Oldgoat_MN View Post
      And I don't know what your checking account balance looks like, but I bet the Pohlads don't consider $7,500,000 to be 'modest cash'.
      In MLB terms, $7.5 mil is fairly modest. The Twins just spent $2 million for two months of Jason Kubel hoping he could rebound from a terrible 2013 and a terrible 2014 spring training. $7.5 mil for 4 months of a good, healthy player is a modest outlay by comparison.
    1. PatG's Avatar
      PatG -
      I think the Twins are bringing in guys with a winning track record; Kubel with the Twins, Morales with the Angels....

      And then just some half-way decent players, Willingham, Corriea; to see if they become decent players who help make the Twins "Pennant Race" capable

      About Meyers/Mays, the Red Wings are in a pennant race, I think it would be wise for the Twins to let them try to win said pennant race, as opposed to bringing them up for a month or so of Major league experience (at least this year)
    1. Willihammer's Avatar
      Willihammer -
      As long as Morales hits, the Twins will be fine. If they tank, they flip him for another Alex Presley and dump the balance on a contender. If they stay competitive, attendance will stay strong. The only way they lose is if Morales lays an egg.
    1. tobi0040's Avatar
      tobi0040 -
      Quote Originally Posted by spycake View Post
      It's the 2014 Twins DH paradox: our overall line is pretty good there, but all of our potential DHs have struggled mightily or are needed at other positions.



      In MLB terms, $7.5 mil is fairly modest. The Twins just spent $2 million for two months of Jason Kubel hoping he could rebound from a terrible 2013 and a terrible 2014 spring training. $7.5 mil for 4 months of a good, healthy player is a modest outlay by comparison.
      They paid Pelfrey what will amount to about $1M per start. Jason Marquis make $3.5M to make 8-10 starts one year. One day the Twins will realize it doesn't make sense to pay Felix Hernandez type money on a per start basis for the likes of Jason Marquis and Mike Pelfrey. One can hope anyway.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Willihammer View Post
      As long as Morales hits, the Twins will be fine. If they tank, they flip him for another Alex Presley and dump the balance on a contender. If they stay competitive, attendance will stay strong. The only way they lose is if Morales lays an egg.
      Yep, and the only thing they lose is money when they're already under budget. This is a win all around for everyone.
©2014 TwinsCentric, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Interested in advertising with Twins Daily? Click here.