• Twins should go all in on Greinke

    Original post from North Dakota Twins Fan
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    The Twins didn't put up much of a fight on Sunday afternoon and their four game winning streak came to an abrupt end at the hands of the Brewers. When the starting pitcher doesn't make it out of the second inning in a game following an extra-inning affair, it is going to be tough for a team to find success. The Twins offense did score the first run of the game and they were able to put some runs on the board in their last at-bat but the innings in between were ugly.

    While the front office of the Twins might have been cringing when Twins pitchers were on the mound, their eyes should have been clearly fixed on the starting pitcher for the Brewers in this game. Zack Greinke had been a standout pitcher in the AL Central for multiple seasons with the Royals so the Twins are well aware of his outstanding ability on the mound. On Sunday, Greinke was given a big lead and he knew what to do with it by pitching into the seventh inning and allowing a single earned run to cross the plate.

    When the 2012 season comes to an end, Greinke will hit the open market as one of the most sought after free agent pitchers. He will turn 29-years old during the offseason and many teams will be lining up at his door to inquire about what it will take for him to sign with their club. According to sources, there have been no recent talks between the Brewers and Greinke. It sounds like the Brewers would like to resign their ace but money could be a big factor for a team playing in one of the smallest markets in baseball.

    Most projections of Greinke's value as a free agent have him getting upwards of $100 million when he signs on the dotted line this offseason. The San Francisco Giants recently signed Matt Cain to the largest contract in history for a right-handed pitcher. The six-year deal was for $127.5 million with $112.5 million being guaranteed and it will keep Cain in San Francisco through the prime of his career. Since Greinke is only a year older than Cain, Greinke's deal could be structured very similar to the Cain deal and that would put the Brewers out of the running to keep Greinke around.

    If the Brewers are out of the running, this leaves other teams with the opportunity to swoop in and add Greinke to their starting rotation. The Twins should be one of the team's taking a hard look at bringing Greinke into the fold for the 2013 season. Coaches, fans, and the front office have been frustrated with the performance of many of the pitchers that have been in the starting rotation for the Twins this year. Jason Marquis and Francisco Liriano have been disasters, Carl Pavano has been forced to pitch through some pain in his shoulder, and Nick Blackburn has been very underwhelming when he has been able to pitch.

    Lucky enough for the Twins most of the starting staff will be free agents at season's end. This means the team can do a complete overhaul of their rotation for the start of next year. The extra money freed up by letting these players go could also allow the Twins to go after a free agent starting pitcher like Zack Greinke. Liriano makes $5.5 million, Pavano earns $9.0 million, and Marquis signed this past offseason for $3.0 million. If you add all of those up with the $6.5 million lost on Scott Baker this year, the Twins will have quite the chunk of change to spend on pitching for 2013.

    In the past, Greinke has battled with some issues surrounding anxiety and he was even forced to leave the Royals for a short time to try and figure out a solution to these problems. This battle with stressed related issues has allowed writers to predict that Greinke might like to stay away from some of the major markets in baseball. His issues with anxiety might only be compounded if he were to sign and play in New York or Los Angeles. This could give the Twins a better opportunity to sign Greinke because he has pitched his entire career in the Midwest and he is already familiar with the AL Central.

    Since Johan Santana was traded away before the 2008 season, the Twins have been searching for an ace of their staff. Greinke could be that player but a big time contract for a starting pitcher always comes with some risk. In this case, I think the risk is worth taking and the Twins should go all in to sign Greinke for the foreseeable future.
    This article was originally published in blog: Twins should go all in on Greinke started by Cody Christie
    Comments 52 Comments
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Pavano earns $9.0 million, and Marquis signed this past offseason for $3.0 million. If you add all of those up with the $6.5 million lost on Scott Baker this year, the Twins will have quite the chunk of change to spend on pitching for 2013.
      Yes. but I don't think they should spend it all in one place I think that Greinke has one exceptional season in the AL and a couple of above average seasons. His NL numbers are better but that is NL. Again: Only a single All Star season, only a single season in which he got votes for Cy Young (yes he won it that season.) But just a season. He is not Santana or Sabathia or Pedro. Not even close. And he will get CJ Wilson money. Someone will give him a 7 year 150 mil contract, and I hope it's not the Twins. (Pretty sure they will not be actually and thankfully.)
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      I like Grienke, and the Twins also like Grienke. If they were one good pitcher away, like they were in 2007-2010, I'd say go for it. But they're not that close to competing.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Greinke is getting 5 years minimum ($90 minimum) and probably 6 years and $110 million. And that's crazy. The Twins are more likely to go after a 2 or 3 year deal, as well they probably should.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Grienke will get paid a lot of money. Both fangraphs and MLBtraderumors have had posts up pointing to Cain's extension as starting points for both Hamels and Grienke. I don't think Grienke gets quite that much but it'll be close. Anibal Sanchez is another pitcher I'd like the Twins to go after. I think he'll be a bit cheaper than Grienke.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      If you never pay market rates (salary or years), you never get great players. Pretty simple rule of supply and demand, really. I don't care which very good to great pitcher it is, but I'd like one of them signed here. I don't think, for one minute, that Ryan will do it though. They'll continue on the Pavano/Marquis track, imo. So, I'm setting my expectatons super, super, super low for next offseason.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      "Liriano makes $5.5 million, Pavano earns $9.0 million, and Marquis signed this past offseason for $3.0 million. If you add all of those up with the $6.5 million lost on Scott Baker this year, the Twins will have quite the chunk of change to spend on pitching for 2013."

      You can also add $4.75 from Capps and with that the Twins have just over 28 million to spend. I really only see two major holes on the roster at 3B and SP. Greinke and A. Sanchez are the most attractive options available at SP and no potential free agents at 3B look like an upgrade (except Polanco who has a mutual option). I think going after a star pitcher makes a lot of sense for the Twins and they need to sign someone to get the fans excited for next season. The Twins have a lot of money coming off the books in 2013 (Morneau/14mil+Nishioka/3mil+Carroll/3.75m=$20.75mil) too so overspending now isn't terrible, especially if it's a 3-4 year contract.
    1. jmlease1's Avatar
      jmlease1 -
      I would prefer the Twins go big on Grienke and sign a modest FA for the back of the rotation then split the money more evenly on 2 starters with less ability, just this once. Why? Because I think the Twins can actually sign Grienke, who has elite ability, which won't happen too often. I think he'd look at the Twins and see a lot of things that would make it an attractive place to play for him (ballpark, market, team concepts, etc.) and I suspect that will be more important to him than anything else.

      A rotation of Grienke, Gibson, Diamond, Blackburn, and Free Agent X with Hendricks/Walters/Swarzak/Duensing as the alternatives for if/when someone fails would be a nice base to work from.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by YourHouseIsMyHouse View Post
      I really only see two major holes on the roster at 3B and SP.
      So the Twins are a SP and a third baseman away from being WS champions in 2013? Competing for the division? or for getting to .500?

      As is, the Twins are about 3-4 SPs away, 2-3 pen arms away and 4-5 position players (RF, 2B, 3B, 1B, DH for starters) away from having an elite team and about half as much for having a competitive team. Doumit is gone after next season.

      It is not just an arm and a bat that would turn this team around...
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      I would argue that Ryan Dempster and Randy Wolf are the two most likely for the Twins to sign, and neither will garner more than 3 years (likely 2). They could probably get both for about $23 million a year for two years.
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      Quote Originally Posted by thrylos98 View Post
      So the Twins are a SP and a third baseman away from being WS champions in 2013? Competing for the division? or for getting to .500?

      As is, the Twins are about 3-4 SPs away, 2-3 pen arms away and 4-5 position players (RF, 2B, 3B, 1B, DH for starters) away from having an elite team and about half as much for having a competitive team. Doumit is gone after next season.

      It is not just an arm and a bat that would turn this team around...

      This is my point - signing Grienke would be one of those "put you over the top" moves that the Twins were so hesitant to make while they were a very good team. It would have made a lot of sense a couple years ago. But the Twins need to commit to rebuilding now, and handing out big contracts at this point would be a mistake.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Unless people think the Twins will be able to win without an ace, the only way to get one is by trade or free agency and the Twins don't have a whole lot to trade any longer. The Twins only drafted and developed a true ace two times in their history, and none since Frank Viola. Next year may not be the ideal time to spend on an ace as the team is still a couple years away, but front end starters are becoming more and more rare on the free agent market as teams are becoming wiser about extending young arms. They could pass and hope to get a big arm in 2014, but hoping Tim Lincicum, Josh Johnson or Johan Santana all make it to free agency and are still healthy may be more of a long shot.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by thrylos98 View Post
      Doumit is gone after next season.
      A small point: Doumit is signed only through this season, according to both Cot's Contracts and baseball-reference.com
    1. Steve Penz's Avatar
      Steve Penz -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      If you never pay market rates (salary or years), you never get great players. Pretty simple rule of supply and demand, really. I don't care which very good to great pitcher it is, but I'd like one of them signed here. I don't think, for one minute, that Ryan will do it though. They'll continue on the Pavano/Marquis track, imo. So, I'm setting my expectatons super, super, super low for next offseason.
      I wish I did not agree. We need to roll the dice and overpay. I hope they do this for Greinke or another. He is 28. I think it might be worth it.
    1. jeffk's Avatar
      jeffk -
      If you never pay market rates (salary or years), you never get great players. Pretty simple rule of supply and demand, really. I don't care which very good to great pitcher it is, but I'd like one of them signed here.
      The Twins have no rotation to speak of. It would be a much better value for them to try to pick up several average starters than one great one. Otherwise it will be just like this year 4/5 days.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      You have to pay market rates for average pitchers too. Will any be available? Will they sign two of them? That was really the point of the post.
    1. wolf eyes's Avatar
      wolf eyes -
      This would be a horrible use of money. Even if he adds 10 wins, that probably isn't enough to get this team to the playoffs. The Twins should not be inking any massive, multi-year contracts until they're actually in a position to compete, i.e. hopefully when some of their prospects in the lower leagues have developed.
    1. Siehbiscuit's Avatar
      Siehbiscuit -
      The Twins have a few talented arms in the minors that can be up next year or by at least 2014. Guys like Benson, Wimmers, Hendricks, possibly Appel and we have Diamond. All of these guys will cost the Twins less than a million dollars for at least the first three years of service. Grienke (18M), Benson (600K) and Diamond (600K) as a top 3 and maybe Hendricks, Wimmers or Appel can take the last two spots. If the Twins want a veteran go and get an inexpensive veteran that can be a clubhouse leader as Grienke has been known to be more of a recluse. Get a top end starter, because the depth coming up is at best filled with one number 2 starter and a bunch of 3's, 4's and 5's. An investment in a long-term solution at 3B should be explored as well, because Sano will be up in 2014 and he will not be at 3B for long.
    1. wolf eyes's Avatar
      wolf eyes -
      Quote Originally Posted by Siehbiscuit View Post
      The Twins have a few talented arms in the minors that can be up next year or by at least 2014. Guys like Benson, Wimmers, Hendricks, possibly Appel and we have Diamond. All of these guys will cost the Twins less than a million dollars for at least the first three years of service. Grienke (18M), Benson (600K) and Diamond (600K) as a top 3 and maybe Hendricks, Wimmers or Appel can take the last two spots. If the Twins want a veteran go and get an inexpensive veteran that can be a clubhouse leader as Grienke has been known to be more of a recluse. Get a top end starter, because the depth coming up is at best filled with one number 2 starter and a bunch of 3's, 4's and 5's. An investment in a long-term solution at 3B should be explored as well, because Sano will be up in 2014 and he will not be at 3B for long.
      Benson is an outfielder.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by wolf eyes View Post
      Benson is an outfielder.
      I think he means Gibson. Who is actually doing pretty well with his rehab. I think that the Twins will probably need a couple more younger arms for next season or 2014, in addition to Gibson, Wimmers, Hendriks, Hermsen and they can get at least one by trading Span who by 2014 will probably not be in the plans, this season.
    1. ScottyB's Avatar
      ScottyB -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      You have to pay market rates for average pitchers too. Will any be available? Will they sign two of them? That was really the point of the post.
      Let's face facts - this is the real world. The Twins will not go after Greinke, they have never gone after a free-agent starting pitcher of significance who wasn't their own (i.e. Pavano - who was acquired in a trade originally) except in the case of Morris, and then they were 1 pitcher away from a title, and he was a hometown lad.

      Looking at next year's available starting pitchers (by MLB Trade Rumors list), potential $4-$6 million guys who might be decent include Eric Bedard ($4.5M), Joe Saunders ($6M), Brandon McCarthy ($4.275M), Kevin Correia ($4M), or Colby Lewis ($4M). Forget about any guys in the $10M-$12M range and it's pipe dreams to think about Grienke, who would hamstring them even more to go with Mauer's $23M contract.
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