• 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. cr9617's Avatar
      cr9617 -
      Quote Originally Posted by ScottyB View 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.
      Sad but true..
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      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...
      I'm really saying that I'm satisfied outside of those two positions. SP is a hole, but it is a gaping one. The Twins are about 4 good SP and a decent 3B away from contention for the Central. They would need a lot more star power to reach a WS. It's not just a bat and an arm (like you said), it's several arms and a bat.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      So, the argument from some is to not spend serious money next year. How many years of Mauer's prime are you willing to burn, not being competitive?
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      So, the argument from some is to not spend serious money next year. How many years of Mauer's prime are you willing to burn, not being competitive?
      I think that they can be competitive next season and they do need to spend some money but they got to spend them smart. And they got to trade everyone they can trade this season who is making more than the minimum (with the exception of Glen Perkins) and or is over 28, to get SP help. Span, Doumit, Pavano, Casilla, Valencia, Blackburn, Capps, Carroll, Morneau etc the list is long. Some of them will bring nothing but some of them do have trade value. Get 2-3 good young arms in, free about $40-50M to spend in 2013 smartly (i.e. not $15-20M/season on a single player) and you got the makings for a contender in 2013.

      But of course you got to deal with the biggest issues of this organization, like the front office, the manager and the coaches before you build a team.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
      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.
      Grienke will get a multi yr deal, so won't he still be around when all the "rebuilding" comes to fruition?

      You rebuild by dumping below average players and accumulating above average ones. Some of them have to come from the minors--your own system or someone else's--but not all of them. One of the beauties of young players is that they don't cost much, allowing you to pay more for others. The Twins do not have the pitching in the system to build a rotation capable of winning the central, much less a WS. Those pitchers have to come from somewhere, and these next two drafts will hopefully help, but they represent two lottery tickets.

      The Twins, like other smart teams, need to build using every available resource. Skipping free agency is short sighted and cheap, i think the owners can afford it, and if not frankly I don't much care if the Pohlads don't pocket a huge profit every year anyway.

      If a team this clearly in need of starting pitching isn't interested in doing what it takes to help itself, why should I as a fan continue to invest my time, money and emotions?
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Quote Originally Posted by thrylos98 View Post
      I think that they can be competitive next season and they do need to spend some money but they got to spend them smart. And they got to trade everyone they can trade this season who is making more than the minimum (with the exception of Glen Perkins) and or is over 28, to get SP help. Span, Doumit, Pavano, Casilla, Valencia, Blackburn, Capps, Carroll, Morneau etc the list is long. Some of them will bring nothing but some of them do have trade value. Get 2-3 good young arms in, free about $40-50M to spend in 2013 smartly (i.e. not $15-20M/season on a single player) and you got the makings for a contender in 2013.

      But of course you got to deal with the biggest issues of this organization, like the front office, the manager and the coaches before you build a team.
      Pretty much, yes. Doumit, Capps, and Pavano are almost sure to be traded (three prospects total?). Span too, I guess. Morneau and Blackburn have contracts that won't be wanted at all. Carroll will be retained for next year. Casilla and Valencia I want to do well for two months to be traded, yes. Maybe the Twins get 5 prospects out of this.
    1. CDog's Avatar
      CDog -
      Quote Originally Posted by ScottyB View Post
      Let's face facts - 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.
      It may not change your main point, but as far as facts go...the '91 Twins were not exactly a recent contender that was just 1 pitcher away from a title. They were a last place team (in a 7-team division even) that added a bunch of pieces and had a couple others take huge leaps in their early careers. Which makes the Morris signing stand out as out of the ordinary even more, I think.
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      Grienke will get a multi yr deal, so won't he still be around when all the "rebuilding" comes to fruition?

      You rebuild by dumping below average players and accumulating above average ones. Some of them have to come from the minors--your own system or someone else's--but not all of them. One of the beauties of young players is that they don't cost much, allowing you to pay more for others. The Twins do not have the pitching in the system to build a rotation capable of winning the central, much less a WS. Those pitchers have to come from somewhere, and these next two drafts will hopefully help, but they represent two lottery tickets.

      The Twins, like other smart teams, need to build using every available resource. Skipping free agency is short sighted and cheap, i think the owners can afford it, and if not frankly I don't much care if the Pohlads don't pocket a huge profit every year anyway.

      If a team this clearly in need of starting pitching isn't interested in doing what it takes to help itself, why should I as a fan continue to invest my time, money and emotions?
      They haven't done much to address the SP in the last five years, and it seems like you're still emotionally invested anyway.

      I get where you're coming from, but I just don't believe that Grienke himself is the answer. Going "all-in" will require the Twins to sign more players than just Grienke. If they did that, I'd be happy about it, but I also don't want them to throw money at big-time free agents when they're a bad team and become the Seattle Mariners, who are still a bad team and have to ride out bad contracts that keep them from rebuilding properly.
    1. Shaun in Chicago's Avatar
      Shaun in Chicago -
      Butera would be a fairly cheap option for the rotation, right?
    1. SirLoin's Avatar
      SirLoin -
      While it would certainly make things interesting to go after a true ace like Grienke, I don't think it makes a lot of sense considering the state the Twins are in right now. As it stands, the Twins have basically no rotation whatsoever. Diamond has been a nice story, but he still has a lot to prove. Walters is nothing more than a stopgap, and any legitimate pitching prospects we have are facing or are currently in the process of rehabbing injuries. The fact is the Twins need to build a rotation from the ground up next season, and it looks like they might have the money to do just that. They need a rotation that can produce quality starts on a consistent basis so the offense isn't always behind the proverbial 8-ball game in and game out. That way, they ought to be able to win some of those ballgames next year that they are losing this year, thus building themselves into a contender that an ace might find attractive. I'd say the short list of free agent pitchers ought to include, in no particular order:

      Joe Blanton
      Joe Saunders
      Brandon McCarthy
      Paul Maholm (If his $6.5M club option isn't picked up)
      Erik Bedard
      Shaun Marcum (If they want to go high end)
      Kevin Millwood (Token old guy for the back of the rotation)

      Based on this list, an overhauled Twins rotation should look like this going into next season:

      Erik Bedard/Shaun Marcum
      Joe Blanton/Joe Saunders/Brandon McCarthy
      Kevin Millwood
      Scott Diamond
      PJ Walters/Jeff Manship/Cole DeVries (Basically a place holder until June for Kyle Gibson)
    1. one_eyed_jack's Avatar
      one_eyed_jack -
      I'm in favor of spending money to improve, but agree with those who say there are too many holes to fill for it to make sense to go all in on one guy.

      Especially when going all in on that guy will mean locking him in for a lot of money for a lot of years.

      After all of the recent complaining about how Mauer's contract supposedly hamstrings the team, it's a bit odd to see advocacy for signing up for another long-term huge money deal.

      The Twins are a long way off from being a powerhouse, but if they were able to upgrade their pitching from horrendous to mediocre and add another decent bat to the lineup, that would be enough for them to compete for the division.
    1. bdhenders's Avatar
      bdhenders -
      Quote Originally Posted by SirLoin View Post
      While it would certainly make things interesting to go after a true ace like Grienke, I don't think it makes a lot of sense considering the state the Twins are in right now. As it stands, the Twins have basically no rotation whatsoever. Diamond has been a nice story, but he still has a lot to prove. Walters is nothing more than a stopgap, and any legitimate pitching prospects we have are facing or are currently in the process of rehabbing injuries. The fact is the Twins need to build a rotation from the ground up next season, and it looks like they might have the money to do just that. They need a rotation that can produce quality starts on a consistent basis so the offense isn't always behind the proverbial 8-ball game in and game out. That way, they ought to be able to win some of those ballgames next year that they are losing this year, thus building themselves into a contender that an ace might find attractive. I'd say the short list of free agent pitchers ought to include, in no particular order:

      Joe Blanton
      Joe Saunders
      Brandon McCarthy
      Paul Maholm (If his $6.5M club option isn't picked up)
      Erik Bedard
      Shaun Marcum (If they want to go high end)
      Kevin Millwood (Token old guy for the back of the rotation)

      Based on this list, an overhauled Twins rotation should look like this going into next season:

      Erik Bedard/Shaun Marcum
      Joe Blanton/Joe Saunders/Brandon McCarthy
      Kevin Millwood
      Scott Diamond
      PJ Walters/Jeff Manship/Cole DeVries (Basically a place holder until June for Kyle Gibson)
      Why is everyone penciling Diamond into next years rotation? He's had 3 good games, but I don't want to count my chickens before they hatch? 3 games is a very small sample size. I hope he keeps it going, since he's the only one giving the Twins a decent chance of winning right now, but I wouldn't count on him being in the rotation next year. He's a late 20's journeyman that hasn't stuck in the majors in his career yet.

      If you think Greinke can give you 5 good years, it might make sense to sign him, but it's a huge risk and I don't think the Twins will do it. We need to get some good pitching prospects for Denard Span (2 number 2/3 starters) since he's the only tradeable commodity right now. If you want to sign starting pitching, it will cost you, but I do agree with the sentiment that they've got a bigger payroll to work with now, so it might make some sense. The SP has been horrible, and they're going to have to sign someone eventually. It probably won't be until they show that they have a chance at being competitive, though.

      Just keep winning 4 out of every 5 games and maybe it could happen;-)
    1. SirLoin's Avatar
      SirLoin -
      Quote Originally Posted by bdhenders View Post
      Why is everyone penciling Diamond into next years rotation?

      We need to get some good pitching prospects for Denard Span (2 number 2/3 starters) since he's the only tradeable commodity right now.
      As far as Diamond goes, who else can we pencil in from an internal standpoint? He could also potentially be that 5th starter holding Gibson's spot until he's ready. Especially if they are able to trade Span for a prospect who is major-league ready. Which is not a bad way to go either.
    1. twinstalker's Avatar
      twinstalker -
      The Twins and I (because I matter) are scared to sign pitchers long-term. I think Baker/Blackburn is the last straw for that notion. Secondly, I think the Twins are a long way (and a long pitching way) from seriously competing.

      That being said, if the Twins were to spend on a pitcher who would be around if the Twins suddenly started making good personnel decisions and began winning, I think they could do a LOT worse than Greinke.
    1. CDog's Avatar
      CDog -
      Quote Originally Posted by bdhenders View Post
      Why is everyone penciling Diamond into next years rotation? He's a late 20's journeyman that hasn't stuck in the majors in his career yet.
      25 is late 20's?
    1. twinzgrl's Avatar
      twinzgrl -
      I keep hearing the Nationals want Span. Do they have a pitcher we could get from them that would be a #2 type guy?
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      Quote Originally Posted by bdhenders View Post
      He's a late 20's journeyman that hasn't stuck in the majors in his career yet.
      That's a grossly inaccurate representation. I'd love to see you defend it though, should make for quality theatre.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinzgrl View Post
      I keep hearing the Nationals want Span. Do they have a pitcher we could get from them that would be a #2 type guy?
      I would much rather keep Span and spend some money on 1-2 free agent starters in the offseason than trade their leadoff player for a pitching prospect.
    1. darin617's Avatar
      darin617 -
      Quote Originally Posted by shanewahl View Post
      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.
      I would like to see Tim Hudson if Atlanta doesn't pick up his option for next year. Sad thing is the Twins would have more interest in a former teammate of Hudson's... That would Barry Zito. I can already see Terry Ryan throwing a multi-year deal at him instead.
    1. darin617's Avatar
      darin617 -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      So, the argument from some is to not spend serious money next year. How many years of Mauer's prime are you willing to burn, not being competitive?
      So when do Mauer's prime years start?
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