• 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. Jack Torse's Avatar
      Jack Torse -
      While they're at it they should make a push for Hamilton too. I love the idea and I think he has great stuff but nothing in the Twins DNA would suggest they will even pay 5 million for a free agent pitcher this off season. This team wouldn't even get Cliff Lee for a couple prospects when they had a team that was very good in 2010. Afterall, where would they be without Aaron Hicks? This orginazation makes money 1st, and if they have a good team that just a bonus. You've been hoodwinked if you believe otherwise.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Quote Originally Posted by one_eyed_jack View Post
      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. I guess I don't agree that signing Grienke represents "going all in." The Twins can spend more money than they're currently spending, and Grienke costs nothing but money. He doesn't cost you prospects going away for a half season rent-a-player, nor stripping of the farm to acquire MLB players in the offseason.

      2. It might not work out, but spending money is one way to acquire talent. It can't be the only way, but shying away from difference makers who cost nothing but money isn't good strategy either.

      3. You don't upgrade the horrendous pitching by adding more horrendous, but cheap, pitchers.

      4. Not exactly sure what "compete for the division" means, but if the goal is to have an outside chance of finishing closer to first than last in the ALC, then yeah, there's no need to sign front line pitchers. If the goals are higher, you need players capable of achieveing that.

      I'm not sure Grienke is really what might be called an "ace," but he's a front line pitcher, and the Twins are going to need front line pitching at some point no matter what happens with any other part of the team.
    1. one_eyed_jack's Avatar
      one_eyed_jack -
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      1. I guess I don't agree that signing Grienke represents "going all in." The Twins can spend more money than they're currently spending, and Grienke costs nothing but money. He doesn't cost you prospects going away for a half season rent-a-player, nor stripping of the farm to acquire MLB players in the offseason.

      2. It might not work out, but spending money is one way to acquire talent. It can't be the only way, but shying away from difference makers who cost nothing but money isn't good strategy either.

      3. You don't upgrade the horrendous pitching by adding more horrendous, but cheap, pitchers.

      4. Not exactly sure what "compete for the division" means, but if the goal is to have an outside chance of finishing closer to first than last in the ALC, then yeah, there's no need to sign front line pitchers. If the goals are higher, you need players capable of achieveing that.

      I'm not sure Grienke is really what might be called an "ace," but he's a front line pitcher, and the Twins are going to need front line pitching at some point no matter what happens with any other part of the team.

      1) The phrase "go all in" was the article author's not mine. And I took it to mean that the Twins spend whatever it takes to get him. I'm not opposed to having Greinke on the Twins, but I am opposed to spending what it will take to get him on one guy.

      2) I said I'm in favor of spending money, just not all in 1 place.

      3) Who said anything about signing horrendous pitchers? It's not like all pitchers who aren't Greinke are just other versions of Marquis. There's some middle ground there.

      4) By compete for the division, I mean be able to hang in the race most of the year with a reasonable chance to win it. If the Twins had gotten mediocre as opposed to horrendous starting pitching and a bit more offense this year they'd be right there. I figure we'd have 6 or 7 more wins had we gotten halfway decent starting pitching and a couple of more clutch hits. That would have put us right in the mix in what is a very weak division. No, it wouldn't make us a legit World Series contender, but we'd at least be playing meaningful baseball in August, possibly later. And that would make it a more attractive destination for free agent like Greinke.
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      Why would any significant free agent sign with the Twins? I can't see any reason why a player would sign with a team that has so many needs and so little hope for 2013. They have to rebuild the hard way.

      The only way the Twins will sign anyone is to overpay so significantly that it couldn't be anything but a bad contract in the long run.

      We see comments like this all the time.

      Recently... Why didn't the Twins take the money they spent on Capps, Marquis and Zumaya and spend it on Edwin Jackson (who signed an 11 million dollar contract with Washington)?

      How can anyone assume that was ever a choice? Given the two options, Jackson would choose Washington every time. Why choose a Twins team coming off a horrible season and a historically bad infield defense? Jackson not only needed to consider this year, but contracts in the future. They would have had to pay much more than Washington to get him.

      Signing significant free agents will not be an option for bottom feeders like the Twins. They have to dig their way out with smart player development.
    1. CDog's Avatar
      CDog -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jack Torse View Post
      This team wouldn't even get Cliff Lee for a couple prospects when they had a team that was very good in 2010. Afterall, where would they be without Aaron Hicks? This orginazation makes money 1st, and if they have a good team that just a bonus. You've been hoodwinked if you believe otherwise.
      Like being hoodwinked by rumors and assuming that the Twins could have had Cliff Lee for a couple of prospects? Or being hoodwinked by one's own twisted logic that winning and profit are unrelated?
    1. CDog's Avatar
      CDog -
      Quote Originally Posted by jorgenswest View Post
      Recently... Why didn't the Twins take the money they spent on Capps, Marquis and Zumaya and spend it on Edwin Jackson (who signed an 11 million dollar contract with Washington)?
      Umm...cuz of addition and the fact that either Edwin Jackson, his agent, or both are capable of it?
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      I've always thought Paul Maholm would be a perfect fit for the Twins and I would be a little surprised if his option was picked up. His 5.5 K/9 and 1.416 career WHIP are really unattractive though.
    1. bdhenders's Avatar
      bdhenders -
      Quote Originally Posted by snepp View Post
      That's a grossly inaccurate representation. I'd love to see you defend it though, should make for quality theatre.
      Looking at fangraphs for Scott Diamond, I see that you are correct. I was just going off memory and was underestimating Diamond. I thought he was older. This does make me feel a little better about him (and the Twins managment for trading Billy Bullock to keep him...which I didn't like).

      The point still goes that the best way to get starting pitching without costing you an arm and a leg is to trade Span for AA arms that might become 2/3 starters. I don't think you can get an ace for him, but obviously that would be nice, too. Do you guys have any thoughts on who they could get for Span?
    1. CDog's Avatar
      CDog -
      Quote Originally Posted by bdhenders View Post
      Do you guys have any thoughts on who they could get for Span?
      There is/are (more than?) one thread devoted entirely to this topic. Not too far back if you go to the Forum category and then Twins Talk, you should be able to find lots o' opinions on that.
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      Most recent comp is the trade of Michael Bourn last year. The Braves did not have to trade any of their pitching prospects to get him. They sent Jordan Shafer, Brett Oberholtzer, Paul Clemens and Juan Abreau to Houston.

      Span currently ranks 12th in WAR among centerfielders and could help some teams. However, I don't know if they should expect any more than the Astros received for Bourn who has been a better player over the last two years.

      Look at the trades over the last few summers. I don't see many #2-3 pitching prospects changing hands. Last year they were included in trades for Ubaldo Jimenez, Hunter Pence and Carlos Beltran.

      Fortunately the Twins are in a good position with Span. Worst case, they keep him unless someone comes in a blows them away.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by one_eyed_jack View Post
      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.
      That sounds an awful lot like the scenario I proposed to you on another thread...

      I think it's obvious now, even to Twins managment, that long-term contracts are not the way to go. As much as Greinke would fit into Gardenhire's perfect player profile in the locker room (Greinke has been diagnosed with SAD- Social Anxiety Disorder), it would be a foolish move to put even more money at risk on a long-term basis. My proposal for signing some combination of 1st, 2nd & 3rd tier proven starting arms for short-term deals is the way to go until the farm system/draft delivers on some combination of Waldrip/Gibson/Wimmers/(Appel or Gausman) and/or a key (#3-5) starter/pitching prospect(s) acquired by trade for Span/Willingham/Doumit/etc.
    1. Ultima Ratio's Avatar
      Ultima Ratio -
      If I were GM, I wouldn't go beyond 3 years on FA contracts except under unique and momentous conditions. I believe the chances of seriously courting Greinke are quite remote, and I don't think it would be money well spent. I'd rather they go after 2 #2s or 3 #3s at SP next year. We are not one ace away from competing and succeeding the playoffs.

      Career ERA of my potential 2013 Pick-ups (all for 2 or 3 year contracts) I like to see 2 or 3 signed -- I know, it's just a wish, reasonable though I think.

      All the following are definite FA, without a club option remaining for 2013

      Brandon McCarthy 4.06
      Joe Blanton 4.30
      Jeremy Guthrie 4.24
      Colby Lewis Last 2 years: 3.70, 4.42 and so far this year 3.30
      Anibal Sanchez 3.61
      Joe Saunders 4.13

      Guys that would be nice but probably out of reach: Shaun Marcum and Cole Hammels
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