• The Twins 2013 Payroll Crunch

    How low can it go? Not a whole lot lower.

    According to USAToday, the Minnesota Twins dropped their payroll $18.5M from last year ($112M) to this year ($94M). And while the mantra coming out of Target Field is that ďpayroll isnít that importantĒ ask youself: where this team would be with another $18.5M worth of starting pitching?

    Thatís the bad news, but itís old bad news.

    The worse (and new) news is that the team is again in last place and attendance is down again. Would that mean further payroll cuts?
    If it does, there are only so deep they can cut, because barring some trades, a quick-and-dirty analysis shows the Twins are committed to at least a $76M payroll. The back-of-the-napkin details are on the right.

    If the Twins donít cut payroll at all, that gives them just $18M to put towards acquiring two or three starting pitchers. And if they do? Then you can expect a lot more of what weíve seen this year: cycling through AAA starting pitchers in the hopes they can find someone who sticks. Because AAA starting pitchers will be all they can afford.

    I suspect it also means that any fantasies of hanging onto Francisco Liriano. At the very least, it makes it difficult to imagine the Twins offering him a $12.5M one-year contract to make sure the Twins get draft picks as he walks as a free agent. That much liquid payroll canít be sucked up by just one player where there are so many gaps in the rotation.

    That is, if there is any available. If the Twins cut payroll again, Twins fans could face the very grim reality of watching a starting rotation that is actually worse that this years squad, which ranks 29th in ERA in the majors.

    How low can it go? Not a whole lot lower. But low enough.
    This article was originally published in blog: The Twins 2013 Payroll Crunch started by John Bonnes
    Comments 73 Comments
    1. Highabove's Avatar
      Highabove -
      I believe the current payroll rest at 97 million. Marquis 3 million dollars was added a few weeks into the season.
    1. clutterheart's Avatar
      clutterheart -
      Vikings & Wolves should be thanking their lucky stars they got money this year. Because Twins should be the poster boys for the "no public money funding a stadium" crowd. Target Field is becoming proof positive that a new stadium does not mean the FO will spend to fix their past decisions / mistakes.
    1. Twins Fan From Afar's Avatar
      Twins Fan From Afar -
      Good post, John. If the second half of 2012 continues like the first half, and attendance continues to dwindle, I think we'll see a lower 2013 payroll.

      But I disagree with the term "fantasies" to describe retaining Liriano. Sure, it's a fantasy when he's great, or even effective, but I'd argue that the prospect of paying him $12.5 million for that other 50 percent of the time when he's one of the worst pitchers in baseball is tough to swallow. He's an interesting case either way.
    1. Jim H's Avatar
      Jim H -
      I actually expect that the budget will go up, at least slightly. Some of the extra money allotted to the draft this year will likely go back to the payroll. Besides, just because the money is available, doesn't mean you should spend it.

      Last year, the free agent crop wasn't exceptionally strong. It appears it could be stronger and deeper this year. A 2nd consideration is that many of these free agents can't be signed to one year contracts. If you are going to lose some of your current players because of a long term free agent signing, you better be pretty sure your farm system can cover that.
    1. IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
      IdahoPilgrim -
      One minor correction: the numbers in USA Today only included those on major league rosters, so that $94M didn't include Nishioka. If that's added in, the payroll for this year is $97M. That means they can spend an additional $21M to what is listed in your article and keep payroll same as last year.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Isn't Nishi on the hook for next year also?

      And, I agree with John. The payroll will drop, and the starting pitching will be bad again, and attendance will drop, and a vicious cycle of self-fulfilling prophecy will occur.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      > ask youself: where this team would be with another $18.5M worth of starting pitching?

      Why would we want 6 more Jason Marquises?
    1. minn55441's Avatar
      minn55441 -
      They will have to sign one if not Two FA starting pitchers. Hopefully they won't be of the Jason Marquis caliber. Terry Ryan wants to win, he knows he needs pitching to win. The Pohlands know that without a winner, revenues will continue to drop. I don't think that we will see a drop in payroll. It may not top 100 million, but it will be above 85 million.
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      Cot's has them at $100,435,000. I don't think that includes Zumaya. The USA Today data may not have included Nishioka and Marquis who were in minors.

      If correct, the difference might be closer to 11.5 million which may have signed Edwin Jackson. It is questionable whether he would have come to Minnesota for the same pay as he received from the Nationals so it may not be a good comp.

      Edwin Jackson helps but it does not turn the Twins into a winning team.

      As for next year, I really hope that they do 1 or 2 larger contracts for a more elite player instead of the 3-6 million value contracts. For every Doumit who returns good value, we get three guys like Nishioka, Marquis and Carroll. I would prefer the Twins get one pitcher for the money those 4 get and fill in the other three spots with team control players or minor league deal guys. The same goes with the contracts for Span and Blackburn. They both signed what was portrayed to be team friendly seals to avoid arbitration. Are we really better off? Sure Span would be getting a good return next year but we are stuck with Blackburn's bad deal.

      You always overpay for top players and risk their injury. Let's just stop paying 3-6 million for the mediocre or injury risk players. Let's risk it on an elite player instead.

      Of course, the Twins have already started on the other path. Instead of putting every resource towards pitching first, they signed Doumit to another friendly contract. I understand that I am in the minority and maybe the sole voice on Doumit's contract. Is it really reasonable to project two more healthy seasons from Doumit? What does that leave them for pitching? I don't know, but I want the pitcher who is worth 3.5 million more than the one we get.
    1. Mchans24's Avatar
      Mchans24 -
      Carroll? I think he is a good pickup and that Terry Ryan actually had a really good year in free agency. There wasn't a ton of free agent pitchers that would have done anything for us last winter. This year is a much better year for that, Ryan knew that. Look for them to make strong run at Greinke who will go to a smaller market team. I also think they will gamble on Gibson being ready to help when healthy. You also haven't accounted for them picking up a pitcher through a trade.
    1. IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
      IdahoPilgrim -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Isn't Nishi on the hook for next year also?
      Yes, but that was already in John's table.
    1. IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
      IdahoPilgrim -
      So, if we have $21M available to maintain payroll at it's current level, does that have any implications for picking up options? Baker has a 9.25M option, and while he will be recovering from TJ surgery, I think a Baker at 90% is still better than a AAAA pitcher.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      I don't think Baker is at 90% for most of next year. I just can't see them rolling that die.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      What if they're able to acquire a C-prospect for Morneau and only have to pick up, say, $4 million of his 2013 contract? There is $9.5 million more available.

      I would like to keep Jamey Carroll around because he's been solid and a good influence and all that, but there's some money there.

      What if they're able to trade Span for three decent prospects. There's $4 million 2013 and more for the following year.

      I'm one who agrees that payroll is a little overrated. Just have to make good decisions and then get players to perform.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Hopefully Span and Morneau are traded. That clears 18.75 unless the Twins chip in. There are good prospects to be had!! They could then stick Parmelee at 1B because he is more than ready. He just needs playing time. Mastroianni wouldn't be an awful fill-in in my opinion for Span. Call up Clete because he doesn't deserve AAA ABs.That would help change the organizational arrangement of the minors. It's a big problem for outfielders.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      I'd absolutely bring back Scott Baker on a low-base, high-incentive contract that would include a second year option.
    1. Top Gun's Avatar
      Top Gun -
      Trade them all because Joe Public is tired of getting screwed buy the rich.
    1. striker_86's Avatar
      striker_86 -
      Bring back Baker (not for 9.5 though). Hope Gibson is ready, and sign a legitimate starter with the rest of the $$.

      Our rotation would be

      1. New Ace
      2. Diamond
      3. Baker
      4. Gibson
      5. Blackburn or whoever works out in spring training
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      Isn't Capps all but signed for 2013 with a decent option pick up?
    1. Mchans24's Avatar
      Mchans24 -
      Please, no more Blackburn in 2013, I would rather have Latroy Hawkins return as a starter than see Blackburn throw any more 89mph gopher balls!! What the hell happened to this guy?
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