You can view the page at http://www.twinsdaily.com/content.ph...for-the-Future
You can view the page at http://www.twinsdaily.com/content.ph...for-the-Future
I am in 100% agreement. I don't see Terry Ryan ever admitting to the public that they are playing to be in contention in 2015, even if that is the plan.
Very good article. I feel they can go inbetween, but it is tricky. I agree with most of the article, but feel that Parmalee is a better trade chip than Morneau. Most of the teams with excess pitching are looking for good young players, not expensive veterens(Seattle may of changed).
Great article Seth, I find my opinion shifting to the long-term approach and going after prospects and younger players rather than trying to be "somewhat" competitive in the short-run.
Does it really have to be one (compete in 2015) or the other (compete now) though?
Can't it be both? Using the Sanchez example, doesn't signing him/trading excess OF's for near ready pitchers/supplementing the roster to compete now/etc give us a chance to compete right now? I think it's realistic (not super easy, but doable) to expect them to try and compete to win now and in the future. The future is never a given, and whose to say Sano/Buxton/etc aren't just complete busts (shudder)??
I believe a team with the Twins current financial resources SHOULD be able to "do both" if they are smart enough to identify the right trade and FA targets. I'm also not sure that it's the veterans like Willingham and Span that are necessarily the only "trade high" candidates. Are we absolutely sure that Parmelee's value right now isn't at its peak? As beckmt pointed out, teams are looking for the young, controllable, players as much as (or more than) veterans who, despite having relatively team-friendly contracts, are still going to be paid several million dollars per year. It's just as likely that someone like Hicks is at his peak value as it is that Span might be. It just depends on what kind of player your potential trading partner wants.
My issue is that it's time we as fans stopped accepting the arbitrary ceiling that the Twins place upon themselves as being a reasonable payroll limit. There's absolutely no legitimate reason the Twins couldn't afford to sign Sanchez to a long term deal AND a couple of other legitimate starting pitchers to higher dollar, short term (1-2 year) deals, even if it meant a $125 million payroll (say 60% of revenue) in 2013-14. Why? Because by 2015, they're almost certainly going to be looking at something closer to a $70 million payroll, which will be far below their 50% of revenue target.
The Twins can afford to compete now AND build for 2015 and fans have every right to expect them to make a legitimate effort at doing so.
Great post, but I can't get on board with the approach if the front office refuses to aknowledge a rebuild is underway. They had the chance to trade vets for prospects this year and failed to drum up enough interest to do so despite rumors about Span, Morneau, Willingham and Perkins. All they managed to do was bungle the timing on the Liriano trade. Hard to trust that there is an actual gameplan right now, I'm riding the opinion that they're just winging it at this point until there is evidence to the contrary.
"I think it is safe to say that Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder are really good hitters. Austin Jackson and Hunter will comprise two-thirds of the outfield with Andy Dirks, Brennan Boesch, and young Avisail Garcia. Alex Avila, Jhonny Peralta, and Danny Worth will round out a very strong lineup"
Won't Victor Martinez also be back this year? While not Murderers' Row, it is a pretty impressive lineup on paper.
I'm not in awe of the Tigers. The White Sox could have easily won the division but went into a tailspin the last two weeks of season. The Tigers have two great players, Verlander and Cabrera, and a bunch of solid players surrounding them. Detroit is one bad hop (Cabrera taking one off the shins at 3B), and a sore shoulder (Verlander has logged a tremendous number of innings past 3 seasons) from being a .500 team with a bloated payrool. Twins need to upgrade pitching staff, period, get a little more production on offense, and they can make the division race interesting again.
The stated payroll goals are based on the Twins' business strategy which, of course, may be completely idiotic or very sane but reflect their goals. There are many ways to operate a business. Some invest in the hope of expanding, others cultivate their current business, trying to maintain or improve slowly. We have decades of evidence on which way the Twins operate.
"Lookin back in front of me....." Stevie Ray
Our drafts from 2002-2008 have produced these Twins with at least a plus 1 war.
7 drafts and they have Span, Perkins, Duensing and Revere left on the team. Nothing in return for the other guys.
This really is at the heart of why we fell so hard. A team that doesn't sign average or above free agents must rely on it's farm system. 02-07 are Ryan's last 6 drafts and now he is back in charge. I'll keep looking for a reason for hope but I'm not seeing it yet.
2015 Morneau, Willingham, Doumit and likely Span will all be gone and Joe will be 32. A depressing amount of work to do!
Great article Seth!
Going for the youth movement is only thing that makes sense. Let’s look at the Twins’ situation at key positions of controversy:
Catcher: We’re locked into Joe Mauer here for many years to come. Teams aren’t going to trade for him, the Twins aren’t going to deal him, Mauer isn’t going to approve the trade. Let’s let this situation go. In 2012, he was top 10 in the AL in OPS, OPS+, oWIN%, oWAR, etc. It’s very debatable if he lives up to the full $23M per, but he had an excellent bounce back season and is in the prime of his career. Let’s mellow on this topic. It’s hardly the biggest issue in the grand scheme of things.
1st Base: We’ve got one more year of Morneau on the books for $14M. Yes, he had a decent bounce-back season, playing 136 games and putting up above-average batting numbers. The reality here is that he’s not worth his contract anymore, and we have about-to-be 25 year-old Chris Parmelee destroying AAA at an embarrassing level right behind him. It was rumored that the Dodgers were interested in Morneau around the trade deadline, and big market have always overpaid for depth. One option would be to flip Morneau to a big market, pay maybe $5M of his salary (if we have to pay at all), keep the extra $9M and open a spot for Parmelee.
Or, we could keep Morneau for another year in hopes he returns to MVP form. This scenario either pushes Parmelee to the OF (which I don’t think makes sense given our depth there...more on that in a few), makes him available for trade (would he net a prospect greater than the $9M+ we could get for moving Morneau), let him rot on the bench (not smart) or send back for more AAA (really a waste of time and talent).
If I was TR, I would be considering Free Agency moves knowing that teams are going to go after Morneau after signing dry up and essentially bank on the salary savings as added potential payroll. Then, no doubt do I flip him before the season starts.
OF: Kudos to Josh Willingham for have a career year at 33. He (and Plouffe) really showed the right-handed bats can have some serious success at Target Field utilizing that Left Field porch. Also, kudos to Denard Span for being an all-around great player for the Twins for the past couple years. However, both players are in a predicament--they have the most value trade value of anyone on the roster and have young prospects ready to replace their production.
Willingham is owed $7M over the next two seasons, and Span is owed $4.75 in 2013, $6.5M in 2014 and $9M in 2015.
To me, moving Willingham is an easy call. He had a Silver Slugger season and is only owed $7M a year for the next two years. However, he is 33, and odds are that this team won’t be going after a World Series in the next two years. On top of all of this, the Twins have rockstar prospect Oswaldo Arcia primed and ready to take over in LF. There has to be a team in win-now mode willing to part with a top starting prospect to get a Silver Slugger caliber hitter at a seriously affordable price. I would guess the potential for making this deal is equal to moving Arcia for a similar prospect. However, in the case of Willingham, we shed his salary. Plus, we stand to have a lot of productive years from Arcia at a minimal salary. Willingham is the guy to move.
In regard to Span, he garners lots of interest league-wide. He’s a very good starting CF and a very good lead-off hitter. As discussed, his contract is great, too. So, why do we move him? We need starting pitching and his production has been proven nearly replicated by Ben Revere. How wouldn’t it make sense to have a small drop-off in production from Span to Revere, gain $4.75M in payroll and net a strong starting pitching prospect in return? So, given Rivere and Span were both playing most games last year, who replaces Revere you ask? Well, Darren Mastroianni proved to be a competent player last season, and of course, you have another rockstar prospect in Aaron Hicks coming off an excellent season in AA. In fact, Hicks’s arm strength is perfect for RF, and a defensive combination of Hicks-Revere is equally or more devastating than a Span-Revere combination. Moving Span makes a lot of sense.
The only question here is--could we move Hicks for more or equal value than Span? That’s a tough question. Hicks is cheaper than Span and has a higher ceiling, but there’s certainly risk involved, and Span is young enough to expect a good 5 years of production from him. That being said, Span has had some odd injury issues. Unless the prospect for Hicks is significantly better than what we could get for Span, I’d go for the home run play which is to keep Hicks.
So, why didn’t we discuss 2nd/SS/3rd? Not worth discussing. We have low payroll players here with minimal trade potential. We also don’t have any major league ready prospects here, either. Plouffe deserves another shot at 3rd after his torrid stretch in the middle of the season, and the cluster up the middle is passable. It’d be worth considering upgrades at any of these three positions with excess resources, but for better or worse, starting pitching deserves all of the attention. From a minor-league perspective, ideally, Rosario (2B) and Sano (3B) will ultimately end-up here. However, I would say those two are pretty close to untouchable, as they have ridiculous ceilings, and using the moves above, I think we’ve already made the moves needed to rectify our starting pitching.
Where does this leave us? According to the plan, we now have an additional $15 - $20M freed up for payroll and two blue chip starting pitching prospects.
The line-up is:
With Diamond, Gibson, Berrios, two prospects eyed for the future rotation, I would prefer the money is spent on a Greinke, Sanchez, etc., to anchor the rotation. Be bold! We just got an extra $15 - 20M a year. Heck, use Span/Willingham to acquire an anchor. Just don’t mortgage the future.
In a year, this becomes:
4. Prospect #1
5. Prospect #2
...with Berrios hopefully shredding through the minors.
Easy call for me. Sure, the team loses 100 games next year, probably, but it brings excitement back to Target Field because there’s potential. In intent, it’s much like where the Timberwolves were last year and the Vikings are this year--if you have young talent and are having minor to strong successes, the buzz comes back. Simple stuff.
If you build a strong young team, draft well and continue having waves of talent (it looks like we have one wave coming up and another in Sano, Rosario, Buxton, Kepler, Goodrum, etc., etc. a few years later), your window never closes. The worst thing we can do is sell young talent to "win now" when it's clear we're not on the cusp.
I'm always known as a Positive Twins Blogger, so after the Twins make a few moves this offseason, by Spring Training, I'll be writing about how if this goes right, and these guys stay healthy, and if the other teams have injuries and a few of the young players step up, etc., the Twins could compete. And, I do think that any team can surprise. So, I'd never say Don't pick up players or make moves for today. I do think that overall 2014 and 2015 should be considered.
Seth, seems as if I've been a voice in the wilderness since the 2011 trade deadline. There was so much wrong with the organization (not just the team) that weighed against a quick turnaround. In my mind we wasted much of a year and a half by not going "all in" on a rebuild. Trying to do both? Sure, you can have pieces fall into place and make the playoffs ( White Sox, A's) but that's not really a plan, it's pretty much crossing your fingers and hoping for the best.
Winston Smith, above, touches on a key point. Look at the players born in 1986, 1987 or 1988 that are in our system. Not much there. Gibson, Parmalee, Revere, Robertson, Hendricks, maybe Wimmers and a couple others. Those 24-26 year old players need to be the backbone of any organization. Supplement them with useful veterans and role players and then with an impact free-agent or two. That's a reasonable blueprint for continuing success.
So we need to restock our system with 24 to 26 year old major leaguers/prospects. We've got Mauer and a seemingly strong system at the younger levels. Say we can turn Morneau (and money), Willingham, Span/Revere and two free agent winters into a quality starter, a solid starter, a quality middle infielder, a decent corner bat and a bullpen piece. Then we have fun watching a young but talented team in 2013. A team on the rise that very well could make a playoff run in 2014 and a legitimate contender in 2015.
As a fan, that would be great. Trying to do that and still plan to compete in 2013 risks a long stretch of mediocrity.
The future is now! Not in 2015 or the year 2525.
The logic which says, because the wild card will not come from the AL Central, then the Twins should look to the future and not the present, is backwards.Quote:
Sure, the wild card could come from the AL Central, but considering the A’s, Angels and Rangers in the AL West, and the five strong teams in the AL East, it seems unlikely. (Yes, about as unlikely as the A’s and O’s being playoff teams in 2012.)
It is because the AL Central is weakest, that the Twins should push for now.
The Tigers won the division in 2012 with fewer wins than either wildcard. Winning division is a first round bye, and increases a WS odds by double compared to either wildcard team.
The playoffs are random, it is binary math, John just went over this.
FROM THE TERRY RYAN YEARS, a bit before and after.
What I find interesting in the names that played elsewhere.
Plus, the players that the Twins have signed back later, either at the major or minor league level.
And the names that never made it from the top of the draft lists...or may have been traded away (circa of late).
1995: Mientiewicz, Mark Redman. Played elsewhere: Jeff Harris, Robert Ramsay, A.J. Hinch, Mike Moriarty. Duds: Jay Hood, Jason Bell.
1996: Jacque Jones, Chad Allen, Mike Ryan, Chad Moeller, Mike Lincoln. Played elsewhere: Travis Lee, Mike Lamb (signed him as free agent), Matt Kata, Jason Bard. Dud: Dan Cey.
1997: Michael Cuddyer, Mike Restovich, Matt LeCroy, JC Romero. Played elsewhere: Nick Punto, then traded for him. Dud: Greg Withelder (who?).
1998: Kevin Frederick, Tommy Watkins. Played elsewhere: Juan Padilla, Saul Rivera, J.J Putz, Kevin Thompson, Mike Gosling. Duds: Ryan Mills, Marcus Sents, Brent Hoard.
1999: Justin Morneau (a catcher), Rob Bowen, Willie Eyre, Travis Bowyer, Terry Tiffee. Played elsewhere: Brian Wolfe, Brian Slocum. Duds: B.J. Garbe, Jeff Randanzo, Brent Schoening.
2000: Adam Johnson, J.D. Durbin, Jason Miller, Josh Rabe, Jason Kubel. Played elsewhere: Paul Maholm, Daniel Davidson. Duds: Tagg Bozied, Colby Miller.
2001: Joe Mauer, Jose Morales, Nick Blackburn. Played elsewhere: Jason Vargas, Kevin Cameron, Matt Macri (though got him back). Duds: Scott Tyler, Angel Garcia.
2002: Denard Span, Jesse Crain, Pat Neshek. Played elsewhere: Clete Thomas (signed as free agent), Kyle Phillips, Adam Lind, Evan Meek, Jeff Clement, Garrett Mock. Duds: Mark Sauls, Alex Merricks, Ricky Barrett, Doug Deeds...remember T.J. Prunty?
2003: Scott Baker. Played elsewhere: Levale Speigner, Travis Metcalf, John Gaub, Steve Pearce, Mike Hollimon. Duds: Matt Moses, Johnny Woodward, David Shinskie, Erroll Simontisch, David Winfree, Eli Tintor.
2004: Trevor Plouffe, Kyle Waldrop, Glen Perkins, Anthony Swarzak, Matt Fox, Matt Tolbert. Duds: Jay Rainville, Eddie Morlan, Mark Robinson.
2005: Matt Garza, Kevin Slowey, Brian Duensing, Rene Tosoni, Alex Burnett. Played elsewhere: Yonder Alonso, Steve Tolleson, Dave Herndon. Duds: Pat Kelly, Drew Thompson, Hank Sanchez, Ryan Mullins, Erik Lis.
2006: Chris Parmelee, Joe Benson, Tyler Robertson, Brian Dinkelman, Danny Valencia, Jeff Manship, Anthony Slama. Played elsewhere: Andrew Olivier, J.D. Martinez, Duds: Whitney Robbins, Garrett Olson.
2007: Ben Revere. Played elsewhere: Mickey Storey. Questions: Danny Rams, Angel Morales, Reggie Williams.
2008: Possibles: Aaron Hicks, Bobby Lanighan. Gone elsewhere: Tyler Ladendorf, Shooter Hunt, Carlos Gutierrez.
2009: Brian Dozier, Chris Hermann. Possibles: Kyle Gibson. Gone elsewhere: Ben Tootle, Matt Bashore, Billy Bullock.
2010: Possibles: Alex Wimmers, Niko Goodrum. Gone: Pat Dean.
2011: Possibles: Levi Michael, Travis Harrison, Hudson Boyd, Madison Boar, Corey Williams.