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Thread: Article: Money Matters

  1. #21
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    It is true that high payroll doesn't assure success. It is also true that teams do have a spending limit and the exaples of other teams cited is most likely also true. The difference is that the Twins ownership publicly announce that money won't be a hindrance but few other teams make that statement when they really do have a limitation. The premise for the publicly financed new stadium (Target Field) was that it would permit the Twins to re-sign the top players on the team. The implication was that the rest of the team could and would be retained to ensure the same level of competitiveness. The destruction of the 2010 team (in order to extend Mauer) was a clear indication that the original premise was false. The Twins didn't extend Mauer (with his increase) and keep the rest of the team.

  2. #22
    Yes, payroll matters. Spending money matters. Teams that can spend more tend to be able to retain and acquire better players. That said, spending excessive amounts on free agent talent is a good way to ruin your chances for 2013-2017, and as Bill points out, the amount of money (or the quality of prospects) it would take to acquire the kind of talent it would take to make the Twins contenders is prohibitive and will cripple this team in future seasons.

    To argue otherwise is ludicrously unrealistic unless you're counting on Liam Hendriks and Cole DeVries to take huge steps forward.

  3. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Kwak View Post
    The destruction of the 2010 team (in order to extend Mauer) was a clear indication that the original premise was false. The Twins didn't extend Mauer (with his increase) and keep the rest of the team.
    Wait, what? They didn't destroy anything, or at least not for financial reasons. They traded Hardy, stupidly, but it was because they didn't like him, not because he was expensive. They brought Thome and Pavano back. They let Cuddyer and Kubel go when other teams were willing to pay them way, way more than they were worth, and brought back Willingham and Doumit, better players at better prices. The team was "destroyed" by injury, not financial decisions.

  4. #24
    Owner MVP Seth Stohs's Avatar
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    It's good to have another strong voice for Common Sense here on the site... thanks Bill Parker for stopping by today and sharing your wisdom... When I say stuff like that, it goes on deaf ears!!

  5. #25
    The King In The North All-Star Nick Nelson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Parker View Post
    There's no amount of money they could throw at this to help things in 2013.
    This seems like a pretty ridiculous statement to me. Spending money and acquiring good players will certainly help things in 2013. Better players make the team better. Whether spending money will be enough to get them back into contention is another story, but in my view they're pretty close with two of the three units (I disagree the notion that this team has a "crap bullpen").

    To be clear, the full-out rebuild that you recommend requires the Twins to:

    A) Draft and develop quality pitching, something they haven't done recently.
    B) Identify quality pitching prospects to acquire, something they haven't done recently.
    C) Keep a quality offensive core intact, while Joe Mauer begins to age past his prime.

    I think you're underestimating the challenges and risks involved with your plan. The Twins could easily tread water for years in the name of rebuilding and find themselves in the same spot three seasons down the line, only their best player will be 33 instead of 30.

    I certainly don't think the Twins should be making moves that are completely aimed at short-term contention, but signing free agents pitchers to three-year deals when you've got almost nothing in the pipeline is hardly irresponsible.

  6. #26
    Senior Member All-Star Boom Boom's Avatar
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    Does this issue come up as often with other teams' fans? We sure discuss payroll limits a lot as Twins fans.

  7. #27
    I commented on knuckleballsblog.com, and will repost it here:

    Sort of branching off of your main point about it not being about the money when it really is, I have been thinking about the Twins’ failure to develop talent at certain positions. Over the past several years, we’ve been blessed (more or less) with the ability to field a competitive outfield without having to pay a guy $20 million a year to play center field. Kirby, Torii, Denard, and even Ben Revere have done well in that position and never completly broke the bank. In other words, we haven’t had to grossly overpay for outfielders. And it’s a trend that I think will continue with guys like Oswaldo Arcia, Aaron Hicks and (hopefully) Joe Benson.

    But what do you do when you consistently cannot develop MLB average or above-average talent at a particular position? You have to pay market price, whatever that currently is, or you have to trade away prospects that you highly value in order to make up that deficit — if you want to be competitive, that is.

    With the Twins, of course, it’s the inability to develop starting pitchers that is extremely problematic (and middle infielders, too, but to a somewhat lesser extent). It hurts as a Twins fan to think that we could have a cost-controlled outfield for the next few years, but that ownership is seemingly unwilling to “make up” for that financial surplus by investing some extra money in starting pitching.

    Yes, we’re hardly into the offseason, and I hope that I’m wrong. But I am a little nervous that Joe Blanton is going to be our prized starting pitching pick-up this winter.
    Andrew Walter
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  8. #28
    The King In The North All-Star Nick Nelson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twins Fan From Afar View Post
    But what do you do when you consistently cannot develop MLB average or above-average talent at a particular position? You have to pay market price, whatever that currently is, or you have to trade away prospects that you highly value in order to make up that deficit — if you want to be competitive, that is.
    Well said. Too often, I see TR pointing to things like the waiver wire and the Rule 5 draft as if they're legitimate methods of acquiring impact players. Beyond that, he calls out guys like Florimon as if they're actual solutions. Who is he trying to kid? If you can't develop your own talent you need to buy external talent. Sometimes you do have to spend your way out of a hole rather than plugging your ears and pretending it doesn't exist.

  9. #29
    Twins Moderator MVP Riverbrian's Avatar
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    The Farm is the long term solution. I'd spend money on scouts and coaches. I'd make the minor leagues palaces of development.

    As for 2013... We have a big need and money to spend. Lets see what happens.

    This discussion goes so many ways on this site. We have some who say Joe Mauer is paid too much and people who say that we are too cheap.

    I don't think we are cheap... Mauer and Morneau are examples of an organization that is willing to spend.

  10. #30
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    When have they spent to fill that one hole? According to Hunter and Santana, and many fans, never. What good does not spending money this year do? Will they then spend that savings in a year or two? Of course not, " because spending on free agents is no way to build a team" apparently. Take out Mauer, is the payroll really that much more than the dome?

  11. #31
    Owner MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    Great article, Jim. One of the best I've read this offseason.

  12. #32
    Senior Member All-Star Jim Crikket's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Parker View Post
    There's no amount of money they could throw at this to help things in 2013.
    This seems like a pretty ridiculous statement to me. Spending money and acquiring good players will certainly help things in 2013. Better players make the team better. Whether spending money will be enough to get them back into contention is another story, but in my view they're pretty close with two of the three units (I disagree the notion that this team has a "crap bullpen").

    To be clear, the full-out rebuild that you recommend requires the Twins to:

    A) Draft and develop quality pitching, something they haven't done recently.
    B) Identify quality pitching prospects to acquire, something they haven't done recently.
    C) Keep a quality offensive core intact, while Joe Mauer begins to age past his prime.

    I think you're underestimating the challenges and risks involved with your plan. The Twins could easily tread water for years in the name of rebuilding and find themselves in the same spot three seasons down the line, only their best player will be 33 instead of 30.

    I certainly don't think the Twins should be making moves that are completely aimed at short-term contention, but signing free agents pitchers to three-year deals when you've got almost nothing in the pipeline is hardly irresponsible.
    Well said, Nick, but I'd add another item to the list of things the Twins would have to do in order to go the "full re-build" path: D) Accept that attendance levels are likely to fall to the Metrodome levels by the time today's future stars are productive Major Leaguers.

    There's absolutely no reason why this has to be an "either/or" situation. Fans should not just sit back and accept the Twins' contention that they are still a small-market team that can only put a competitive product on the field when a group of good home-grown talent cycles through the organization. Spending money on pitching now will put a competitive team on the field in 2013, keeping fans in the seats, and you still have those current 20-year-olds coming up through the organization. Nobody is suggesting that you trade away every member of your "top 10 prospect list." But the Twins are now a solid mid-market franchise with no shortage of revenue streams (which stand to see a significant bounce in 2014). Fans who accept the "we can only be good every few years" stuff are just playing in to the front office's hands.
    I opine about the Twins and Kernels regularly at Knuckleballsblog.com while my alter ego, SD Buhr covers the Kernels for MetroSportsReport.com.

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  13. #33
    Nick, all fair points, except I don't think the alternative is any better. As I think I demonstrated pretty well above, it's going to take a miracle to contend in 2013. The likely effect of an active winter in free agency would be to make them a 75-78 win team instead of 70-72. That's not, despite Jim's contention just above, going to do anything to keep fans interested, and history has plenty of precedent for that, too. It's just building a more expensive loser, and you're facing a future just as uncertain as under the rebuilding plan, except that in the event the pieces do start to fall into place and you're ready to make a push in 2015 or so, the payroll is saddled with the aging vets' contracts you signed two years ago.

  14. #34
    Senior Member Triple-A h2oface's Avatar
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    can i get a witness! tell it, jim crikket! the way ryan and gardenhire often talk down to astute, alert, and caring fans is key. i really enjoyed your perspective. it seems common sense is often misinterpreted.

  15. #35
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    And how will they have pitching in2015 if they do not sign free agents then? What are the odds they have hitters as good as morneau and Willingham and span? Or that Mauer is still great?

  16. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
    And how will they have pitching in2015 if they do not sign free agents then? What are the odds they have hitters as good as morneau and Willingham and span? Or that Mauer is still great?
    Haha, I give up. I'm just going to repeat my request from the message to Jim above: please find me examples of teams that lost around 100 games two years in a row, then spent a bunch of money, and it ended up as anything but a disaster for the team. Even just one example would really be something.

  17. #37
    Senior Member All-Star YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
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    If the Twins ownership refuses to set a budget of around $112.5 or around $110 million I will feel like the Twins are taking the fans for a ride. The $100 million budget last year + the Pohlad's "50%" spending on the new TV deal should put us there. Should spending go up when we aren't a good team? Maybe not, but consider this. Pohlad would be making more money when the team is bad. Is that right?ABSOLUTELY not.

  18. #38
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    I can't really get behind the thought process on display here. Sure it sounds good to say 'hey, spend more money and get more wins -- the Yankees do', but there are a couple of points standing in my way of supporting that as a short-term strategy:

    1) As much as everybody likes to talk about the Yankees, they're one data point -- and we already know that inferences based on small sample sizes often prove flawed. How about the Phillies, who stood pat on payroll and dropped 21 games from 2011 to 2012? The Red Sox, who increased payroll by over $11 million and dropped 21 games into the basement of the East? The Brewers, who upped payroll by over $12 million and dropped 13 games out of playoff consideration? The D'Backs, who spent an extra $20 million and dropped 13 games and out of playoff consideration?

    Money isn't the obvious answer -- as should be obvious by the simple observation that payroll increases league-wide every year, but the number of wins in the league doesn't. And as noted above, the teams that increase payroll the most don't always get value for it.

    2) It's all very well and good to say 'we'll spend money on some better guys'. OK, bang, you're the GM. Who are those 'better guys' you're going to go get? I tried making a similar point on Gleeman's site some years ago, that you couldn't just say you were going to spend money on a 'better third baseman' -- you had to say who you were going to get who was better. If you don't have a plan for how to spend that money, you end up signing guys like Nishioka and Sidney Ponson. Ryan and the brain trust are exactly right -- when the right guy is available, at the right price, get him. Otherwise, let someone else overpay.

    I mean, let's be honest here, guys -- the 'we don't spend enough money' meme is starting to sound like a broken record, getting repeated over and over again even when it's not deserved. The Twins were in the upper half of baseball in payroll in 2012, and half the teams in the playoffs spent less money than they did. The Twins were in the top 10 in payroll in 2011, and over half the teams in the post-season spent less money, including the division-winning Tigers.

    It sounds good to vent about money, but the problem isn't payroll -- the problem is finding good players who are worth the price.

  19. #39
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    I guess I should give up also, since no one will answer how they will ever have pitching if they will not sign free agents.....look, I cannot name a team other than Philly or new York or the dodgers or Marlins that have tried this. That does not imply it cannot work. Your path is virtually certain to condemn them to being awful for at least two more years, and even then, they still will not sign free agents. So it seems they are stuck

  20. #40
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    Oh, and in the mean time, the owners will get richer off the taxpayers.

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