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Thread: Article: The Tanaka Factor

  1. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
    Assessing what Tanaka might get for a posting fee isn't about comparing him with Darvish as a player. The landscape is simply different now than when Darvish came over two years ago. If Tanaka's posting fee is higher (which I suspect it will be) it's a reflection of the financial state of the game, not of his talent relative to Darvish.
    Not to mention that had everyone known what Darvish would have become his posting bids would have surely been higher. If free agency over the last 30 years has taught us anything, the best player doesn't set the curve for those that follow, he simply raises the bar with the expectation that the guys following him will raise it even higher, even if their skill is not equal.

    I just noticed the Asian dating site add on the homepage. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I'm not sure that ad was targeted toward the most appropriate demographic. Or perhaps those marketing geniuses know something about the Twins off-season free agency plan that the rest of us don't?

  2. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
    Not to mention that had everyone known what Darvish would have become his posting bids would have surely been higher. If free agency over the last 30 years has taught us anything, the best player doesn't set the curve for those that follow, he simply raises the bar with the expectation that the guys following him will raise it even higher, even if their skill is not equal.

    I just noticed the Asian dating site add on the homepage. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I'm not sure that ad was targeted toward the most appropriate demographic. Or perhaps those marketing geniuses know something about the Twins off-season free agency plan that the rest of us don't?
    Well, a half dozen Asian names are in every other post. My guess is some bot logic is seeing that and thinking there's something Asian about the site.

  3. #83
    It would make sense to me, since the Twins are so short on decent starting pitching, to bid aggressively on Tanaka. I think the down side of the older available starting pitching with their susceptibility to injury is what Ryan is looking at and I doubt he'll make any bids on the higher priced starters. I fear the Twins will look at people like Pelfry and once again this team be either at the bottom of the major leagues or close to it with starting pitchers ERA.

  4. #84
    I've been a longtime lurker, but after reading about Tanaka, I finally felt I needed to sign up and join the discussion.

    I think Tanaka is the Twins' top priority this winter, and there are several reasons that have led me to this conclusion.
    (And as a disclaimer, I don't agree with everything the front office does, and I have been as disappointed as anybody over the past 3 years. But, personally, I don't think me bitching about the negatives would add anything to the conversation, so my posts are going to be of the glass-half-full variety. That does NOT mean I'm an apologist )
    1. Although Ryan is known as a spendthrift, I think there has been strategy involved in him not spending as much as permitted by ownership the past few years. He's not stupid. He knew the Twins would be awful for a few years while rebuilding. Why spend unnecessarily to make a 96-loss team into a 90-loss team? He has had his eyes on the future and stashing the unspent cash for a certain posting fee. Again, total speculation.
    2. The Twins have probably been following Tanaka and other Japanese players for years. Tanaka didn't just come out of the blue. We know senior staff has made the trip over the Pacific to see Tanaka firsthand. Did they do that for Darvish or any other Japanese pitcher in the past? This could be evidence of a high level of seriousness on their part.
    3. Payroll has been cut by attrition and trades, and the Twins are not going to risk further alienating fans by not spending the money we know they have on free agents. Despite fielding an awful team, attendance was impressive this past year (I live in Cleveland, so averaging over 30,000 per game to watch the Twins amazes me compared to what the Indians drew with a playoff team.) Income, therefore, has not dropped by much, so there's no business reason to cut payroll.
    4. The prospects are being brought up in waves, allowing for future financial certainty. Obviously, for the first 3 years, each will be inexpensive. But, again, the money has to go somewhere. A $15m/yr. deal would be affordable and during those first few years there will be extra money to spend on other needs as well. If Tanaka is signed to a 5-year deal, there will be at least 2 seasons before a $15m salary would potentially become problematic. After that 2 year buffer, the problematic nature of the deal would only gradually rise over the final 3 years of the deal. I think the worst case scenario is that the Twins are stuck with a bad contract for 2 years at most, more likely for only 1 year, and if Tanaka performs as advertised, $15m/yr. is a bargain. Then, there is a year of arbitration, or more likely, an extension, and the terms and impact of that deal are impossible to know today, and will depend on the business health at that time. However, in 5 years, all signs point to the Twins being pretty damn good, and good baseball equals nice profits.
    5. Finally, any talk of the Twins having to pay Tanaka more to come to Minnesota is nonsense. If the Twins post the winning bid, Tanaka will have 2 choices: sign with the Twins or go back to Japan and make a lot less in a worse league. There is no doubt he would sign. (Admittedly, I can't remember if anybody has claimed that he wouldn't want to sign with the Twins and would refuse to play for a rebuilding team like I've seen in other threads. So I'm sorry in advance.)
    Conclusion: I'm an attorney. Viewing this through the eyes of a litigator, Terry Ryan's moves and non-moves, along with the financial health of the team and the need for a top-of-the-rotation pitcher without wanting to give up prospects or draft picks, everything points to the Twins making a very serious run at the best pitcher on the market, and a possible ace for years to come.

  5. #85
    Head Moderator All-Star glunn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BG816 View Post
    I've been a longtime lurker, but after reading about Tanaka, I finally felt I needed to sign up and join the discussion.

    I think Tanaka is the Twins' top priority this winter, and there are several reasons that have led me to this conclusion.
    (And as a disclaimer, I don't agree with everything the front office does, and I have been as disappointed as anybody over the past 3 years. But, personally, I don't think me bitching about the negatives would add anything to the conversation, so my posts are going to be of the glass-half-full variety. That does NOT mean I'm an apologist )
    1. Although Ryan is known as a spendthrift, I think there has been strategy involved in him not spending as much as permitted by ownership the past few years. He's not stupid. He knew the Twins would be awful for a few years while rebuilding. Why spend unnecessarily to make a 96-loss team into a 90-loss team? He has had his eyes on the future and stashing the unspent cash for a certain posting fee. Again, total speculation.
    2. The Twins have probably been following Tanaka and other Japanese players for years. Tanaka didn't just come out of the blue. We know senior staff has made the trip over the Pacific to see Tanaka firsthand. Did they do that for Darvish or any other Japanese pitcher in the past? This could be evidence of a high level of seriousness on their part.
    3. Payroll has been cut by attrition and trades, and the Twins are not going to risk further alienating fans by not spending the money we know they have on free agents. Despite fielding an awful team, attendance was impressive this past year (I live in Cleveland, so averaging over 30,000 per game to watch the Twins amazes me compared to what the Indians drew with a playoff team.) Income, therefore, has not dropped by much, so there's no business reason to cut payroll.
    4. The prospects are being brought up in waves, allowing for future financial certainty. Obviously, for the first 3 years, each will be inexpensive. But, again, the money has to go somewhere. A $15m/yr. deal would be affordable and during those first few years there will be extra money to spend on other needs as well. If Tanaka is signed to a 5-year deal, there will be at least 2 seasons before a $15m salary would potentially become problematic. After that 2 year buffer, the problematic nature of the deal would only gradually rise over the final 3 years of the deal. I think the worst case scenario is that the Twins are stuck with a bad contract for 2 years at most, more likely for only 1 year, and if Tanaka performs as advertised, $15m/yr. is a bargain. Then, there is a year of arbitration, or more likely, an extension, and the terms and impact of that deal are impossible to know today, and will depend on the business health at that time. However, in 5 years, all signs point to the Twins being pretty damn good, and good baseball equals nice profits.
    5. Finally, any talk of the Twins having to pay Tanaka more to come to Minnesota is nonsense. If the Twins post the winning bid, Tanaka will have 2 choices: sign with the Twins or go back to Japan and make a lot less in a worse league. There is no doubt he would sign. (Admittedly, I can't remember if anybody has claimed that he wouldn't want to sign with the Twins and would refuse to play for a rebuilding team like I've seen in other threads. So I'm sorry in advance.)
    Conclusion: I'm an attorney. Viewing this through the eyes of a litigator, Terry Ryan's moves and non-moves, along with the financial health of the team and the need for a top-of-the-rotation pitcher without wanting to give up prospects or draft picks, everything points to the Twins making a very serious run at the best pitcher on the market, and a possible ace for years to come.
    Excellent first post. I hope that you continue to participate.

  6. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by BG816 View Post
    1. Although Ryan is known as a spendthrift, I think there has been strategy involved in him not spending as much as permitted by ownership the past few years. He's not stupid. He knew the Twins would be awful for a few years while rebuilding. Why spend unnecessarily to make a 96-loss team into a 90-loss team? He has had his eyes on the future and stashing the unspent cash for a certain posting fee. Again, total speculation.
    Unspent money is NOT carried over by the Twins. They are on record saying that, it is not opinion or interpretation, it is fact.

  7. #87
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    Mr. Brooks is right, but that's not really the problem. The Twins just won't spend significant money on a free agent pitcher. I'm not sure what more they can do to prove this... decades of empirical evidence. Literally hundreds of statements by Terry Ryan. A cheap ownership group.

    The chances of the Twins signing Tanaka are 0%.

  8. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
    Unspent money is NOT carried over by the Twins. They are on record saying that, it is not opinion or interpretation, it is fact.
    It would be unwise for them to say otherwise.
    That doesn't mean that they couldn't splash an amount of money one year that would push the percentage above 54% one time.

    I truly believe that the Pohlads are tired of losing, too.

    I agree with BG816 in that Tanaka appears to be the prize of the off-season.
    I'm on a whiskey diet. I've lost 3 days already.

  9. #89
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    I agree the Twins are interested in Tanaka and certainly are in a good position to make it work but given the history of the franchise I feel quite certain they will come up short. Another team will outbid them. When have Twins ever landed the premier free agent or player in their history? They will make a good bid but they will not get Tanaka so hopefully there is a plan B.

  10. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
    Well, a half dozen Asian names are in every other post. My guess is some bot logic is seeing that and thinking there's something Asian about the site.
    I think I'd prefer to believe that Don Draper has infiltrated the Twins front office.

  11. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by BG816 View Post
    I've been a longtime lurker, but after reading about Tanaka, I finally felt I needed to sign up and join the discussion.
    Great first post.

  12. #92
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    If the Twins can get Tanaka for similar to Yu Darvish (6yr $56M +$4M in possible roster bonuses + $51.7M for negotiating rights) money, he would probably be a better deal than most of the pitching signed this past off-season. Darvish ultimately will 'cost' an average of $18.6M per year.

    Here's a rundown of 2012 FA class (begin 2013 with their new teams) production and salary for 2013:

    2013 Free Agency - Pitchers Breakdown.jpg
    The question is, how would he then compare to the top pitching Free Agent Starting pitching for next year?

    A quick gander at the crop of top FA starting pitchers for the 2014 season can be had at MLB Trade Rumors.

    If anyone saw my breakdown of starting pitching in the playoffs - most of the starting pitching that led to playoff teams was built on the farm, rather than through Free Agency.

  13. #93
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    They reason I say it is unfortunate is because, yes, I would rather go six years with someone who could really be an ace, then to go three years for the same money on guys who will *then be gone* from the staff when 2017 gets here (unless signing another deal meaning more money etc.). Those are plans 1. and 1a. in my view though. And it is possible to trade one, two, or three of those guys at some point in the contract.

    I am sold on Tanaka though. It took awhile.

  14. #94
    Quote Originally Posted by drivlikejehu View Post
    Mr. Brooks is right, but that's not really the problem. The Twins just won't spend significant money on a free agent pitcher. I'm not sure what more they can do to prove this... decades of empirical evidence. Literally hundreds of statements by Terry Ryan. A cheap ownership group.

    The chances of the Twins signing Tanaka are 0%.
    A. I'm not so sure ownership should be considered cheap. It's a business and they do what's necessary to make money for the shareholders, whether that means spending or reducing payroll. There is history of ownership spending when they deem it necessary, though that money was spent poorly by a bad GM. When evaluating the Pohlads, compare them to the rest of the league. Besides the Yankees, Dodgers and their ilk, they don't seem any less willing to spend than the rest.

    B. Regarding Ryan, you have to take everything that comes out of his mouth with a grain of salt. He is not going to tell the press that he's going to spend a certain amount of money or he's going to target a certain player. He's competing with every other team in the league and showing his hand would assure loss. By keeping consistent in his statements (displaying a poker face), he can hide the fact that he may be holding a full house or better. Statements to the press should not hold much weight when determining whether the Twins will make a serious run at Tanaka or any other high end free agent pitcher. Though I'm not discounting Ryan's history of not spending much on pitching, I think circumstances are different here.

  15. #95
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    In Smith's first two years as GM, payroll was lower than Ryan's last year as GM before he stepped down. Would you say Ryan spent money poorly for 2007 because it was higher than any other year before 2010 and we had a losing record after having a fantastic record in 2006?

    The big money spend by Smith was due mostly to Mauer's pay raise (an additional 10.5 million form the 2010 team payroll). Heck 2011 was the really big spending year, who did he got get that wasn't on the 2010 team that cost a lot? Nishi? That pay was countered by getting rid of Punto.

    In fact, when did Smith go out and get a pricey FA? What poor spending are we talking about? Re-signing Mauer, re-signing Cuddyer, re-signing Nathan or re-signing Morny? Which one of those were bad signings when they were done?
    Last edited by ThePuck; 10-09-2013 at 04:46 PM.
    Just remember: You put the lime IN the coconut. Only THEN, can you drink it all up.

  16. #96
    Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
    The big money spend by Smith was due mostly to Mauer's pay raise (an additional 10.5 million form the 2010 team payroll). Heck 2011 was the really big spending year, who did he got get that wasn't on the 2010 team that cost a lot? Nishi? That pay was countered by getting rid of Punto.

    In fact, when did Smith go out and get a pricey FA? What poor spending are we talking about? Re-signing Mauer, re-signing Cuddyer, re-signing Nathan or re-signing Morny? Which one of those were bad signings when they were done?
    You make a good point. But I guess what I was trying to get across is that the willingness to spend was there. In other organizations, many of those players would have been traded before their raises or would have been allowed to walk. However, I suppose a lot of the spending could have had more to do with the Twins' loyalty to their own players who have come up through their system and flourished.

  17. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by BG816 View Post
    A. I'm not so sure ownership should be considered cheap. It's a business and they do what's necessary to make money for the shareholders, whether that means spending or reducing payroll. There is history of ownership spending when they deem it necessary, though that money was spent poorly by a bad GM. When evaluating the Pohlads, compare them to the rest of the league. Besides the Yankees, Dodgers and their ilk, they don't seem any less willing to spend than the rest..
    Pro sports franchises are not really a typical business. There are other factors in play as well, such as the prestige ownership brings. The Pohlads aren't totally outside the ordinary levels of financial commitment, but they aren't great either. The Tigers, Giants, White Sox, and Phillies are teams that come to mind where ownership has typically accepted lower profits to improve competitiveness (obviously some of the difference owes to market size rather than ownership).

    Quote Originally Posted by BG816 View Post
    B. Regarding Ryan, you have to take everything that comes out of his mouth with a grain of salt. He is not going to tell the press that he's going to spend a certain amount of money or he's going to target a certain player. He's competing with every other team in the league and showing his hand would assure loss. By keeping consistent in his statements (displaying a poker face), he can hide the fact that he may be holding a full house or better. Statements to the press should not hold much weight when determining whether the Twins will make a serious run at Tanaka or any other high end free agent pitcher. Though I'm not discounting Ryan's history of not spending much on pitching, I think circumstances are different here.
    I'm not referring to any specific remark Ryan has made, but rather what his countless interviews and statements over the years reveal about his baseball philosophy. He just does not believe in spending money on free agent pitching. Sticking to that line isn't fooling anyone or giving him some kind of competitive advantage. If he does start going after free agents, other clubs will react the exact same way as if any other team bid... they could care less whether that team is the Twins or [pick team].
    Last edited by drivlikejehu; 10-09-2013 at 04:53 PM.

  18. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by BG816 View Post
    You make a good point. But I guess what I was trying to get across is that the willingness to spend was there. In other organizations, many of those players would have been traded before their raises or would have been allowed to walk. However, I suppose a lot of the spending could have had more to do with the Twins' loyalty to their own players who have come up through their system and flourished.
    The willingness was there because, at least in Mauer and Morny's cases, that was something that had to be done. Look at the timing of the spending and when it started taking effect. When we moved into the new ballpark. Would have been a HUGE PR hit if at least those two weren't signed...I mean HUGE.

    That's not the case now...and it's not the same GM either...the owners have to be willing and so does the GM they entrust to spend.
    Just remember: You put the lime IN the coconut. Only THEN, can you drink it all up.

  19. #99
    Senior Member Triple-A h2oface's Avatar
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    Tanaka is exactly what the Twins need. He would mature with Buxton and Sano and Arcia and Levi Michael........ ops..... forget Michael...... Rosario.... et al. Puig was cheap to, considering. But then, he has way too much personality for the Twins and many fans. Tanaka could be the young ace that solidifies the diversity of the new up and coming teams, and provides the pitching that could lead the hopefuls.
    Last edited by h2oface; 10-16-2013 at 07:05 PM.

  20. #100
    Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
    The willingness was there because, at least in Mauer and Morny's cases, that was something that had to be done. Look at the timing of the spending and when it started taking effect. When we moved into the new ballpark. Would have been a HUGE PR hit if at least those two weren't signed...I mean HUGE.

    That's not the case now...and it's not the same GM either...the owners have to be willing and so does the GM they entrust to spend.
    Again, good point. But don't you think PR has taken a hit recently with the decreased payroll, the decreased talent on the field, and the decrease in wins in the standings? The county is still paying for that stadium. I would hope ownership doesn't think it's okay to continue down this path, and I know the fan-base doesn't think it's okay. So I think the risk of PR hits IS still the case today, granted less pronounced or obvious.

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