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Thread: Balance vs. Star Power

  1. #1

    Balance vs. Star Power

    I am struck by the Cardinals and Red Sox lineups and the balance from 1-9, compared to the reliance on star power in Detroit and Los Angeles. The injuries to Hanley Ramirez and Cabrera, and Fielder's lack of productivity pretty much doomed these teams to failure in the LCS. Meanwhile the Red Sox and Cardinals persevered relying on a different star every night.

    It seems those who are looking for the big free agent signing should beware of what happens when too much salary is wrapped up in one or two players.

  2. #2
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    You think Boston's 154M team is lacking star power and highly paid players?
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    Ya, not sure how anyone can claim Boston is not reliant on some stars. Agreed, their depth is very good, but that might have something to do with spending in the top 5 in baseball.....
    Lighten up Francis....

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    Senior Member All-Star Winston Smith's Avatar
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    "It seems those who are looking for the big free agent signing should beware of what happens when too much salary is wrapped up in one or two players."

    I don't get the point of this. Help please!
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  5. #5
    The Cardinals might be a bit less free spending but they have plenty of stars themselves. 4 players (Beltran, Wainright, Yadi and Holliday) account for more than half their payroll (all make $12 million or more)

    They (similarly to Tampa) are just much better at resisting bad contracts (see Pujols, Albert), and developing (and paying) the next generation that replaces the high-priced veterans that leave for the coasts.

  6. #6
    I think what he's trying to say is it's better to have 6 above average players at 10-12mil each then 3 "stars" at 20-25 mil each.
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  7. #7
    To the latter point, Twins management should take note of Allen Craig's contract. He was going into his 3rd year of serfdom this spring when they signed him to a contract that fixed the price for his arbitration years plus 2 of his FA years (one of which is a team option) Total price? 5 years $31 million (including buyout) or 6 for $43.

    As part of the deal they agreed to pay him $1.75 this year instead of the standard price for a 3rd year player, but that seems a small price to pay for a fairly team-friendly deal for a borderline star player entering his prime.

  8. #8
    Senior Member All-Star Jim Crikket's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yoosh View Post
    I think what he's trying to say is it's better to have 6 above average players at 10-12mil each then 3 "stars" at 20-25 mil each.
    That's what I took from the initial post, as well, and I certainly agree.

    That said, I don't think too many people here are arguing for the Twins to wade in to the FA pool and going after $20 mil a year position players. Just 2-3 years ago, the Twins broke camp in April with a batting order that appeared to be a pretty balanced. I recall being encouraged that there weren't many automatic outs in the 6-9 spots of the order, for a change.

    But what we all have found out is that it doesn't matter much whether your batting order is balanced or star-heavy in the 3-5 spots when your starting pitchers are essentially AAA-AAAA level and/or your defense gives opponents 4 outs in several innings per game.

    I'm fine with a batting order of 8 good-but-not-great hitters plus Mauer. I'm not fine with 5 starting pitchers who are #4s, at best. Two "stars" could make a pretty significant difference there.
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  9. #9
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    Or, did things hinge on the removal of Scherzer too early, especially in Game 2?--thus making this "point" completely irrelevant. The $10-12MM player probably falls into these categories: 1) the guy on his way to $20+MM (ex. Mauer in '09); 2) the fortunate mid-range guy who was highly sought after by several teams; 3) the aged star, getting a 1-yr deal. Player #1 should not be confused with the others despite their salary similarity--which is temporary.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Zephrin View Post
    To the latter point, Twins management should take note of Allen Craig's contract. He was going into his 3rd year of serfdom this spring when they signed him to a contract that fixed the price for his arbitration years plus 2 of his FA years (one of which is a team option) Total price? 5 years $31 million (including buyout) or 6 for $43.

    As part of the deal they agreed to pay him $1.75 this year instead of the standard price for a 3rd year player, but that seems a small price to pay for a fairly team-friendly deal for a borderline star player entering his prime.
    Very good point. The Ray's have done this with a few key players like Longoria. I hope the Twins FO follows this model in the future as you suggest.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephrin View Post
    To the latter point, Twins management should take note of Allen Craig's contract. He was going into his 3rd year of serfdom this spring when they signed him to a contract that fixed the price for his arbitration years plus 2 of his FA years (one of which is a team option) Total price? 5 years $31 million (including buyout) or 6 for $43.
    Ryan did plenty of those - Hunter, Mauer, Santana. Our problem right now is we don't have young talent like Craig to lock up.

  12. #12
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    That's correct, there are zero players in their prime that need to be locked up. That is the problem with this team.
    Lighten up Francis....

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
    That's correct, there are zero players in their prime that need to be locked up. That is the problem with this team.
    Yep. I could see Dozier making a case next year if his surge was for real, but even as the next wave arrives, it's good to let them play at least a year if not two before locking them up. That said, Ryan did this quite frequently during the metrodome era, so I don't see why he wouldn't continue doing it.

  14. #14
    Senior Member All-Star Jim Crikket's Avatar
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    Yep. In an ideal world, guys like Plouffe, Gibson, Dozier, Revere and Parmelee would have stepped up and been considered for early extensions.
    Last edited by Jim Crikket; 10-21-2013 at 07:21 PM. Reason: typo
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by MileHighTwinsFan View Post
    I am struck by the Cardinals and Red Sox lineups and the balance from 1-9, compared to the reliance on star power in Detroit and Los Angeles. The injuries to Hanley Ramirez and Cabrera, and Fielder's lack of productivity pretty much doomed these teams to failure in the LCS. Meanwhile the Red Sox and Cardinals persevered relying on a different star every night.

    It seems those who are looking for the big free agent signing should beware of what happens when too much salary is wrapped up in one or two players.
    I think you want both personally. I never bought into the "that guy doesn't have to hit" line of thought that some people have. Depth wins games. The best model, at least for a mid-market team like the Twins, is to extend your stars while continuing to pump out better than average players (and hopefully a few more stars) while supplementing from FA in the few places where you have holes or potentially need a role player. While the stars are nice here, going after the Willingham and Cuddyers of the world is probably far more beneficial long term than a Pujols.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephrin View Post
    The Cardinals might be a bit less free spending but they have plenty of stars themselves. 4 players (Beltran, Wainright, Yadi and Holliday) account for more than half their payroll (all make $12 million or more)

    They (similarly to Tampa) are just much better at resisting bad contracts (see Pujols, Albert), and developing (and paying) the next generation that replaces the high-priced veterans that leave for the coasts.
    Keep in mind the Cards reportedly offered Pujols 10/$200. They didn't so much "resist" Pujols as stop bidding at a very high level.

    They also didnt let the loss of Pujols derail the team, nor did they put that money in their pocket. They reinvested it...payroll has actually gone up since Pujols left.
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  17. #17
    Owner All-Star John Bonnes's Avatar
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    That's interesting. I think the common sentiment is that to win in the playoffs you need the big gun - to pitch. But in this round, the Tigers & Dodgers had the big pitching arms and lost.

    I hate to say the cliche, but I really think the playoffs are just a craps shoot.

  18. #18
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    Ultimately you want consistent players all across the board besides a few places. Your #1 & 2 SP, the 3 & 4 hitters you want the stars to carry your RBI's with 1 & 2 OBP guys. Prefferably the rest of the team is quality guys who can hit a lil & play D.

  19. #19
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    I think the play here is to have 3-4 top flight starters or 1-3 top flight starters and a very good hitting club with a great bullpen. St. Louis has both, it will be interesting to see if the Twins can step up their front end pitching, in the near future, it means buying FA pitchers on 2-3 year contracts. Hitting will improve hopefully as the better minor league starts come up.

  20. #20
    Head Moderator All-Star glunn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
    That's interesting. I think the common sentiment is that to win in the playoffs you need the big gun - to pitch. But in this round, the Tigers & Dodgers had the big pitching arms and lost.
    The final 4 teams all seemed to have great pitching. Watching some of the games has confirmed in my mind the importance of pitching and defense.

    I would love to see the Twins build a team that can score lots of runs against great pitching and great defense, but after seeing the Tigers flounder, I wonder about the relative importance of having star hitters.

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