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The Party Is Over

  • Blog Post by: John Bonnes
  • October 12, 2010 - 12:19 AM

Parties end.
 
It’s a sad truth, and you don’t need to be happy about it. But embrace it sooner, rather than later. Nobody wants to be THAT guy, stumbling around a fully-lit dining room, screaming at nobody in particular to “PUT THE MUSIC BACK ON!” So here it is again:
 
Parties end.
 
This party is going to end. The Twins Cities did not suddenly swell to the size of an east coast metropolis. The local TV contract has not been renegotiated. And the Twins aren’t going to open a newer, bigger, better ballpark again next year. The huge bump in revenue that the team expected has happened. It isn’t happening again.
 
That bump in revenue, and thus payroll, was significant. Payroll jumped up $30 million or about 50% over the previous year (according to USAToday). Comparatively, MLB payrolls actually decreased 2.5%.
 
Historically, MLB payrolls have generally increased 5-10% from year-to-year over the past decade. The Twins have exceeded that a little, another few percentage points, except when they lost particularly expensive guys.
 
So what does this have to do with parties? We’re about to cover the Twins payroll situation for next year, and when you see how bleak it is, your first reaction is going to be that that there MUST be more money available. If you want to decide that, go ahead. But deciding it doesn’t put any more beer into the keg.
 
So here’s the back-of-the-napkin sketch of your shell of a team:
 
2011
Player
 $M
C
Mauer
 $ 23.00
1B
Morneau
 $ 14.00
2B
 
 
3B
Valencia
 $   0.50
SS
 
 
LF
Young
 $   5.50
CF
Span
 $   1.00
RF
Cuddyer
 $ 10.50
DH
Kubel
 $   5.25
 
Player
 $M
4th OF
Repko
 $   0.80
C IF
Harris
 $   1.75
M IF
 
 
C
Butera
 $   0.50
Other
 
 
 
Player
 $M
SP
Liriano
 $   4.50
SP
Baker
 $   5.00
SP
Slowey
 $   3.00
SP
Blackburn
 $   3.00
SP
Duensing
 $   0.50
 
Player
 $M
Close
Nathan
 $ 12.50
MR
Mijares
 $   0.50
MR
Neshek
 $   0.80
MR
 
 
MR
 
 
MR
 
 
MR
 
 
 
 
 
Total
 
 $ 92.60
 
 
Big Picture
Unless you dump some guaranteed salaries, you’ve got about $18 million to spend - and that’s if payroll increases 15% this year to $110 million. You need to completely reconstruct a bullpen, patch over a middle infield, possibly replace an ace starting pitcher, and decide if you want to keep fan favorite Jim Thome as he closes in on 600 home runs. (Good luck.) Let’s walk through each area.
 
Infield
Options
 $M
Hudson
 $    6.00
Casilla
 $    1.00
Hardy
 $    7.00
Punto
 $    1.50
Tolbert
 $    0.50
Plouffe
 $    0.50
 
 
That beautiful middle infield that produced offensively and shined defensively? It could be completely gone. You own the rights for JJ Hardy for one more year, so you get to decide if he stays or not. But he’ll make what an arbitrator says he is worth, and that’s likely to be about $7M. They aren’t included in the above tab. Orlando Hudson is a free agent, so even if you want to keep him, you might not be able to. If you do want to bid on him, plan on spending about $6M. Punto is also a free agent, but will likely command utility player money.
 
Outfield/DH
Options
 $M
Thome
 $    4.00
Revere
 $    0.50
 
Cuddyer’s money is guaranteed, so you need to trade him or pay him. Same with Span, not that you would want to lose him. You get to choose on Delmon - that salary is an estimate of what the arbitrator will pay him – and Kubel, who has a one-year option on his existing contract. If you want to keep Jim Thome, you had better plan on spending $4M or so – and may need to find him fulltime at-bats.
 
Bench
Brendan Harris may not be on your team, but he’s on the books because he signed a multi-year deal last offseason, so you’re paying the $1.75M whether you want to or not. Repko is your choice and that salary is an estimate of what the arbitrator will rule.
 
Rotation
Options
 $M
Pavano
 $  10.00
Swarzak
 $    0.50
Manship
 $    0.50
 
Wanna bring back the ‘stache? You’re going to need to give the 34-year-old a three-year deal for around $30 million. The last two years he has signed “make good” deals, and he did. It’s only fair he get paid, and the market will ensure he will.
 
Bullpen
Options
 $M
Fuentes
 $    9.00
Capps
 $    8.00
Guerrier
 $    2.00
Crain
 $    2.50
Rauch
 $    1.50
Mahay
 $    1.00
Flores
 $    1.00
Perkins
 $    0.80
Burnett
 $    0.50
Slama
 $    0.50
Woldrop
 $    0.50
Delaney
 $    0.50
 
I’m listing the bullpen last, but you should probably attack it first. Nathan’s money is guaranteed and there won’t be any insurance to cover it this year, so don’t ask. You have your choice on Neshek, Mijares and Capps – but Capps is going to cost you $7-$9M in arbitration. You also have an option on Fuentes for $9M if you want, but you’re more likely to let him become a free agent – just like Guerrier, Crain, Rauch, Mahay, and Flores will be.
 
Whew. Roll up your sleeves. And leave us your comments....
 

 
We promised you big news, so here it is....
 
The above is first draft of an essay you'll find in the 2010-11 TwinsCentric Offseason Handbook, an e-book that we'll be selling for $9.95 the day after the World Series ends. Last year it was 151 pages of analysis on all the free agents and trade targets that included identifying JJ Hardy as the #1 trade target of the Twins. This year it will be even better, plus, we're promising early delivery and extra content to anyone who pre-orders this week.
 
Now, the bigger news: because we want to reward our readers who stop by day-after-day, we're selling it at half price to the first 500 people who pre-order it. It couldn't be easier to order. Just swing by TwinsCentric.Blogspot.com for all the details, including how you can download last year's version absolutely free so you can see what you're getting.
 
Finally, thank you for all your support this season. We'll be here throughout the offseason, obsessing about the Twins and baseball just like you, talking baseball almost as often as are hoping for. We hope you'll come and visit often.

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