TwinsCentric was formed by Twins super-bloggers Seth Stohs, Nick Nelson, Parker Hageman and John Bonnes. Together they publish at TwinsDaily.com and have authored books, e-books and magazines that provide independent and in-depth coverage of the Minnesota Twins from a fan's perspective. You can contact them at TwinsCentric@gmail.com.

Read more about them.

TwinsCentric: The $15,000,000 Question

Posted by: John Bonnes Updated: February 2, 2012 - 8:18 AM

 

Today’s mystery category? Let’s see if you can guess from the clues…

 

"What are the Twins television revenues?"

"Why is everybody bitching about a $100 million payroll?"

"Why couldn't the Twins sign Prince Fielder?"

If you didn’t get it, don’t be too hard on yourself - it’s a little convoluted. The category is “What questions avoid THE question?”

In Twins Territory, THE question has been: why did payroll go down $15 million following the second year of a publicly funded stadium? But because MLB teams keep their financial information so private, journalists are limited in the information they can dig up. Since that information doesn’t give the whole story - and because they want to share that information that they’ve uncovered - they find other questions so they can still publish the story. Or, they list what they found, and refer to it generally, but offer few specifics.

My pithy intro might suggest I’m being critical of that strategy. I’m not - for two good reasons. First, because these are usually fine questions to answer, and every answer adds a piece to the puzzle. Second, because I‘m about to do much the same thing.

On Friday night, in a Q&A session at the end of the Hot Stove Banquet, Twins President Dave St. Peter answered THE question candidly, if generally. He listed 3 factors:

1) The Twins stretched payroll slightly last year, and so the reduction isn't really $15M over last year's budget.

The last signing of last year's offseason was Carl Pavano, who signed for $8M. At the time, the Twins claimed they stretched a little to make that signing, and before that signing they were still looking into other players, albeit less expensive ones. So let's assume that accounts for $2-3M of the difference.

2) The Twins will need to pay more for draft picks then they did last year.

Last year the Twins paid about $3M for their top draft picks. This year the Twins will have five picks in the top 75. Thanks to the new collective bargaining agreement, we know almost exactly how much those picks should cost: about $11M.

That's $8M plus $2-3M from stretching last year and now the Twins are down ~$10-11M. We have $4-5M left to find.

3) Finally, St. Peter anticipates a drop in revenue. He clarified this a few minutes later when he said that revenues from the ballpark tend to normalize on a per capita basis. In other words, as the novelty of a new ballpark wears off, people spend less on each trip to the ballpark.

(By the way, the Twins also revealed during the media luncheon on Friday that they only anticipate about a 4% decrease in season tickets this year.)


That makes sense. Since payroll is supposed to be about 50% of the total revenue, a $4-5M decrease in payroll would reflect an $8-10M decrease in revenue. That seems high to me, but not totally unreasonable, especially when St. Peter added that they aren't budgeting for 3,000,000 in attendance this year.

(That last note, by the way, could further explain
Phil Mackey’s story about Jim Pohlad taking a “wait-and-see” approach. When I read that story, I was outraged: ownership was expecting fans to make a financial commitment but wasn’t willing to make one itself. Reading between the lines, I wonder if the story isn’t a little different. After last year’s disaster, and with so much uncertainty, ownership directed management to use more conservative models for anticipated revenue. The effect is the same, and it’s essentially what Mackey’s sources said, but somehow this infuriates me less.)

This shouldn't be meant to imply that I approve, or even completely understand. For instance, I still believe it is pennywise and pound foolish to not invest and additional $2M in backup plans at two especially questionable roster spots. And it isn't clear to me why some of that decrease isn't offset by increases in shared national revenues, which consistently increase for MLB teams. I still haven’t answered the question.

But it gets us closer, and leads to some good news/bad news. The bad news is that the Pohlads are not the Ilitchs - they run a business as a business, and not as a charitable organization, no matter how much fun it would be to win a World Series. But it also implies that two of those three cuts should be one-time events.

Hopefully so will this payroll reduction. Which may have been the real $15,000,000 question I wanted answered.
 

Final123456789RHE
Minnesota000000000040
Detroit «00100002X340
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:D.Price(15-12) L:K.Gibson(13-12) S:J.Nathan (35)
HR: MIN- None DET- I.Kinsler (17)

ADVERTISEMENT

Kansas City 0 Top 1st Inning
San Francisco 0
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Carolina
Buffalo 2 FINAL
San Jose 1
Boston 1 2nd Prd
Toronto 0
NY Rangers 1 2nd Prd
Montreal 1
New Jersey 0 2nd Prd
Ottawa 0
Dallas 1 2nd Prd 18:01
NY Islanders 3
Detroit 1 2nd Prd 15:19
Philadelphia 0
Chicago 0 1st Prd 19:45
St. Louis 0
Pittsburgh 0 1st Prd 19:44
Nashville 0
Tampa Bay 0 1st Prd 20:00
Minnesota 0
Florida 8:00 PM
Arizona
Washington 9:00 PM
Calgary
So Florida 17 FINAL
Cincinnati 34
Troy 13 FINAL
South Alabama 27
BYU 30 FINAL
Boise State 55
(6) Oregon 59 FINAL
California 41
North Texas 21 FINAL
Rice 41
UAB 17 FINAL
Arkansas 45
Rutgers 24 FINAL
(16) Nebraska 42
Maryland 7 FINAL
Wisconsin 52
Texas 0 FINAL
(11) Kansas State 23
Minnesota 24 FINAL
Illinois 28
Memphis 48 FINAL
SMU 10
North Carolina 28 FINAL
Virginia 27
San Jose St 31 FINAL
Navy 41
Northern Ill 28 FINAL
Eastern Mich 17
(25) UCLA 40 FINAL
Colorado 37
Akron 21 FINAL
Ball State 35
Massachusetts 35 FINAL
Toledo 42
Ohio U 21 FINAL
Western Mich 42
Ga Southern 69 FINAL
Georgia State 31
Kent State 3 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 10
Oregon State 14 FINAL
Stanford 38
Fla Atlantic 16 FINAL
(23) Marshall 35
Louisiana Tech 31 FINAL
Southern Miss 20
(1) Miss State 45 FINAL
Kentucky 31
Georgia Tech 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 28
(22) West Virginia 34 FINAL
Oklahoma State 10
Texas Tech 27 FINAL
(10) TCU 82
Michigan 11 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 35
Boston College 23 FINAL
Wake Forest 17
Central Mich 20 FINAL
Buffalo 14
Vanderbilt 14 FINAL
Missouri 24
Old Dominion 51 FINAL
Western Ky 66
UNLV 20 FINAL
Utah State 34
Temple 14 4th Qtr 12:20
UCF 34
(15) Arizona 31 3rd Qtr 14:52
Washington St 16
Texas-El Paso 14 2nd Qtr 5:10
TX-San Antonio 0
Wyoming 3 2nd Qtr 9:10
Colorado State 24
Syracuse 3 2nd Qtr 6:27
(21) Clemson 0
Texas State 0 2nd Qtr 5:00
ULM 13
(3) Ole Miss 6 1st Qtr 0:07
(24) LSU 0
(4) Alabama 13 1st Qtr 7:12
Tennessee 0
So Carolina 7 1st Qtr 2:05
(5) Auburn 0
(13) Ohio State 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10:59 PM
Hawaii
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Memphis
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
Army
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
FIU
(18) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Temple
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Miami-Florida
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Syracuse
Texas State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico St
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
(20) USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Louisiana
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UNLV
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(5) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(1) Miss State
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(6) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(7) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Navy
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(15) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(19) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(14) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
Seattle 2
D.C. 1 FINAL
Montreal 1
Toronto FC 0 1st Half 25:00
New England 0
Portland 7:30 PM
FC Dallas
Colorado 9:00 PM
Vancouver FC
Montreal 23 FINAL
Ottawa 17
Saskatchewan 27 FINAL
Calgary 40
Hamilton 24 FINAL
Toronto 26
Brt Columbia 7 6:15
Winnipeg 7
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who should get the Twins' managing job?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT