Reusse: Money trail leads to Twins' wise intentions

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 10, 2012 - 5:55 AM

The Twins didn't splurge in free agency, and that shows their realistic -- and wise -- goal for 2012 is becoming respectable again.

hide

Josh Willingham rounded the bases after hitting a home run in the fourth inning.

Photo: Renee Jones Schneider, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The Twins brought in four players between ages 31 and 38 for this season: starter Jason Marquis, catcher Ryan Doumit, left fielder Josh Willingham and shortstop Jamey Carroll.

The Twins also re-signed Matt Capps to serve as closer, and added journeymen Jeff Gray, Jared Burton and Matt Maloney to the bullpen. Those are four pitchers between ages 28 and 30.

The media and the local sporting public looked at these changes and many seemed to get the idea the Twins were attempting to put together a roster "built to win now.''

That's what I've heard quite a bit, anyway, and the ballclub is more than happy to have that accepted as a theory. The Twins huffed and puffed their way to what's described as 23,000 "season-ticket equivalents'' for the third season in Target Field, and part of the sales pitch was that the 63-99 record in 2011 was an aberration.

If Twins management believed that, it would have gone for deals such as this: outfielder Michael Cuddyer (three years, $31.5 million), OF/DH Jason Kubel (two years, $16 million), closer Joe Nathan (two years, $14.75 million) and, perhaps, starter Edwin Jackson (one year, $11 million).

That would have been a commitment of $73.25 million for four players, with three guaranteed more than one year.

The Twins went instead with these deals: Willingham (three years, $21 million), Doumit (one year, $3 million), Capps (one year, $4.75 million), Marquis (one year, $3 million) and Carroll (two years, $6.5 million).

That is a commitment of $38.25 million for five players, with two guaranteed more than one year.

The 2012 Twins would win more games with that first foursome of free agents.

Would they win an extra $35 million (in contract commitments) worth of games? Would they win the 25 more games needed to contend for one of the five playoff spots in the rugged American League?

The answer to that is an emphatic "no,'' and it should be the response from General Manager Terry Ryan, from the owners and from objective civilians.

The Pohlads didn't order a reduction in payroll from $113 million because the owners felt it was a ridiculously high number.

The Pohlads ordered the reduction to $100 million because they felt $113 million was a ridiculously high number to pay for a team that lost 99 games.

The Pohlads were miffed, and who could blame them, but the payroll reduction wasn't a tough sale for Ryan. This is a wise baseball man, and he understood the Twins' first task was a return to respectability, before the goal could become loftier.

Willingham is here as a cheaper alternative to Cuddyer -- a righthanded-hitting outfielder who brings more power and inferior defense.

Carroll, Doumit, Marquis and Capps are here in the hope that a few veterans will offer more professional product than did the youthful collection that in 2011 went 19-50 from July 18 through Sept. 28.

Without these vets, what would this club look like?

Joe Benson would be in the outfield, not Willingham. Brian Dozier would be at shortstop, not Carroll. And if the Twins wanted a backup catcher who could hit, it would be Chris Herrmann.

As for a fifth starter or closer, without Marquis (soon to join the rotation) and Capps (soon to get a chance to close), throw a dart.

In most sports, teams that are non-contenders are advised to go young, but in baseball that often can be counter-productive.

Benson likely would have less of a big-league career, if he were here flailing away before he gains a grasp of the strike zone. Herrmann is catching in Class AA, on his way to Minnesota next season.

Liam Hendriks already was being hurried to be a big-league starter, before being done in by food poisoning in Baltimore.

As for Dozier ... well, he should be here already, and if second baseman Alexi Casilla doesn't show more in this chance (No. 6) to establish himself, that could happen reasonably soon.

Baseball is the toughest of American games to master. There's nothing to be gained by going younger with players who are likely to be overmatched.

That's why the veterans are here -- in the Twins' hope for some form of respectability, and not in the distorted belief that this is a team "built to win now.''

Patrick Reusse can be heard noon-4 weekdays on 1500-AM. preusse@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
8:10 PM ET123456789RHE
ArizonaJ. Collmenter (10-8)000
MinnesotaR. Nolasco (5-11)000
@theBallpark
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box

ADVERTISEMENT

Cleveland 4 Suspended
Kansas City 2
Baltimore - W. Chen 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - M. Pineda
Kansas City - D. Duffy 6:05 PM
Cleveland - C. Carrasco
Seattle - J. Paxton 6:07 PM
Toronto - J. Happ
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt 6:08 PM
Detroit - K. Lobstein
Pittsburgh - F. Liriano 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Houston - N. Tropeano 7:05 PM
Texas - D. Holland
St. Louis - A. Wainwright 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - T. Wood
Arizona - J. Collmenter 7:10 PM
Minnesota - R. Nolasco
LA Angels - C. Wilson 9:05 PM
Oakland - J. Samardzija
San Francisco - J. Peavy 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - D. Haren
Colorado - T. Matzek 9:10 PM
San Diego - E. Stults
San Diego 22 FINAL
Buffalo 10
Dallas 34 FINAL
St. Louis 31
Washington 34 FINAL
Philadelphia 37
Houston 17 FINAL
NY Giants 30
Minnesota 9 FINAL
New Orleans 20
Tennessee 7 FINAL
Cincinnati 33
Baltimore 23 FINAL
Cleveland 21
Green Bay 7 FINAL
Detroit 19
Indianapolis 44 FINAL
Jacksonville 17
Oakland 9 FINAL
New England 16
San Francisco 14 FINAL
Arizona 23
Denver 20 FINAL
Seattle 26
Kansas City 34 FINAL
Miami 15
Pittsburgh 37 FINAL
Carolina 19
Chicago 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Ottawa 12:30 PM
NY Islanders
Ottawa 5:00 PM
NY Islanders
New Jersey 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Detroit 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Toronto 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Washington 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
St. Louis 7:30 PM
Dallas
Anaheim 8:00 PM
Colorado
Colorado 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Los Angeles 9:00 PM
Arizona
Arizona 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(12) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(9) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 41 FINAL
(23) East Carolina 70
Army 21 FINAL
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(20) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
SMU 6
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Utah 26 FINAL
Michigan 10
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
FIU 3
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Texas State 35 FINAL
Illinois 42
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
Georgia State 14 FINAL
Washington 45
Appalachian St 20 FINAL
Southern Miss 21
(14) Miss State 34 FINAL
(17) LSU 29
Northern Ill 14 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Middle Tennessee 17 FINAL
Memphis 36
Utah State 14 FINAL
Arkansas State 21
Miami-Ohio 24 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Idaho 24 FINAL
Ohio U 36
Ball State 23 FINAL
Toledo 34
(13) So Carolina 48 FINAL
Vanderbilt 34
(4) Oklahoma 45 FINAL
West Virginia 33
Ga Southern 28 FINAL
South Alabama 6
UNLV 14 FINAL
Houston 47
Miami-Florida 31 FINAL
(21) Nebraska 41
New Mexico 38 FINAL
New Mexico St 35
Clemson 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 23
California 45 FINAL
Arizona 49
San Diego St 7 FINAL
Oregon State 28
(2) Oregon 38 FINAL
Washington St 31
Louisiana 9 FINAL
Boise State 34
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 15 FINAL
Montreal 31
Ottawa 32 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
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: How sure are you that the Twins are on the road to improving?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close