Souhan: Twins must open checkbook for pitching, or losing will go on

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 18, 2013 - 7:58 AM

There is little correlation between spending and winning in Major League Baseball.

Seven of the 10 teams that spent the most on payroll this season probably will miss the playoffs, including the top-spending New York Yankees, who will have lavished about $229 million on a bunch of old, overpaid players. The Oakland A’s and Tampa Bay Rays rank 27th and 28th out of 30 teams in payroll and have as much chance of winning the World Series this year as anyone.

The Twins can’t spend their way out of their three-year backslide into oblivion.

But wouldn’t it be nice if they tried?

I’m not asking them to sign the top free-agent pitcher on the market, because that would be expensive and, given the history of top-dollar free agent pitchers, dangerous.

Actually, wait. That’s exactly what I’m asking them to do.

I’m using the same scientific rationale as the Wright Brothers, Sir Edmund Hillary, Evel Knievel and Neil Armstrong, who all concluded: What the heck, give it a shot.

(Complete list of MLB free agents)

I’ve always bought into Twins General Manager Terry Ryan’s philosophy, agreeing that most free agents are overpaid and underwhelming, that the only way to build a good team in a lesser market is to develop your own pitching and position players, trade intelligently and seek bargains in free agency.

But, to quote the eminent philosopher Donald Trump, desperate times call for blank checks.

These are desperate times for the unwatchable team at 1 Twins Way.

They’ve produced embarrassing results for three consecutive years. They’ve scared off the paying customers who are interested in something other than craft beer and sunshine. They face another year or two of losing before their phenoms will be ready to lead a competitive team. Their greatest weakness, starting pitching, is also the most difficult and unpredictable commodity to evaluate and develop.

Signing expensive free-agent pitchers usually offers more risk than reward. By the time a pitcher becomes a free agent, his best years might be behind him. There might be a reason his latest team didn’t sell out to keep him. He might be a season-ending injury waiting to happen.

The risks are obvious.

In the Twins’ case, so are the potential rewards.

Signing a premier free-agent pitcher would signal to a highly supportive fan base that the organization is not content to field a disheartening product. The perception that the Pohlads are content to lose games and rake in cash is incorrect, but it exists. A big check could change that.

Competitively, a premier pitcher could hasten rebuilding and, if that occurred sooner rather than later, a premier pitcher could provide leadership for young arms arriving in the majors, and give the Twins a chance to win Game 1 of any playoff series, which is a big deal in a format in which a playoff series might last only one game.

They could pursue a veteran innings consumer such as Bronson Arroyo, a stereotypical soft-tossing lefty such as Bruce Chen, a wacky hard thrower such as Matt Garza. They could take a shot on a slumping Phil Hughes. Even better, they could sign two.

  • related content

  • Complete list of MLB free agents

    Wednesday September 18, 2013

    NEW YORK — Here is a list of the 189 players potentially eligible for free agency(c-club option, v-vesting option,...

  • Reusse blog: I hate this Twins team

    Wednesday September 18, 2013

    The 2013 Twins didn't even offer hope on Opening Day, when they broke out Vance Worley. And it's only gotten worse.

  • Twins statistics

    Monday September 23, 2013

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Final123456789RHE
Minnesota000000100140
Baltimore «00053100X970
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:M.Gonzalez(7-7) L:T.May(0-4)
HR: MIN- T.Plouffe (11) BAL- D.Young (7), C.Davis (24)

ADVERTISEMENT

Cincinnati - LP: J. Broxton 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: T. Watson 2
Minnesota - LP: T. May 1 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: M. Gonzalez 9
NY Yankees - WP: C. Capuano 6 FINAL
Toronto - LP: M. Buehrle 3
Philadelphia - LP: J. Diekman 1 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: J. deGrom 4
Boston - WP: A. Ranaudo 8 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: C. Archer 4
Miami - LP: C. Hatcher 2 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: D. Carpenter 5
Cleveland - WP: D. Salazar 6 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Vargas 1
Detroit - WP: J. Verlander 7 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: S. Carroll 1
Texas - WP: S. Baker 13 FINAL
Houston - LP: B. Oberholtzer 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: N. Ramirez 7 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: P. Neshek 2
Colorado - LP: R. Brothers 2 FINAL
Arizona - WP: B. Ziegler 5
Oakland - LP: J. Lester 0 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: J. Weaver 4
Los Angeles - LP: K. Correia 2 FINAL
San Diego - WP: T. Stauffer 3
Washington - WP: J. Zimmermann 8 FINAL
Seattle - LP: F. Hernandez 3
Milwaukee - LP: W. Peralta 2 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: R. Vogelsong 13
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 FINAL
Washington St 38
Weber State 14 FINAL
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 37 FINAL
Vanderbilt 7
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Houston 3 FINAL
Sporting Kansas City 1
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Minnesota 71 FINAL
Phoenix 85
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