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

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Washington 102 FINAL
New York 91
Oklahoma City 114 FINAL
San Antonio 106
Cleveland 91 FINAL
Miami 101
LA Lakers 30 2nd Qtr 7:04
Chicago 43
Golden State 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
DePaul 69 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 72
Ohio 58 FINAL
Nebraska 71
Colorado 66 FINAL
Hawaii 69
George Washington 8:00 PM
Wichita State
Central Mich 48 FINAL
Western Ky 49
Fresno State 6 FINAL
Rice 30
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
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: Do you like the Twins' offseason moves so far?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close