La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Your take: Twins draft spending

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III under Twins Farm System, Twins prospects, Vikings draft Updated: August 20, 2010 - 2:53 PM

Sorry I haven't filed minor league notes in awhile. I do plan to write something on hard-throwing prospect Bruce Pugh, whom I interviewed recently. Stay tuned for that.

For now, I want to throw this out for consumption. The folks at Baseball America have released three-year bonus spending patterns of teams, and the Twins are ranked near the bottom.

Here it is

I'm a big believer that if a team isn't willing to sign a $10 million free agent if better be willing to spend that much in signing young talent. The Indians just spent a club record $9.3 million on this year's draft because they are mad as hell and won't take it anymore.

This list suggests the Twins have stuck to slot money. And, thanks to BA, here are the bonuses and slot recommendations for the Twins' first five rounds:

Pick   Player                        '10 Bonus             '10 Est. Slot

21.     Alex Wimmers, rhp    $1,332,000         $1,332,000  
71.      Niko Goodrum, ss     $514,800             $514,800

102.    Pat Dean, lhp              $319,500             $319,500

135.    Eddie Rosario, of         $200,000           $200,700 

165.    Nate Roberts, of          $149,000           $149,400

I know there are a few cases where they have gone over slot. They signed righthander Dallas Gallant, their 23rd round pick this year, for $122,500, which is sixth or seventh round money. That BA list also doesn't reflect foreign player signings, such as Miguel Angel Sano - and the Twins have increased their spending outside the USA.

I know the draft is a crapshoot and first-round picks fail every year. But if a team feels strongly about a player it shouldn't let a difference of a couple hundred thousand dollars kill a deal. I would love to know how much the Twins offered righthander  DeAndre Smelter, their 14th round pick, who has worked with Kevin Brown and is headed to Georgia Tech. He seems to be the type of pitching prospect the Twins need more of in their system.

Detroit has said, ``screw the slot,'' and signed Justin Verlander and Rick Porcello. They gave their sandwich pick this year, third Nick Castellanos, $3.45 million when the slot recommendation was $776,700 (that's really high).

I know the Twins have principles. But they are going to be on an island alone with their principles because more teams are ignoring slot suggestions to sign promising talent.

What do you think about this? Keep in mind all the picks who have flamed out in the past (Matt Moses, B.J. Garbe, Ryan Mills, Adam Johnson are some of the Twins first-round flops)..




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