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What's the going rate?

Posted by: Seth Stohs Updated: August 11, 2011 - 12:11 AM
Remember the 1994 movie Little Big League? In it, the owner of the Twins passes away and wills the team and the stadium to his grandson, 12-year-old Billy Heywood. He names himself the manager of the Twins. Some of the veteran players do not like that decision and needing to abide by the rules of the youngster. A veteran pitcher tells him that he isn’t going to pitch and isn’t going to do anything to affect his upcoming free agency.
Heywood says, “What’s the going rate for a 30 year old free agent pitcher that can’t get anybody out?”
Suddenly, the pitcher had a change of heart and pitched well again.
The Twins will have some big decisions to make between now and the beginning of the 2012 season. Two of the bigger decisions involve a couple of immensely talented but enigmatic ball players, Delmon Young and Francisco Liriano.
Some believe that the Twins should trade them for whatever they can get for them. Both have one more year of arbitration remaining, but some fans believe that the two are non-tender candidates. What would you do?
How about this? Go to each player with the Billy Heywood comment.
“Hey Francisco, what is the going rate for a 28 year old pitcher with an ERA of 5.00, a history of injuries and the perception that he doesn’t put in his work?”
“Hey Delmon, what is the going rate for a 26 year old corner outfielders coming off of a season with a .650 OPS, less than 30 extra base hits, bad defense and a questionable attitude?
Neither of these guys is old. Both have had very good seasons as recently as 2010 when Young hit .298 with 46 doubles, 21 homers and 112 RBI and Liriano won 14 games with an ERA of 3.62 and 201 strikeouts in 191+ innings.
Instead of selling low on both of them, why not put the pressure on them to work really, really hard in the offseason, knowing that they really need to put up big numbers in 2012 or potentially lose out on a lot of money. Why not let the Twins see what they can get from those players in a contract year? Let the Twins be the beneficiary of that effort. Both do have the world of talent. We have seen that talent on the field. They are both young enough to still reach that level again.
Of course, bringing them back means that the Twins will need to pay them at least 80% of what they are paying them this year. Most likely, each would be in line for a small raise. That could mean $10-13 million for the two players that could be used elsewhere.
I just really do not believe in selling low. What do you think?
(For the record, I don't think that this is what will or even necessarily should be done. I think at least one, most likely Young, will be traded in the offseason, or sooner)

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