Friday, October 06, 2006

Twins Geek's 2007 Cheat Sheet

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OK, all the evidence is in. You've seen them through six months, you've seen them through the playoffs (such as is was). So, what are you gonna do?

Is it crass to start talking about next year this early? Well, yeah, I think so. But in case you haven't noticed, here's the recipe for the end of season articles in the dailies:

Day after clinching loss - recap of clinching loss
Two Days after clinching game - recap of year and what to expect in the offseason

That's about it. A hell of a lot of perceptions are set by that article two days after the season ends, like two years ago when every sportswriter decided that Cristian Guzman would be returning to the Twins. Not that I've been much better. I didn't think there was any way the Twins didn't get a deal done with Corey Koskie, let alone hang onto Jacque Jones.

(There's a lesson there, by the way. Timing in the offseason is important. The Twins didn't necessarily want to keep Jones over Koskie - they lost out on Koskie and decided to put that extra money towards Jones. It's damn important to understand that some of these decisions need to be made very early, even before the free agent starts, let alone heats up.)

Here's the mission as first published a couple of weeks ago: create a competitive team for 2007 while keeping the total payroll under $67 million (a pretty realistic guess as to next year’s total). I'd encourage you to try it yourself from the link above before continuing.

But I'm gonna get started below. I'll start with players who will likely be back, including listing their approximate salaries, along with some reasoning, in case you want to go in a different direction.

Below that, we’ll list the positions where there will be more debate, and list some of the players (and how much they cost) for each of them. You can build your team, and compare it to how Ryan does this offseason – just make sure it comes in under $67 million. (Or figure out how you’re going to get Carl to part with more.) Today I'll list my choices. Tomorrow will be my best guess on what Terry Ryan will do.

The Core
Lineup

Role
Player
$M
C
Joe Mauer$ 3.50
1B
Justin Morneau$ 2.50
SS
Jason Bartlett$ 0.40
RF
Michael Cuddyer$ 4.00
Other
Torii Hunter's Buyout$ 2.50



If you've already done the earlier version, you'll notice I pulled Castillo and Punto from this list. I want more offense and less piranhas. I think they'll be back below, but I'm keeping the option open for now. On the core lineup, we’ve spent $12.9 million.

Starting Pitching


Starter 1
Johan Santana$ 12.00
Starter 2
Francisco Liriano$ 0.40
Starter 3
Boof Bonser$ 0.40




We’ll assume Brad Radke retires (or at least doesn't pitch next year) and that Liriano starts the year with the Twins. They'll cover for the injury risk by keeping one of our other youngsters around (Garza, Baker, Durbin, Slowey) in Rochester as a 6th starter. That leaves two spots open, and our total now is at $25.7 million.

Bench


BKUP MI
Luis Rodriguez$ 0.40
BKUP C
Mike Redmond$ 1.25


Redmond’s under contract (though terms haven’t been released) and we’ll assume Rodriguez comes back as a middle infielder. That leaves at least two spots open that can be filled with veterans or farm players, and just a small bump to $27.35 million.

Bullpen


Closer
Joe Nathan$ 5.25
RH Setup
Juan Rincon$ 1.50
LH Setup
Dennys Reyes$ 1.00
MR
Jesse Crain$ 0.40
MR
Pat Neshek$ 0.40
Long MR
Willie Eyre or Matt Guerrier$ 0.40


Now that Reyes is in the fold, the only assumption we have to make is that the Twins will offer Rincon arbitration. We’ll also assume six bullpen spots for now, but if you’re attached to Eyre and Guerrier, you can bring one back as the 25th man. Our final tally is $36.3 million….

Summary
We’re 60% of the way there! Fifteen of the 25 roster spots are spoken for, and $36.3 million is spent. That leaves $30.7 million to fill eight spots. Let’s see how you want to spend it…..

The Options
PositionName
$
Comments
CFHunter9.5The big question is answered. One more year to prove his foot can stay healthy on this surface, without all the "I want to paly 162 games" nonsense. A month ago, I might have chosen a platoon of Tyner and Ford, but the risk on not being able to sign a free agent with that money is big, and the Hunter decision must be made first. Plus, I want fewer piranhas, not more.
3BPunto2.5

I know many want a bigger bat at third base, but there aren't any on the free agent market. Seriously, here's the list. The only impact bats at that position are Aramis Ramirez, who reportedly has a deal in place with the Cubs, and Aubrey Huff, who is left-handed.

I'd support the Twins attempting a trade, but that hasn't worked out too well recently, especially for a big right-handed bat. I also believe that Punto's defense is better at third than second - he seems to be more a reaction guy than a range guy - so I'm hesitant to move him.

2BCastillo5.75

Here's the toughest decision on this list. Alfonso Soriano lacks the plate discipline you woule like to see from a middle of the order hitter, but he's right-handed, has power and speed, and would be a great fit between Mauer and Morneau. He's going to cost $13 million (at least), but that's affordable if Castillo is signed, and he'll be a nice replacement to Torii next year. Finally, there's no risk here, because Ryan can either keep Castillo or trade him based on whether he "wins" Soriano.

But I just can't find that extra $7 million, and believe me, I've tried. If I have $7.25M left over when I'm done with the rest of this list, I'll consider it.

LFKubel.4Getting Kubel's bat into this lineup is a priority for me, I'll admit. If his knees can't handle left field in the dome, we'll swap him back and forth with...
DHRondell White3Once he regained his health, he was great, and well worth the money. Timing also is a factor. The Twins will need to decide on this option before they know if the can get someone like Frank Thomas.
4th starterWoody Williams4I'll admit it, I'd like a veteran to provide playoff experience, eat innings, and mentor the younger guys. But I also don't want to block the talent coming through the pipeline, and I don't see that player on the free agent list. Williams is close. I'd gamble on Eaton. I won't on Carlos Silva, or at least not at that money.
5th starterGarza.4There's too much talent in the minors to not leave a spot for it to prove itself. I'll got with Garza for now, but Baker, Slowey, Perkins, Durbin and others could also be projected here.
backup IF???.5I don't know who it will be, but it'll be someone cheap.
4th OFTyner1There needs to be a decent backup for Hunter, and a platoon of Tyner and Ford might be the answer. Tyner is locked up first, because the Twins will need to make a decision on him first.
25th spotFord

.75

see directly above
TOTAL$27.8

Sigh. There's $3M to spare there, which is just painful, because if you can find another $4M, a premier right-handed hitter could find his way here. There are plenty of options (and I'm sure you'll list the best of them in the comments) but I can tell you my favorite - Carl opening his wallet.

We'll be back tomorrow with our best guess on how Terry Ryan is going to fill out this sheet. We'll see you then.

20 comments:

doofus said...

The Yankees have a surplus of OF. One of them being a RH power bat with one year left on his contract (Gary Sheffield). I bet we can get him on the cheap and maybe a few bucks to throw in. Imagine that the Twins taking on salary to help the Yankees

Anonymous said...

Shef was a personal hire by the devil himself and good when healthy-- I don't see him out of pinstripes next year

Anonymous said...

I got to wonder... with A-rod falling out of favor, do you think the Twins could get him for 6-8 mill/year? If so, what do you think they'd have to give up to do it? I'm guessing, at the very least: Slowey, Rincoln, and Crain...

Any thoughts?

Anonymous said...

$2.5 million for Punto? Really? He made $.7 million this year, and his year wasn't that impressive. I've never seen defense factor that much into arbitration awards. He'll get closer to 1.5 million.

Rich Aurilia is the guy I'd want to bring in. .867 OPS last year. .782 OPS the year before. Start Aurilia at 3rd and bump Punto back to the utility role and defensive replacement. Do that and spend whatever you have left on sign the kids to long term deals.

Anonymous said...

Can Lew still be counted on? He's batting around the Mendoza line. Anderson seems to still like Silva and is blaming WBC on his demise - but considering his awfulness, it's tough to swallow a $4 million 'unreliable Silva' and I would like to just jettison him at this point.

Hunter is a loyalty issue as much as performance issue, and while 4 yrs/32 mill seems to be bandied about - that would happen only if Ryan feel retaining Hunter is a loyal move for some of the fans - otherwise it would be option year only.

Rhubarb_Runner said...

Hunter for A-Rod, and we'd both be helping each other out.

Diggity Dino said...

Pretty easy to find $4 million (well, $3.5 million) if you replace Williams/Silva with Baker. That allows Soriano to fit with your budget. Of course, he needs to be signed long-term, which clearly doesn't fit with long-term flexibility needed for Mauer/Morneau/Cuddy/Santana/Liriano/Nathan/etc./etc. Personally, if ARod was available at $10MM annually (with the Yankees paying some on top of the Rangers) , I'd love to entertain that thought.

Anonymous said...

I'd say forget about Woody Williams, spend whatever extra money you have and get Barry Zito. Sure some will gasp at the thought of the rotation being L-L-L-R-R but can ou imagine your chances in the playoffs with Santana, Liriano, and Zito coming at you?

WV and/or RK said...

As always happens, the Yankees will probably overbid for Zito and drive his market price through the roof. It'd be nice to have him though. Williams is a sensible option and would bring a nice veteran presence to the staff.

Anonymous said...

I'd say forget about Woody Williams, spend whatever extra money you have and get Barry Zito. Sure some will gasp at the thought of the rotation being L-L-L-R-R but can ou imagine your chances in the playoffs with Santana, Liriano, and Zito coming at you?

Anonymous said...

I'd say forget about Woody Williams, spend whatever extra money you have and get Barry Zito. Sure some will gasp at the thought of the rotation being L-L-L-R-R but can ou imagine your chances in the playoffs with Santana, Liriano, and Zito coming at you?

brianS said...

Do you really see anyone on the open market giving Phil Nevin more than $3m-$5m?

I'd bring him back if he were in that price range. He's a "utility" guy at this point -- a few games at 1b, a few in RF, a few at DH, maybe a few at 3b, and a right-handed PH.

and a lot better glove than Matty LeCroy, who I'd certainly look hard at bringing back if Nevin is not the answer.

Moss said...

A guy that the Twins should consider for DH and part-time field play is Wes Helms. He can probably be had for a pretty reasonable amount and has been very productive as a part-time player and PHer for the Marlins. Any thoughts??

Lonestar said...

My two cents worth:

As of now there's no basis for counting on Kubel.

Pass on Rondell White -- the 35-year-old with the .286/339/.465/.804 slash stats. The only way I retain White is if he agrees to mentor someone like Elijah Dukes.

Castillo and Punto are redundant. Trade Castillo.

That means you would have to trade for someone young, cheap, promising, and blocked (or soon to be overtaken). Better yet, move Michael Cuddyer back to 3B, where he does less damage on defense. Then trade for an OF.

It's time to trade a one of the power RH relievers. Rincon comes to mind -- the highest profile, the most expensive. Replace him with Durbin.

Either Tyner or Ford has to go. Ford doesn't hit LHP's, so he makes for a lousy platoon. Keep reading and I'll make Tyner disappear, too.

I'm OK with picking up Torii's option I'm totally against signing him to an extension.

But what do you think of picking up Torii's option and trading him? How about bundling him with Rincon and sending him to the BoSox for Coco Crisp, Wily Mo Pena, and Jacoby Ellsbury. Trade Baker for Ryan Church. Play either Church or Crisp in CF until Ellsbury is ready. I doubt Church or Crisp could be worse in CF than Tyner and no one complained about his defense when he replace Torii.

Sign someone like Carlos Pena to DH.

I don't like Woody Williams in the DL. I'll do what I think Ryan will do -- bring back Silva.

Anonymous said...

Since Santana is all but gone after this year why don't the Twins really leverage his trade value and Trade 2 yrs of Santana to the Yankees for : Robinson Cano (to replace an aging Castillo), Philip Hughes (with all his potential) and Eric Duncan (who can compete with Matt Moses for 3rd base in 2008. Makes sence to have 3 guys longterm instead of on guy worth only 20 wins a year.

Anonymous said...

Since Santana is all but gone after this year why don't the Twins really leverage his trade value and Trade 2 yrs of Santana to the Yankees for : Robinson Cano (to replace an aging Castillo), Philip Hughes (with all his potential) and Eric Duncan (who can compete with Matt Moses for 3rd base in 2008. Makes sence to have 3 guys longterm instead of on guy worth only 20 wins a year.

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