Thursday, November 15, 2007

Doing The Little Things Right

It used to be a point of pride. Now it's a ridiculed cliche. "The Twins Do The Little Things Right".

Usually that phrase has been applied to on-field play (though not deservedly this last year) but it's also been generally applicable to player personnel moves (though not deservedly this last year). Twins fans hope that attention to detail returns on the field. Twins Geeks hope it returns off the field.

Mabye it is. When I turned a critical eye toward the Monroe trade on Tuesday, it still wasn't a trade, only a rumor. But, as usual, the details matter, and they're showing some creative thinking on behalf of the organization.

To be honest, I don't think I've ever heard of a trade quite like it. The Twins and Cubs structured this so the Twins basically acquired exlusive negotiating rights to Monroe for the next month. If they don't get a deal done, they basically lose nothing. And if they do get a deal done, they lose very little besides some money.

Some of the criticisms still stand. Monroe still is nothing more than a deceivingly shaky fallback option. Also, the most the Twins can reduce his salary is 20%, which would mean he makes around $4 million next year, which is still probably too much for someone with his history. And finally, it's not clear the Twins truly understand that their biggest and riskiest investment is playing time.

But there's enough positives to make me gloss over the queasy feeling the accompanied the news that the Twins apparently made this deal without understanding whether they could negotiate a 20% or 40% pay cut for Monroe from last year's salary. Hey, what's a million dollars when you've got Carl's checkbook, right?

Or could it be that is another ploy, used to negotiate Monroe closer to the 20% cut? Far-fetched? Maybe, but my paradigm on this new regime has shifted a little. Objectively, all that's changed over the last 48 hours is that the Twins will likely spend $1 million less than I thought, may not give up anything from their minors, and may even throw Monroe back like an undersized walleye. Should that really be enough to change my view?

Maybe not. But the outside-the-box nature of this trade raises the possiblity that the Twins are suddenly acting a little smarter - and more creatively - than we're used to. For Twins fans starved for some pride in the local nine, that's not such a little thing.


Jeff said...

I think this is a great move now! I may not be that excited about Monroe himself, but I feel a little safer with the people running the ship.

walter hanson said...

Bill Smith has a lot of challenges that he needs to work on at the same time:

* He's inherited an organization with a lot of young and talented players. Due the stadium situation and an owner unwillingly to green light some contracts didn't lock in their talented players beyond 2008 with one exception.

* He has a team which while it had it's first losing season since 2000 has the potential to win the division if he can taken care of filling out the gaps in the 2007 team (the biggest another right handed hitter with some pop something sorely lacking). A healthy Liranio can replace Silvia with better numbers and maybe one of the youngsters if they get traded.

* He's suppose to be a friend of Hunter's. If we're making an effort to sign Hunter this could be a move to help keep Tori here! Keeping Hunter could help keep Johan.

* Smith is now just two seasons from the new stadium not three like Ryan. While that one year has increased the costs for some players contract the organization can be more comfortable in creating some contracts which might lost money in 2008 and 2009 if it keeps people here in 2010 and beyond.

* The one month window sounds lke something to do with Hunter. By the deadline the Twins will know if they can sign Hunter. If they can't Monroe becomes a cheap plan B while the Twins will use Hunter's 12 million to bring in a high quality free agent replacment or eat the salary in the trade for one.

It looks like we will have an interesting month.