This fall, two days after the Twins were knocked out of the playoffs, TwinsCentric (myself, Seth Stohs, Nick Nelson and Parker Hageman) released the GM Offseason Handbook. The idea was to create a reference that fans could monitor the offseason moves just like the general manager of the Twins. So it included all the same kinds of info and decisions that a GM might need to make, such as a comprehensive list of free agents, trade targets and arbitration decisions.
And because our favorite team is so fiscally conscious, it had to include projected salaries, because the Twins work on a budget. To this day, we don't know what that budget is exactly, but we guessed it would be about $95 million in the Handbook and went through and gave prices to everyone. Which, as you might imagine, is a study in educated guesswork.
As the offseason has rolled along, I've been really happy to see how close we've come for various free agents. I fully intend to bore you with a comparison at the end of the free agency period to see how we did. But as the arbitration agreements for the Twins came in yesterday, I wondered how close we came for those. It seemed pretty close on most, so I ran the numbers tonight. Here they are:
We were less than a million dollars off as a group, and most of that difference was because we expected Pavano to sign a two-year deal instead of a one-year deal.
The one I feel the worst about was Delmon Young's, because I still can't figure out how he ends up getting $2.6 million given his track record. I've never totally understood his contract situation, seeing as he had such a big contract straight out of the draft. If someone wants to explain that to me, I'd love to hear it.
Which one do we feel best about? Well, we couldn't have done much better with Crain, especially after reading other predictions that he wouldn't be kept or he would make around $3 million next year.
So, the point is - I guess it is that attention to detail can pay off, even if it's in a nerdy, baseball-obsessed kinda way.
And most surprising? I'm mildly surprised would be that the Twins offered Brendan Harris a two-year deal. I really like Harris as a utility solution and bench player, but I'm not sure I totally get the logic here. The Twins seem to have other solutions for that role, like Matt Tolbert or even Alexi Casilla. You could argue those players have more upside, though maybe can't be counted to perform at as high a level. But why lock yourself into Harris next year too? It's not like he was going to get crazy expensive.
There were questions on Twitter about whether this might indicate that Harris would have a starting infield spot, meaning that the Twins would not sign a free agent second or third baseman. I don't see it - except for one thing. If Harris were to start in 2010 and play well, this contract limits what the Twins will need to pay him in 2011.
It's only mildly surprising because the Twins did the same thing a couple of years ago with Nick Punto. Ironically, this deal might crowd Punto off the roster when his contract expires at the end of this year. Especially if the Twins take advantage of the deep second baseman market.
It's not a terrible signing - Harris is a good bench addition and this is a good contract to lock that in. It's just puzzling. I'd love to here from the Twins why they thought this was necessary, or even savvy.