Sunday, August 07, 2011

Looking at 2012 Payroll

Twins Should Have Some Dough This Offseason

The bad news: it's apparent the Twins have a lot of fixes to make before 2012. The good news: the biggest traditional obstacle for the Twins - budget - isn't all that big an obstacle.

This is a marked difference from last offseason, when I spent most of the season's second half forewarning Twins fans about a brutal and disappointing offseason. It lived up to it's billing. But this year is going to be quite a bit different, thanks to some pretty big numbers coming off the books.

The chart on the right is back-of-the-napkin figuring - it'll be off by a million here or a half-million there, but it's close enough to get a pretty good big picture of where the Twins sit. It assumes that the Twins choose to retain to Alexi Casilla (as a middle infielder), Jason Repko (as a 4th OF), Glen Perkins (as a setup man), Jose Mijares (as a middle reliever) and Phil Dumatrait (also as a middle reliever). You can quibble about a couple of them, but it doesn't matter too much - their salaries aren't too significant, and their replacements would cost about the same.

Much bigger decisions loom:
  • Michael Cuddyer - The Twins will likely offer him arbitration, as it looks more and more likely he'll be a Type A free agent. That gives them the inside track to re-sign him, but that 2-year/$16 million offer they floated might be a bad harbinger. Cuddyer is going to get at least 3 years and $27M, and if he keeps hitting like he is someone might pay him $40M over four years. So if you want to pencil him back in right field next year, you better set aside at least $10M for next year.
  • Francisco Liriano - He'll make around $7.5M in arbitration next year if the Twins offer it. If they don't they'll likely trade him, because someone will.
  • Delmon Young - He'll also likely make around $7.5M in arbitration. Working in his favor is that the Twins will need to decide whether to offer him arbitration BEFORE Cuddy decides who he picks to play for next year. They may offer arbitration to Delmon just so they're sure they have at least one spot covered.
  • There is also Joe Nathan, Matt Capps, Jason Kubel and Kevin Slowey to ponder. I'm sure they'll try to bring some of them back, but I'm less sure on the numbers they might get. We'll talk about that in some future entry.
So, that's the bad news - but the good news is that the payroll is at just $74M before those decisions are made. Even if they bring back Cuddyer, Liriano and Young, it only goes up to $99M. My best guess on Twins payroll next year is that it is at least $120M and could go as high as $130M, so I'll estimate it at $125M. So the Twins have $20M to $30M to spend on ... just about anything you want. Closer? Ace Starter? Catcher? Shortstop?


Jens said...

If they bring back Matt Capps, I will boycott Target Field. He isn't worth paying more than a couple million to middle relieve, and someone else will pay him more.

Revolution vs. NPG said...

I'd be shocked if next years payroll was anywhere near as high as it was this year. The rumor is that ownership is unhappy with the height of the payroll.

John said...

Payroll has pretty consistently increased 10-15% over the last decade. I'll be shocked if it's less than $120M next year.

As for this year's level, reading between the lines I think they wanted about a $110M payroll and ended up stretching it to $113 to re-sign Pavano. But that doesn't mean anything for next year.

MN said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MN said...

"My best guess on Twins payroll next year is that it is at least $120M and could go as high as $130M, so I'll estimate it at $125M."

I agree with Revolution vs. NPG. After the burn of this season they are going to take a hard look at things. My guess is they'll cut payroll.

Jesse said...

Cutting payroll probably isn't as wise as simply investing their dollars more wisely. If I was a gambling man I'd put down cash that the Twins will not cut payroll. They really don't have any reason to.

Anonymous said...

I disagree completely on slashing payroll. Why would they? The 2nd year in Target Field was a HUGE success as far as attendance and season ticket sales even with the team in 4th or 5th place the entire year.

As for who goes and stays - I hope they let DY walk, sign and trade Liriano and make a move for a C/DH type and someone to play up the middle. The bullpen is really scarey though. Please let Capps walk. We all know they'll throw money at some 'closer' so I'd prefer Nathan for 7 mil than Capps or someone else for that money.

Jeff said...

Won't Nathan cost $10-12M next year? I would trust him to close, even at that price. Should be healthy and back to form. Perkins or Minor Lgr waiting in wings.

Anonymous said...

"The 2nd year in Target Field was a HUGE success as far as attendance and season ticket sales even with the team in 4th or 5th place the entire year."

That's because all those tickets were sold before the season started. The scalpers/speculators have taken a major bath this year, and you can see guys with huge fistfuls of tickets they are trying to move. Last I looked there's almost 3000 seats for all 4 Yankees games available on StubHub-and not priced unreasonably. The Twins are selling half-priced standing room tickets on Wed. for students. Don't think they'd be doing that if they could sell them easily at full price.

JB_Iowa said...

I would guess that the payroll will be about $113-$115 million -- just enough so they can't be accused of a "cut". I would also prefer that they not sign Michael Cuddyer. To me, it would be much like the Mauer signing -- a signing at the peak of his value without much (if any) likelihood of an "upside" and a lot of potential for a downhill slide.

I, too, would much prefer that they sign Kubel -- lower price and more potential "upside" and one more year removed from knee surgery. Plus, Cuddyer projects as a Type "A" so you get a little more return when Cuddyer signs elsewhere. Then, as disappointed as I have been in Delmon this year, I think you offer him arbitration. Maybe they could come to an agreement on a slight decrease (or at least no increase) in salary given his lousy numbers this year. With any luck he might have a good "walk" year in 2012 and would keep a right-handed power bat (okay not so much this year) in the line-up. Then they might be able to do something with him at the trade deadline or, if nothing else, he becomes a free agent and hopefully, Benson is ready at that point. Plus, he, Kubel, Mauer and Morneau could probably split DH duties.

USAFChief said...

Another $8.5M to spend in 2012 if they could find someone stupid enough to put a waiver claim in on Pavano.

Of course, it's going to be tough to find another major league GM who'll make that mistake. The only one that dumb CAN'T make a waiver claim on Pavano, since he already owns him.

writerjoel said...

The bigger question is movement before the end of August. Do the Twins cut ties with Cuddyer, Kubel, Capps, Thome and Pavano to release themselves from the current salaries, but retain a better position to possibly re-sign the player next season. The big question is Cuddyer...would a new team offer him arbitration, thus killing his chances for free agency. Also, Joe you send him away with the hopes of bring him back, making the other team eat arat of the buyout.

This will contribute to the big pictrue look of 2012. Are the Twins going into rebuilding mode, in whch they could trade, say, Young and Liriano.

And Morneau. What and where will he be.

The Twins in 2012:


So they need an outfielder, DH, and someone to join Plouffe as backups bench. They need a second catcher.


doesn't excite me...but you have them

and whoever else sticks.

Maybe the thought of trading Span for a future closer wasn't a bad choice to think about

Gary_Ward said...

I like the idea of letting Cuddyer go, keeping Kubes as the RF, and sitting down with Delmon and coming to the understanding that he will be the main DH next year.

JfW said...

I'm a bit encouraged by the sensible extension they offered Cuddyer (even if he had no reason at all to accept it). I'd certainly be happy to keep him at 2/16m.

Unfortunately, he'll probably be looking for between 3/32m and 4/44m which makes little sense for the Twins.

That unfortunately may give them pause in non-tendering Young.
Kubel's future should probably hinge on whether Thome is going to be around as designated hitter. One of my greatest critisism's of this roster is the sheer number players on the roster whom ought to mostly DH (Thome, Kubel, Young, Cuddyer, and Mauer once a week).

The Twins ought then to be bold this offseason and find two decent corner outfielders as short term solutions.

I sort of want to see them go after Nolan Reimold

JfW said...

..rather, they ought to retain Thome *or* kubel at dh, non-tender Young and let Cuddyer walk with an offer of arbitration

fishingmn said...

Agree with what others said about payroll - $110-115M is much more likely. I would expect a rather large dropoff in season ticket renewals for next year.

tborg said...

John, last year you said that Pavano would certainly get $30 million over 3 years. Given that Cuddyer is another over 30 player with an up and down career, are you sure you're not making the same mistake again?

Anonymous said...

I am pretty sure Cuddyer is well beyond the arbitration stage, and is just a free agent. You mentioned they will offer him arbitration, and I believe that is incorrect.

Payroll said...

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