Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Crystal Ball

What Does Twins 2012 Payroll Look Like?

I’ve been asked several times in the last few weeks what the Twins payroll situation looks like for 2012, a year into the future. Unfortunately, that speculation is a combination of back-of-the-napkin figuring and crystal ball gazing that could be viewed as irresponsible on a major newspaper site.

Good thing I’m a blogger.

So, let’s assume some things:
  1. Both Franscisco Liriano and Delmon Young continue to perform at a high enough level such that the Twins offer them arbitration.
  2. Justin Morneau doesn’t need to be replaced (and his contract doesn’t need to be paid by insurance).
  3. Alexi Casilla and Tsuyoshi Nishioka play well enough that the Twins want them to be the starting infielders next year.
  4. The Twins don’t add any higher-priced veteran relievers for next year, and find enough arms in their system to stock the bullpen.
  5. Kevin Slowey starts this year and does well enough that he’s offered arbitration again next year.
If all that is true, the (very approximate) salaries of 2012's team is over there on the right.

Which leads to a couple of observations:
  1. My best guess on payroll next year is around $130M. If you want to argue about it, that’s what the comments are for. But the jump this year was from $96M to $113M, and $130M seems about right to me.
  2. If that’s true, the Twins have 3 big roles to fill (RF, DH, Closer) and $33M to fill them. That’s a much better situation than they had this offseason.
  3. If one of the starters is traded and Brian Duensing (or Kyle Gibson) takes his place, that’s even more money available.
  4. You’ll notice I didn’t pen in either Capps or Nathan as a closer. I’m quite sure that if either is successful this year, they’ll cost about $10M. So if you want to put one in there, just do a little adding and subtracting yourself.
  5. Finally, there’s a lot of big “ifs.” For instance, if Casilla ends up being relegated back to utility infielder, then the Twins might save a couple of million dollars on his salary, but now they have four positions to fill on $33M. That’s not nearly so enticing.
If you would like to talk more payroll or other Twins stuff, I’ll be at two different events over the next two nights, so flag me down. Tonight I’ll be at the Diamond Awards, and Friday night I’ll be at the Hot Stove League banquet with (I think) a few other TwinsCentric guys. I got the following note from the organizer of the Hot Stove Banquet yesterday:

“Juan Berenguer has been added to the line-up for Ballpark Tours 3rd Annual Last Hot Stove League Banquet & Charity Auction scheduled for this Friday Jan 28th at Carpenter’s Hall 710 Olive Street in St. Paul.

Senor Smoke will join Jim Kaat at the podium as our keynoters. In addition, local author Pete Schilling will chat about the art of heckling & a couple of media usual suspects (not sure who yet) will take part in our Q & A.

The focus of the event is to raise money for the Dunning Little League baseball program & this anti-dome crowd will be able to bid on an auction item sure to ‘bring down the roof!!!!’ The Ballpark Tours gang has raised over $50,000 for the fields at Dunning over the years.”

This is easily the best week and weekend of the long offseason. If you’re a Twins fan, make sure you make the most of it.