Monday, March 09, 2009

Cost Control

The beauty of a five-man pitching rotation comprised entirely of young, controllable pitchers was evident on Saturday when the Twins signed Scott Baker to a four-year, $15.25 million contract. The deal is not huge news -- the Twins are simply gaining cost certainty over the next four years, a span during which Baker was under their control anyway. This contract will probably save them some money over the arbitration route and the $9.25 million team option for Baker's first year of free agency is very nice, but the magnitude of this signing certainly is not on par with, say, the Justin Morneau contract last offseason.

It's good to see the Twins being proactive with Baker, who was a logical candidate to be first member of the rotation to receive a long-term deal since he's closer to free agency than everyone other than Francisco Liriano, who still carries some injury concerns. Baker will deservedly be the Twins' Opening Day starter on April 6, and on the open market a pitcher of his caliber would likely cost at least $10 million per season. The fact that the Twins will pay just over $15 million to him over the next four years combined and will face similarly inexpensive commitments with the rest of the team's starters leaves them with plenty of money to spend elsewhere. And of course the most important place for that money to be directed is very clear.

Time to get to work on a new contract for Joe Mauer.

3 comments:

Curveball said...

If you look at the Big Picture of the deal with Baker, the Twins probably could sign ALL five of their current starters for a apckage of around the same funds...of course they won't...which shows the position theya re currently in regarding pitching. You can easily move one of the starters out of the picture each of the next three years with a couple of viable replacement candidates to keep payroll down.

The biggest decision...this side of giving Slowey a similar deal...is what to do with Liriano. The plus side on Liriano is that the Twins DO control him for four mroe seasons (at a max cost in today's dollars of probably $25 million) and if he does pitch GREAT, his trade value will be superpendous after Year One of arbitration, when the Twins have to consider spending the $$$ or throw him into the amrketplace.

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