Friday, October 16, 2009

A Po$itive Trend

We were led to believe that the Twins would ramp up spending in the years leading up to the opening of Target Field, but that hasn't exactly been the case. After having their payroll peak at $71 million in 2007 (the year after the stadium was officially approved), the Twins saw that figure drop to $56 million in '08 and then rise modestly to about $65 million on Opening Day this year.

The gradual budget incline hasn't happened as we might have expected, but that doesn't mean the Twins aren't showing signs that they'll be willing to open up to the wallet a bit more as they prepare for the big revenue boost provided by their new stadium. There are examples everywhere you look. That $65M opening-day budget has risen rather dramatically over the course of this season through the additions of Orlando Cabrera, Carl Pavano, Ron Mahay and Jon Rauch. In the case of Rauch, the Twins even took on several million dollars in extra salary for next season, which is rather uncharacteristic of them. The team also splurged big on the international market for the first time I can remember, snatching up the top Dominican prospect with a bonus exceeding $3 million while also tabbing a handful of other spendy high-profile foreign teenagers. Beyond all that, the Twins went well over-slot to get their first-round draft pick, Kyle Gibson, signed. Add it all up and we see a very positive trend as we move forward into the new era of Twins baseball -- this team is willing to spend.

In his well-written article previewing the Twins' offseason for the Star Tribune on Tuesday, Joe Christensen surmised that, without taking on any additional salary or re-signing any eligible free agents, the Twins' payroll will bump up to about $78 million next year. John Bonnes, who was a bit more conservative in his arbitration estimates, has that number closer to $75 million. Either way, you're looking at an increase of $10 million or more in payroll without any offseason maneuvering. If we start factoring in contract renewals for guys like Orlando Cabrera and Carl Pavano or an extension for Joe Mauer that would increase his 2010 earnings, that payroll increase just continues to escalate. Even with projected revenue increases of around $25 million in the new stadium, one can hardly expect payroll to suddenly rocket past $100 million. The space for free agent signings and added salary via trade may somewhat limited, even though the team has begun showing an increased willingness to spend.

This will be something to keep in mind as we launch into the offseason discussion. Undoubtedly we'll get started on that next week. Of course, you can get a jump-start here...

7 comments:

Dwade said...

Simply put, the Twins will need to do something they seldom do: non-tender players.

Honestly, does Glen Perkins have a future with this team? Does Brian Buscher? (You can argue the former, but the latter...replacement level) Cut them, let someone like Tolleson try his (much cheaper) hand, and spend the money on players who will actually make the team better.

Moe said...

I've never understood where the assumption that the Twins were going to "ramp up spending in the years leading up to the opening of Target Field" came from. It's always been my feeling that once the ballpark opened up, and new revenues were coming in, that then payrolls would go up.

Nick N. said...

I've never understood where the assumption that the Twins were going to "ramp up spending in the years leading up to the opening of Target Field" came from.

I'm pretty sure the Twins' brass specifically said something to that effect at one point.

Mike said...

Well I think the additional revenues could have been expected due to improved attendance/concesions as people jockey for seating in the new stadium as well as increased partnerships from corporate sponsers jockeying for a piece of that action... that's the increased revenues but my guess is that money in part is off setting the additional expenses that they plunked down to make the stadium a bit more plush....

All in all, I'm not concerned about how much they're spending but their willingness to strategically spend the dollars to make the team better.

Bryz said...

@ Dwade: So Buscher puts up one subpar season of .234/.360/.316 after hitting .294/.340/.390 (I admit the SLG is too low in both...but he IMPROVED his OBP in a season where his BA was greatly lower!) and he immediately becomes replacement level? I also understand that RBI is a poor statistic to use, but he did accumulate 47 last year when he only had 218 AB and while batting in the lower half of the lineup. Can't we argue the same with Perkins, where he just came off a poor season following a pretty solid one (albeit aided by run support)?

I think most of the fans should have realized that even with Target Field, the payroll wasn't going to increase significantly. The Pohlads never spent much on the Twins, and it really shouldn't change until the Twins start finding new ways to bring in revenue. Creating Victory Sports One wasn't a bad idea in my opinion, it's just that the Twins couldn't reach a contract with any large cable providers, angering fans and what eventually made the network a disaster. I do agree Nick, that I believe the Twins did say that the payroll would increase, both in the years before Target Field and after the Twins moved in.

Anonymous said...

I guess that we give up. No one is supposed to not like Gardy, right? I mean, all those who look at the Twins just say "hey, they're small ball, no one expects them to do well." Who wouldn't want to be manager with that scenario over your head? You'd have nothing to LOSE. And, if he had any balls at all, he'd come up to the Pohlad family and say, "you're a FORUTNE 500 so START spending the money!!" Doesn't it take money to make money? If I were Gardy, I'd take my chances with Punto having naked pics of me, and get him OFF the team. I can't find a worse hitting player, god knows how long, that starts more than sits. I wouldn't have him on my MINOR league team. Here's the homer Twin's fan "oh, he's got such a great glove!" You know, don't even go there, I've seen him make enough base running blunders, and his awful at bats, don't quite make up for his supposed GOLD GLOVE, lmao! I don't recall baseball being a "one dimensional" game, do you? I's ship Crain and Keppel out FIRST chance I had. They've been given MORE than enough time to make a more positive impact on the team. And Nathan? O M G, I'd rather have a "lesser reliever" who actually shows up in the postseason than this guy, the new Mr. UN-October. I'd have shitcanned him the day that series ended. He looked like a toddler out there.

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