Hometown Disgraces: Why Can’t the Twins and Padres Sign Their Own Heroes

by PaulCatalano

Ever since the beginning of the free agency Monopoly-money movement, baseball separated into two strata, the” big market money to burn” teams and the small market have-nots. And for the most part, there was a sort of equilibrium. To be sure, the Yankees, Red Sox and their ilk made it to the playoffs more than say, the Kansas City Royals or Pittsburgh Pirates, but certain small market teams would break into the World Series and even win it from time to time. The 2002 Angels won it all with a roster that cost $61 million, or about half of what the Yankees cost. The next year, the Florida Marlins won it all with a budget of $49 million. The White Sox and the Astros fought it out in 2005 with middling budgets of roughly $75 million. The Rockies made it to the Series with one of the lowest budgets in baseball for 2007. So did the Tampa Rays in 2008. In fact 8 different clubs won the World Series since 2001, and 13 different teams were in it. To be clear, we’re not saying the game is balanced fair and square; we’re saying certain teams have a plan to make he best with the smaller revenue they have.

And a big part of that plan is, trade expensive older players to a desperate big market team, for young cheaper talent. The Oakland A’s have been doping it for years. Toronto did it last winter with Roy Halladay. The Indians did it with Victor Martinez last summer. And so on.

However, recently that trend has changed and not for the better depending on the point of view.

It is common knowledge that the San Diego Padres will be trading their 1st baseman, Adrian Gonzalez come the trade deadline. And this week, Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star/Tribune suggested that the Twins should trade Joe Mauer.

Why are these even options?

Both Gonzalez and Mauer are natives of the city they play for. Both are young, emerging superstars; the kind of players a franchise should build around. These guys aren’t again overpaid former stars in decline. These are guys are just hitting their prime. Mauer won the MVP last year. Gonzalez won his 2nd consecutive Gold Gloves, led the NL in walks, and in canyon-esque Petco Park, had 40 home runs (only 22 more than the next Padre). Why would teams even think of trading these guys?

Well, as Souhan writes:

“A trade could yield a closer to replace Joe Nathan…A statistician or scout might argue that he might never duplicate his remarkable 2009 season, that he has been plagued by injuries, that the Twins are high on catching prospect Wilson Ramos, that the franchise might be better off spending the $200 million it might take to sign Mauer on a handful of other players.”

Matt Snyder of MLB Fanhouse wrote a while back:

“The problem here is that the Padres can’t be ready to compete for the next two years. They aren’t anywhere near competing. They need a large quantity of good young players, and dealing a player as attractive as Gonzalez would be on the open market is the best way to land several stellar prospects.”

And The Friarhood: a Padre Fan site writes:

“For the casual Padres fan, the thought of moving Adrian Gonzalez may just seem like a salary dump. That couldn’t be further from the truth, it is more a matter of trading a guy that you will not be able to sign…As I previously mentioned, the Padres trading AGON is far from a salary dump, but a move the team will need to make to ensure they are able to earn maximum value for the organizations long-term outlook.”

But is that the truth? In a 2007 New York Times article, they cite:

“A longtime banker, the 92-year-old Pohlad (owner of the Twins) is tied for 114th on the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest people in the country with a fortune estimated at $3.1 billion…He is the wealthiest baseball owner…”

And with the Twins moving into a new stadium, thereby generating even more revenue for the Twins and the Pohlad family, how could the Twins cry poverty?

Ken Rosenthal of Foxsports.com writes:

“San Diego’s Petco Park is only six years old…Heck; Milwaukee is the No. 35 media market, smallest in the majors. Yet, the Brewers offered left-hander CC Sabathia a $100 million free agent contract after the 2008 season. Their owner, Mark Attanasio, recently said he wants to keep first baseman Prince Fielder, who—like Gonzalez—will be a free agent after the 2011 season.”

So is it the truth that the Padres and the Twins just can’t sign these homegrown, young stars? Rosenthal continues:

“If the Padres land a few potential building blocks, then plow their savings on Gonzalez into player development, more power to them. But the idea of building around such a player — an almost-perfect player for San Diego, really — should not be so easily dismissed…The Padres will be around $40 million — a number that almost certainly is far below the total they will collect in revenue sharing and central-fund payouts.”

So what is it exactly that is preventing these teams from signing what should obviously be talented, popular stars?

In an older article written on baseballsuite101.com, James Lincoln Ray writes that when small market teams get the revenue sharing money from richer teams and spend it on players, success often follows.

“The Colorado Rockies are a fine example. The Rockies used all of the $16 million they received in 2006 revenue sharing dollars to increase their payroll in 2007, and that certainly helped the team win this year’s National League pennant. The Detroit Tigers are another success story. They used revenue sharing dollars to attract free agents Ivan Rodriguez and Magglio Ordonez, and those players helped the Tigers climb from a team that won just 43 games in 2002 to a club that won the American League pennant last year.”

Ray goes on to write that some baseball teams don’t use the money they receive to better their ballclub—a contention Yankee owner George Steinbrenner and Red Sox owner John Henry often vehemently complained about. Instead they just pocket the money, a windfall for the owners.

“One reason that some clubs fail to improve is that they don’t use their revenue sharing dollars to attract free agents or to retain homegrown players. (Emphasis mine.)”

This January the New York Daily News’s Bill Maddon reported that Commissioner Bud Selig was going to crack down on “baseball’s revenue-sharing welfare cheats.” Maddon quotes John Henry:

“Change is needed and that is reflected by the fact that over a billion dollars have been paid to seven chronically uncompetitive teams, five of whom have had baseball’s highest operating profits.”

Maddon continues:

“According to sources familiar with what went down between Selig and Players Association honchos last week, the union has targeted four teams—the Marlins, Pirates, Rays and the Padres.”

In that 2007 New York Times article cited above, the Times writes:

“Because the Twins always have had one of the lower payrolls in the major leagues, they are criticized by wealthier teams for not using the money they get from revenue sharing on their payroll. In the last five years, the Twins have received an average of $20 million a year in revenue sharing, but their payroll has not increased proportionately. The aggregate increase in those five years has been $16 million.”

The Times was writing about the Twins decision to trade Johan Santana, (“Certainly between revenue sharing and Pohlad’s Forbes-worthy wealth, the Twins could afford to pay Santana what they would have to keep him at home…”) but could have easily been writing about Joe Mauer in with same words.

The Padres should be asked the same question. And in fact, Bill Center of Sign On San Diego wrote recently:

“So, are the Padres being questioned on their use of revenue sharing funds given the fact that their payroll plunged to around $43 million last season and is target for no more than that amount this year? An official of the MLBPA…said he did not think the Padres were being studied for violations of the Basic Agreement.”

How couldn’t they be? Consider the evidence.

Recently Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton, longtime sports talk show host in San Diego and columnist for the San Diego News Network, was interviewed about the Padres and had this to say.

“They get anywhere from $15 to $18 million a year from all the big clubs in the revenue sharing pot. They get it, the Pirates get it, Kansas City gets it, Florida gets it, all the small market teams. Well, the big issue here is if you’re getting $18 million from revenue sharing and your payroll is only $40, that means you’re only putting $22 of your own money into the payroll. It’s disgraceful.”

In an interview with Padre owner Jeff Moorad, Hamilton was told by Moorad that:

“The gross revenue of the club is something in the range of $150 million. Most clubs have a payroll half the amount of the gross revenue. The Padres have to pay $20 million a year in stadium bonds. Moorad wouldn’t change that because we have one of the better stadiums in all of baseball. He believes that the Padres can maintain a $70-80 payroll in the future.”

Last year, the Padres spent about $37.8 million in payroll and the Opening Day payroll this year should be about $36 million. One question, Mr. Moorad: $70-80 million minus the 20 million paid by the bonds, equals $50 to 60 million. Why is your payroll only $36 million? And couldn’t you use that 15 to 25 million, extra to sign local favorite and entering the prime of his career, Adrian Gonzalez? And build around him?

And Mr. Pohlad, with a new stadium generating new revenue, and your family value estimated at 2.6 billion dollars, is it really impossible to sign the MVP and hometown hero, Joe Mauer? Couldn’t he be the cornerstone of your franchise for the next decade?

There are no rules stating a franchise must spend it’s money on anything it doesn’t feel like it should. But when 2 hometown favorites—young, immensely talented, and good guys; perfect cornerstone material for a franchise—are being shunned by their own teams, when these teams obviously have the money to spend, it’s time for baseball to step in. Because it is a disgrace, and it shouldn’t stand.

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45 Responses to “Hometown Disgraces: Why Can’t the Twins and Padres Sign Their Own Heroes”

  1. Jim Says:

    Souhan likely woke up this morning with a hangover and forgot what he was going to write about and figured a panicky Joe’s going to be traded story would rouse the the masses. Maybe Mauer will leave and while the Twins are parsimonious it should be noted that for 2010 their anticipated payroll before an extension to Mauer will be over $90M, more than the Dodgers. Also the rumor mills claim the club offered Mauer an 8-10 year deal at $25M per. If that number is close to the truth and Mauer doesn’t sign, then the onus is on Joe, not the Pohlads.

    As far as the AGon and the Padres are concerned, given the state of that farm system paying one player all that money makes no sense, they’ll never win with him. Getting a couple of major league ready prospects or first or second year major leaguers and 2 or 3 players who are a couple of years away makes sense.

    The Padres ownership problems have pretty much destroyed a franchise that for a while was much like the Twins in that they were good enough to contend for the wild card spot and occasionally carried the chase deep into September. Dealing AGon is a no brainer.

  2. Patrick Says:

    From the article; “Because the Twins always have had one of the lower payrolls in the major leagues, they are criticized by wealthier teams for not using the money they get from revenue sharing on their payroll. In the last five years, the Twins have received an average of $20 million a year in revenue sharing, but their payroll has not increased proportionately. The aggregate increase in those five years has been $16 million.”

    It would be disgraceful except for one thing. The Twins win. Over that 5 year period they have been the best team in the AL Central, 2 Division titles and tied for a 3rd. 54 games over .500 and defending Central Division champ.

    Not that Santana wouldn’t have helped but they’ve basically been in 1st place since he left.

    Coincidentally, San Diego has also won 2 Division titles and tied for a 3rd over the last 5 years, but overall they’re 13 games under .500. Still, that’s hardly tanking it.

    I agree that both teams should try to lock up both stars but if the Twins don’t, I wouldn’t expect them not to be competitive. 2 years ago they lost both Santana and Liriano and somehow managed to get better. Last year, they lost Morneau for the last month of the season and again, they managed to get better. Now it looks like they lost Nathan. We’ll see.

    Gardenhire might be that guy who can beat you with his and turn around and beat you again with yours.

  3. Jeff Says:

    “The Oakland A’s have been doping it for years. Toronto did it last winter with Roy Halladay. The Indians did it with Victor Martinez last summer.”

    I already knew about Canseco and McGwire, but I had no idea about Halladay and Martinez.

  4. Raul Says:

    The whole point of revenue sharing is for teams with less money to be able to buy better players.

    If the Florida Marlins can win with 35 million, why do the Redsox need to put more cash in the Marlns’ pockets?

    It’s one thing if a team plays it conservatively for a year or two, planning to make a splash at a future free agent or draft pick. But it’s another thing when teams have a history of pocketing money for no reason.

  5. Chuck Says:

    “are being shunned by their own teams.”

    Neither player is being shunned.

    Gonzalez has two years remaining on his deal, there is no hurry or reason at this point to get anything done.

    I think the Twins will do whatever it takes to re-sign Mauer, and it will be long-term for Teixeira type money.

    They can’t afford NOT to re-sign him. It will suck big-time to have this pretty new stadium and no fans.

  6. Richard Says:

    The Twins are one of those teams that have figured out how to be a mid-market team and still compete with the larger markets. Just because Carl Pohlad has billions does not mean that he should lose money on his team, that’s how he accumulated the wealth in the first place, by being smart. Noone is saying these teams don’t have the money, just that they are choosing how much to spend, and how much to stash in their pockets, just like any organization would. If the Twins trade Mauer, and get back two front-line pitching prospects, two future stars in the infield, and then save 25 million and use 15 of it on two mid-level free agents, all while opening a spot for a Catching prospect they really like, there should be no outcry – it’s not that they couldn’t afford Mauer, they chose to spend it on other things.

    The Padres had a fire sale the last couple of years, and are trying to do the same thing the Twins are, only with limited success. Mat Latos, Tim Stauffer, et al, are supposed to pick up the slack left by dealing Peavy, much as the Twins had Glen Perkins, Francisco Liriano, Kevin Slowey, Nick Blackburn, etc., ready to take over for Johan Santana. The difference is that Kouzmanoff, Headley, and others didn’t step up like Bartlett, Cuddyer, and Kubel have for the Twinkies. But, if they choose to run their club at $36-40 Million this year, and then trade Gonzalez and Chris Young to get it even lower, that’s their choice, and their model for building a winning team. Suppose that the $20 million that is being saved the last two years is saved until the kids are ready, and then the Pods go out and get Crawford next year? There were very good free agents also that were signing in the 6-8 million range, and if that trend continues, would you trade Adrian Gonzalez for Jayson Werth, Crawford, Lars Anderson, Clay Bucholz, Casey Kelley, and Ryan Westmoreland? I would say so.

  7. brautigan Says:

    Richard: Have you even looked at the Padres minor league players? Man, the cupboard is bare. There is no long term help on the farm. Well, there are 2 third baseman, but the Padres just moved Headley back to 3rd. So, go figure.

  8. Chuck Says:

    If I’m a Padres fan and they trade Gonzalez, every player they get in return damn well better be in the starting lineup the next day.

    The Pads are going to have a top five pick for the next few years, they can slowly rebuild the system through the draft, or even the waiver wire.

    But the NL West isn’t any good..look at what Patrick said, two division titles and a third over the past five years despite being 13 below .500 overall.

    A good return for Gonzalez and the division is winnable.

    Screw Portland (sorry, Braut)

  9. Raul Says:

    If they traded Gonzalez to Boston (the likely destination according to rumors)….what would Boston send?

    I just hope San Diego doesn’t get raped and manages to get legitimate prospects.

  10. Hossrex Says:

    Raul: “I just hope San Diego doesn’t get raped and manages to get legitimate prospects.”

    I think we all know that’s impossible.

  11. Raul Says:

    Well the Twins traded Johan Santana for 5 players and none of them are any good.

  12. brautigan Says:

    It’s the last game of the 2007 season. Portland has called up Cedric Hunter and he has played in two games (pinch running if memory serves me). Portland has him playing centerfield for the last game. He hits a homerun and makes a game saving catch, a great catch in deep centerfield. The homerun later turns out to be the game winner. We can’t WAIT to see this 19 year old phenom play CF again!

    His OPS for last year in AA was .625.

  13. jimmy vac Says:

    It is amazing that teams willing to spend money trying to win get nailed with the luxury tax. It only seems fair if you have a max, you need to have a minimum for the sake of parity. These teams get stadium money for stadiums funded by the public via taxes or bond issues, local and national TV money, as well as a cut of the money from sale of MLB issued goods, plus their attendance. The minimum cap should be around 90-100 million.. otherwise they should be hit with a penalty for not maintaining a minimum cap balance. If you can’t afford to spend it, you should not be in it.. Alot of guys have taken less to play close to home ..

  14. brautigan Says:

    It’s my best guess Logan Forsythe will start in AA, so that might mean James Darnell starts in A.

    Hunter will be in Portland, Sawyer Carroll in Portland?

    Man, that’s depressing. That’s the cupboard.

  15. Richard Says:

    Gonzalez would likely be traded for OF Ryan Westmoreland, RHP Casey Kelly, Clay Bucholz, and 1B Lars Anderson. Westmoreland is #21 on BA’s prospect list, Kelly is #24, and Anderson is #87. The Sox have reportedly balked at the asking price so far, but I imagine it will get done. While you can never be sure on prospects, that’s quite a haul, and frees up money for potential Free Agents, of which the class of 2011 is impressive.

  16. Patrick Says:

    Richard, that would be quite a haul for Gonzalez. What I don’t get is what the Redsox are going to do with him. They have V Mart, Youk, Beltre, Lowell and Ortiz.

    I know they’re stuck with Lowell but why sign Beltre if you were looking to get Gonzalez?

  17. Richard Says:

    Patrick,

    They have committed to V-Mart behind the plate this year; Gonzalez plays at 1B, and Youkilis shares time at DH and 3B, David Ortiz and Beltre picking up the rest of the time. I believe Boston will also turn around and trade Lowell, eating most of his contract, and someone will take a flyer on him, as soon as he proves that his thumb is healed. Why all the movement? A-Gon is THAT good.

    Beltre is a luxury that improves infield defense and gives another option/leverage if the Padres remain stubborn in not taking what the Sox have to offer.

    Consider this: The Rangers traded Adrian Gonzalez AND Chris Young to San Diego for Adam Eaton and Akinori Otsuka. Ouch. The Rangers acquired him in a deal the sent Ugueth Urbina to Florida. Consider that the Rangers have had Mark Teixiera, Adrian Gonzalez, and Carlos Pena, and now sit on Chris Davis at first. There’s a young prospect named Justin Smoak that projects as a powerful first baseman in the Texas organization, but they will probably trade him for Barry Zito…I’m just saying…

  18. Raul Says:

    Victor Martinez hasn’t been offered an extension by the Redsox

    Beltre, if he has a good season, will likely opt out after this year and go back to Free Agency.

    David Ortiz is a Free Agent after the season – the Redsox have a team option on him that won’t be picked up.

    Mike Lowell is a Free Agent after the season.

    My guess would be they could re-sign Victor Martinez as a DH, trade for Adrian Gonzalez to play 1st, and shift Youkilis back to 3B.

    The question is, are the Redsox going to give up the ton of prospects to get Adrian Gonzalez, sign Gonzalez to a big deal, turn around and give big money to Josh Beckett as well?

    Seems if they’re going to trade Casey Kelly and Clay Buchholz, they HAVE to keep Josh Beckett.

  19. Patrick Says:

    Yes, Gonzalez is that good and Lowell probably will be gone but Ortiz is still good enough to play against RH starters, so that puts him in the lineup 75% of the time. That leaves Youkilis or Beltre on the bench 75% of the time unless Youk plays RF when Drew gets a hangnail.

    For a guy who hates RBI, I wish Theo would stop getting RBI guys. For Tampa’s and NY’s sake, I hope it doesn’t happen.

  20. Chuck Says:

    I could see a scenario in which Ortiz struggles as he did for most of last season and the Red Sox release him to make room for Gonzalez.

    The signing of Beltre, IMO, eliminates the need for Gonzalez in Boston…at least for THIS year. Remember, he has TWO years remaining on his contract.

    Westmoreland and Kelly are untouchables.

  21. Patrick Says:

    *Oh, and Texas and their inability to keep their great homegrown 1B’s isn’t lost on me. Those 3 guys averaged 39 HR last lear. Unbelievable.

    They’ll probably trade Davis and he’ll become a 50 HR guy. lol

  22. Chuck Says:

    Davis couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat.

    The ultimate all or nothing guy.

    He’ll be gone by the All-Star break.

  23. brautigan Says:

    Richard:

    In your trade scenario, you see Lars Anderson going to San Diego. If San Diego trades AG, the you’ll be seeing Kyle Blanks playing 1B, therefore, San Diego does not need Lars Anderson, unless they want to make some Portland fans smile.

  24. Patrick Says:

    Yeah Chuck, I agree, it doesn’t look good for Davis. He does have power though.

  25. Jim Says:

    One thing that is evident regarding Theo and the Trio, they like their prospects and have demonstrated an unwillingness to trade the cream. The exception being Hanley Ramirez when Theo was on sabbatical. Chuck is right, Kelly and Westmoreland are untouchable.

    Regarding the Sox free agents, Ortiz and Lowell are essentially gone, though if Ortiz has a decent year he could get an incentive laden deal in 2011. Martinez says he wants to stay in Boston and the Sox have said they want him, but neither party feels the deal needs to get done before the season starts, but expect Martinez to resign. Reportedly its been all smiles regarding the Beckett negotiations so that deal will likely get done.

    Who might the Sox trade, Ellsbury is probably available and Buchholz, unless he starts the season like he finished 09 and then they’ll probably keep him. Minor leaguers worth considering, beyond Iglesias they have a couple of shortstops, one Navarro who might make the switch to 3rd. Outfielders, Kalish and Reddick, but neither is a sure thing, a couple of catchers who need at least another year or two in the minors and a couple of back of the rotation starters/bullpen pitchers.

    I think the odds of the Sox making a deal for AGon, assuming he becomes available are no better than 50-50.

  26. Richard Says:

    Kyle Blanks should be a first baseman, and probably a DH, but they are having him go to LF because A-Gon is there. He has more value if he plays left, but good call on Lars Anderson – the Pads might ask for a major leaaguer instead. Boston’s farm system is deep – I believe that for Gonzalez, Kelly and Westmoreland could be had.

  27. Chuck Says:

    Now Ryan Westmoreland is really not trade bait.

    http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20100313&content_id=8784894&vkey=news_bos&fext=.jsp&c_id=bos

  28. jim Says:

    I saw the note on Ryan Westmoreland and googled cavernous malformation, a couple of the articles I read, including one by the Mayo Clinic were specific to what it is, an area of abnormally dilated blood vessels in the brain or spinal cord and what the effects could be but vague on the expected out come of treatment.

    Here’s hoping the kid will be alright.

  29. Hossrex Says:

    Can we get a discussion about RBI, or the hall of fame or something?

  30. Richard Says:

    Truly best wishes to Ryan Westmoreland and his family, from a Yankee fan to a guy I hope I can hate for many years to come…

  31. Richard Says:

    Lets start with…who is more deserving of the Hall of Fame…Bert Blyleven, Mike Mussina, or neither?

  32. Hossrex Says:

    Richard: “Lets start with…who is more deserving of the Hall of Fame…Bert Blyleven, Mike Mussina, or neither?”

    Fascinating question.

    My gut says “unquestionably Blyleven.”

    Yet looking at the statistics it’s pretty clearly Mussina. Moose had a MUCH better career peak, and certainly a “long enough” career to be the much more obvious choice.

    Moose missed all the old school “tickets”… but considering those “tickets” (yuck) are based on 50 year old standards, and pitchers who went 350 innings per year… I’d say Moose looks just fine.

    Better than Blyleven.

  33. Chuck Says:

    “Can we get a discussion about RBI, or the hall of fame or something”

    OK, Corey.

  34. Dean M Says:

    Hoss, I’ll contact Jimmy Scott immediately to get a new article up. I can’t guarantee it’ll be about RBI or the Hall of Fame though…

  35. Scott Says:

    OK, PaulCatalano. First off, you’re killing us with this constant Yankee crap. At least this is something different. I just fail to see how because one hack writer is trying to stir up controversy by saying the Twins are looking to trade Mauer, you are saying they are a “disgrace”. To me, they are signing extensions to certain players on the team, ie Blackburn and Span, showing Mauer they are committed to success. Not to mention that because of the likely length and amount of money involved in the contract it is certainly very complex, and if both sides are agreeing in terms behind closed doors, what’s the rush to finalize the details? Patience.

    The Twins in particularly seem like the very epitome of the successful small market franchises outlined in the first paragraph, minus the championship. Five postseason appearences in the past decade, all while spending a mere 433 million. Over that same period, the Yankees spent over 1.5 Billion (with a “b”) in order to win their championship. The Twins are getting a public funded stadium, which will reap great profits. It seems they are a model businees: little money spent, but still successful, meanwhile expanding in such a way (new ballpark profits) that will actually increase their profits.

    Also, with the Twins payroll now pushing 140 million, can you really claim that they aren’t spending?

  36. Hossrex Says:

    Scott: “First off, you’re killing us with this constant Yankee crap.”

    A wise man once said… if you don’t like the quality, or the subject of the articles on a user supported website… write something yourself.

    Paul is a Yankees fan. Paul knows the Yankees. Writers write what they know.

    What the hell else should Paul right about?

  37. Paul Catalano Says:

    First off, the 2010 Twins payroll is 95, not 140 million.

    Second, who cares if the Twins get a lot for their frugal ways? Winning is the only thing that matters and the have a better chance of it with Mauer than without. If they get rid of him to save money, when the owners are billionaires, then the fans should be upset.

    Third, if you don’t like my articles, don’t read them.

  38. Patrick Says:

    That’s a shame about Westmoreland.

    Paul, I thought it was a very informative article on a great subject. I can see how it could be viewed as disgraceful to pocket the revenue sharing while turning out a weak product but the Twins aren’t the best example of that.

    Also, as a baseball fan, sure, they should sign their hometown stars but part of me hates saying that.

    If I were Pohlad for example, I’d have a hard time justifying a $200M investment in any one man. I can’t get through my head how anyone could be worth $200M for playing baseball, especially when half of the country is out of business.

    Even Pohlad has limits that he can spend so the issue isn’t that Mauer makes the team better but does Mauer make the team better than it would be if they spent the $200M on 4 or 5 very good players? Probably not. So Pohlad makes unpopular decisions but he never hamstrings the Twins by putting all of his eggs in one basket.

  39. Scott Says:

    In response to 37.

    Yeah, I confused the Twins payroll with my poor Cubs payroll. There’s a great example of a big market/big payroll team that has no clue how to spend its money. Still, the Twins are raising payroll, and they’re making smart commitments to players such as Blackburn and Span.

    Again, how does one writer with no sources stirring the pot by saying Mauer should get traded say anything about what is going to happen? Have either the Twins or Mauer himself or his agent hinted that talks have hit a snag? No. Is there any real evidence the Twins aren’t going to be able to sign him? No. So why were they brought into the argument? It’s called patience, with negotiations so complex, it’s going to take time. Both sides want a deal, it will happen.

    Other examples of Twins frugality aren’t that offensive to me, either. The reasoning behind trading Santana is that the Twins probably weren’t big on giving big money and a lot of years to a pitcher. Too much injury risk (and Santana has already missed time), and the Twins can ill afford to have a player getting paid that much to miss time. The Yankees can afford to have a Kei Igawa failure or a Carl Pavano bust, but it hurts the Twins a lot more. Torii Hunter was much beloved, but he is aging, and the Twins had solid outfield prospects coming up through the system, there wasn’t a big reason to sign him. It doesn’t make fans happy, but I would love having Span in center right now as opposed to Hunter.

    “Winning is the only thing that matters” no, it isn’t. To fans, it is. But let’s be adults about this. We are watching a game, but it’s a business. If they consistently win, why should they spend more? The Twins will never make as much money as the big market teams, so in order to reap profits, they must spend less, its simple economics. Arguing that the owner is a billionaire and thus should spend like no tomoworrow is silly, people get that rich by being smart with their money, not by sinking it into a no profit baseball team. Baseball fans seem to think owners owe us championships, even if they have to lose money in the process. Owners are there to make money. The fact that the Twins have managed to win and keep salary low is a good thing.

    Carl Pohlad is capable of spending the $1.5 billion the Yankees spent over the past decade, but what money would he see in return? If he spent it as poorly as the Yankees had until last year, he would have one championship and his personal account about cut in half. Why should we ask him to do this? He spent dramatically less, saw his team succeed, spun it into a publicly funded ballpark that will reap greater profits for him. And we want to complain because the FO hasn’t yet signed Mauer? I’m shaking my head here.

    Let me repeat: they are still negotiating, there have been no signs of discord. In fact, if the Twins were afraid they couldn’t sign him, why would they be making commitments to Blackburn and Span? Wouldn’t they want to have that money free to give to Mauer? I digress. If Mauer ends up traded or goes to free agency, then we can talk. Until then, this is just silly.

    And in response to 33: I guess he should go back to writing about the Yankees, because if this is the best he’s got when it comes to smaller market teams, then yikes.

  40. Jim Says:

    Scott, if Carl Pohlad is still calling the shots for the Twins, quick head to Las Vegas and put down every nickle you have on the them to win the WS. If the ball plays odd at Target Field, it will because its haunted by the ghost of old Carl and he’ll be in a position to insure they win.

    Carl died last year and the team is officially owned by an investment company, the Pohlad Family Trust, I believe its called, that was set up about 10 years ago. The Twins’ CEO is Jim Pohlad, a son.

  41. Scott Says:

    Whoops, guess I’m living in the past. Now that you write that, I do remember hearing that he passed.

  42. Scott Says:

    8 years. $184 million.

    What a disgrace.

  43. Raul Says:

    Scott missed the point.

  44. Hossrex Says:

    Scott: “What a disgrace.”

    Why?

    He’s a good enough hitter that he’s worth 20 million per year at a first baseman, or an outfielder, and even though they’ll probably be missing a bet if he’s still a catcher during the entirety of the contract, he’ll only be 34 when the contract is over. It’s not like there are a bunch of late thirties years attached where he wont be worth the money.

    I’m allowing for a hint of irony in your “disgrace” statement… but that isn’t how it sounded.

    Would you prefer all the small market teams stuck to their economic guns, and refused to bow down to super-agents?

    Might as well just hand the world series to the Yankees in spring every year.

    Joe Mauer is at worst the second most valuable player in Major League Baseball at the moment.

  45. Scott Says:

    At 43 and 44. I tried to add “sarcasm” between two of those arrow things, but they didn’t show up on the post. Yeah, I was trying to ridicule adding the Twins to the list of small market teams refusing to spend big bucks just because one writer said they were going to trade Mauer. Hopefully this will be an example to use some restraint before critizing an organization.

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