C – Joe Mauer – $10.5MM
1B – Justin Morneau – $10.6MM
2B – Alexi Casilla – $450K
3B – Brendan Harris/Brian Buscher – $450K
SS – Nick Punto – 4.25M
LF – Delmon Young – $700K
CF – Denard Span – $400K
RF – Michael Cuddyer – $6.75MM
DH – Jason Kubel – $1.3MM+
SP – Scott Baker – $423K
SP – Francisco Liriano – $400K
SP – Kevin Slowey – $400K
SP – Nick Blackburn – $400K
SP – Glen Perkins – $400K
RP – Joe Nathan – $11.25MM
RP – Jesse Crain – $1.7MM
RP – Matt Guerrier – $950K+
RP – Pat Neshek – $435K
RP – Boof Bonser – $433K
RP – Craig Breslow – $400K
RP – Jose Mijares – $400K
Bench – C â€“ Mike Redmond â€“ 950K
Bench – 3B – Brendan Harris/Brian Buscher – $450K
Bench – IF – Matt Tolbert – $400K
Bench – OF – Carlos Gomez – $400K
Others on Payroll: Mike Lamb – $3MM
Thatâ€™s a full 25 man roster tallying to a cool $58.2 million dollars.
In 2007 before we let go of Hunter, Santana and Silvaâ€™s contracts, our team salary was at $71.4 million dollars, quite a bit higher than the 58.2 million we stand at now. It would appear as if we should have room to spend and that our team payroll could be anywhere from $70â€“80 million if management decided to spend at previous yearsâ€™ numbers plus increase, leaving $12-22 million dollars of unspent payroll.
So what would our options be?
1. Trade for Adrian Beltre at 3B â€“ Should be at a price $12 million next year and players (possibly a mix of Cuddyer/Perkins/Prospect)? Beltre added the Twins to his no-trade clause list most likely by recommendation of his agent Scott Boras in order to have bargaining chips down the road (i.e. compensation for waiving his no trade clause).
2. Sign Ty Wigginton at 3B â€“ Expect $6-8 million/yr and 3 years plus based on Ty wanting a bigger contract than Casey Blakeâ€™s 3 year $17.5 million dollar deal to the Dodgers. Talks seem to have come to a halt in December and the Indians have shown interest.
3. Sign Joe Crede at 3B â€“ Could go anywhere from $2-6 million based on his health and where the market for him is at in a month. The Giants seem to think heâ€™s healthy enough to start pursuing. Should only be a one year deal.
4. Trade for Garrett Atkins at 3B â€“ Salary in the $5 million dollar per year range. Rockies are asking quite a bit for him though (Slowey + Prospects).
So it looks like after the Blake and DeRosa talks fell through weâ€™ve run a little thin on options. Unless we take a good stab at Ty Wigginton and give him a 3rd year, I believe weâ€™ll be looking at another year of the Harris/Buscher platoon. Joe Credeâ€™s another option that I think is viable, we just havenâ€™t heard much about it from the Twins camp and depending on his health he probably wouldnâ€™t be much of an impact. The Garrett Atkins deal just asks way too much from the Twins (no way the Twins give up Slowey for just about anyone at this point).
The Adrian Beltre option, if it went down as described, is preferred but would be a one year rental (plus this means having Scott Boras around which is certainly not something the Twins want to have on their plate). Grabbing Adrian Beltre though, even in a rental situation, makes this team incredibly dangerous and may be this teamâ€™s hope for a World Series run. Unfortunately, Seattle probably wants more than described above and are rumored to be unreasonable in the negotiations around a Beltre deal.
Guys I would be looking to deal:
Cuddyer â€“ Big contract and weâ€™re overstocked in the outfield.
Punto â€“ Poor production and unfortunately a new big contract.
Perkins â€“ The weakest of our young starting pitching staff. We have a lot of talent in the minors.
Kubel â€“ If the price was right.
Harris/Buscher â€“ If anybody wanted them in a package and we got a 3B in return.
Guys I would NOT be looking to deal:
Liriano/Slowey/Baker/Blackburn â€“ All young cheap studs. Very underrated pitching staff. Many would argue Blackburn is in the â€œdealâ€ mix if the price was right, but his performance in the play-in game was stellar. When October rolls around this guy will come to play.
Gomez/Young/Span â€“ This is the future of our outfield. Young and loaded with talent.
Mauer/Morneau â€“ For obvious reasons.
Casilla â€“ Young, talented, fast, and versatile with a decent bat. Canâ€™t look for much more out of a guy playing 2nd base these days.
Speaking of Nick Puntoâ€™s new contract: Since when have the Twins overspent on somebody this much? A guy that hit .284 with 2 dingers last year (not to mention a .210 batting average the year before with nearly 500 ABâ€™s!) can not be worth over 4 million a year. Now that the Cubs have signed a similar player in Aaron Miles to a deal half that of Puntoâ€™s (Miles has slightly more attractive stats including a .317 average last season) some Twins fans, including myself, have found themselves a little perplexed. Why would we give Punto such a big contract? Maybe heâ€™s just that much of a â€œgamerâ€ and has too much defensive ability to deny. Maybe heâ€™s just simply that integral to our team chemistry. Maybe itâ€™s just that inspiring to the clubhouse that when he actually hits a home run, it rallies our team for months. Maybe the Twins just have that much of an infatuation with him, knowing that we should trade him away, we signed him to a big contract in hopes some other team takes it on after we deal him away (for say J.J. Hardy, fair?) giving Nick some extra cash. Whatever the case, the contract was too big for a guy who it can be debated whether or not should have a starting job in the major leagues. I love the guy as a competitor, but his numbers are killing us. Fun fact: Nick Punto will be making roughly twice that of our entire starting rotation next year.
Another guy that we should hold onto and thatâ€™s been in dozens of rumors is Delmon Young. Ron Gardenhire was quoted in December as saying our starting lineup next year would consist of Span, Gomez, and Cuddyer obviously leaving out the former 1st overall pick Delmon Young. This seemingly opened the door for Young to be dealt and the rumors flew in.
Wait a minuteâ€¦
Yes he only hit 10 homers and yes he only hit .290 last year. But, the guy did that as a 22 year old in the majors. At 22! It seems like sometimes we drool over prospects that do that in the minors at the same age. I would hope we give him plenty time to develop being that there arenâ€™t many guys in the game with as high of a ceiling as Delmon. Heâ€™s the definition of a low risk, high potential type of player that I would think the Twins would love to have. Worst case scenario, he doesnâ€™t pan out and we pull one of our talented guys playing well in the minors up to fill in, but I really think this guy could do us wonders in a few years as long as his attitude problems are kept in check.
Iâ€™m certainly hoping that the Gardenhire quote was a ploy to increase Cuddyerâ€™s trade value.
In other AL Central news today:
Former White Sox Outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. could be heading back to the Mariners.