In parts 1 through 4 of this series, we’ve taken a look at possible free agent targets for the Twins to consider this offseason.
Now it’s time to assemble a roster and see how much of the Twins money we’re going to have to spend to fix the damage done a year ago and return this team to some reasonable competitive level.
Joe Mauer ($23 million), Jose Molina ($2 million)
Justin Morneau ($15 million), Brandon Phillips/Jimmy Rollins/Kelly Johnson ($10 million, more or less), Alexi Casilla ($1.5 million), Danny Valencia ($500K), Luke Hughes ($500K), Trevor Plouffe ($500K)
Michael Cuddyer/Lance Berkman ($10 million), Denard Span ($3 million), Ben Revere ($500K), Josh Willingham/Jason Kubel ($6 million), Jason Repko ($1 million)
Chris Carpenter/Ryan Dempster ($12 million), Scott Baker ($6.5 million), Carl Pavano ($8.5 million), Francisco Liriano ($7 million), Nick Blackburn ($4.75 million).
Kerry Wood ($6 million), Frank Francisco ($3 million), Glen Perkins ($1.5 million), Brian Duensing ($500K), Anthony Swarzak ($500), Phil Dumatrait/Scott Diamond ($500K), Alex Burnett ($500K).
You’ll notice that Kevin Slowey is not on either list. The Twins paid $2.7 million this season for Slowey and while I suppose it’s possible that they’ll be willing to pay him a bit more for 2012, I have trouble envisioning that.
Could Swarzak take Blackburn’s starting role? Sure. Duensing may find a way to keep his rotation spot, as well. The roles may or may not play out as listed, but the point is that the Twins need someone new at the top of the rotation… from there you just fill in the blanks with whomever (a) has not been traded and (b) is pitching the best in Ft. Myers in March.
In addition, the Twins will have to pay for two players not contemplated above:
Tsuyoshi Nishioka ($3 million), Joe Nathan (buy out $2 million). Yes, I know Nishioka will, in all likelihood, be on the roster. If he magically plays better by April, fine… but if not, he simply needs to work on his game somewhere where he can’t do real damage.
That’s a total of $129.75 million or approximately $16 million more than the 2011 payroll (and comparable to the increase that the 2011 payroll was over and above 2010). Can the Twins afford it? Yes. Will they spend it? Probably not. It simply runs contrary to the Twins’ organizational DNA to go on major free agent shopping sprees.
But it was worth the exercise, anyway.
Not every hole has to be filled via free agency, of course. Trades can, if done well, accomplish the same thing. If the Twins can find someone interested in Liriano, there could be $7 million shaved off the payroll there. Bill Smith certainly seemed willing to part with Denard Span in July, so you’d have to assume he would similarly entertain offers for Span once the season ends, potentially freeing up another $4 million. I’m not saying I would support trading Span (I wouldn’t, unless that’s what it takes to get a top-of-the-rotation pitcher), but I’m almost expecting it, at this point.
If those two are traded and replaced internally, you’re starting to get back down to within shouting distance of the 2011 payroll.
We’re going to have plenty of time once the season ends to more seriously consider the moves that we all think the Twins should make. By the time the winter meetings are held in December, I’m likely to reconsider every option posed in this series.
Is it a waste of time to think about all this now? When you take in to account that nobody in the Twins organization gives a damn what any of us think, yes… it’s almost certainly a waste of time.
Then again, we just watched the Twins score a grand total of one run in two games on Monday against the White Sox… what could possibly be a bigger waste of time than that?