No Way

At the end of the World Series, if you had told me the Twins had traded only Carlos Gomez for J.J. Hardy, I would have responded with a sarcastic “Yeah, right.” If you had told me the Twins would sign Jim Thome for only $1.5 million, I’d laugh at you. If you had told me the Twins signed Orlando Hudson, I’d probably walk away and tell my friends at “1,000,000 MINNESOTA TWINS FANS!!!” about this crap that the Twins would supposedly do, according to my newest acquaintance.

One quote from Twitter accurately describes how I’ve felt lately:

Is this what an offseason feels like for Yankees fans? Hardy trade, Thome/Hudson signings, Mauer extension? Could be huge!

Don’t forget bringing back Carl Pavano as well. I’ll save the discussions about Orlando Hudson for my fellow bloggers, but I am very excited to see him join the Twins organization for 2010. I was worried the Twins would settle for someone like Adam Kennedy, but Bill Smith has proven me wrong. Since the start of 2009 until the start of 2010, the Twins have added payroll in the forms of:

Carl Pavano: $7 million
Jon Rauch: $2.9 million
J.J. Hardy: $5.1 million
Jim Thome: $1.5 million
Orlando Hudson: $5 million

That’s $21.5 million committed to 5 players that weren’t with the Twins at the beginning of 2009, and that’s not even including the raises to arbitration eligible players that were already with the Twins like Jesse Crain, or minimum salary guys like Ron Mahay (not with the team anymore) and Clay Condrey ($800,000). Throw in a potential Joe Mauer contract extension, and there’s no way the Twins should be considered as being cheap.

In a previous post, I said that I wished the Twins had mentioned that the majority of this “payroll increase” was only going to come through arbitration. With the exception of Pavano above and the recent addition of Hudson, it’s turning out that we’re starting to receive what we were expecting when “increased payroll for 2010” was first being thrown around. Oh, and something that pleases me even more? All of those guys above, along with Condrey, are all here on one-year contracts. Excluding Mauer’s pay raise, that means the Twins should have at least $22.3 million to throw around in free agency and on the trade market for 2011. The Detroit Tigers are getting all the publicity for having money to spend next year, but the Twins will have a fair amount themselves.

The Twins had to have been already considered as favorites for this season, but the signing of Orlando Hudson has to suggest that they’ll be at the top of the AL Central this year. I’m a bit hesitant to guarantee this though because injuries can happen and I’m still a bit wary about the starting rotation. However, the Royals are busy trusting The Process, the Indians are rebuilding, and the White Sox and Tigers appear to be treading water until next year, so I have to feel that even with an injury here or there, the Twins should at the very least contend for the Al Central title this year. 2010 should be a very exciting season, especially for a Twins fan, and I can hardly wait.

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3 Responses to “No Way”

  1. Josh Says:

    The Twins have the most balanced team, but I really like the White Sox pitching staff. I’ll give the Twins a 65% chance to take the division. I’d like to go higher, but there are a lot of “?’s” going into the season. Is Liriano back? Are Slowey and Neshek healthy and ready to come back strong? Can Pavano stay healthy? How much, if at all, will Mauer, Kubel and Cuddy regress? I know I am being a Negative Nancy, but I think people are being a bit short-sighted if they think the division is in the bag. However, if Liriano comes back to Earth and Neshek and Slowey don’t miss a beat… watch out!

    I’d also recheck your math on next year’s spending… we’ll have to add Mauer’s raise, plus increases for players like Cuddy and others. I think I read on TwinkieTown that we’ll actually be in the negative despite the additions. And what happens if we let Guerrier, Rauch and Crain walk next year? I totally trust Burnett, Slama and Delaney, but that is certainly not an enviable position to be in.

    I have a feeling that this is “the year” and they reload a little bit next year and 2011. Which is not bad when you add the aforementioned bullpen arms, Ben Revere, Wilson Ramos (DH perhaps), Kyle Gibson and others.

  2. Tim Says:

    Don’t count on having a bunch of money next year. Arbitration is really going to hurt with Slowey and Blackburn making it for the first time, Neshek, Liriano, and Delmon in year two, and Hardy in year three. Basically if any of our upside guys have big years paying for them will be painful.

  3. Andrew Says:

    Very good points on next year’s arbitration cases. I forgot about those.

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