Lots to do this offseason, no doubt. Let's jump right in:
Arbitration: I'm offering it to both Pavano and Hudson, and letting them walk. I think Pavano's going to end up with at least one 3-year offer at around $30M and that's just too much considering our other options. And I think Hudson will get a 2-year deal this time, and I don't like the chances for him to be productive/healthy in 2012. I also think Alexi Casilla at 2b is a reasonable area to save money. I'm letting them both walk and collecting 3 top 60 picks. Here's where it gets dicey:
I'm offering arbitration to ALL of Matt Guerrier/Jon Rauch/Jesse Crain. Each could net around $4M for one season, but I think it's a worthy gamble in all 3 cases. I think both Rauch and Crain will want a chance to close and I think they'll both get multi-year offers. If not, I think each is tradeable at 1 year/$4M. And I wouldn't mind Crain back. More on that later. Guerrier's the really big risk IMO. As a Type A, it's going to be tougher for a team to justify signing him. But there is a chance that a team signing higher ranked FA's would sign him as well. And I think it's justifiable to a lot of teams to give up a 2nd or 3rd rd pick for Matt Guerrier. Again, if not, it's either 1 year at $4M or a trade of him at that price. I'd take that risk.
Matt Capps/Brian Fuentes: I'm tendering and trading Capps. There are better, cheaper options in FA this year. With Fuentes, I'm giving him a 2-year deal with a promise at a shot at closing, both to begin 2011, and in 2012 (planning on declining Nathan's option). 2 years/$11M. I'm also re-signing Crain, if possible, for 2 years/$8M, also offering him a shot at closing. In fact, I'd treat the CL role, at least to start 2011, as a platoon. With Nathan hopefully working his way into the mix as the year progresses.
Jim Thome: I'm bringing him back at 1 year/$5M. I share the same concerns as most with him, but I don't see a lot of better options, and I like the depth he provides. Plus, I think the Twins want to see him reach 600 in a Twins uniform and contribute in the clubhouse. I'd use him a little more sparingly (hopefully) in 2011 than in 2010.
Extensions: 2 players I am offering extensions to as perhaps the highest offseason priorities for the team IMO. Francisco Liriano and JJ Hardy. If we wait until next offseason to sign Liriano, I think it'll be too late. I expect him to have a big year next year another year removed from surgery and with a full offseason of rest (he pitched over 240 innings last year including winter ball) and that's going to make his price go through the roof. I'm locking him up for 4 years/$40M. JJ Hardy is much the same. I expect a good year from him next year and a relative return to health. Given the weak SS options, if we don't sign him to an extension now, I think we lose him in 2012, with no forseeable great replacement option. I'm locking him up for 3 years/$20M.
Considerations: Delmon Young and Kevin Slowey. Neither of these may be popular, especially in Slowey's case, but I believe you seriously consider locking both up, whether they're in your future plans or not. Both figure to only get more expensive. I'd consider 3-4 year deals for both.
More after the jump.The big move happens now:
Zack Greinke. I believe in Liriano as an ace, but I think there's no better fit for Zack Greinke than the Minnesota Twins, in terms of contending, prospects, and market. This is the place for him to be. And he fits the Twins profile. Josh Johnson is the only better "ace" fit, but I expect Florida to retain him with the new stadium on the horizon and their extension of him. Here's my trade offer:
Kevin Slowey or Brian Duensing. Tough to say which KC values more. I value Slowey more, still. But KC might value Duensing more. I'd give either up. This offers KC a nice, young, cost-controlled starter who will give them innings.
Ben Revere. I like Revere more than most, but I don't think an OF with Span and Revere can work. Too little power, and I shudder to think of the beating the outfield turf will take with their throws from the OF together. Gives KC a future leadoff hitter who can be a productive player for a long time.
David Bromberg. He's not the level of Gibson or Wimmers in my mind, but he's performed well, and is likely to offer KC something similar to Slowey/Duensing in the near future. For the Twins, it's dealing from excess.
Angel Morales. Again, like Bromberg, he's not the 'name' that Hicks is, but his ceiling is extremely high. And he's performed even better so far in the minors. For the Twins, again, hate to see him go, but it's dealing from excess.
Overall this is what I'm offering KC. Might be too much, might be too little. But I think that's a fair package for a team with limited trade options. I also extend Greinke through 2014 in the same deal. For a deal at around $17M/season.
I'm skimping in the backup OF position, using Brandon Roberts or Rene Tosoni. Letting Repko go. The 2010 OF isn't ideal at all, but I don't see anything different as likely. And I like Cuddyer and Kubel's chances for big years in their contract years. Plus, both figure to be Type A FA's next year. I'm looking forward to those picks. I'd use Cuddyer as more of a utility guy, playing a lot in RF, but also some at 3b, 1b, DH, and maybe even occasionally at 2b.
I'm also skimping a bit in the bullpen, going with a group of Fuentes/Crain/Mijares/Nathan and 3 young guys. But I think that's fine. I think Waldrop/Burnett/the rotation loser, or Manship can fill in okay here. I'd actually be in favor or using Gibson there to start the year, limiting his innings as his max has to be set at around 180 this year. And if it's not working? Make a deal for someone else, just like this past year. Just don't give up a top prospect for a 2011 non-tender candidate reliever again. I also expect some of the kids, like Gutierrez, to come through by mid-season or so. I'm also skimping in the INF utility role as I don't see a lot of big PH opportunites on this team. I'm going with some combination of Plouffe/Tolbert/Harris/Hughes to help out there.
It's not an infallible team, and the payroll is a bit high, but there's a significant drop-off in 2012, with Benson taking over in RF in my world, and Thome/Kubel/Nathan all gone as well. Finding a cheaper DH option and an in-house closer. And our pitching would be unreal and give us a real shot in the playoffs, especially if Baker is healthy and Liriano takes another step forward. Here it is:
2b-Casilla-$1M (arbitration estimate)
SS-Hardy-$6.5M (extension estimate)
LF-Young-$5M (arbitration/extension estimate)
Bench: Thome-$5M, Tolbert-$500K, Tosoni/Roberts-$500K, Plouffe/Hughes-$500K, Morales/Butera-$500K
Total offense: $74.75M Plus Harris/Punto buyout: $2.05M Total: $76.80M
Greinke-$13.5M (extension to start in 2012)
Liriano-$4M (more money to kick in in 2012)
Bullpen: Nathan-$11.25M, Fuentes-$5.5M, Crain-$4M, Mijares-$500K, Burnett-$500K, Waldrop/Slama-$500K, Manship/Gibson-$500K
Total staff: $50.25M
Total team: $127.05M
Unreasonably high? Maybe. But again, it will be significantly less in 2012. I could see the Pohlad's approving something like this for one year. Anyway, that's what I got.