This is my first blog about the Twins
. So let me say first and foremost I am a huge Twins fan, but right now there are so many holes in the current lineup that it is important for Mr. Smith to go out and fill some of them. This post is to put out there options that I believe are extremely viable, but unlikely.
We all know the Twins are going to have money to spend this offseason. I have heard estimates that we are $40 million under last year’s salary. For arguments sake, let’s say the Twins lower the payroll by $10 million, which gives the Twins around $30 million to spend this offseason.
Now everyone knows we needa variety of players, but my article will focus of filling 2nd and shortstop. I have come to the conclusion that we will (and should) lose Cuddy and Kubel is looking more and more likely to be gone as that is. I would offer both of them arbitration and recoup the 2 draft picks for Cuddy and 1 for Kubes. It is important that the Twins do that because restocking the farm is important as well.
Now with this extra payroll, I believe a 2nd baseman and shortstop instantly improve the Twins, both offensively and defensively. I think the two players the Twins should focus on getting are Brandon Phillips
and Jimmy Rollins
. I understand that Brandon Phillips has a club option for $12 Million, but all indications are that if he does not receive a contract extension he is going to test the market.
Now this may seem a bit of a stretch, but with the cap money that the Twins have, it is completely possible to attract both of these players and have money left over to address other areas of concern.
First, let’s talk about Brandon Phillips. To start off with, I will put some stats which make him a candidate that fits into the Twins system. Phillips had a BA of .300, 18 HR, 82 RBI and an OBP of .353. On top of this Phillips played in 150 games, had 6 errors, and had a WAR of 4.1. All of this would be a significant improvement above Lexi or whoever else the Twins would use.
Now the question is what would we have to pay Phillips. In the '06-'07 season, Phillips received a 4 year, $27 million contract. That equates to roughly $6.75 a year. Now, currently Phillips is approximately 30 years old. Because of this, Phillips is in his prime and I understand that will require top dollar. That is why if we were to sign Phillips it would need to be for an extra year or two. Robinson Cano
, arguably the best second baseman, is currently make $7 million a year and in the last year of his contract, so expect that number to increase. But for argument sakes, lets say he ends up getting $9-10 a year. That means Phillips would be at the $7-8 mark a year. If we were to sign Phillips for let’s say $8 million at a 4 year deal that would be $32 million of the next 4 years with a player in his prime who has not played in less than 141 games since 2005. On top of the pop he would provide in his bat, which the Twins desperately need, he would provide veteran leadership and sure hand in the field.
Now let’s discuss Jimmy Rollins or someone of his caliber (because he may be a Philly all his life. For this articles sake, I am going to say Rollins does not resign. This year, Rollins batted .268, had 16 Hr, and 30 SB. On top of that he only had 7 errors and had a WAR of 3.0. Now Rollins is 32 and giving him a longer contract has its downside. He is more injury prone than a guy like Phillips and the risk is higher (I admit that). Rumor is Rollins is looking for a 5 year deal with Philly only willing to give him three... soooooooo Why don't the Twins go with 4???? Currently, Rollins had a 5 yr. $40 Million with Philly. It looks like Rollins wants to get locked up for a while and a 4 year deal would do that. Again Rollins is two years older than Phillips, but SS is a premium position and the Twins would need to pay top dollar. In my opinion a deal with $9 million has to intrigue Rollins enough to take the phone call. And for arguments sake let says we do sign him for $10 and year for 4 = $40 Million for 4 years.
Now i understand that is a lot of money for the Twins to pony up to two players when there are a lot of needs to fill, but paying top dollar for two premium players playing at premium positions would wield yields of positives. First we would shore up our infield defense. Defense was downright pitiful last year and having a double play combo of Phillips and Rollins would undoubtedly provide instant defense. On top of that, these two would provide instant offense as well. I concede that transferring to the American league is a process and numbers decline, but these are two great players that know and have proven they know how to hit. On top of this, it would allow some of our own prospects to play in the outfield. Putting Tosi and right and Revere in CF or LF would provide instant upgrades defensively. We would have a young and fast outfield. Also with the picks we would get for Kubes and Cuddy we would be upgrading our farm system. And there would hypothetically we about $10-12 million left in our cap space, while at the same time reducing our payroll.
This all seems like a win/win for everybody involved.