So we all know Terry Ryan just spent the biggest trade chip the organization has on a flame throwing prospect that won't be in the rotation until 2014 at the earliest and possibly 2015. That would seem to signal a rebuild in 2013 taking fans through another difficult year reminiscent of the last 2. This has many fans gnashing teeth about the trade and speculating that the Pohland's will use the opportunity to keep payroll low punt the 2013 season and build for the future by swapping out more expensive vets for prospects. This is a viable method, one that has led the Twins to world series titles in the past, however that was when the club was significantly more small market.
I think Ryan gave a good glimpse into the situation by saying Meyer is the type of high end pitching talent that you cannot get once they are are at AA/ AAA without massivley over paying. The fact is the farm system needed this type of player and while Ben Revere is not the same level of player as Span the drop off from the two is not that severe and even if it turns out that Revere severely regresses Hicks is sitting in the wings and profiles as Span with more arm, base running ability, and power. The Twins still are able to field an offense featuring Mauer, Morneau, Willingham, Doumit, Plouffe, Parmalee, and Revere and in the era of expanded playoffs and playing in the weakest division in the MLB this means with some pitching, and obviously a lot of things going right, they could well be in the mix next year.
Terry Ryan also now has 70 million in committed payroll while the team has sat at 100 million and 90 million in the last 2 years. Add onto that the 20+ million in TV revenue money coming their way and there should be 20-25 million to spend in free agency. I seriously doubt the Pohland's will just sit on that money and keep payroll low because they risk angering an already beat down fan base that they want filling their shiny new ball park. Rob Anthony said on the radio during the winter meetings the Twins planned on being more aggressive in free agency and talking much more to agents than other general managers signaling that 20-25 million will still be used to work towards the goal of the 3 starters they said where needed.
That money could net you different combinations of pitchers, a high end guy and 2 bargain bin pick ups, 2 mid range guys and a flier, or 3 back end guys. Personally I think the perfect fix would be to get Marcum, Mccarthy, and a cheap flier like Liriano (I know, I know). Marcum would be a perfect fit while many bemoan the pitch to contact style that is prevelant throughout the current system, it is just that prevalent, and a guy like Marcum who mixes breaking balls and changeups in with a slow fastball to still generate weak contact and get some K's could be a perfect example to set for guys like Hendriks, Gibson, Diamond, and even Hermsen. Mccarthy is the same kind of story and if you could get the 2 on staff (in cavernous Target Field) the rotation would be massively improved. That is only 2 pitchers though and would still leave 2 spots in the rotation to our minor leaguers but if a guy like Liriano is available on the super cheap it could be a massive pay off to have him in the 5th starter spot and hope that proverbial lightning in the bottle is captured again and something like his 2010 season can be produced. There are others like Meyers and so on that could also fill the cheap slot I just think despite all the headache that comes with him Liriano holds the most potential if it goes right and even if it doesn't he could be moved into the pen and just let the ball fly.
There is still hope for 2013 yes a good player was moved for future returns but his impact is mostly replaced by in house options and with his salary gone there is certainly money to be spent to make 2013 better than 2011 or 2012.