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Preliminary Twins 2009 Payroll Forecast

Feel free to make corrections or adjustments where necessary.

We'll break camp with the starting pitchers on board for next year, which will likely be the same five we're witnessing close out 2008.  The only way a change is likely would be in the case of A) a trade, B) and injury or C) someone like Philip Humber is too amazing in spring training to ignore...and that's not really likely.

Pos Age Name '09 Salary Status
SP 25 Francisco Liriano $2.00 MM 1st Arb
SP 27 Scott Baker $800 K 1st Arb
SP 25 Kevin Slowey $420 K Serf
SP 27 Nick Blackburn $420 K Serf
SP 26 Glen Perkins $450 K Serf
Total $4,090,000

From there we'll move onto the catchers, which should be one more place where questions will be kept to a minumum. Mike Redmond has an option for 2009 worth $950,000, with a $100,000 buyout. Even at his age, it's highly likely the Twins will pick up the option, meaning that unless the Twins re-evaluate Joe Mauer's contract in the off-season we'll kick off the last season in the Metrodome with the catchers looking something like this fiscally.

Pos Age Name '09 Salary Status
C 26 Joe Mauer $10.50 MM Contract
BU C 38 Mike Redmond $950 K Contract
Total $11,450,000

Moving into the outfield, a majority of these names won't be changing, either. The only question will be how the Twins want to handle the position in center field. If they feel like Carlos Gomez is ready, he'll likely get the nod with Denard Span playing fourth outfielder and Jason Kubel a backup who gets most of his time at designated hitter. If they feel like Span is the best option to start in center, Gomez might spend a little time in Rochester so that he can continue to play everyday; in this scenario, we could see Jason Pridie or another utlitity outfield option on the bench.

Pos Age Name '09 Salary Status
LF 23 Delmon Young $2.50 MM 1st Arb
CF 23 Carlos Gomez $420 K Serf
RF 30 Michael Cuddyer $6.75 MM Contract
BU OF 25 Denard Span $400 K Serf
BU OF/DH 27 Jason Kubel $2.00 MM 2nd Arb
Total $12,070,000

Now it's time to get to some of the real questions. With Joe Nathan and Jesse Crain as the only relief pitchers under contract for 2009, there could be a lot of changes. For consistency's sake, which is something we know the Twins like, we can pretty accurately guess that both Pat Neshek and Matt Guerrier will return. Even Boof Bonser can be seen as the long man, leaving one or two bullpen positions available. Next summer's relief corps currently stacks up as a relatively expensive piece of the puzzle, even outside of the closer.

Pos Age Name '09 Salary Status
CL 34 Joe Nathan $11.25 MM Contract
SU 28 Pat Neshek $800 K 1st Arb
MR 27 Jesse Crain $1.70 MM Contract
MR 30 Matt Guerrier $1.20 MM 2nd Arb
LR 27 Boof Bonser $700 K 1st Arb
Total $15,650,000

With the dollars racking up, although not as quickly as you might think, we make our final pit stop with the infield.  There are a couple of clear answers, a couple of plug-ins that could go either way, and then of course there's Mike Lamb's salary, which the Twins are still responsible for even though he's playing for another team.  It didn't seem like a horrible signing at the time, and even with the Twins picking up his tab it's not damaging thanks to how the payroll is structured next season, but it's still money that's tied up.

Pos Age Name '09 Salary Status
1B 28 Justin Morneau $10.60 MM Contract
2B 24 Alexi Casilla $400 K Serf
3B 28 Brian Buscher $400 K Serf
3B 33 Mike Lamb $3.00 MM Contract
Total $14,400,000

For those of you who didn't count, that's 20 spots on the 25 man roster (we don't include Lamb, of course), leaving obvious caps at second base, backup infield as well as depth for the bullpen.  So who are our in-house options?

Feel free to discuss your ideas, suggestions and alternatives below; I've scheduled my list of probable roster fillers to post after tonight's game against the Rays.

In the meantime, I'll do the California Math once more.  By my estimated payroll, the Twins will committ roughly $56.66 million to these 21 players.  When you take away Lamb, there are five spots available; how do you fill out the roster?