Instead of choosing to pay less experienced players to replicate the performance of higher-paid veterans, the Minnesota Twins have opted for the work-it-out-as-you-go route. All arbitration-eligible players will be tendered contracts, including the players whose future with the club seemed the most suspect. With the addition of Torii Hunter, the 40-man roster is now full.
|Name||2015 Age||Salary *||Projected WAR **|
|Trevor Plouffe||29||4.3 MM||1.4|
|Tommy Milone||28||$2.8 MM||1.0|
|Brian Duensing||32||$2.5 MM||0.1|
|Jordan Schafer||28||$1.5 MM||0.0|
|Eduardo Nunez||28||$1.2 MM||0.2|
|Casey Fien||31||$1.1 MM||0.7|
* Projected salary via projections of Matt Swartz
** Steamer's 2015 WAR projections
The decision of whether or not to non-tender these players comes down to three factors: cost, roster flexibility, and what the plan is once you've made your decisions.
First you get the money...
...then you fill the roster spots, then you decide what to do about that later. The Twins are spending roughly $13.4 million on these six players, which isn't a great deal. In return, Steamer projects Minnesota to get 3.4 wins out of them. The good news? None of them project to actually have negative value. The bad news? One or two of them could have negative value anyway.
The point, in regards to money, though, is that A) the Twins have money to spend anyway, and B) none of the individual salaries are prohibitive on their own. Yes, you'd prefer to not pay $1.5 million for a player who comes out at exactly replacement level, but it's not so much money that it's an automatic dismissal. Indeed: in the example of Schafer, he's a fine option for a fourth outfielder and that salary is perfectly acceptable.
Flexibility is the key to...
...airpower. Or perhaps, to having the freedom to make additional personnel decisions down the road. The Twins have opted for the potential value of these players, and the risk of having to pay them, over the ability to see-player, get-player. If Minnesota wants to make additional moves (which they should), they'll now need to find other ways to make that happen.
And that brings us to...
...the plan for after the decision has been made
If and when the Twins need to make another roster move, they'll need to create space on the 40-man. An easy way to do that without costing dollars would have been to non-tender one or two of those arbitration-eligible players, but since that didn't happen their options have changed.
- Outright a player, or designate someone for assignment. A.J. Achter, Logan Darnell, Stephen Pryor, Aaron Thompson, Eric Fryer, Chris Colabello, Chris Herrmann, and Chris Parmelee are all players who could go quite easily.
- Make a trade. I'm of the opinion that a number of players around the league, who were considered non-tender candidates, ended up in the same boat as Eduardo Nunez or Brian Duensing and stayed on the roster. Swapping non-tender candidates, or pulling off another trade involving 40-man roster players, is by nature more difficult because more than one team is involved, but Terry Ryan will be exploring possibilities.
As you can see, there are plenty of players from which to choose once decision time comes around. A few of them made our list from earlier in the off-season of who could be cut, and now it seems even more likely that it's that group of players above - and not those non-tender candidates - who will be the roster casualties.