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A first look at the Twins' 2015 payroll and roster

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Too early to look to next year? Never.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

I know it's only August 4, but after the acquisition of Tommy Milone on Thursday I've been thinking about the Twins' payroll situation going into next season. Of course I had to complicate the issue in considering the options for the 25 and 40-man rosters, which makes next year's payroll a concept with a lot of moving parts. Knowing that some things will change between now and November, much less now and April of 2015, here's a brief look at next year.

Payroll Obligations

Contracts

Player Contract
Joe Mauer $23,000,000
Ricky Nolasco $12,000,000
Phil Hughes $8,00,000
Kurt Suzuki $6,000,000
Mike Pelfrey $5,500,000
Glen Perkins $4,650,000
Jared Burton $200,000 (buyout)
Total $59,350,000 MM

The only assumption I'm making for players with contracts in 2015 is that the Twins will buy out Burton's option. Burton, who signed his extension in December of 2012, delivered a performance peppered with red flags in 2013 and it hasn't gotten better this season. With Casey Fien entrenched, the Twins have an opportunity to clear a roster spot for another, less expensive reliever. And there isn't a lack of arms to turn to, either.

Arbitration

Player 2014 Status Salary 2015 Status Estimated Salary
Trevor Plouffe Arb 1 $2,350,000 Arb 2 $3,800,000
Brian Duensing Arb 2 $2,000,000 Arb 3 $3,200,000
Jordan Schafer Arb 1 $1,090,000 Arb 2 $1,500,000
Anthony Swarzak Arb 1 $935,000 Arb 2 $1,700,000
Casey Fien Serf $530,000 Arb 1 (Super 2) $1,500,000
Tommy Milone Serf $510,000 Arb 1 (Super 2) $1,400,000
Eduardo Escobar Serf $507,500 Arb 1 (Super 2) $900,000
Eduardo Nunez Serf $576,900 Arb 1 (Super 2) $1,000,000
Totals $15,000,000


My arbitration estimates are based in a vague reality where I attempted to find a comparable player in recent Twins history and then just made a guess. But what makes this group interesting is that, apart from Casey Fien and Eduardo Escobar, I don't think anyone else on this list is guaranteed to either A) be tendered - and I'm looking at you, Jordan Schafer, or B) not be traded. Having said that, you'll see illustrated below what I believe to be most likely.

There's also a scenario where Milone doesn't make the cutoff for a Super Two player, but considering he only needs 20 days of service time to get to the estimated cutoff (2.128 days) I have a hard time seeing it not happening.

40-man roster guaranteed additions

Options

2011 collegiate picks: Levi Michael, Madison Boer, Corey Williams, Matthew Summers, Jason Wheeler, Tyler Jones, Matt Koch

2010 prep picks: Alex Meyer, Niko Goodrum, Eddie Rosario, J.D. Williams

International signings: Miguel Sano, Felix Jorge

College players must be added to the 40-man roster by the fourth Rule 5 draft following their own selection, with the same rule for high school picks except it's the fifth Rule 5. International signings will depend on the time of year they have signed, and in Minnesota's case that means Sano (later in the 2010 period) and Jorge (early 2011).

Obviously, the Twins can add players taken prior to these seasons. Sean Gilmartin looks like a smart choice, but you could also add Alex Wimmers. He won't be added, but it's an example.

Who gets added: Sean Gilmartin, Alex Meyer, Niko Goodrum, Eddie Rosario, Miguel Sano

Predicted 40-man roster

Pitchers (20)

Logan Darnell, Samuel Deduno, Brian Duensing, Casey Fien, Kyle Gibson, Sean Gilmartin, Phil Hughes, Edgar Ibarra, Kris Johnson, Trevor May, Alex Meyer, Tommy Milone, Ricky Nolasco, Glen Perkins, Yohan Pino, Ryan Pressly, Stephen Pryor, Anthony Swarzak, Caleb Thielbar, Michael Tonkin

Catchers (3)

Eric Fryer, Josmil Pinto, Kurt Suzuki

Infielders (10)

Brian Dozier, Eduardo Escobar, Niko Goodrum, Joe Mauer, Trevor Plouffe, Jorge Polanco, Eddie Rosario, Danny Santana, Miguel Sano, Kennys Vargas

Outfielders (7)

Oswaldo Arcia, Chris Colabello, Chris Herrmann, Aaron Hicks, Max Kepler, Eduardo Nunez, Chris Parmelee

That's a full 40-man roster with zero external moves. I don't put it together that way for any reason but to give an illustration of where the easiest additions can be made. With Pelfrey presumably designated for assignment and the Twins not adding Byron Buxton to the 40-man roster until they're ready to call him up, how would you construct your 25-man roster from that group? And what would the payroll be?

25-Man Roster

Pos Player Salary
SP Phil Hughes $8,000,00
SP Ricky Nolasco $12,000,000
SP Kyle Gibson $550,000
SP Tommy Milone $1,400,000
SP Trevor May $550,000
Total $22,500,000
CL Glen Perkins $4,650,000
SU Casey Fien $1,500,000
MR Brian Duensing $3,200,000
MR Caleb Thielbar $550,000
LR Alex Meyer $550,000
LR Sam Deduno $550,000
LR Anthony Swarzak $550,000
Total $11,550,000
C Kurt Suzuki $6,000,000
1B Joe Mauer $23,000,000
2B Brian Dozier $550,000
3B Trevor Plouffe $3,800,000
SS Danny Santana $550,000
LF Chris Colabello $550,000
CF Aaron Hicks $550,000
RF Oswaldo Arcia $550,000
DH Kennys Vargas $550,000
Total $36,100,000
C Josmil Pinto $550,000
UT Eduardo Escobar $900,000
UT Eduardo Nunez $1,000,000
1B/RF Chris Parmelee $550,000
Total $3,000,000
Team Total $73,150,000


There are some complications here, which is mostly the result of too many variables for the time of year. But again, it's just an attempt to look at the big picture going forward.

Adding the $5.5 million due to Pelfrey would bring Minnesota's opening day payroll, according to my estimates anyway, to the neighborhood of $78.65 million dollars. It's conceivable, therefore, that the Twins could add another $20 million to the payroll for 2015.

The question is: where do you add it? As it is, the starting rotation is already more than full. Nobody wants to see Alex Meyer in the bullpen, but somebody would need to be pitching out of their role. Plouffe is at third and Hicks is in center, but Sano and Buxton won't allow the team to sign or trade for anyone who might block their paths to the Majors.

If you're coming away from this post with more answers than questions: good. Me, too. But those are all questions that we'll field in the coming weeks and months. For now, let's see what sticks as the organization throws a few more things at the wall.