The off-season is, of course, the time for baseless and entirely unfounded (perhaps even redundant…like baseless and unfounded) rampant speculation. In that spirit, I have a new theory based on the impending Tigers signing of Eduardo Rodriquez.
It goes something like this: Eduardo is a good (not great) starting pitcher. He is signing for around 18 million per year (if the rampant speculation is true). This market for a starting pitcher will be (shockingly) deemed entirely unacceptable to the Minnesota Twins front office.
We will soon enough be bombarded by the usual suspects telling us that you can’t buy your way to the top, given that the Yankees and Red Sox and Dodgers don’t win the world series each and every year. This, we are told, justifies the Twins…let’s say…reluctance…to pursue big time free agents. While I cannot argue that spending lots of money on free agents doesn’t ensure success, it’s weird that the “big market teams” continue to pursue such a strategy in the face of that seemingly unassailable logic.
I am reminded of Grandpa telling me that “I know one thing, you can’t just throw money at the problem.” Grandpa, of course, like the rest of us, in our capitalist society, always threw money at whatever problem he had. Car needs fixing…throw money at it. Roof leaks…throw some money at those carpenters to fix it. Kids need a college education, throw some money that way….anyway, it would seem that we ALWAYS throw money at our problems, we just suggest that while we know that works for us, perhaps that doesn’t work for OTHER people. I’m here to suggest that the Twins should try it...it works for me, I just called an electrician the other day, and he suggested he’d fix my problem....for money.
The immediate premise is, of course, true, one cannot GUARANTEE success by signing the best free-agent options. This is true, especially given the fragility of athletes and the extreme potential fragility of a given arm of a given starting pitcher. So, the only LOGICAL thing to do is to not sign high priced free agents and hope for the lightning that sometimes comes in the bottle in the form of young undervalued players.
This brings me to my prediction, which, has evolved…some would say. Others might say it’s changed, and still others might say, it has been all over the board and is therefore worthless. While this may be all true, it would suggest that some or others might be worrying about my opinion on this topic (or any topic)….so some would say…that’s a win. Others might say, that’s a pathetic path to victory, but still others might say…well….you get the point.
Anyway, my new opinion (based on the Eduardo Rodriquez signing), is that the Twins WILL be signing Byron Buxton. Hear me out. Buxton’s market value will be enormous…no doubt…maybe what…$30 million/year? Maybe more? Not only is that money well-spent given his value to the franchise, it’s also money in the bank since that will fully satisfy the small market narrative that the Pohlad’s have honed to the core.
Given such a signing (which will placate many fans and thrill many others), pressures to sign any other free-agents (particularly fragile pitchers) will effectively cease. (Paging Joe Mauer...again, it’s not your fault, you were used my man...used. You earned your money, and it was in no way your fault, that your contract was used both to “prove” the front office signed big-time players, and simultaneously to establish that they couldn’t possibly sign any others). It’s brilliant, or like my other opinions, it’s insanity…but it’s one of those, I’m confident. Until I think about it some more and change….I mean…evolve.
For today, hear this, the Twins WILL be extending Buxton sometime this winter. Take it to the bank. I understand that there are management/labor issues in Major League Baseball this winter that may derail everything….but I will not worry about that reality today, now that I’ve dipped my toes into the fantasy world of rampant baseball speculation. I do so confidently, which, in keeping with my history as a white male in our society, has taken me as far as I’ve been taken in this life. Confidence, not necessarily competence, is the key to “successful” predictions. I feel like I can say that….confidently.