Opinion Corner: Twins face co$tly quandryIf I had been GM of the Twins last week when the Red Sox pulled off the salary dump of the century, Dodgers GM Ned Colletti would have had to block my cell phone number.
By: Dave Selvig, Sun Sports Editor, The Jamestown Sun
If I had been GM of the Twins last week when the Red Sox pulled off the salary dump of the century, Dodgers GM Ned Colletti would have had to block my cell phone number.
When Los Angeles showed it was willing to eat millions in all-time horrible contracts, Twins GM Terry Ryan should have been on the cell phone to the Dodgers, asking, more like harassing, “So, do you need a catcher?”
With the way the Twins do business, that almost certainly did not happen. They generally react slowly and indecisively when it comes to making minor decisions, let alone big ones.
If there is one thing the past two seasons has proven, although this was perfectly predictable, is that you can’t win enough games when one player — Joe Mauer in this circumstance — accounts for 25 percent of all the money a team is willing to pay players.
The Pohlad children, who now run the team, think the team’s $94 million payroll is a fair number. It’s middle of the pack in baseball, but it clearly could and should be more considering the revenue the team produces.
The perfect example was Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The average attendance between two of the least-talented teams in the sport — the Twins and Mariners — still comfortably surpassed 30,000 fans. It was hot, school is in session for some kids, yet the ballpark was more than 80 percent full for two teams with absolutely zero to play for.
Anybody reading this likely has been to a game or more this year. The place is thick with humanity, spending amazing amounts of money on merchandise and food each game. Despite dogged determination not to, I spend $4.25 for 20 ounces of Mountain Dew every time I go and regret every last drop.
So while the money continues to roll in, the payroll flat lines or even drops. If this continues to be the way the Twins do business, there is no way paying one player $23 million per season will ever work. That means, the other 23 players on the team can’t cost more than $69 million. With the current state of the Twins barren minor-league system and the hole-filled major league roster, building a winning team is not impossible, but it is close.
Billy Beane, GM of the Oakland A’s and “Moneyball” fame, can do it. So can Andrew Friedman, boss of the Tampa Bay Rays. The Twins, they can’t, as proven by last year’s 99-loss season with another 95, maybe even 100 coming to a TV near all of us soon.
If there is a silver lining it came Tuesday when it was reported the Twins had put Mauer on waivers. With six years and $138 million left on his contract, there is virtually no chance any team is likely to take on Mauer without the Twins paying some of it.
Joe Mauer comes off as a nice guy. He stayed with his hometown team, which is admirable. He is a very good hitter, just not an impact hitter and paying him $23 million makes it virtually impossible to assemble the remainder of the roster.
The Twins almost certainly knew this privately, at least I hope so, but now finally are admitting it publicly. Unfortunately, it took almost 200 losses, two summers of bad baseball and a bunch of $4.25 bottles of Mountain Dew for it to sink in.
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at email@example.com