Today we are going to take a look at the off-season spending the Twins should have available to them. The Twins payroll reached $115 million in 2011, the highest in franchise history. They also had the second worst season in franchise history and avoided being only the second team in Major League history to lose 100 games with a $100+ million payroll (2008 Seattle Mariners).
Bill Smith has said that payroll will likely be reduced this season but has not revealed by how much. I am guessing we will be looking at a $105 million payroll this year, so lets use that number for now. The Twins never let it be known exactly what their target payroll is, so all we can really do is guess at this point. Here is a breakdown of some free agents and a guess on what the Twins will have to spend:
OF Michael Cuddyer (Type A), 2011 salary: $10.5 million
RP Matt Capps (Type A), 2011 salary: $7.15 million
Jason Kubel (Type B), 2011 salary: $5.25 million
RP Joe Nathan, 2012 option: $12.5 million with a $2 million buy out.
RP Jose Mijares, 2011 salary: $445,000
IF Matt Tolbert, 2011 salary: $425,000
RP Phil Dumatrait, 2-11 salary: unavailable ($401,500 in 2009)
SP/RP Kevin Slowey, 2-11 salary: $2.7 million
IF Alexi Casilla, 2-11 salary: $865,000
RP Glen Perkins, 2-11 salary: $700,000
SP Francisco Liriano, 2-11 salary: $4.3 million
OF Jason Repko, 2-11 salary: $600,000
I do not expect Joe Nathan’s option to be picked up and do think the team will give him a $2 million payout. This does not mean that he won’t be back, I just don’t see it at $12.5 million. So lets add that $2 million to 2012 payroll.
Now that we have subtracted free agent salaries, arbitration eligible salaries and added Joe Nathan’s buyout we are looking at $65,750,000 in comited payroll for 2011.
There are a couple of non-tender candidates on the team this year; Kevin Slowey and Jose Mijares. The Twins would like to deal Slowey but he did not help his value by going 0-8 with a 6.67 ERA this year. I am almost certain he will be dealt or traded for next to nothing. Mijares may stay, but could be non-tendered if the Twins get close to their payroll ceiling.
The Twins will have two tough tasks in trying to re-sign Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer. I think the Twins and Cuddyer are a perfect match for each other and I don’t see them letting him go. Sadly, I think they will have to overpay to keep him as he will be one of the better OF/1B options on the open market. They will get him resigned, but my prediction is it will cost them Kubel. There is no chance they keep Capps and no chance they offer him arbitration, so we can just forget about him (rejoice Twins fans).
Factoring in the arbitration raises (around $17 million) the Twins should have close to $83 million comited to 2011 payroll. This will leave them around $23 million to spend this offseason. Not that much when you figure it may cost close to $12-$13 million per year just to resign Cuddyer. If that is the case, the Twins will have only $10-$11 million to upgrade the 2012 team. Not a good number to work with when they have multiple holes.
Bill Smith and company will have to be creative this offseason, it will be a very interesting and important one for Twins fans.