The Kyle Gibson Situation

17 Aug

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

Tonight, I will be hosting this week’s episode of the SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins podcast from 9:00 (central time) until 10:00. At 10:00, just as the show is likely coming to an end, the deadline passes for 2009 draft picks to sign with the team that drafted them. The Kyle Gibson situation will be resolved. Now, a lot of words have been written on this topic in the last few days as it appears the Twins and Gibson’s side are not very close in the negotiations.

As you know, Gibson has been on the podcast twice since the Twins drafted him in June. He was on as recently as three weeks ago. All along, my assumption was that he would sign. He had the forearm injury that caused him to fall to the Twins at #22. He was not planning on throwing for six weeks after the draft regardless. He was given the medical go-ahead to start his throwing program. Kyle Gibson is a very good person, with his head on his shoulders. He is also very smart and knows exactly what he was looking for in this draft; a good situation and ton of money.

So I thought it would be appropriate for me to give my opinion on this topic, but not until I attempt to look at it from both sides’ perspective:

THE TWINS SIDE

The Twins had to select Gibson with their first round pick. He was generally considered a top 10 type of pick who would fall because of the forearm injury. The injury was not shoulder or elbow related, and he would have plenty of time to rest. This was not a long term risk. The Twins clearly need high-end starting pitching. Every team does, but the Twins do too. When a pitcher with that upside falls to you, you have to take him.

Now, for all of the preseason or midseason draft projections that had Gibson ranked as one of the top five players in the draft, the reality is that the Twins drafted him with the 22nd pick, not the fifth pick. The 21st round pick, high school shortstop Jiovanni Mier, signed for $1.358 million. With the 23rd pick, the White Sox signed college outfielder Jared Mitchell to a $1.2 million signing bonus. So from the Twins’ perspective, they have every right to think that they should be able to sign Gibson for something in between those two numbers.

The Twins brass has to fully understand how important signing Kyle Gibson is. With Joe Mauer’s contract situation looming large; with the team moving into a new, publicly-financed stadium which will create more revenue streams for the team; with the 2009 season proving to be arguably the most disappointing season in team history, the team really needs to sign Gibson. If they do not, they will, likely unfairly, be considered cheap. It’s not fair because they would be offering what they are supposed to offer.

I am sure that the Twins would love to have this situation resolved earlier in the day tomorrow. I have chatted with three Twins draft picks that have not signed yet. Each has been told that the Twins will get back to them when the Gibson situation is resolved. Does this simply mean that the Twins are putting all of their effort to signing Gibson, even if it misses an opportunity with other draft picks? Or, does it mean that if Gibson says he’s going back to school, they will have plenty of money to sign those other guys?

THE GIBSON SIDE

Simply put, Gibson feels like he should be paid to the projections, not to the slot he was actually drafted in. If not for the injury, he probably would have been a top ten pick. He pitched with the injury and still did well, showing bulldog-like toughness.

Gibson has registered for his senior year at the University of Missouri. He has bought his books. He is ready to go back to college if an agreement is not reached. This is a risk for Gibson economically. He could sign today for $1.3 to $1.5 million and have that money in the bank. If he goes back to school, he will have more of his education to fall back on, but it’s also possible that something could happen and he may not be able to make nearly as much in a year when he would re-enter the draft. He will also have lost the ‘return-to-college’ leverage he currently enjoys.

Gibson is a former teammate of Aaron Crow. Crow was the Nationals’ 1st round pick in 2008. He went unsigned, having declined a bonus offer rumored to be around $5 million. After playing in independent league, he was drafted this June with the 12th overall pick by the Royals. They recently offered him $3 million to sign. I don’t get it. Does he think another year of independent league ball will get him much more money? I mean, really, if he is as good as he apparently thinks he is, he could have signed with the Nationals last year in July and been playing for a Major League salary by now. Do players like this even remember the Matt Harrington saga? I suppose they all think they’ll be like Luke Hochevar and become the #1 overall pick the following year.

THE SLOT SYSTEM

Major League Baseball, meaning The Commissioner’s Office (aka Bud Selig), have tried to keep signing bonuses to draft picks down by encouraging teams to stick to the slot numbers. In reality, the slot system is a joke. Many players sign to slot because they just want to play and start right away. But as we have seen in the last week or so, many teams are having no problem going well beyond slot. For instance, the Pittsburgh Pirates gave their 6th round draft pick, Zach Von Rosenberg, a RHP from LSU, a $1.2 million signing bonus. The Pirates then gave their 8th round pick, Colton Cain, $1.125 million. The Red Sox signed their 10th round pick, Brandon Jacobs, to a bonus of $750,000 to keep him from playing college football at Auburn. And the Baltimore Orioles signed their 22nd round pick to a $990,000 bonus.

So I’ll be honest, I have no problem with Kyle Gibson asking for more than slot money. Really, if a 6th rounder can get $1.2 million, the 22nd overall pick should make much more than that.

Secondly, it’s not like the Twins have not shown a willingness to go beyond slot to sign a player. Just last year, they paid BJ Hermsen $650,000 to sign with the Twins and forego a scholarship to Oregon State. The slot value for that spot was somewhere between $120,000 and $150,000. In 2006, the Twins signed Jeff Manship out of Notre Dame, their 14th round pick, for about $500,000. Although picks beyond the 10th round are not slotted, they should stay below $100,000.    

HEARD OF MATT HARRINGTON?

Gibson is a former teammate of Aaron Crow. Crow was the Nationals’ 1st round pick in 2008. He went unsigned, having declined a bonus offer rumored to be around $5 million. After playing in independent league, he was drafted this June with the 12th overall pick by the Royals. They recently offered him $3 million to sign. I don’t get it. Does he think another year of independent league ball will get him much more money? I mean, really, if he is as good as he apparently thinks he is, he could have signed with the Nationals last year in July and been playing for a Major League salary by now. Do players like this even remember the Matt Harrington saga? I suppose they all think they’ll be like Luke Hochevar and become the #1 overall pick the following year.

SETH’S THOUGHTS

I know, I can argue both sides of this argument and give both sides the benefit of the doubt. However, I don’t think there will be a winner in this situation regardless of what happens at this point. If Gibson signs for too much, he’ll come across to Twins fans as greedy and the Twins will look like a team that gives in which could hurt them looking forward. If Gibson doesn’t sign, he will still come across as greedy and the Twins will be called cheap. In reality, both sides are just doing what they need to do for themselves.

The college pitchers that have been drafted in the top ten have been signing for $2.2 – $2.4 million. That may be a number that Gibson would want. The Twins don’t want to go above the (just shy of) $1.3 million mark. Because of the reasons that I mentioned above that the Twins have to sign Gibson, I would (as the Twins) be willing to sign Gibson for up to $2 million. So right away in the morning, I would make an offer at $1.8 million and say “What do you think?” Maybe he counters with $2 million. Now both sides have given a little bit and shown good faith in doing so. Then sign for $1.9 million and everyone is happy. Of course, coming from someone like me who will likely not make half that amount over my lifetime, that’s easy to say.

To me, that’s a fair effort by the Twins and a fair effort by the Gibson side. If Gibson isn’t willing to come down to that range, then it just shows that he really didn’t want to sign. It showed that he wanted to either go back to school or just get as much money as possible. I really don’t think it makes a lot of sense to break the bank, as important as I think signing Gibson would be.  

By the time that the Sethspeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins Podcast finishes tonight, we will likely know how this situation resolved itself. It is a huge situation for the Twins and their future. Let’s see how it works itself out!

Please feel free to Send me an e-mail, or leave your questions or comments here.

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12 Responses to “The Kyle Gibson Situation”

  1. Tyler August 17, 2009 at 1:18 am #

    I say stick to the slot pick recommendation (in between the upper and lower pick) . You cant have future draft picks feeling like they can push you around. The Twins will be going down a VERY slippery slope if they meet or come close to Gibson’s ridiculous demands. It would be a nightmare for the Twins to have to have prolonged, down to the wire, contract negoitions with their future draft picks because of Gibson.

    Dont get me wrong, Gibson looks likes the real deal, and by real deal I mean a middle rotation starter (see slowely) and another Slowely in this rotation would be really nice. I just do not buy that he is a frontline/ace starter. Again, due to the fact that in all likelihood he is not an “ACE” of a prospect, it would be beneficial for the Twins not to send future prospects the wrong message that the FO is a bunch of pushovers.

    The Twins should not budge past 1.7 million, and that is pushing it.

  2. Joe August 17, 2009 at 2:08 am #

    Can Gibson really turn down 1.8-2.0 million? If he goes back to school and has any set back injury or performance wise he would be luckey to get a signing bonus of half of the 1.2 million offered right now…. Does he go back to school though? I kknow he can say he is enrolling but doesn’t it make more sense to go pitch indy ball?

  3. mark August 17, 2009 at 8:02 am #

    Where would you place the college talent, specifically Missouri’s division? would you say it is between high A and AA? similar to AA talent? Or between AA and AAA?

  4. gobbledygookguy August 17, 2009 at 8:25 am #

    doesn’t the fo do any home work? they should have realized that this might happen. if they didn’t want to pay above slot pick some crappy player who’d be happy with anything. that has worked really well for years now and turned our farm system into a lower 1/3 bunch of prospects.
    if you want good players you need to pay them! but it’s not about winning it’s about making money, imo.

  5. John August 17, 2009 at 9:51 am #

    The bottom line is that Gibson can return to school and, if he’s healthy, go much higher in the draft next year. Slot is not the real issue here- leverage is. The Twins have some, since they get a replacement pick, and Gibson has some, in that he can probably get more money a year from now.

    Obviously, he shouldn’t be paid like the 5th overall pick. But why did the Twins draft him if they had no intention of coming close to his bonus expectations? Maybe the whole point was to avoid signing a first rounder?

    If Gibson doesn’t sign, the Twins are either incompetent for drafting him, or cheap for not signing him.

  6. Brad August 17, 2009 at 1:26 pm #

    Next year Gibson has no leverage at all. Unless he goes top 10 he would not receive more than $1.8 and if the Twinks are not offering him over slot they are stupid and ignorrant. It would be no different than Strasburg falling to the Twins and them thinking he would sign for slot. When is the next time the Twins will have a chance to draft a top 5 talent??? Hopefully never, these are situations that don’t happen to often with top talent and the Twins should consider themselves lucky that he dropped that far.

    On Seth’s waiver wire we all could only dream of Nicky P getting claimed, no team could actually be that stupid…could they? any chance the Cubbies would be interested in Crede with Aramis being hurt again?

  7. Funkytown August 17, 2009 at 4:01 pm #

    NYY signed the #25 pick overall to over 2 mill bonus…well over the slot.

    That doesn’t help.

  8. Matt August 17, 2009 at 5:47 pm #

    It looks like just about every player signed today has gone for well over slot value. The slotting system continues to be a joke.

    I understand the Twins want to stay strong for future negotiations, but I’d hate to see them lose Gibson because they’re quibbling over 800K. I’d like to see them cough up the money and sign him.

    . . . Of course if Gibson is the next Shooter Hunt, then Bill Smith is an idiot and deserves to be fired.

  9. brad August 17, 2009 at 10:17 pm #

    Any updates????? Did the Twinks go Pohlad on Gibson?

  10. TT August 17, 2009 at 10:56 pm #

    report is that Gibson signed for $1.8 million.

  11. jojo August 17, 2009 at 10:57 pm #

    according to MLB trade rumors they got him, reported by jim callis.. 1.8 mill

  12. von August 23, 2009 at 8:47 pm #

    Gibson will be in the hall of fame one day. Bet ya!

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