What’s the Going Rate?

11 Aug

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

Remember the 1994 movie Little Big League? In it, the owner of the Twins passes away and wills the team and the stadium to his grandson, 12-year-old Billy Heywood. He names himself the manager of the Twins. Some of the veteran players do not like that decision and needing to abide by the rules of the youngster. A veteran pitcher tells him that he isn’t going to pitch and isn’t going to do anything to affect his upcoming free agency.


Heywood says, “What’s the going rate for a 30 year old free agent pitcher that can’t get anybody out?”


Suddenly, the pitcher had a change of heart and pitched well again.


The Twins will have some big decisions to make between now and the beginning of the 2012 season. Two of the bigger decisions involve a couple of immensely talented but enigmatic ball players, Delmon Young and Francisco Liriano.


Some believe that the Twins should trade them for whatever they can get for them. Both have one more year of arbitration remaining, but some fans believe that the two are non-tender candidates. What would you do?


How about this? Go to each player with the Billy Heywood comment.


“Hey Francisco, what is the going rate for a 28 year old pitcher with an ERA of 5.00, a history of injuries and the perception that he doesn’t put in his work?”


“Hey Delmon, what is the going rate for a 26 year old corner outfielders coming off of a season with a .650 OPS, less than 30 extra base hits, bad defense and a questionable attitude?


Neither of these guys is old. Both have had very good seasons as recently as 2010 when Young hit .298 with 46 doubles, 21 homers and 112 RBI and Liriano won 14 games with an ERA of 3.62 and 201 strikeouts in 191+ innings.


Instead of selling low on both of them, why not put the pressure on them to work really, really hard in the offseason, knowing that they really need to put up big numbers in 2012 or potentially lose out on a lot of money. Why not let the Twins see what they can get from those players in a contract year? Let the Twins be the beneficiary of that effort. Both do have the world of talent. We have seen that talent on the field. They are both young enough to still reach that level again.


Of course, bringing them back means that the Twins will need to pay them at least 80% of what they are paying them this year. Most likely, each would be in line for a small raise. That could mean $10-13 million for the two players that could be used elsewhere.

I just really do not believe in selling low. What do you think?


(For the record, I don’t think that this is what will or even necessarily should be done. I think at least one, most likely Young, will be traded in the offseason, or sooner)




The Twins were able to beat the Red Sox 5-2 on Wednesday night. It was a much-needed win for the team. A couple of quick notes:


  • Following the game, Trevor Plouffe was optioned to Rochester with Alexi Casilla coming off the Disabled List. He got a few games here and there in this stint, but again, no regular, daily playing time. He definitely was shaky defensively no matter where they put him, and the bat did not come through in the limited playing time.
  • Justin Morneau will be activated on Friday before the game in Cleveland. At that time, the Twins will need to send one more player down. I have to assume the decision is between Jason Repko, who has an option, and Ben Revere, who has all three of his options remaining. Revere is clearly the better player, but that isn’t the decision. Revere needs to play pretty much every day. If he will do that with the Twins, then keep him up. If not, send him to Rochester for the next two weeks and let him play. With Denard Span struggling, I have to believe Revere stays.
  • Nick Blackburn needed a good start, and he got it.
  • Congratulations to Joe Nathan for becoming the Twins all-time leader in Saves, passing Rick Aguilera on the list.




  • Rochester 11, Durham 3 – Justin Morneau went 2-4 with a walk and a long home run. Dustin Martin went 2-5 with his 21st double. Michael Holliman went 1-3 with a walk. Jake Stevens started and gave up only an unearned run in four innings. He gave up eight hits, walked none and struck out two. Eden Prairie native and former Gopher Cole DeVries struck out four in three scoreless innings. Dusty Hughes struck one out in one shutout frame. Jim Hoey gave up two solo home runs in his inning of work.  
  • After being rained out on Tuesday, the New Britain Rock Cats and Altoona played two games on Wednesday. In the first game, the Rock Cats lost 5-0. David Bromberg went four innings and gave up four runs on eight hits. He walked two and struck out one. Brett Jacobson then struck out three and gave up an unearned run in two innings. Matt Schuld pitched a scoreless inning. The Rock Cats managed just five hits. Yangervis Solarte (30) and Mark Dolenc (13) each doubled.
  • The second game got ugly quick, and the Rock Cats lost 14-1. Spencer Steedley started and went one inning. He gave up seven runs on seven hits and four walks. Dakota Watts then gave up five runs on five hits and a walk in the next two innings. Steve Hirschfeld gave up a run on two hits and two walks in two innings. Deolis Guerra gave up a run, but struck out two in one inning. Tyler Robertson worked a scoreless inning. The Rock Cats had just six hits. Mark Dolenc went 3-3 with his 14th double.  
  • Beloit lost to Wisconsin 3-1. Blayne Weller made the start in place of BJ Hermsen. He went four innings and gave up two runs on three hits and a walk. He struck out four. Michael Tonkin gave up one run on three hits and a walk in three innings. He struck out three. Adrian Salcedo pitched a scoreless inning. The Snappers had just four hits. Nate Roberts was 1-3 with a walk.
  • Elizabethton shut out Danville 3-0. Tim Shibuya threw five scoreless innings. He gave up eight hits, but he walked none and struck out four. Corey Williams gave up one hit and two walks in two scoreless innings in which he struck out four. Steven Gruver struck out two in two scoreless innings. Eddie Rosario led the offense by going 2-4 with his sixth triple. He also stole his 12th base. Kennys Vargas hit his 11th double. Matthew Koch, the Twins 12th round pick, made his debut and went 1-1 with a walk and a sacrifice fly.
  • The Ft. Myers Miracle and the GCL Twins games were both rained out.
  • Twins Minor League Weekly will be on tonight at 10:00.
  • LaVelle blogged his updated prospect list, starting with Twins prospects 6-10. Today, he will post his Top 5 Twins Prospects.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

18 Responses to “What’s the Going Rate?”

  1. Jack Steal August 11, 2011 at 7:52 am #

    Nice post.

  2. T August 11, 2011 at 8:38 am #

    I’m not sure the Twins can afford to let Liriano and Young hang around, even if there is hope of using the Power of the Contract Year to get some production out of them. Then you run into the issue of figuring out if they’re really back or if it’s just for the money.

    And the worst part is if the Twins are in contention (which would be AWESOME) then they have no choice but to keep both players and thus miss out on selling high in the trade market…then letting one (or both) walk at the end of the season for pretty much nothing.

    I think they need to decide which of them is worth keeping and which is worth letting go. Then act accordingly. There’s room on the team for one underperforming head-case, but not two.

    • Kunza August 12, 2011 at 7:04 am #

      Once again… who are you going to get that is any better. All of these “experts” continue to say that we should upgrade. Who are you going to get?

  3. mike wants wins August 11, 2011 at 9:12 am #

    Plouffe should be sent down, to play every day. The bat was disappointing. If he hits even .250, he has value with that power, but he couldn’t do that. He should have played every day he was up, with Tolbert never playing, but this organization does not seem to understand how to build a team for the future, or if they do, their understanding is vastly different than most everyone else in MLB.

    My thoughts on keeping Young are on the Strib. It would be a huge blunder to keep Young. Ginormous. He’s not good, he costs enough money that you can use that money on a good player. There is really little upside in keeping him. As T said, if he plays well, they won’t trade him next year, and he’ll be outrageously expensive for a guy with 1 or 2 good years. If he plays badly, you’ve wasted another year, a roster spot, and another $6-8MM. Applying scenario analysis to this decision isn’t really that hard. There are a lot more bad outcomes in keepng him than good ones, and the bad ones are more likely. It isn’t about what you can get for Young, it is about the entirety of the decision about what you can get, what his replacement might do, and how you can reallocate the resources.

    • Kunza August 12, 2011 at 7:05 am #

      Once again… who are you going to get that is any better than Young with a bat? An offensive OF with some pop in his bat is going for way more that 10-12 million per yer.

  4. Sean August 11, 2011 at 10:30 am #

    Liriano & Young are difficult choices. In reality you do need to sell low in this case hope Liriano pitches well in his next 7 starts and then get a prospect for him. You non-tender Young. If you keep them you believe they will perform well in their contract year and can sell at the All-Star break or help you contend for a Division title. The downside is a doubt either of them are sticking around after 2012 even if the Twins attempt to sign them. However if you let them go now you may be able to sign better players for 2012 and still get a return on Liriano. This is because you save 15 million combined by getting rid of them. If you add Slowey (Non-Tender), Mijares (Release) Cuddyer (Please sign somewhere else), Nathan, Thome & Capps to the equation you save 45 million for next year. Now, the Twins should sign Kubel (2yrs 7yr) and you probably have 36 million to play with. Sign CJ Wilson (5yrs 15yr), Lance Berkmann (2yrs 12yr), Omar Infante (1yr 5yr). Finally, I’d take Nathan back but for cheap (1yr 2yr+2.5buyout). I’d also sign Punto for (1yr 600k). I’d move Duensing to the bullpen which would add a solid lefty into the mix. I’d bring up Joe Benson for 2012 and keep him with Revere.

  5. Sean August 11, 2011 at 10:31 am #

    Of all the above this is what you get. Benson and Revere can platoon in the outfield in CF or LF. Benson is a Righty and Revere is a Lefty. They can also play in RF when Berkmann is playing 1B for Morneau or being the DH for Kubel against lefties. Berkmann is a switch hitter. With Span that gives you the best outfield defense in the majors. Even if Benson and Revere being young don’t hit well they give some of that back with Speed and Fielding. Berkmann is for the real hitting who is superior to Cuddyer in every way possible. Kubel gives you a solid punch against righties. Infante can play short or second. Nishioka can back both Casilla and Infante up. Morneau and Valencia round out the infield with Punto being a late inning fielding backup. Infante & Punto improve the fielding dramatically. Mauer and Butera at catcher. Yes, he isn’t going to play RF get over it. CJ Wilson is the ace. He is really a Top #2 but it works. Baker, Pavano, Blackburn & Hendricks/Swarzak/Gibson combo would be the 5th starter. Nathan, Perkins, Duensing, Burnett, Slama, Waldrop and Hoey in the bullpen. This brings you to a payroll of 113 million. I’m just going near the budget for this year. With inflation it could be 115-120 million which means the Twins could also get another bullpen guy or two. You also improve the farm with a possible extra 1st rounder for Cuddyer and a solid prospect for Liriano. This would be a much improved team barring a totally Mauer/Morneau collapse and other injuries. Oh and how about Plouffe’s night – 1-3 with a double play and K? Almost cost the game with a joke of a fielding play at 2nd.

  6. USAFChief August 11, 2011 at 11:26 am #

    I would definately keep Liriano. Liriano represents the Twins absolute best chance of having a top of the line starter in 2012. Selling low on him now is silly. You’re not going to get much for him this winter, and he’s not going to be all that expensive in 2011. If he does rebound in 2012, you have a well above average starter for the season, and you can either let him pitch out the season if you’re in contention and the resign him or offer him arb, or if you’re not in contention he can be dealt at the deadline for a much higher return than what you’re going to get now. There is really no reason to deal Liriano before the 2012 deadline.

    Young is a tougher case, but IMO he’s a great bounceback candidate in 2012, and I keep him as well. The Twins have the money to play with this winter, he won’t break the bank either, and I doubt either Revere or Benson will be a better player in 2012. Same trade scenarios as with Revere: you won’t get much this winter, so why sell low? You can sell low just as easily later on.

    Oh…and please, dear lord, do not let Bill Smith invest $24M in Lance Berkman’s age 36 and 37 seasons. Fortunately, not even Bill Smith is that stupid.

    • mike wants wins August 11, 2011 at 11:33 am #

      Bounce back to what? Last year, when 17 LFers with at least 300 ABs had a higher WAR? Or 2008/9 when he was either the worst or 2nd worst LFer in baseball? All for $7-8MM, and a roster spot? There is no reason to keep Young around. That money can be spent on better player(s), and that roster spot can go to someone else.

      I’d keep Frankie around for sure. He has a track record of actually being good or great and could bounce back.

      • USAFChief August 11, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

        I agree there’s potential downside to bringing Delmon back for another year. But I doubt they can spend the money better, and I seriously doubt Ben Revere is a better player in 2012. I hate selling low, and that is what you’ll be doing. Clearing a position without a candidate to fill it is the sort of plan that gets you a middle infield of Nishioka/Casilla, and a bullpen with one reliable arm.

        The WAR argument holds zero validity for me. I don’t think WAR tells you anything useful about a player. There were not 17 LFers better than Delmon in 2010.

        Like I said, Delmon’s a tough call, but I come down on the side of one more year.

        This team sorely needs RH hitters, and like with Frankie being the best possible

  7. Sean August 11, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

    If the Twins keep Liriano they won’t be able to go after a front end starter. So, you are saying Francisco Liriano is the guy. That’s a dumb move considering he is inconsistent. He also has horrible mechanics and a questions work ethic. You are going to pay him 7 million next year and then what? You think he is going to stay if he has a good year? The relationship between him and the Twins isn’t great and there is no way you want to overpay Liriano. You have to sign him THIS offseason if you want to tie him up. No way.
    As for Lance Berkman it will take 2 years most likely to get him. But he has at least one more good year in him. AT LEAST. Numbers this year: AVE 290 OBP 399 OPS 956 HR28. Full-Time. Um yeah those are outstanding like his entire career. He can play 1B and OF and Switch hit effectively. For his career he has been an above average fielder in LF and 1B. So yeah 2 years isn’t a big risk when you can have a paroll of $115 million. Wow, the sad thing is I’m worried it might take 3 years to get him Cuddyer style. That’s where you have risk.

    • Kunza August 12, 2011 at 7:06 am #

      Name me one starter that is considered a #1 that you can get. You can’t give me a logical answer.

      • Sean August 12, 2011 at 9:21 am #

        It would be CJ Wilson. Most would consider him a #1 starter. I’d say he is one of the best #2 pitchers around. I’d take him even with a 5yr deal over Liriano any day of the week. You could build a rotation around him.
        2010 – 204IP ERA 3.35 170K WAR4.0
        2011 – 161IP ERA 3.35 146K WAR4.4
        Above average stuff, high K rate innings eater. Does that answer your question Kunza?
        Why couldn’t they get him if they offered a 5 year deal? Yeah you have to pay, they have the money if they drop Liriano and Young plus the rest of the junk as I stated above.

      • Seth August 12, 2011 at 9:31 am #

        OK, let’s say that the Twins deem CJ Wilson a #1… and he is… and they offer him your suggested 5 year, $75 million deal… and he, takes the same deal from Texas… or what if the Yankees offer him 6 years and $100 million? It’s easy to say Go Get This Guy, but they still have to be smart. Maybe they should just offer a 31 year old a 7 or 8 year deal? Is that what you’re saying?

      • Kunza August 12, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

        CJ Wilson? No stinking way. A 30 year old pitcher, who will be 31 next season and has had exactly 1 decent season, not great season, but a better than average season. 7 years in the major leagues and to date he has had 1 decent season as a starter.

        CJ Wilson hardly qualifies as a #1.

  8. Sean August 11, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

    The Dumb thing is to sign Medicore Michael Cuddyer to a 3 year deal worth how much. His performance last year was pathetic and this year is slightly above average for a outfielder despite his inability to play an effective RF or 1B. Let’s not even mention 2B. This is a contract year of course. I wouldn’t give him two years. Maybe one but I’d prefere the draft picks.

    • Kunza August 12, 2011 at 7:07 am #



  1. Whatsa Matter You Run Out - August 11, 2011

    […] What's the Going Rate? « SethSpeaks.net He definitely was shaky defensively no matter where they put him, and the bat did not come through in the limited playing time. Justin Morneau will be activated on Friday before the game in Cleveland. At that time, the Twins will need to send one Dustin Martin went 2-5 with his 21st double. Michael Holliman went 1-3 with a walk. Jake Stevens started and gave up only an unearned run in four innings. He gave up eight hits, walked none and struck out two. […]

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