This has been an offseason unlike any other in Minnesota Twins history.
With the addition of second baseman Orlando Hudson last night, the Twins payroll has surged beyond $95 million. That’s quite a hike considering it was $65 million on Opening Day last year.
I’m not surprised there was a hike, but I guessed payroll would probably only go up $20-25 million in a post a couple months ago.
So, what did the Twins get for that money? Besides handing out raises to a number of arbitration-eligible players, the Twins retained starting pitcher Carl Pavano, took on more payroll be trading for shortstop J.J. Hardy, and they’ve signed designated hitter Jim Thome and reliever Clay Condrey along with Hudson.
When we had La Velle E. Neal on for our "Sports Talk" radio show a couple weeks back, my colleague Tom Mix asked him about the possibility of adding Hudson. Neal said he didn’t think the money and years – Hudson wanted a multi-year deal at the time – would work and that the Twins payroll can’t get too close to $95 million. Turns out Hudson’s price dropped and the Twins bit the bullet on that one.
Additionally – and not affecting this season’s payroll number – the Twins added highly touted Dominican prospect Miguel Angel Sano, who it has been determined is 16 years old. That deal was completed in December, when Sano got a work visa to play baseball in the USA.
Dave Cameron over at FanGraphs thinks the Twins had one of the best offseasons in baseball this year, despite the Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox and New York Mets getting all of the attention.
The Twins might have had the best offseason of all when you consider both the Mariners and Red Sox lost 30-home run hitters in Russell Branyan – who is still a free agent and slugged .520 last year! – and Jason Bay, respectively.
And the Mets, while adding Bay, lost Carlos Delgado. Granted, Delgado was injured most of last year, but this is a guy who hit 38 homers in 2008. He’s being replaced at first base by Daniel Murphy of all people.
Branyan and Delgado are both still free agents, I believe. They could return to their former teams still.
Who was the biggest Twins loss? Orlando Cabrera? Carlos Gomez? Ron Mahay? Not exactly significant losses, though Cabrera was very good at the plate down the stretch for the Twins.
So, that begs the question: Have the Twins had the best offseason in baseball this winter?