After being a Twin killer for most of his career, a run that included hitting 57 homeruns against Minnesota, Jim Thome is joining the organization. For just $1.5 million and up to $750,000 in incentives based on plate appearances, Thome will become a powerful bat off the bench and a spot starter at designated hitter.
What exactly Thome will do is hard to tell, but it is know that the signing affects the team’s roster, the team’s bench plans for the 2010 season, and the current payroll.
The team’s 40-man roster is currently jam packed. There is nowhere to put Thome, and the Twins will have until this weekend when Thome completes his physical to make a roster decision.
It’s currently difficult to tell who exactly the Twins will remove from the roster as several candidates would be in danger of being lost through waivers. Both Glen Perkins and Alexi Casilla are rumored to be available, but it’s also difficult to see something happening on that front before spring training.
The Twins will in all likelihood go with a 12-man pitching staff. Going in that direction would allow for four players on the bench, and with Jim Thome onboard, the plan might change just a bit.
Jose Morales, or any other catcher who may need to start the season after Morales’ has surgery this week, will take one spot. Two spots remain after that, and it sounds as if Jason Pridie might get one spot while the other could come down to a battle between Alexi Casilla and Matt Tolbert if no further moves are made.
If the Twins sign a second or third baseman, either Nick Punto or Brendan Harris could shift to the bench, costing both Tolbert and Casilla roster spots. All in all, the bench battle won’t be fully solved until spring training gets underway.
Thome’s contract was rather small, and it really adds just about $1 million to the payroll since he’ll be taking a player’s roster spot who would have made the minimum of around $500,000. Now that Thome is signed, the Twins are right at or slightly above the $90 million mark.
Assuming the Twins might have $5 million more to spend if the right move comes along, there could still be a move to re-sign third baseman Joe Crede or a second baseman such as Orlando Cabrera, Orlando Hudson, or Felipe Lopez.
It took only one day for the Minnesota Twins and their eight arbitration eligible players to agree to terms. After all players filed by the deadline last Friday, the sides exchanged offers on Tuesday and agreed to contracts for the 2010 season by the end of the day.
Carl Pavano signed for $7 million, J.J. Hardy for $5.1 million, Matt Guerrier for $3.1 million, Delmon Young for $2.6 million, Jesse Crain for $2 million, Francisco Liriano for $1.6 million, Pat Neshek for $625K, and Brendan Harris agreed to a two-year, $3.2 million contract.
On the day, the Minnesota Twins committed an additional $23,475,000 to their payroll for next season. In addition, they took another huge step toward a $90 million payroll for their first season at Target Field.
Currently at about $88.5 million according to rough estimates, the Minnesota Twins may have a small amount of money left to spend in the coming weeks. With reports that the Twins offered Jarrod Washburn a one-year, $5 million contract two weeks ago, there are indications that the organization could approach $95 million if the situation is right.
With second base, third base, and the fourth outfield spot uncertain, it is still very possible that the Twins could make another addition before the club reports to Fort Myers, Florida in four weeks.
The Minnesota Twins still have questions remaining after their trade with the Milwaukee Brewers. While shortstop has been solved, second base, third base, and the rotation have not been.
As the off-season starts to get underway with arbitration offers, free agency and front office meetings, the Twins will have some payroll flexibility. Most teams, including the Twins, don’t publicize their plans for payroll. With that said, reports indicate that the team’s 2010 payroll could jump somewhere around $90 million.
While the jump would be nearly $25 million more than the team ended with in 2009, it is smaller than it seems. Players like Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Scott Baker are moving further into contracts and being awarded more guaranteed money. In addition, nine players will receive raises via arbitration.
With the raises and arbitration estimates based on various reports and opinions, the team’s payroll may be very close to the following before any signing or other trade occurs.
The total of $78.55 million may be a little low if the players gain more than the shown estimates through arbitration, and it could be lower if any of the nine players are non-tendered (not offered a contract).
When all is said and done, it seems as though the team’s payroll will climb more than $10 million just with arbitration and players advancing in current contracts. If reports of a $90 million payroll are correct, the Twins will have around $12 million or so to help bring in a starting pitcher and potentially fix second base, third base, or both.
* In bold are rough estimates of contracts after arbitration.