Publish date:

Here's why the Twins being 'cheap' in 2019 makes sense

There's a method to their madness.

There’s been a lot of talk this offseason – or the past 50 years – about the Twins being too cheap.

Currently, the Twins have about $94 million committed to their 2019 Opening Day roster, which is a $35 million less than they committed to in 2018.

So what gives? Why the decline? Is it just a frugal club pinching pennies? Or is there actually a method to the madness?

What are they worth?

According to Forbes, the Twins were valued at $1.1 billion in 2018, which ranks 21st among MLB teams. Two-thirds of the league, through a variety of factors, are worth more than the Twins if they were to hit the open market.

What about revenue?

Minnesota brought in a revenue of $261 million in 2017. That ranks 20th in MLB. Even though they’re profitable, two-thirds of the league still generates more revenue than the Twins. 

Ticket sales, TV deals, ballparks and other factors play a role in those numbers. 

Big markets like New York ($619 million), Los Angeles ($522 million), Chicago ($457 million) and Boston ($453 million) made double or triple what the Twins did in 2017.

But aren’t the owners rich?

Yes, Forbes says the Pohlad family in 2015 was worth an estimated $3.8 billion. That's a lot of dough. However, they own about 30 different companies/entities, so it isn't all designated for discretionary baseball spending. 

The Oakland Athletics – the inventors of frugal – have an owner who's valued at $2.6 billion and they find ways to regularly compete for a spot in the playoffs, albeit they haven't won a title since 1989. 

Luxury tax

There’s no salary cap in baseball, but to keep teams from overspending there’s the luxury tax. If a team spends more than $206 million on its roster in 2019, they'll receive a first-time penalty of 20 percent on all overages. 

The Twins have never been close to the luxury tax threshold. It's also worth noting that because of the current luxury tax, teams have been less active in free agency in recent years.

Is Bryce Harper or Manny Machado the answer?

Does Harper or Machado makes this team a better club? Yes. Well then how come no other team has signed them? Think about it. If your argument is that the Twins are ”too cheap”, then that argument is technically valid for every team in baseball right now. Everyone’s being too cheap because their demands are too high.

Other free agents available:

  • Dallas Keuchel
  • Craig Kimbrel
  • Mike Moose
  • Marwin Gonzalez

What are the Twins doing if not going after big names?

The Twins are betting on their young core to carry them. They’re hoping the likes of Buxton, Sano, Rosario, Kepler and Berrios is enough to keep them competitive. Also, with Harper and Machado taking so long to sign, the whole free agent market has been in a wait-and-see mode.

At TwinsFest last weekend, Twins general manager Thad Levine told that those kind of acquisitions are more likely when the Twins are the favorites to win the division, which they currently aren't.

Follow Bring Me The Sports on Facebook

Will it work?

The Astros used a similar approach earlier this decade. After losing 100+ games from 2011-2013, they bided time and watched Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and George Springer develop into cornerstone players. In 2017, they supplemented their roster through trades and free agency and added veterans Justin Verlander, Brian McCann and Evan Gattis to an already young, and up-and-coming core. 

The result: a World Series title.

They went from a bottoming payroll in the earlier part of this decade to the sixth-highest in the league in 2018 and most importantly, a World Series crown.

The problem with this wait-and-see policy? Sano and Buxton don't look like becoming Altuve and Correa, though at least Rosario is shining and Berrios looks a solid starter. If it doesn't work out? Well then the Twins will have more than enough money for a rebuild.

But you want them to spend now... 

If you want them to spend money for the sake of spending money they’ve done that before when they signed Phil Hughes, Ricky Nolasco and Mike Pelfrey to a combined $112 million. Were you happy with that?

With analytics and technology at a forefront, teams have information available like never before. Teams have to be smarter with their money.

Let's say everything goes to plan this season, are they a better team than the Red Sox, Yankees or Astros? They basically have to win their division to have a realistic shot to make a run, because going on the road for another Wild Card tilt is going to be too tall of a task for them.

However, in the event they do get off to a hot start, they'll be in a better position to give themselves a chance in the postseason because they don't have a ton of money committed longterm.

Then they would have the resources to be buyers at the trade deadline, whether it's acquiring a rental or a player who's under contract beyond 2019.

Even if you disagree with the Twins’ plan on relying on its young core to hit their stride before supplementing things in free agency or trades, it’s the smartest move there is right now.

You can find out latest Twins 2019 Season content by following our Flipboard magazine.

Next Up

Yia Vang - media photo - crop 2

Union Hmong Kitchen will move into Mpls. food hall

Chef Yia Vang said they're "so excited to settle in and have a home."

ISSAboveYou - Duluth North Shore - Oct 18 2021

Watch: Mille Lacs, Duluth captured in stunning video from ISS

The space station provides a vantage point 260 miles above the Earth's surface.


Ladies and gentlemen, The Weeknd has canceled his St. Paul show

He's made changes to his 2022 tour that involves scrapping his Xcel Energy Center gig.

Pixabay - police lights, tape

Man released from custody after admitting to fatal shooting in ND

Authorities said there is no threat to the public.


MN water tower in the running for Tank of the Year

It was the only water tank to receive more than 5,000 votes.

first snow

Any sign of snow in the forecast for Minnesota?

The stars could align for some flurries in northern Minnesota this week, but that's about it.

Flickr - 14 year old vaccine shot - Navy Medicine

Walz announces $200 reward for kids 12-17 who get COVID shots

Those ages have the lowest vaccination rates among all eligible age groups.

Screen Shot 2021-10-15 at 10.01.55 PM

Police still searching for suspect who opened fire at Plymouth movie theater

It sparked a partial evacuation of the Emagine Willow Creek theater.


Report: Twins may be 'mystery team' in on Harper, Machado

Minnesota is a 'mystery team' that could land the prized free agents.

Why the Twins need to make a move for Craig Kimbrel

With injuries in the bullpen, Kimbrel to the Twins makes a ton of sense.

Why the Twins bullpen will bounce back in 2019

The unit has the potential to be a strength of the team.

Here's why the Twins have the best defense in the American League

The Twins lead the American League in defensive runs saved.

Here's why the Twins have the best defense in the American League

The Twins lead the American League in defensive runs saved.

Here's how the Twins can still make a trade happen this season

MLB teams can still make trades this season, it's just a bit more complicated.


Why Marwin Gonzalez is a great add for the Twins

Gonzalez is a super utility guy that can play all over the field.