Taylor's Twins Talk

Focusing on the Twins, with a few ramblings on other things that catch my attention

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Trade Deadline Prep: Part 1

This is the first in what I intend to be a series of posts leading up the July 31 trade deadline. If I were to try to post everything I want to post on this issue at once, I think it would get a bit overwhelming, so this approach should be better for you and me both.

When looking at what kind of things the Twins are likely to do at the deadline, it's useful to know the contract status of the players on the team. This first post, then, is just going to be a basic rundown of the current Twins player contracts, separated into useful categories. This website is a great store of information on MLB contracts, but I think my means of presenting the information will be a little more user-friendly. Incidentally, some of the information is not 100% accurate; the MLB service time that the site lists for Justin Morneau, for instance, is not accurate.

Before I go to the list, I'd like to explain the categories for those of you not familiar with the Byzantine categorization of players and the rules that determine when they are eligible to be free agents, when they are arbitration eligible, etc.

When players are on the active 25-man roster (as opposed to the 40-man roster which is a different animal entirely, and which I'm not going to discuss here), they acrue service time as a Major League player. That service time is the key to when players hit specific milestones. When a player reaches three full years of MLB service time, they become arbitration eligible. Prior to that point, a team can unilaterally impose a contract on a player. The only reason teams don't simply hand the minimum to all pre-arbitration players is that they want to maintain some good will with that player, and refusing to negotiate at all would be a sign of extreme bad faith. Between 3 and 6 years of service time, the player retains arbitration eligibility every off-season, unless he signs a multi-year contract with the team and thus avoids the need to determine a salary for the years the contract is valid. It is not until after a player accrues 6 full years of MLB service time that he becomes free agent eligible. As an example, after the 2004 season, Jacque Jones had somewhere in the neighborhood of 5.8 years of service time, but nevertheless was not free agent eligible. They don't round up; a player must actually reach the 6 full years. As a result, Jones had to wait until after last season.

A couple of random thoughts before I move on. As long as a player is on the 25-man roster, he accrues service time. The player doesn't have to play at all; riding the pine is just as good for this purpose as is starting in center field. Next, players that are on the Disabled List also accrue service time. This is why Joe Mauer has 2 full seasons of service time accrued despite having spent 2004 almost entirely on the disabled list. Finally, service time is given for every day a player is with the team. Here is a simple example: this season began on April 2 and ends on October 1. By my count, that is 183 days in the MLB season. If a minor leaguer is called up to replace somebody who goes on the 15-day DL, and stays up for exactly 15 days, the minor leaguer would accrue 15/183, or .08 years, of service time.

Now onto the classification of the current Minnesota Twins, based on where they will be at the end of the season. Following the players name is an estimate on service time that player will have, assuming they stay with the team for the remainder of the season.


1.) Francisco Liriano - 1.031
2.) Boof Bonser - 0.672
3.) Jesse Crain - 2.064
4.) Willie Eyre - 1
5.) Matt Guerrier (On the DL) - 2.056
6.) Terry Tiffee - 0.816
7.) Luis Rodriguez - 1.128
8.) Jason Kubel - 2.034 (assuming the site above is correct)
9.) Jason Bartlett - 1.5

These figures are approximate, and there may be some error. Kubel's figure, for example, seems to be so high because he spent all of last season on the MLB 60-day disabled list, and therefore had an entire year consumed thereon. Bartlett's figure is also not accurate; I had to approximate because the site above had a figure that was clearly incorrect. I will endeavor to get more definite numbers. Nevertheless, these numbers serve the purpose of showing who is not eligible for arbitration, and therefore who the Twins have no reason to ditch at this point.

Arbitration Eligible

1.) Juan Rincon - 4.066
2.) Kyle Lohse - 5
3.) Joe Mauer - 3
4.) Justin Morneau - 3.168
5.) Michael Cuddyer - 3.157
6.) Lew Ford - 3.123
7.) Nick Punto - 4.051

Lohse's number is an estimate; he was at 4.103 prior to the start of the season and spent a little time in the minors this year. Morneau's number is also an estimate, because the website was a little low with his number and probably just missed a season. Seven arbitration eligible players is pretty high, and as I will discuss in a future post, I suspect some of these names won't be Twins anymore by the time the February arbitration hearings roll around.

Free Agents

1.) Brad Radke
2.) Carlos Silva (Twins hold an option for '07)
3.) Dennys Reyes
4.) Mike Redmond
5.) Luis Castillo (Twins hold an option for '07)
6.) Shannon Stewart (Disabled List)
7.) Torii Hunter (Twins hold an option for '07)
8.) Rondell White (Twins hold an option for '07)
9.) Ruben Sierra

Quite a few names on that list, and I would expect some to be culled from it soon. As with the above category, I will discuss this in some detail in a later post.

Under Contract
1.) Johan Santana (through 2008)
2.) Joe Nathan (through 2007, with an option for 2008)

Yep, the Twins have just 2 players definitely under contract for next season. Add that to the guys who are pre-arbitration, and you 11 guys. Some decisions definitely will have to be made in the Arbitration Eligible and Free Agent categories.

Hopefully you find this rundown useful; I'll be referring to it in future posts from this series.


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