Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Friday, February 02, 2007

Finally . . . Some Progress!

This post has been updated to reflect some tweaks in the initially reported numbers.

It took a long time, but the Twins finally cleared up some unfinished business in a big way today by signing 4 of their 6 arbitration eligible players. The signings (and the dollar amounts) were not that surprising:

Justin Morneau - $4.5 million ($4 million offered / $5 million demanded)
Lew Ford - $985,000 ($800,000 offered / $1.3 million demanded)
Nick Punto - 2 years, $4.2 million ($1.6 million offered / $2.1 million demanded)
Juan Rincon - $2 million ($1.6 million offered / $2.4 million demanded)

First, the Morneau deal is the only one that followed the traditional "split-the-difference" formula, and it isn't really that surprising that this turned out to be the resolution of this particular contract issue. The Twins are still trying to retain some flexibility for next year, and signing Morneau, Mauer, and Cuddyer all to multi-year deals would have reduced that flexibility. There was also likely not a lot of agreement between the two sides on what Morneau would be worth a couple of years from now - the Twins probably want to see him put up another season like last year's before they give him a big deal.

Nick Punto essentially got paid exactly what he wanted - an average of $2.1 million for the next two years. He'll get $1.8 million this year, and $2.4 million next year, so this looks like a draw as far as who "won" the negotiations. As for Juan Rincon, he ended up with a "split-the-difference" deal just like Morneau

As for Lew Ford, it's obvious that his agent over-reached when he made the original $1.3 million demand. The Twins won this negotiation because they had a superior position - had Ford not settled (and he took a fair bit less than the midway point), he probably would have lost his hearing.

Frankly, having just 2 arbitration eligible players to worry about puts the Twins in a significantly better position than they were in yesterday. Hopefully, they can get a multi-year deal done with Mauer sometime in the next week, and then turn their attention to possible extensions for Santana and Joe Nathan.

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