Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Friday, January 25, 2008

Twins Go Long Term

Back when the Twins agreed to terms on a one-year deal with Justin Morneau to avoid arbitration, I suggested that the team might be hesitant to sign Morneau to a long-term contract -- and that waiting another year was the right approach. It's fair to say that I was wrong on both counts. The Twins today proved just how wrong I was about their willingness to go long term with Morneau by signing him to a 6-year, $80 million deal. As for whether that was a good decision or not, I have to admit that it's hard to say no. Morneau's value was going to continue to rise (even though I attempted in that previous post to suggest why waiting just one year might work out).

Further, this is a gesture of good will for a fan base that was starting to get a little antsy following the departures of Torii Hunter and Carlos Silva (as misguided as that angst was), and the expected departure of Johan Santana. Morneau's signing, along with the 3-year deal (with a team option for a fourth year) given to Michael Cuddyer, should indicate the fan base that the Twins are most decidedly not in a rebuilding mode -- they're just doing what they have to in order to try to maximize the opportunity to win.

The interesting question that has been bouncing around message boards today has been what, if anything, these signings mean for Johan Santana's future with the Twins. Personally, I don't think this changes much -- but that's because I didn't think the Twins could afford a Santana extension even before today. If, however, there was any doubt about this point, it should now be laid to rest. The Twins have said that these two contracts won't affect any other players -- and perhaps I should take them at face value on that. However, to my mind these signings indicate that, barring a dramatic increase in payroll, the Twins are far beyond being able to sign Santana to an extension. There's a good chance that, within the next couple of weeks, we'll find out for sure.

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  • At Sat Jan 26, 12:04:00 AM , Blogger neckrolls said...

    Don't feel bad about missing your prediction on Morneau - you're an excellent NFL prognosticator, and that's more profitable, right?

    As for Santana, they offered him $20 million/year through 2012. He wants them to add 2013 (and 2014 if he can get it). With Morneau's 2013 salary remaining constant at $14 million, and Cuddyer long gone by then, I don't see why these signings preclude the Twins from offering Santana $20 million for 2013. With revenues projecting upward into the first few years of the new stadium, the $34 million combined salary for Santana and Morneau would be less expensive to the Twins in 2013 than in 2012.

    Are you saying that the 4-year, $80 million extension for Santana is off the table? If he called Bill Smith today and said he changed his mind, he'll accept that offer, wouldn't they still give it to him?

    The sticking point with Santana is years, not dollars - they can afford him if they're willing to take him further into the future.

  • At Sat Jan 26, 12:15:00 AM , Blogger JST said...

    What I'm saying is that I don't believe Santana will sign for less than $24-25 million per season, probably for a minimum of 5 years. I don't see the Twins agreeing to that, and I don't see Santana coming down off of that demand so close to free agency.

    For the record, I don't think a deal would have been possible even before the Twins committed over $100 million on two players today -- but after that money was committed, I think it ended any possibility, no matter how slim it was.


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