Asst GM Rob Antony: We planned for higher payroll than $85M, but FA position players signed elsewhere. “We were trying to give money away.”
— Phil Miller (@MillerStrib) March 26, 2014
The Twins season begins on Monday, so we can start to take the roster seriously now. Jason Kubel made the team, and that’s generally the only additional player added to the roster that was in doubt. Ever since Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes were signed, the assumption had been that they would be in the rotation. It’s a needed and welcome improvement to one of the worst rotations in the history of baseball, and the Twins were aggressive early in making sure the situation was addressed.
As is the case with many struggling franchises, it’s tough to be patient through three losing years, and in many cases, those who don’t control the finances of the team want the organization to spend their way to success. Rarely is that a workable plan, but it shows, at the very least, that the owners are trying, in a way that patient development does not. Traditionally, the Twins have been patient, and their patience is nearly to the point that it will be rewarded with a bumper crop of top prospects on the way.
Still, to bridge the gap, the organization set out to open the pocketbook and sign as many helpful players as they could. They addressed the rotation and people began to recognize that the offense wasn’t up to snuff either. If Rob Antony is to be believed, they tried to patch those holes too, and it just didn’t happen, because nobody wanted to come here. This is what I said last year too. Unless the Twins are good, many players will gladly take more less money to go to other markets. You have to understand that it isn’t just as simple as a general manager signing a player to play baseball. They are human beings with their own personal needs and ambitions. In many cases, it seems like the recent iteration of the Twins doesn’t meet those of the past few free agent classes.
We’re lucky that upon arriving in Minnesota, players love it and want to stay, but as much as we love it and the members of the current roster enjoy it here, it’s hard to shake a reputation of an arctic tundra in the middle of flyover country, no matter what the salary. The Twins need to build from the ground up, and only then will free agents line up to join the organization.