Published on November 5th, 2011 | by Thompson2
The 2012 World Series Champion Minnesota Twins
Bill Smith has finally forced me to keep a written record of my proposed player transactions, which will be used as my resume for his job after the 2012 season. This is a realistic team with a real budget of $105 million, which is what Bill Smith and Twins management is planning to spend in 2012. So, here are your 2012 World Series Champions – the Minnesota Twins.
Michael Cuddyer– The biggest question on the mind of every Twins fan is if Michael Cuddyer will be back in 2012, and I think it’s safe to say he won’t be. He’s going to get a massive contract from the Phillies or Red Sox. The man is a stud, and the Twins can’t compete with the money the larger market teams will offer. The Twins will offer arbitration and get a first round pick when it’s denied. My bet is he’ll end up in Philly with a contract for 3 years, $34 million and an option for a fourth. Besides, Jason Kubel is younger and was having a great year at the plate before injuries slowed him down. Which brings me to my next free agent signing…
Jason Kubel – Kubel is ready for a long-term deal, and he’s the cheapest free agent to retain at about $6 million a year. He’s a better-than-average right fielder and a hell of a fastball hitter. I’d offer him arbitration and then throw 4 years, $25 million at him with a mutual option for a fifth. That makes him very affordable and gives us a team-friendly contract that comes in handy around trade deadline time. Kubel will receive $5.5 million in year one, $6 million in year two, $6.5 million in year three, and $7 million in year four. The fifth year would be worth $8 million.
Joe Nathan – I really want to keep Nathan. He looked good in his first year back from Tommy John surgery, but the truth is I’ve never felt comfortable with him on the mound, especially in the playoffs, and he’ll continue to be less effective. I just can’t justify paying someone $8 million who pitches 80 innings, so I’d offer him a 3 year deal worth $20 million plus his $2 million buyout. I’d make Nathan defer some of his payments for later years of the deal. He’d get $5 million plus his $2 million buyout in year one, $7 million in year two, and $8 million in year three.
Matt Capps – I never wanted him in the first place. If I could go back in time I’d warn JFK about his assassination and get Wilson Ramos back.
Hisashi Iwakuma – This is my big free agent signing. Iwakuma has dominated Japanese baseball for years, and was furious when the A’s won the bidding war for his negotiation rights over the Twins and proceeded to offer him a very low contract. This puts Minnesota as the top spot for Iwakuma and is also attractive because fellow Japanese player Tsuyoshi Nishioka will make him feel at home. This could only help Nishioka settle into Major League Baseball as well. I’d offer Iwakuma 4 years, $28 million with a mutual option for a fourth year at $8 million.
Josh Willingham – Josh is my big shocker, and I’ll tell you why. For years Josh Willingham has flown under the radar while putting up good numbers at the plate and in the field. He has the ability to play the corner outfield spots, first base, and catcher, so instead of investing in two players to backup first base, catcher, and play outfield, Josh fills all those roles and leaves me another bench player or pitcher. Plus, the lineup will need a right-handed bat with Cuddyer moving on, and Josh hit 29 homers and had 98 RBI last season, virtually replacing Cuddyer and then some. I’m giving him a 3 year deal worth $22 million with a mutual option for a fourth year at $9 million. He’ll be paid $6 million in year one and $8 million in years two and three.
George Sherill – He had an effective 2011 before injuries landed him on the DL to end the season, and he’s a low-cost/high reward player. I figure a one year deal at a million dollars will help give the bullpen some depth.
Nick Punto – Yes, I want him back! I never wanted to see him go, but now that he’s won a championship he’s the perfect veteran leader this team needs. Plus, he’s cheap. He won’t cost more than $1 million. I used to show up early for games, not for batting practice, but to watch Nickie do soft-toss drills in the outfield. He has the fastest hands I’ve ever seen and can play anywhere on the infield and even some outfield. He even hit .278 last year!
Tender: Francisco Liriano ($6 million), Glen Perkins ($1.6 million), Alexi Casilla ($2.5 million), Jose Mijares ($700K), Phil Dumatrait ($500K)
Non-tender: Kevin Slowey, Matt Tolbert, Jason Repko
25-man Roster and Salary
- Joe Mauer (C) – $23,000,000
- Justin Morneau (1B) – $14,000,000
- Alexi Casilla (2B) – $2,500,000
- Tsuyoshi Nishioka (SS) – $3,000,000
- Danny Valencia (3B) – $500,000
- Denard Span (OF) – $3,000,000
- Ben Revere (OF) – $500,000
- Josh Willingham (OF/DH/1B/C) – $6,000,000
- Jason Kubel (OF/DH) – $5,500,000
- Carl Pavano (SP) – $8,500,000
- Hisashi Iwakuma (SP) – $7,000,000
- Scott Baker (SP) – $6,500,000
- Francisco Liriano (SP) – $5,750,000
- Nick Blackburn (SP) – $4,750,000
- Brian Duensing (LR) – $500,000
- Anthony Swarzak (LR) – $500,000
- George Sherrill (MR) – $1,000,000
- Phil Dumatrait (MR) – $500,000
- Jose Mijares (MR) – $750,000
- Glen Perkins (SU) – $1,600,000
- Joe Nathan (CL) – $7,000,000 (includes $2 million buyout)
- Nick Punto (IF/OF) – $1,000,000
- Chris Parmelee (IF/DH) – $500,000
- Drew Butera (C) – $500,000
- Trevor Plouffe (IF/OF) – $500,000
This team has the potential to do very well for a long time. It does wrap up money in the future, but it’s money well spent. Most of it’s off the books in 3 years, and a lot of it comes from money we won’t be paying Justin Morneau in the future. One way or another that number will come down…even if it has to come down to zero.
I truly believe it keeps in mind the way we should treat some of our own – like all-time Twins saves leader Joe Nathan. I couldn’t keep Cuddyer, but I doubt there’s much chance he’ll be back. Bill Smith says he’s a high priority, but he’s supposed to say that. The bottom line is Cuddyer will get big dollars and move to a team he thinks has a better chance of winning. Personally, I think Josh Willingham could be an upgrade just because he can catch if we were in a bind…not to say Cuddyer couldn’t catch if we needed it. He just hasn’t before. I wish Mike the best of luck, and I wish we could have gotten something for him at the trade deadline last season, but I’ll take a first round pick.
The bullpen has depth, the starters could actually win a 7 game playoff series, and the addition of Josh Willingham fills Cuddyer’s shoes and serves as a backup first baseman or even catcher if the M&M Boys spend the majority of the year on the DL again. Not only is it a better lineup and a better pitching staff, but it’s a Twins-type of team full of great defensive players and speed at the top and bottom of the lineup.
2012 Opening Day Lineup
- Denard Span (CF) [L]
- Alexi Casilla (2B) [S]
- Joe Mauer (C) [L]
- Justin Morneau (1B) [L]
- Josh Willingham (RF) [R]
- Jason Kubel (DH) [L]
- Danny Valencia (3B) [R]
- Ben Revere (LF) [L]
- Tsuyoshi Nishioka (SS) [S]