The Twins will spend over $100 million on players in 2010

The Minnesota Twins, on death’s doorstop just a few years ago, will spend more on player salaries this upcoming season than the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball’s attendance leader in 2009. After signing Orlando Hudson, the Twins’ payroll projects to be $96 million on opening day, and that number doesn’t account for whatever amount will be added to Joe Mauer‘s 2010 take, currently slated for $12.5 million. It’s not unreasonable to suggest that Mauer’s annual salary will increase by $10 million or more, which would mean a payroll of over $106 million in 2010.

In 2000, the Twins’ payroll was $15,700,000. A decade later, it will have increased by over $90 million. To put that number in perspective, the Yankees’ payroll has increased by about $103 million over that span. It’s a strange day, indeed, in which the Twins are in the Yankees’ company when it comes to payroll increases. So what does the Orlando Hudson signing mean?

In 2010, the Hudson signing cements the Twins as favorites to repeat as AL Central champions. Adding a 2.0-2.5 win player is never a bad thing, but it’s even nicer when that player bumps an incumbent who goes a long way toward putting the R in WAR. Given that the Twins have either won or lost the division by a single game three of the last four years, it’s not hard to see that a win here and there can make all the difference. This offseason’s been delightful for the Twins, who retained Carl Pavano and added J.J. Hardy* and Jim Thome along with Hudson. The only real fly in the ointment is Delmon Young. While I think there’s a strong case to be made for not giving up on the guy, Jason Kubel and Jim Thome really need to be playing every day against righties unless Young can turn the corner. How long the team will sacrifice Kubel/Thome plate appearances to give Young a chance will be interesting to watch.

I think there’s a decent chance the Hardy/Carlos Gomez swap ends up being the stealth steal of the offseason. Seriously, Milwaukee? The ghost of Tom Goodwin is the best you could do?

On the broader, organizational level, the move shows we’re not dealing with the same old Twins. A few weeks ago, I wrote that the Twins might be well on their way to becoming the American League’s St. Louis Cardinals. Look where we are today: sparkling stadium? Check. Best player in the league? Check. Organizational stability? Check. The willingness and wherewithal to capitalize on an undervalued player? Check. The AL Central is the Twins’ for the taking in 2010, and that doesn’t look to change any time soon. For a state devastated by sports catasters and disastrophies (yes, that’s where we’re at), the Twins are a crucial beacon of hope. With a solid major league core, some interesting hitting prospects, and the system’s never-ending supply of strike-throwers, the Twins are in a good spot.

And you know what? One of these years, they’ll knock off the Yankees. As we all know, getting to the tournament is more important than being the best team in it. And the Twins might just be in as good a position as any team in baseball to make the tournament with regularity over the next several years.

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  1. Jim G. said...

    “Seriously, Milwaukee? The ghost of Tom Goodwin is the best you could do?”

    Not bad for a guy who’s health will regress him to the ghost of Tom Veryzer.

  2. DonCoburleone said...

    Hey give Gomez a shot in the NL at least… I remember everybody saying the same thing about Michael Bourn before last season when he turned into one of the best lead-off men in baseball.

  3. ecp said...

    Extremely doubtful that a Mauer extension increases payroll for 2010.  The Twins have already indicated that $96 million has pretty much tapped them out for the season.  Mauer’s extension won’t kick until 2011.

  4. Josh Fisher said...


    If that’s the case, then this Hudson signing means the Mauer deal’s pretty much done, right? I mean, he would have had to have already agreed not to get a raise this season.


  5. Steven Ellingson said...


    Yeah, the top 4 are probably better than the twins, but that’s where it ends.  From 5 to 7 (yes, you need at least 7 starting pitchers to get through a season) the Twins are decidedly better.  Liriano, Perkins and Duensing vs. Garcia, Hudson, and…..

    The Twins are in a position where they can afford to lose a player or two to injury and still be the best team in the division.

  6. Patrick said...

    As a lifelong Twins fan I am happy to see their financial renaissance.  Comparisons to the Cardinals are nice to hear. I hope they get the long term revenue they are hoping for from the new park so this doesn’t turn into a short term thing. 

    Peavy, Floyd, Garcia, Hudson and also Jenks are all right handed pitcher.  They are all talented but I wonder what happens when they are looking at a lineup with Span, Mauer, Morneau, Kubel, and Thome in it.

  7. said...

    Minnesota’s got some good young talent coming up through the minors too, so this is very good timing for them to start trying to really REALLY win it all. You’re right they’ve got some good years ahead. I wouldn’t be surprised if they go to the World Series 2 or 3 times in the coming decade.

  8. JayCee said...

    I don’t mind the enthusiasm, but to almost ignore starting pitching is a bit extreme. For the Twins to make the World Sries will require perhaps every one of their pitchers to pitch to the high end of his expectations.

  9. D Leaberry said...

    JayCee is right.  To ignore pitching to land Orlando Hudson, a second baseman who was beat out late last year by Ronnie Belliard(who couldn’t cut it as a starter for the pathetic Nats), is not wise.  Nick Punto and Brendan Harris can play second about as well as Hudson.  Pitching is paramount as it always is.

  10. Randy S said...

    Josh, ecp is right – Mauer’s current deal still runs through 2010 and pays him #12.5 mil. Whatever happens with an extension would start with 2011 and will not change that 2010 number one bit. The Twins will not be going beyond $96 mil for 2010.

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