Other teams around MLB are wondering when, or if, Twins will spend
Get the 1500 ESPN SportsWire delivered to your inbox daily, and keep up with all the news in Twin Cities Sports
According to contract details kept by Baseball Prospectus, the Minnesota Twins head into the offseason with approximately $57 million tied up in payroll on the 25-man roster now that Justin Morneau comes off the books.
Twins owner Jim Pohlad told 1500 ESPN earlier this season that the decision to reduce payroll from nearly $100 million to around $80 million was strictly a front office decision. General manager Terry Ryan has full permission, as of right now, to spend at or near the levels of 2010, 2011 and 2012 when the Twins' average payroll was over $100 million.
In other words, if the front office wants to spend $40 million (in average annual value) this offseason, the owner says he has no problems with that.
Other teams around baseball are apparently curious to see if the Twins will make a rare splash in the deep end of the free agency pool.
"It's interesting because of what Jim Pohlad said about the willingness to go out and spend in free agency," ESPN's Buster Olney said Tuesday in an interview with 1500 ESPN's Reusse & Mackey. "That got the ears up of people with other teams. They know this - and everybody in baseball knows this; if the Pohlads ever stick out their financial elbows, they can do a lot of things. So in this offseason, in which generally speaking, the industry is veering ... back toward being conservative, you introduce the Twins as a potentially aggressive team in the market, that could change things.
"And that's why I think everybody's kind of wondering, when they talk about spending money, how much teeth do (the Twins) actually intend to put into that? Does that mean a couple of mid-level free agents? Does that mean being aggressive? ... It's going to be a fascinating offseason for them to see exactly how aggressive they're going to be."
Outside of Zack Greinke and Anibal Sanchez - neither of whom had any intentions of entertaining offers from the Twins - the free agent starting pitcher crop last offseason was incredibly weak, especially in retrospect. This year's crop could be a little bit better.
With that said, as followers of the Twins here locally, all of us are also wondering whether the Twins will sink their teeth in this winter.