Twins GM Terry Ryan: “Payroll is Sufficient”


For any Twins fans hoping for a big splash in free agency this offseason, those hopes got doused with a splash of cold water from general manager Terry Ryan on Tuesday. In an article by Phil Miller of the Star Tribune, Ryan bristled at the idea of raising the payroll ceiling for the 2015 team:

"Still, that means the 2015 payroll is likely to be much closer to the $86 million the Twins ultimately spent in 2014 than the franchise-record $113 million they paid out in 2011."

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Miller continues:

"That’s the general manager’s opinion, certainly. “Payroll will not be an issue. Our payroll is sufficient to [field] a winning team,” Ryan said last week. “There are playoff teams with lower payrolls than ours. … We can’t use that as an excuse.”"

Ryan defended his roster payroll in 2014 saying:

"“I spent plenty,” Ryan said. “Our payroll was pretty stiff [in July], very respectable. It wasn’t the highest, but it shouldn’t be the highest.”"

The fact is, however, that the Twins payroll ended at the sixth LOWEST in all of baseball in 2014, a fact that Ryan doesn’t seem too concerned about:

"“There are playoff teams with lower payrolls than ours. … We can’t use that as an excuse.”"

In regards to this offseason’s free agent market, including some of the highly sought pitching free agents?

"“Everyone will be chasing the best ones,” Ryan said. “We’ll see who has an interest in coming here.”"

Miller extrapolates however:

"With their current contracts, don’t count on the Twins spending much time talking to the big three free-agent pitchers: James Shields, Jon Lester and Max Scherzer, each of whom reportedly will seek contracts of six years and at least $120 million — and probably much more."

For Twins fans, this is hardly the news they want to hear.  This is not what the fanbase and the state of Minnesota was promised when they agreed to use public funding to build Target Field for the Pohlad family.  Fans have done their part by flocking to the Pohlad Palace the past five years, filling the Pohlads’ coffers with more revenue than some 3rd world countries.  The fanbase was promised that the organization would spend to contend on a yearly basis.  Instead, what we have gotten is a payroll again that ranks near the bottom of baseball.  The idea that Ryan can look at fans in the face and say that he has spent plenty shows how out of touch he is with the growing discontent of the team’s fans and corporate partners.

Have playoff teams this year spent less?  Absolutely. Those teams, however, have not spent the past 4 years in the basement of the standings.  They have utilized resources expertly and should be considered exceptions to the rule.  I am in no means saying that the Minnesota Twins should be spending like the Red Sox, Yankees, and Dodgers, but the idea that the organization is now nickle-and-diming payroll is an insult to anyone who has gone through the turnstiles at Target Field.

Ryan has turned a blind eye to the fanbase.  His employers, however, will be unable to ignore their growing apathy:

"It’s likely that the team’s income has (decreased), however, given that Target Field attendance has fallen by at least 9.2 percent in each of the past three seasons. It has plummeted by 30.2 percent since the park opened in 2010 and figures to keep declining next season."

Should the Twins continue to act like the cupboard is bare, they may find that it soon, in fact, will be.

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