During the offseason, the Minnesota Twins only made two big free agent acquisitions. The club brought back fan favorite outfielder Torii Hunter, and signed starting pitcher Ervin Santana. Unfortunately, the baseball website Fangraphs isn’t a fan of one of those signings.
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A recent post highlighted what Fangraphs considered to be the 10 worst transactions of the 2015 offseason. The Twins see their names in the eighth spot on the list with the four-year, $55 million deal they handed out to their newest pitcher.
Here’s what Fangraphs had to say about the transaction:
"For what Santana is, the price is mostly okay. This is what durable league average starters are going for these days, and that’s clearly the mold that Santana belongs to. However, this is just the wrong team to be handing out a four year deal to an aging pitcher, especially with draft pick compensation attached. The Twins are going to be lousy again in 2015, and probably won’t be contenders for several more years, by which time Santana probably will be a drag on the payroll. Yes, bad teams need veteran placeholders, but better for them to bet on upside than pay for stability. Signing Phil Hughes last winter was a great example of what the Twins should be doing. This is just a run-in-place maneuver with minimal potential, however, and enough downside that the Twins will probably end up regretting this move."
While I can understand the logic behind the argument, there are several problems regarding the assumptions within it. This season, it appears that the consensus of the general majority is that the Twins are actually worse. Looking at those players due for regression and the Twins roster construction, this notion simply doesn’t make sense.
Yes, the offensive production was probably more than what it should have been a season ago. That being said, guys like Joe Mauer and Oswaldo Arcia left so much on the table. The biggest boost however in the 2015 roster is in the pitching ability, the Twins actually have it. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who will argue the Twins should struggle on the mound to the same extent they did a season ago. The biggest issue for the Twins will probably be outfield defense, which leads to another point.
Ervin Santana probably shouldn’t have been the transaction named on this list. Torii Hunter’s bat is a plus, but $10 million for an old outfielder who makes defense in a tough outfield, behind a struggling staff worse? That seems problematic to me.
To suggest that the Twins won’t be “contenders for several more years” also seems to be quite a misstep. Minnesota has talent on the roster at each position in 2015, something that can’t be said of recent years. That roster is going to be supplemented with names like Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Alex Meyer, and others as well. The division as a whole remains competitive, but teams like the Tigers and Royals have taken steps backwards.
Like the Chicago Cubs find themselves doing in 2015, the Twins will complete a very quick turnaround when the pieces come together. If 2015 isn’t the year for full-blown promotions, 2016 should be more than promising. Minnesota is not far off from the turnaround, and Santana brings stability to lead the way.
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