The Minnesota Twins, with a $100 million payroll? They're not far off, and that's before looking up Joe Mauer forever. As Nick's Twins Blog suggests, the balance of financial power in the American League Central seems to be shifting quickly. Nick's big finish:
- So, the Twins are taking on salary, spending big on international talent, going over-slot to sign draft picks, and likely are on the verge of doling out one of the biggest contracts in league history to retain their star player? All while the rest of the division is pawning off expensive stars and selling out the present for the future in order to cut costs? Is this some sort of parallel universe?
Longtime fans from around these parts can be excused for reacting with some confusion, but what we're seeing are the benefits associated with the move to a new park. I'd posit that these drastic increases may also be attributable in part to a less frugal philosophy held by ownership now that power has shifted from Carl Pohlad -- who passed away early this year -- to his sons.
Right before our eyes, we're seeing the transformation of a franchise. Long known as the division's "Little Engine That Could," the Twins are beginning to emerge as financial heavyweights in the AL Central. As the holidays approach, now seems as apt a time as any for fans to appreciate this unfamiliar feeling.
That's the trick, right? The Twins don't really have to compete, financially, with the Yankees and the Red Sox. They just have to compete with the White Sox and the Indians, and their new ballpark -- not to mention a pretty solid market, in the same neighborhood as Seattle and Phoenix -- should allow them to do that for the foreseeable future. The Twins have a great reputation for drafting and development, and they deserve it. If they can marry that up with good financial judgment -- and I have to say, their record in this area is not strong -- they could become a divisional powerhouse.