Did they have to let those two men <Santana and Hunter> go? Or did they merely choose to let them go? Before you answer, stop. Think about it. The answer to that question is more complicated than you think.
"I think the Twins are wrong," said an official of one big-market club. "They're going into a new stadium, a taxpayer-funded stadium. Their owner [Carl Pohlad] is the richest owner in baseball. And this guy [Santana] isn't just another player. Since Kirby Puckett, has there been a more important player on the Minnesota Twins than Johan Santana? I don't think so."Remember, the sport is making a fortune. They're taking in a ton of money from the central fund, [the internet] and revenue sharing. So it's not that they can't do it. They choose not to do it."
But a high-ranking official of a middle-market team had a different take."I don't know for a fact whether the Twins can afford a contract like that or not," he said. "But it's not sensible to do it, whether they can afford it or not. Just because a team from New York does something doesn't mean it's smart for every team to do it ... because even if you can afford it, your cushion is so much less."
This, friends, is shaping up as the classic baseball debate of the 21st century.
I don't think it would surprise any of you to know that I completely agree with the latter, the mid-market executive. It goes back to the question, should the Twins spend money just because they can? Should the increased revenues from baseball's media outlets, revenue sharing or from a new stadium mean that the Twins should just have a high payroll because they can? Should the Twins have paid a 32 year old Torii Hunter for five years at $90 million just because they can? Should they have offered Johan Santana six years and $150 million just because they can? Should Carl Pohlad spend money and allow stupid baseball moves just because he is rich? Of course not. I personally think that the Twins have had a very good offseason and I can't really question any of the decisions they have made.