Thursday, December 23, 2010
The Waiting Game
In recent weeks, many Twins fans have become increasingly frustrated with the Twins lack of movement. In many eyes, the Twins are waiting on Carl Pavano to decide if he wants to return to the team before moving forward with other moves. Obviously a commitment to Pavano is not something to be taken lightly. If the Twins sign him, itís likely going to eat up $9-10 million out whatever their payroll will be. Thatís a significant chunk.
However, was waiting for Pavano the right move? Did waiting for Pavano cost them Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier or other free agents that they could have spent more time and energy on?
Obviously none of us know. Only those in the front office know the big picture of the Pavano situation and what effects, if any, have been related.
But Pavano himself has also been playing a waiting game, and to be frank, he has lost big time.
At the onset of the offseason, there was Cliff Lee, Jorge de La Rosa and Carl Pavano. De La Rosa quickly re-signed with the Rockies to a two year, $21.5 million deal that includes a player option for the third year at $10.5 million, and then a team option for 2014. Many thought that would set the market for Pavano. Cliff Lee was in his own stratosphere in terms of years and dollars, but some thought that Pavano should wait for Lee to sign because the teams that lost out on the lefty could fall back to Pavano. Well, since Lee signed with the Phillies, teams have not been knocking down Pavanoís door. Obviously the Yankees wonít go there again. But surprisingly, the Texas Rangers have expressed little interest. One team that showed a lot of interest at the winter meetings was the Milwaukee Brewers. However, they have traded for pitchers Shawn Marcum and then Zack Greinke, so they are likely out of discussion. Rich Harden has signed. And now Brandon Webb is garnering much more attention than Pavano.
So, as of right now, the Washington Nationals continue to show interest, but not for more than one year, and the Twins. There is some belief that the Twins have told Pavano to come to them with the offers that he receives, to give them the opportunity to match. In reality, I now wonder if Pavano actually even has any other options than to return to the Twins.
What the Twins now need to do is be a little more aggressive and give Pavano and his agent a deadline. The Twins need the situation resolved so that they can move on if necessary.
Pavano and his agent may have overplayed their hand, and itís looking more and more like Pavano will no longer get the type of contract that he may have earlier in the offseason.
Why? Let me count the ways. First, he does have that Type A status hanging over him. Teams do not want to give up draft picks. If the Nationals sign him, they would only lose a 3rd round pick because their first round pick is protected and their 2nd round pick will go to the Phillies for signing Jayson Werth. The Tigers† may be an option, but they would have to give up their first round pick. That factor canít be minimized. Secondly, Pavano will turn 35 in January. As much as Pavanoís two consecutive 200+ inning seasons likely earned him a multi-year deal, I canít blame teams for being hesitant. He hasnít been a beacon of health in his career. He isnít a strikeout pitcher. He likely will never duplicate, or come close to duplicating his 2010 numbers again. If teams like the Rangers, Angels, Red Sox and others are staying away, there are reasons, and I understand that.
I spent about 20 minutes on Fanatic Jackís podcast last night, and I bet Jack a meal sometime that both Scott Baker and Kevin Slowey would have better 2011 seasons than Carl Pavanoo. Does that mean that I donít think that the Twins should bring back Pavano? Not necessarily. But do I think they should overspend? Absolutely not.
The Twins do
have options. At least three of their starting five, without Pavano, should be expected to be significantly better. Liriano has room to improve still. And, if they donít
spend $10 million on Pavano now,
they will be able to 1.) give their internal options
first-shot to earn starting roles, and 2.) have plenty
of money available in June and July to make moves. That is when Bill Smith has
shined. He has made moves the last two years in July and August that have
helped the Twins. I like the idea of giving guys one more chance and then
finding out midseason what the actual needs are. It might not be starting
pitching. It might not even be the bullpen. We donít know.
Have the Twins overplayed their cards on Carl Pavano? The argument certainly could be made. Have Carl Pavano and his agent played the waiting game too? Absolutely, and it is looking more and more like a game they are losing.
What do you think? What is going to happen? Will the Twins sign Pavano, and if so when, and for how much? And if not, what is the plan? What are the options?