Money can’t buy us happiness

The Twins opening day payroll in 2011 was about $113 million and the Twins finished last in the AL Central with a 63-99 record. Now the Twins are saying the payroll in 2012 will be around the $100 million mark but my guess is that it will be a bit lower than that, maybe closer to $95 million. It is easy to say that the Twins have to spend their way out of fifth place in the Central division but money alone is not the answer. Sure the Twins have a beautiful new ballpark but the Twins are far from playing with the big boys like the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, and the Cubs and their huge revenue numbers, even the Chicago White Sox had more in the revenue stream than the Twins did in 2010 according to Forbes Magazine. I thought it would be interesting to look back over the last 10 years and see how the AL Central division compared from a salary perspective and here is what I found using the Cot’s Baseball Contract site as my source. The chart below is in millions of dollars.

Year Twins Indians Tigers White Sox Royals Average Div. Win
2011 $113.23 $49.42 $106.95 $127.78 $38.17 $87.11 Tigers
2010 $97.65 $61.45 $133.99 $103.08 $74.98 $94.23 Twins
2009 $65.29 $81.57 $115.08 $96.06 $70.51 $85.70 Twins
2008 $56.93 $78.97 $137.68 $121.18 $58.24 $90.60 White Sox
2007 $71.43 $61.67 $95.18 $108.67 $67.16 $80.82 Indians
2006 $63.39 $56.03 $82.61 $102.75 $47.29 $70.41 Twins
2005 $56.18 $41.50 $69.09 $75.17 $36.88 $55.76 White Sox
2004 $53.58 $34.31 $46.83 $65.21 $47.60 $49.51 Twins
2003 $55.50 $48.58 $49.16 $51.01 $40.51 $48.95 Twins
2002 $40.22 $78.90 $55.04 $57.05 $47.25 $55.69 Twins
TOTAL $673.40 $592.40 $891.61 $907.96 $528.59

Since 2002, only one AL Central division team has advanced to the World Series and that was the 2005 Chicago White Sox team that beat the Houston Astros 4 games to zip. I know, you can’t win if you don’t spend money but it is all about how you use the money you do have. I guess I have not been paying too much attention to the dollars spent in the Central division and I was more than a little surprised to see that the Mighty Whitey’s have spent over $100 million in five of the last six years and that the Tigers have spent in excess of $106 million four years in a row. I find it interesting that the Twins spent more than the division average five times and less than the division average five times. You can find more Twins historical salary information on our Twins Salaries page.

It will be interesting to see how Mr. Ryan distributes the resources at his disposal in the next few weeks as the Hot Stove League heats up with the GM meetings taking place in a few days. I like free agents Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel as much as the next Twins fan but the Twins were 63-99 for a reason last year and changes obviously need to take place. I have no issue bringing back Cuddyer (although I don’t see it happening) for one year as insurance to cover for Morneau at 1B or to play RF but I don’t pay him more than $10 million. If you aren’t making changes than you are standing still and those moans and groans you heard at Target Field this past summer were the sounds of the other Central division teams blowing past us. It is easy to get complacent in baseball and think that all you need to do is throw your glove on the field and you will win without putting in the up-front work starting in Spring Training. I think a number of Twins players felt someone owed them the division title and 2011 was a hard lesson for everyone.

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