2012 Contract Issues: Minnesota Twins

The Twins conclude our 2012 Contract Issues series.  Here's what the team faces after the 2011 season:

Eligible For Free Agency (4)

  • Michael Cuddyer hasn't been especially productive since 2009, so retaining him only makes sense at a drastic pay cut from this year's $10.5MM salary.
  • Though the Twins' 2012 bullpen is even less settled than their current one, investing in Matt Capps as the anchor might not be the best move.  He figures to look to at least match this year's $7MM salary on a multiyear deal.
  • Jason Kubel is among a handful of Twins having a solid year.  He's affordable too, giving him decent trade value.  Kubel could find his way to Type A status, and an arbitration offer would be justified, so the Twins may prefer to sort out his situation after the season.
  • Jim Thome is seven home runs from 600 and probably would not be traded before reaching that milestone.  Since he wouldn't fetch a ton anyway, the best course may be to keep him unless he prefers to play for a contender.

Contract Options (1)

  • Joe Nathan: $12.5MM club option with a $2MM buyout.  Perhaps Nathan will want to continue his Twins career, but it won't be by way of this option.

Arbitration Eligible (9)

A few of these players won't make it past the non-tender deadline.  The big cases belong to Young, Liriano, and Slowey.  Young's terrible season could earn him a non-tender, or else a modest raise to the $6.5MM range.  I can't picture Liriano being non-tendered, as his salary could sit around $5MM.  Slowey, the most likely to be dealt, could come in around $3.5MM.  Perkins and Mijares also seem likely to be tendered contracts.  In total I'll put the group around $17MM, though several of these players could wind up on other teams by December.

2012 Payroll Obligation

The Twins' 2012 payroll obligation, according to Cot's, is $65.75MM.  Throw in $17MM for arbitration eligibles and we're around $83MM, about $30MM shy of this year's payroll before accounting for minimum salary players.  The Twins could shed millions more through trades or non-tenders.  I imagine they'll be built to contend for 2012, which should mean expenditures on the bullpen, outfield, middle infield, third base, and designated hitter.

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