Derek Falvey Admits Twins Plan to Cut Payroll Next Season

MLB: ALDS-Minnesota Twins at Houston Astros
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The writing was on the wall, given the uncertainty surrounding TV/streaming revenue for the Minnesota Twins next season. Still, I’m a bit surprised by the report that just dropped tonight at the Star Tribune, in which Derek Falvey goes on the record with beat writer Bobby Nightengale Jr, and publicly admits/announces that the Twins’ plan to cut payroll before the start of 2023 spring training.

“We’ve pushed our payroll to heights that we had never pushed it before with the support, certainly, of ownership. We know there is some natural ebb and flow to that,” Falvey said Tuesday from the annual General Managers Meetings. “Will it be where it was last year? I don’t expect that. I expect it less than that.”

Star Tribune

Twins plan to cut $25+ million from last year’s payroll number

How much payroll is going to be cut? According to Nightgale’s report, the Twins are already sitting at about $125 million, which could be their ceiling. Hoping for Sonny Gray to come back? Don’t count on it.

Again, this isn’t a surprise, given the rumors that were floating around. But I’m not sure anyone expected the Twins to go on the offensive and announce their plans publicly.

The Twins already have about $125 million committed toward next year’s roster, which could be near the top of their preferred range. They have salaries of at least $10 million tied into Carlos Correa, Byron Buxton, Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler and Christian Vázquez.

Star Tribune

Related: Twins Pick Up Options on Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler

Falvey, with the help of the Star Tribune, does his best to spin the narrative. He points to all of the big money contracts Minnesota already has on the books with players like Pablo Lopez and Carlos Correa, who are expected to anchor the pitching staff and batting lineup next summer.

Then, the Twins head of baseball ops mentions all the cheap youngsters expected to be in the lineup. “Kids” like Alex Kirilloff, Matt Wallner, Royce Lewis, among others. The final sentence in Falvey’s quote below almost seems like a desperate plea for understanding.

“We’ve really pushed our payroll in the last couple of years to levels that certainly the Twins haven’t seen before and, ultimately, invested heavily,” Falvey told the Star Tribune. “But when you look at our team right now, we have some big-dollar players already on it. Teams don’t always carry unlimited numbers of those players. You have to recognize that.”

Star Tribune

Cheap Pohlads strike again?

Honestly, I’m not sure how to take this sudden confession from the Minnesota Twins front office. I get that your TV revenue is in jeopardy and that has the Pohlads very concerned about how they are going to break even next summer.

But is taking a step back as a rising baseball team really worth $25 million bucks? Of course, that’s easy for me to say, given it’s not my money. Still, with last year’s postseason series victory over the Blue Jays, the Twins grabbed the attention of fans who haven’t given them the time of day in a decade or more.

And how do you explain this to the World Series dreamers on roster like Carlos Correa and Pablo Lopez? Playoff games bring a lot of additional revenue, too. As do fans in your stands.

Related: Dick Bremer Retiring as Minnesota Twins TV Play-by-Play

And, if Bally Sports broadcasts are out the window next summer, the Twins should still make enough money from their TV/streaming rights to make a noticeable dent in the $50+ million they’d lose without a deal with BSN.

There are some natural reasons, Falvey said, why their payroll will drop. They will give some playing time opportunities to younger players instead of veterans who come with a higher salary. Royce Lewis, Matt Wallner and Edouard Julien solidified regular playing time with strong rookie seasons. Class AAA infielder Brooks Lee, first baseman Yunior Severino, utilityman Austin Martin and starting pitcher David Festa will likely be counted upon to provide depth next year.

Star Tribune

What’s most bizarre though, is their decision to announce their plans of embracing regression. If you do make the business decision to cut payroll, why would you openly admit it? The whole situation is just weird.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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