Pohlad’s Big Money Moves in 2020 as Unprecedented as the Pandemic
The Minnesota Twins have been in the Pohlad family since Jim (current majority owner)’s father, Carl, purchased them in 1984. Near-immediate success brought World Series Championships in both ’87 and ’91… but the honeymoon didn’t last long.
Since then, the Pohlads have continually disappointed Twins fans with their tight budget for player salary. Outside of spending big dollars on one of the most overpaid catchers of all time 10 years ago, ownership hasn’t spent close to what’s necessary, either in the trade market or free agency. This has left Twins fans always cheering for a sub-par team for the better part of two decades.
No hope for a move
Take, for example, the 2019 trade deadline. Twins fans were clamoring for something to believe in — a pitcher, a righty, a lefty, a baby. They didn’t care, as long as they could add to the pitching depth, they would take it.
We knew pitchers like Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler were available and could truly help the top of a rotation that badly needed it… but, just like what happened before the season with Keuchel and Kimbrel, those names came and went and we were left with a typical Twins trade season … (pretty much) empty-handed.
“The Minnesota Twins were rumored to be in the market for Keuchel, but the money-conscious ownership kept their checkbook sewn shut closed once again. The Twins were also in the running to ink closer Craig Kimbrel earlier in the week, but backed off when he insisted on a third year. Instead, he signed with the Chicago Cubs”. – Jon WeisbrodSouthernMinn.com
Hope has been restored
Then, in a complete twist, rumors started to swirl that Josh Donaldson was coming to Minnesota. But, that was too good to be true… until it wasn’t.
It was true. We had managed (by some divine miracle) to land one of the best free agents left on the market and, we had to pull out the big bills to do it! It’s a manageable contract, of course, worthy of his current and future potential. Twins fans became ecstatic. That’s probably putting it lightly, because the shock had to wear off.
Josh Donaldson’s deal with the Minnesota Twins will pay him $84 million over the first four years and includes a $16 million club option with an $8 million buyout. In total, it’s $92 million guaranteed with a chase to go to $104 million if Donaldson hits escalators on the option.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 15, 2020
Still Writing Checks Amid Pandemic
When the rest of the baseball started letting players go amid the Coronavirus pandemic, Minnesota fans held their breath and waited for the front office to do what they do best, and slash costs (players) to save a buck.
However, that’s not what happened. News broke that, in a bold and heartfelt move, the Pohlads and Twins Organization would retain all of their minor leaguers and pay them their full $400.00/week stipend + benefits through August 31.
Screwing over minor leaguers is nothing new in professional baseball. Even before the pandemic, teams were made aware of a 2021 proposal to dramatically reduce minor league teams by 42, leaving thousands without jobs, a future in baseball and a chance to chase their dreams.
But for now, that’s not something players for the Minnesota Twins organization have to worry about. That’s good because we have one of the strongest farm systems in baseball. It looks like we’ll also be able to keep our Elizabethton minor league team, which was slated to be one of the teams removed next season.
For the first time that many Twins fans can remember (and in a time when we need something to make us smile) the Pohlad family has opened their pocket books. Not only did they sign the “Bringer of Rain,” but they also kept 150 young men employed, while many of the wealthiest business owners are cutting workers wherever possible.
Considering how much of a suck hole 2020 has been so far, it’s nice to see something positive.
Sherry Cerny | Minnesota Sports Fan