January 14, 2017

Meet the new boss, not the same as the old boss

Falvey & Co. made a small but significant move this week when they signed pitcher, Ryan Vogelsong, best known for his years with the San Francisco Giants, to a new contract with the Twins.

Here’s what stood out to me: Vogelsong was signed to a minor league contract, not a multiyear, major league deal.

And that’s an important change for the Twins, who, under the previous Terry Ryan-led administration, were quick, it seemed, to sign past-their-prime free agent pitchers to multiyear contracts for huge-to-outrageous sums of money.

To recap:

-Kevin Correia: Signed as a free agent in 2012, Correia was paid $10 million over two seasons in which he went 14-26 with a 4.49 ERA.

-Mike Pelfrey: Signed as a free agent in 2013, Pelfrey was paid $15 million over three seasons and finished with a record of 11-27 with a 4.94 ERA.

-Ricky Nolasco: Signed as a free agent in 2014 to the largest free agent contract in Twins history: $49 million for four years. In his three seasons with the Twins, Nolasco went 15-22  with a 5.44 ERA. He was later traded to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

All of those deals blew up on the Twins and former GM Ryan, so it was nice to see Falvey & Co. make the right call about Vogelsong and not overplay their hand. Vogelsong’s best years clearly are behind him. He’s 39, he has a career record of 61-75 and he last won in 2011 and 2012. But he’s also spent 12 seasons in the majors, so there’s little downside in signing him to a minor league contract and inviting him to spring training.

If he pitches well during spring training, maybe he makes the team. If not, then he’s available in the minors for a spot start, or to spell someone on the disabled list. Even better: The Twins didn’t back up the truck and pay him a bundle of money.



Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.