There are a lot of people around Minnesota that have been led to believe that team only win because of their ability to buy free agents because of their bottomless pockets. Those same people believe that the Twins were saddled with Joe Mauer’s contract, rendering them unable to pay the free agents that would put them over the top. Now that the Twins have a lot of money to spend on free agents, they should have no problem turning this ship around, right?
I think Twins fans would be sorely disappointed, not only by the free agents added, but by the output they would bring in. Are we so soon to forget just how underwhelming this year’s free agent class was? Sure, there are a lot of fans that will say “just sign better free agents.” As though it were that simple. It is not.
One thing that Thad Levine said in his autopsy of this season was that there was too much of a mercenary mentality in the Twins’ clubhouse this year, with little chance at true chemistry. The Twins likely won’t be looking at players who will stick around only for a year or two, but rather longer term deals. If that’s the case, they don’t want to get bogged down at the end of a long term deal, which means they need a young player. I have bad news: All the young free agents worth signing to long term deals are going to end up costing way too much money.
If the Twins want to blow their money on free agents, frankly, they will again be stuck with the mercenary attitude they are so loathe to avoid. Moreso if they are forced to pay through the nose for a player whose first choice was somewhere else to get them to come to Minnesota for a long contract. Most likely, a bumper crop of free agents would either be here for a short time, or would be dramatically overpaid.
The thing is, however, that despite the common perception of large market teams, there aren’t any that have built their teams exclusively through free agency. To a team, every one of them, has a core of internally developed players, or players acquired in exchange for those internally developed players. Take a look at the Red Sox, and the players that were signed via free agency from other major league teams: JD Martinez, Mitch Moreland, David Price, and that’s it.
No matter how much money you have to spend on free agents, you simply must develop talent internally first. If there are holes on your roster, the best bet is to trade for it and use free agency only as a last resort to patch a few holes. Even with an ample free agent class, and even with a suurplus of spending cash, this is as true as it’s ever been.