Let me start out with a couple of facts. The Twins signed Kevin Correia for 2 years at 10 million dollars. The Twins signed Mike Pelfrey, coming off of Tommy John surgery, was signed for 1/4 (with bonuses). Scott Baker signed for 5.5 million for one season with the Cubs. Shaun Marcum was a primary target for the Twins by many accounts. Marcum signed with the Mets for 1/4, with up to 4 more million in bonuses.
Now, let me come to a few conclusions based in part on my opinions. Shaun Marcum is a better pitcher than Pelfrey and Correia. He is healthier than Pelfrey, despite a history of injury. Baker too, is coming off of Tommy John surgery, and therefore poses an injury risk. Now, Baker signed very early in the post season, and made it clear initially that the market was slightly tilted away from Minnesota. No home town discount, after all.
The Twins then signed Pelfrey and Correia while Marcum was still a free agent. Using the opinion that Marcum is a better pitcher than Correia or Pelfrey, and seeing how the market was set, I have to believe that the Twins offered Marcum more than 4 or even 5 million a year. I would even venture to guess they offered no less than the 5.5 million that Baker received with the Cubs, since Marcum was relatively healthy and there was no chance he was giving a home town discount.
As you saw, though, Marcum took less guaranteed money than Baker and Correia and the same guaranteed cash as Pelfrey. He took less money to avoid the Twins. Or so it seems. Perhaps the 4 million in incentives are easily attainable. Or perhaps there is something more troubling going on. Do free agents have issues with the organization? Is it the injury history in Minnesota? The fact that the team is rebuilding? No trust in Rick Anderson? Ron Gardenhire? Or do people just not want to come to Minnesota for some reason? Taxes? Cold weather? Because it’s the Midwest?
Suffice to say, I don’t think the problem with this off-season has been inactive, but a rather a perception of Minnesota, either the Twins or the state itself. I’ve said it before, though. We might as well embrace the guys that are here though, because they actually came.