"Small market teams are just a farm system for the Yankees!"
-Every Twins fan from 2000-2007
The fans got their wish, when in 2010 the Twins payroll jumped from $65 million to $98 million and gave MVP Joe Mauer a medium sized island near Panama. It was supposed to be the start of something special, push the team over the edge and into the World Series. But it wasn't, it resulted in one stellar season followed up by a weak postseason showing, a train wreck in 2011 and what looks like a nuclear meltdown in 2012.
So how come the Twins' success over the past decade has been nearly inverse to payroll? Literally a million reasons, probably. One being that money doesn't buy wins (or happiness :] , jklol) and another is huge, long, lucrative contracts don't come with any guarantees except to the player. Since 2008, the Twins have shelled out millions to not only Mauer and Morneau, but Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Nick Blackburn, Scott Baker, Matt Capps, Nick Punto and Carl Pavano. None of those players have had anything remotely resembling consistent success.
Now, how should the team get out of this predicament? Not by spending more money, not by signing veterans a la Jason Marquis and Jamey Carroll to fill holes, that's for sure. What they must do is get back to developing top tier talent, like Morneau, Mauer, Span, Hunter, Cuddyer, etc. I realize this is among the most obvious statements I could make, but the current state of the Twins shows that once the minor league system dries up, so does the major league team. Terry Ryan will have a trying job ahead of him over the next year or so, but he'll have a great opportunity in the upcoming draft (June 4-6) with the #2 overall pick and 6 picks in the top 100 to right the ship.