Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Winding Down

You've probably noticed that the posts on this blog have grown increasingly sporadic here in September. Indeed, with only seven posts in the books, this is shaping up to be the least active in-season month in the site's history.

Part of it is because I've been busy, but the bigger issue is that I just can't bring myself to write about this team anymore. Things are basically as bad as can be. Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and several others have been shut down for the season, leaving behind a motley group of mostly minor leaguers that seems legitimately incapable of winning a baseball game.

Meanwhile, it appears that Jason Kubel has slipped out of the Type A free agency field while Michael Cuddyer is on the verge of doing so himself. This would deprive the Twins' of their full compensation should either (or both) depart.

This organization enters the offseason facing a gamut of hugely alarming health concerns, a bloated and poorly allotted payroll, and a minor-league system that is bereft of impact talent in the upper levels. Without some creativity and ingenuity from the front office (not to mention some desperately needed good fortune) in the coming winter, things aren't necessarily bound to get better.

Once the offseason has arrived, the posting schedule figures to ramp up here as we mull the decisions that lie ahead. There will be plenty of fodder to supplement the third annual Offseason GM Handbook. In the meantime, if there are any topics you're interested in reading about, please share in the comments section. Thanks as always for stopping by.


Anonymous said...

First and foremost, get rid of Gardenhire & Bill Smith. Gardy-although a very likeable 'good coach' cannot manage his pitching staff-let alone an entire team. With Gardy-we'll always be a first round playoff flounder. Smith has single handedly destroyed our farm system, and gave away all our developed talent. Not one player from Santana trade left (they are now elsewhere producing) Garza, Bartlett for Young who never wanted to be here in the first place. My favorite, Wilson Ramos for Capps. Any front office personnel will tell you that rule #1 in trades-u never give up an everyday player for a relief ptcher. Our top prospect for someone who wants $5mill yr and throws the ball right down the middle everytime with no movement. Everyone says that he was a genius when we traded Pierzynski for Liriano, Nathan, & Bonser - Who's laughing now? Liriano has been inconsistent at best, plus injury prone - Bonser who? - Nathan worked out well for us - but look at what Pierzynski has done since, hits for avg and power, and is in the lineup everyday- The training staff-injuries? Are you kidding me!! stap infection last spring made half the team sick and lose like 30 lbs each!! Mauers weakness in his legs!! Morneaus career is over-no pitching talent- cant hit either!! I swear if I see Span get picked off @ first one more time!! A colossal failure-rridiculous payroll (relief pitchers should not make that much $$)-the Twins brass and TK need to find a new manger, farm director, and training staff-or we'll be the Houston of the north.

Matt said...

Tom Kelly is an elusive figure these days, but I know he's involved in the organization. He was always a "Twins Way" guy (he practically invented it in the modern definition like speed, pitch to contact, use the whole field, etc.), and the "Twins Way" has been ripped to shreds in the comments section this year.

Would you be interested, Nick, in digging into TK and his involvement and influence in the organization? I'd be interested in reading that. I've thought for the last few years that he has too much influence and that his brand of baseball won't get you past round one of the playoffs anymore. Tell me if I'm wrong or right??


Kelly said...

High draft pick for the Twins. Please don't spend it on a Kevin Slowey "pitch to contact" clone.

Twins need a shake up. Too many under achievers and the coaches seem clueless.

Let Jason walk. Take the draft pick. Get younger guys into the mix. Bye Capps. Keep Nathan. He battled back hard and deserves that.

Revere and Span and who? No way Cuddy gets left out. He is Gardy's man.

But Ploufe and Casilla in the middle I think. And sayanora Nishi.

The M&M boys have something to prove.

Complete overhaul of the pitching staff. Perk back to starter. Give Swarzak a shot at set up. Pav and Frankie and Duens and Baker if he come s back strong. But I'd swap three of these guys for a Greinke.

Piers is a cancer on a team. He was let go because of his rude 'tude.

Danielle said...

I think its time to discuss whether or not Bill Smith should keep his job. I think Gardy is a great manager (although the pitiful record in the playoffs as well as our inability to beat the AL East under his tenure do make me question him too) but Bill Smith seems to have taken a good thing and ridden in straight into the ground.

Do we discuss the possibility of trading Joe Mauer? With the payroll going back down - we need major help. His salary prevents getting help and unless he is catching his numbers are terrible for the price.

What do we do about the lack of ANY quality pitching in the organization?

Who do we draft - or what do we look at in the draft?

Are there any players on the Twins current roster that are truly worth keeping?

Anonymous said...

I think at this time of year it's important to look at the playoff teams and their rosters and if you're the GM you have to do a talent comparison to see how far apart you are. Naturally with the Twins this year it's very difficult with all of the injuries but as a franchise the Twins need to decide on an identity. The Vikings are willing to go after top talent free agents almost every year - can't say it's worked out real well so far, but the Twins haven't really been willing to do this.
So, for example, instead of re-signing Kubel and/or Cuddyer - what about Jose Reyes? Then fill the OF with the kids and Mauer part time in RF and DH. Time to shake things up.

Anonymous said...

Can you talk a bit about how those free agent ratings are decided? I can see how Kubel and Cuddyer slip to Type B, but last I heard Capps is projecting Type A. Plain and simple, Matt Capps sucks (I defended him for most of this season, but can no longer objectively do so), and Kubel and Cuddyer far outstrip any value Capps may have added to this year's team. Can you discuss that phenomenon?

Andrew Madison said...

Fire Smith and Mike Radcliff RIGHT NOW!

Sign the best amateur players you can find and make money no object. The "Twins Way" should begin here. The Twins are going to have the 2nd pick in the draft next year. Draft whoever is the best player avaiable, no matter what the position. No more drafting "signable" players.

Hire a GM like the one down in Tampa who can run a team successfully and creatively on a somewhat limited budget and STILL manage to beat Boston (even in the playoffs) and puts a real scare into the Yankees.

Make Gardy fire Vavra and Anderson. I know this won't happen though.

Tweak the "Twins Way." Emphasize speed and power arms. Not so much pitching to contact and making every hitter try take the ball the other way at the expense of their power. It's OK if someone is a pull hitter, provided it's the right guy. If this makes people like Tom Kelly mad, too bad.

Get rid of players like Tosoni, Hoey, Burnett, Dinkleman. Guys who are just happy to be playing in the major leagues because even they know they have no business playing on this level. I've seen this movie before. It played at the Dome from 93-2000. When it plays at Target Field (who the taxpayers of Hennepin County are paying for) it is a ripoff and a cynical business tactic. We do not deserve this bottomfeeder Triple-A team. We deserve much better than that.

Trevor Plouffe might be the dumbest player I have ever seen on the field. Don't ever try to be fancy with your footwork or throws. He's too awkward. Or think either, only bad things happen when he does. That said, if he develops a better eye at the plate he could hit 20 homers a year and bat .270. That'll play.

Make Mauer a first baseman and move Morneau (if he plays) to DH. It's not ideal for either player, but it's the best way to maximize whatever value they have left.

Find a starting catcher not named Butera or Rivera, whatever it takes.

Pray that Aaron Hicks is the next Torii Hunter (with patience), for Levi Michael to be a legit middle infielder, for Alex Wimmers not to be like Shooter Hunt anymore and for a speedy recovery for Kyle Gibson. The Twins need all of them to hit it big in the next 3-4 years.

Young Man Duggan said...

@ First Anonymous - I fully agree with bad trades, but Bill Smith didn't trade AJ for Liriano, Bonser, and Nathan (That was Terry Ryan). To most fans, it doesn't appear that Smith is cut out for the job, but we also need to remember that one of the main grievances most of us had against Smith is that he was too inclined to keep our in house talent (maybe with the exception of the Shannon Stewart deal). Smith comes in and is actually willing to trade some of our talents. While I don't agree with the actual moves, I can commend his willingness to be open to the idea of trading players.

USAFChief said...

Unsolicited, unpaid, and probably unwelcome testimonial:

I purchased the Offseason Handbook from the Twinscentric guys last season, and it was well worth the money.

Nick: How about a look at the top levels of Twins off-field management, to include their scouting backround, etc. I know Bill Smith's background, but little about the next level(s) of Twins decision makers.