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Nick Nelson
05-06-2012, 10:49 PM
You can view the page at http://www.twinsdaily.com/content.php?516-Dark-Days-in-Minnesota

USAFChief
05-06-2012, 11:04 PM
I was in attendance in Seattle for all three games. Been to a lot of major leader games in my life and never have I witnessed such a hopeless depressed group. I had great seats though.

Bark's Lounge
05-06-2012, 11:09 PM
Shiznit. If what you are saying about Wimmers is true, that is awful. What the hell happened? Bad luck and scouting has become the Twin's Organizations best friend. Notes should be taken on soft throwers as they are on hard throwers to predict arm injury. This team is a long ways out from contending again. I might have to start attending little league baseball games to see a game effectively executed. I'd rather do that than watch the Saints play. Cool Logo, but watching washed up sub AAA play baseball players give it a go is not on my radar.

one_eyed_jack
05-06-2012, 11:25 PM
Good piece, Nick.

I especially liked your last sentence about calling for people to "step the hell up". We knew this team was flawed, but they're capable of playing better than this.

A lot if the fans ire is directed at TR and Gardy, and some of that is justified (especially in TR's case as you pointed out). But utlimately, players have to go out and perform. The fact the a bunch of fringe MLB players have been suffled in and out does not excuse the lame-ass uninspired baseball we've seen from the regulars.

nokomismod
05-06-2012, 11:45 PM
I was not expecting this either. This latest hitting slump is really tough to watch. I think Ryan did a decent job in the offseason by bringing in Carrol, Willingham, and Doumit. Right now though, the only guy in the lineup with the potential to go deep is Willingham. In retrospect, knowing that Morneau was iffy at best to bounce back, they should have tried to resign Kubel to keep another pro hitter in the lineup.
The lack of starting pitching remains the largest concern though. It's going to take some great moves/trades to reload.

peterb18
05-06-2012, 11:45 PM
I mentioned this quite a bit last year---that we were going to be the worst team in baseball( this season). How can you improve when you don't re-sign your base(Kuble, Cuddyer,Nathan) and make terrible decisions like the Wilson Ramos trade and the giving away of Hardy? I mentioned that I thought that if Hendricks is our future in pitching we are in trouble. Some did not like this! The solution was to keep our core of players until the A-level players arrived( 2-3 years) and sign free agents pitchers. I know this takes money, but the Pohlad family has the ability to do this. Example: the Cardinals--a model franchise. A francise considered mid-market, which we are now. To use a baseball term- "The Pohlads, or ownership, has not stepped up to the plate. Cutting payroll with a new stadium is terrible thing to do to the fans. Can you imagine what it is going to be like in mid-summer? Yes, with a weak farm system at the high level--the only solution to have a competitive team in the short term is to sign quality free agents, especially pitchers.

Big Daddy H
05-06-2012, 11:54 PM
I was in attendance in Seattle for all three games. Been to a lot of major leader games in my life and never have I witnessed such a hopeless depressed group. I had great seats though.


I didn't attend the games, but have two thoughts. First, since almost all our pitchers are dying on the mound, this comes from studying Jim Kaat. As he neared the end of his career his success started to fall off. So he started pitching at a faster pace. It accomplished two things. First the defense was more on their toes because the game was speeding up. Second it didn't give the hitters as much time to regroup. A study was done several years ago of a college team. The longer they were able to wait between pitches the more success they had hitting. They repeated the test and had similar results. Second, the Twin's organization favors pitchers using the slider as a favored pitch. This pitch is considered hard on the arm. Maybe that's where all the arm injuries are coming from. Maybe they should change that thought to a cutter like Rivera throws, or a sinker. The Giants favored the fork ball in the 80's and also experienced a large amount of arm injuries so the Twin's could be suffering from a similar fate, I'm just saying....

glunn
05-07-2012, 12:52 AM
I was in attendance in Seattle for all three games. Been to a lot of major leader games in my life and never have I witnessed such a hopeless depressed group. I had great seats though.

I had the same experience in Anaheim, and the Twins did not even get a single hit that night. The team seemed to be just going through the motions -- not enjoying the honor of being MLB players.

frightwig
05-07-2012, 01:23 AM
Fortunately, Terry Ryan should have plenty of budget to fill at least two rotation spots with quality pitchers next season.

Unfortunately, the lineup is also in dire need of upgrades at 5 spots; and even if Morneau is healthy next year, he'll probably need to be replaced in 2014, too. I don't think money alone could fix enough holes to make the team a contender anytime soon. I expect we'll have to wait for Ryan to rebuild the farm system before we get back to enjoying pennant races again.

Shane Wahl
05-07-2012, 01:23 AM
Yeah, I mean until last week, Span, Mauer, and Morneau were all healthy. That condition was the main thing, to me, in making this a potentially winning season. What on earth?

1. Some trade or FA pitching signing MUST happen this year/this offseason. And it must be damn serious. No more Marquis stuff.

2. Everyone should just stop talking about the magical "BPA" in the draft and just admit that the top two picks should be pitchers and out of the top 15, perhaps 10 should be pitchers.

twinswon1991
05-07-2012, 06:28 AM
Nice honest article. We see too much homerism around here and not enough reality.

Bottom line is if Ryan screws up this upcoming draft the team will drift off into the abyss like it did in th 90's. I don't have much hope in Ryan or his scouting department as they have royally bombed in the draft in recent years and always seem to gravitate towards low-ceiling pitchers and toolsy OF's that never seem to develop.

Ryan needs to go if this org has any chance of avoiding the moniker "Pittsburg West".

roger
05-07-2012, 08:19 AM
This has been more than depressing. What I don't understand is why this lineup isn't more potent? Mr. Ryan did a good job filling the holes in the lineup with the budget he had available this winter. Defensively, they aren't as bad as they were last year, expecially at shortstop. In hindsight, his moves to sign many bullpen options appears to be holding as several are doing well and Burton has been great.

But as a wise man once said, "you are only as good as your next starting pitcher." And our next starting pitcher is likely to be worse than his opponent...day after day after day. Now count me amongst those who believe that Liam Hendriks will be a very good major league pitcher, perhaps similar to Brad Radke. But that is only one of five in the rotation and he needs most of this year at AAA. Where are the other four going to come from?

As much as many would like the problem solved tomorrow, that isn't going to happen. I assume that Mr. Ryan has a calendar and has circled 2014 or 2015 as the year he will get us back into contention. Every major move he makes will be part of that overall plan, beginning with June's draft and July's trades. The other moves of picking up some of these guys on waivers (Thomas, Komatsu) isn't part of that plan, those are done to try to become less bad today.

As we lose every day, I ask, where is the leadership in the clubhouse? When is one of our highly paid players going to step up and say "get on my back and I will lead us to victory?"

mediocre
05-07-2012, 08:33 AM
As we lose every day, I ask, where is the leadership in the clubhouse?
...Colorado?

Seth Stohs
05-07-2012, 08:33 AM
When I saw the title and the dark cloud picture, I wanted to roll my eyes and say "Uggh, another negative article. But then I read through it and there really isn't anything that I can disagree with. I will almost always choose to try to find positive, but this year it is going to be really difficult. And unfortunately, as much as I look forward to seeing more and more young players, the losing is not going to go away for a long time... and it all comes down to, as others have said, the starting pitching.

I remain, to some extent, less worried about the offense, although when Morneau is not in the lineup, it certainly seems not very potent.
As Nick wrote to start the article, there is no way I could have anticipated it being this bad. And I only predicted 77 wins... and dropped that to 72 when Baker was hurt. Now I'm thinking 72 is really, really optimistic! they would have to go 65-70, just five games below .500 the rest of the way... can anyone see that happening?

Seth Stohs
05-07-2012, 08:33 AM
...Colorado?

That is correct!

sotafan
05-07-2012, 09:09 AM
Great article, Nick.

This ownership is getting embarrassed. They will not continue to take the losing with the awful play and with have heads rolling soon. If it doesn't happen in-season it will happen right after the season. They fired Bill Smith last year. First time we have seen the Pohlad's do that. They see this organization as a money making business. If they don't make money with this business, they will blame the people in charge(TR and Coaching Staff) and find people that will make them the money that is expected.

This is not the '80's nor is it the '00's because what you did 10 years or 30 years ago is in the past. The entire organization is 2 or 3 steps behind most teams in baseball. There needs to be new, younger minds running this organization and I feel the Pohlads will do just that if this continues.

I do think people's jobs need to be lost. They have been lost for a lot less!

Rosterman
05-07-2012, 09:48 AM
You can talk about siging free agents, but who would want to play here...NOW! And the Twins don't throw money around. Hate the comparison to Pittsburgh, ut the team will be forced to build a roster from other organizations 26th and 27th players and wait for the minors to unfold.

ScottyB
05-07-2012, 09:56 AM
1. Some trade or FA pitching signing MUST happen this year/this offseason. And it must be damn serious. No more Marquis stuff.

The need for FA pitching is a must, but actually Marquis has been one of our better starters (not that that's saying much). At this point I'd take 3 more Marquis as opposed to Liriano, Hendricks and Blackburn. The good news is that over the weekend, Gardy actually said we need to find a bunch of these guys that throw in the mid 90's and bring them up through the system - a possible change in philosophy over our pitch to contact philosophy?

Of course the last rainbow of this storm we're putting up with this season is two straight years with a #1 or #2 pick in the draft. Now if we can just pick a Bryce Harper and Steven Strassberg.

roger
05-07-2012, 10:03 AM
That is correct!

As I trust you know, my point was that several players who are being paid very well need to step up and be those leaders.

JB_Iowa
05-07-2012, 10:07 AM
I predicted a 72-88 season (apparently I can’t add to 162). To reach the 72 mark, they will need to win 65 of their next 135 games. A .481 clip – seemingly do-able but I have no faith that it will happen.

As I have said repeatedly for more than a year, I believe that this franchise is stagnant and, like a pool of stagnant water, the stench is getting worse over time. There is very little change in the leadership of this organization – on the field or in the front office. Even when there are changes, they typically promote from within or recycle. No one was ever hired to challenge their belief systems or to inject new energy, talent and ideas. Even if you think you are performing perfectly, being challenged by the ideas of others helps you to refine your own performance.

Interestingly, when he stepped down from the GM’s job, Terry Ryan was quoted in the Star Tribune as follows: "The game has changed since I've entered," Ryan said. "It's for bright, energetic negotiators, moreso than anything I possess.”

I think he was right. I think the Twins made a mistake in promoting Bill Smith but I don’t think that recycling Terry Ryan is the answer. I strongly favor hiring a new GM from outside the organization – someone with some baseball knowledge – who can sift through what the Twins are doing with a fresh eye and to keep what works and revamp what doesn’t.

I don’t think that job can be done by a Twins “insider” like Ryan. He and other longtime Twins management staff members have too much of a personal investment in what they have done in the past and in the personnel who currently occupy key positions with the club.

I’m not calling for a clean sweep of all front office and coaching staff but I do think that they need to come under the scrutiny of a strong baseball personality with a fresh eye. I’m not sure who that would be but I’m sure that others will have some suggestions.

ScottyB
05-07-2012, 10:08 AM
Guys that they should have gone after (although it would have cost money) are Erik Bedard, Bartolo Colon, and Joe Saunders. Also Oswalt is still out there.

cr9617
05-07-2012, 10:11 AM
When I saw the title and the dark cloud picture, I wanted to roll my eyes and say "Uggh, another negative article. But then I read through it and there really isn't anything that I can disagree with. I will almost always choose to try to find positive, but this year it is going to be really difficult. And unfortunately, as much as I look forward to seeing more and more young players, the losing is not going to go away for a long time... and it all comes down to, as others have said, the starting pitching.

I remain, to some extent, less worried about the offense, although when Morneau is not in the lineup, it certainly seems not very potent.
As Nick wrote to start the article, there is no way I could have anticipated it being this bad. And I only predicted 77 wins... and dropped that to 72 when Baker was hurt. Now I'm thinking 72 is really, really optimistic! they would have to go 65-70, just five games below .500 the rest of the way... can anyone see that happening?

I'm slightly relieved you didn't spin this into some sort of postive message. There isn't anything to be positive about, and there is practically nothing to be optimistic about at any position.

Seth Stohs
05-07-2012, 10:23 AM
As I trust you know, my point was that several players who are being paid very well need to step up and be those leaders.

My point (or counter-point) would be that I don't care about their salary, someone has to step up and lead.

Seth Stohs
05-07-2012, 10:29 AM
Guys that they should have gone after (although it would have cost money) are Erik Bedard, Bartolo Colon, and Joe Saunders. Also Oswalt is still out there.

Sounds great but it takes two parties to agree to a deal... and it will be harder next offseason to convince people to sign with the Twins.

Thrylos
05-07-2012, 10:33 AM
...Colorado?

When he his leadership (and mouth) was still in MN, they did not lose 99, did they?

StormJH1
05-07-2012, 10:35 AM
Yeah, I mean until last week, Span, Mauer, and Morneau were all healthy. That condition was the main thing, to me, in making this a potentially winning season. What on earth?

1. Some trade or FA pitching signing MUST happen this year/this offseason. And it must be damn serious. No more Marquis stuff.

2. Everyone should just stop talking about the magical "BPA" in the draft and just admit that the top two picks should be pitchers and out of the top 15, perhaps 10 should be pitchers.
I don't know if this team would know a "BPA" in the draft if it came up and slapped them anyway. Their best prospect, Sano, was an amateur signing. Other good players to come through the organization in the past 10 years were actually acquired from other organizations (like Santana and Liriano).

Totally agree on point #2 above - I don't think it's short-sighted at all to say that we're going to focus on loading up on pitching in this draft. What could be the harm? One of the few good things about our farm system is that there are some decent position players out there, and while you can't predict MLB success, there's a much better chance that a stud 3B or OF will be at least physically able to play the game in a few years, as opposed to a stud pitcher, who could blow his arm out before he even makes it to the Twins.

mediocre
05-07-2012, 10:55 AM
When he his leadership (and mouth) was still in MN, they did not lose 99, did they?
Fair enough, but my point is that, love him or hate him, Cuddyer was one of the few guys who would step up and say something when things were bad. They should have known they were losing more than just a good right-handed bat when he left, he also brought a clubhouse presence that a Joe Mauer or Denard Span has yet to possess. You can't blame Cuddyer for leaving, he could see where things were headed. It's too bad the team's management didn't have that forethought.

SirLoin
05-07-2012, 11:03 AM
Great article Nick! I had so many comments that I just put it in blog form.

http://twinsdaily.com/entry.php?964-Darkest-Before-the-Dawn

Thrylos
05-07-2012, 11:08 AM
Fair enough, but my point is that, love him or hate him, Cuddyer was one of the few guys who would step up and say something when things were bad. They should have known they were losing more than just a good right-handed bat when he left, he also brought a clubhouse presence that a Joe Mauer or Denard Span has yet to possess. You can't blame Cuddyer for leaving, he could see where things were headed. It's too bad the team's management didn't have that forethought.

Here is my counterpoint: He was the "leader" after Hunter left. What exactly did the Twins win or accomplish (other than a division championship, and that thanks to Delmon Young, btw) with him as the leader? Not. that. much. And go back and read his statements after the game 163 loss in Chicago to talk about "stepping up" and being ok with losses... And that was a game that he personally could have won with a take out slide at the plate, instead he did not want to have contact with AJP... So Cudduyer and his alleged leadership was part of the problem and not the solution...

Seth Stohs
05-07-2012, 11:10 AM
I don't know if this team would know a "BPA" in the draft if it came up and slapped them anyway. Their best prospect, Sano, was an amateur signing. Other good players to come through the organization in the past 10 years were actually acquired from other organizations (like Santana and Liriano).

Not sure that's exactly fair... but guys that have debuted in the last ten years with the Twins that were drafted by the Twins include Mauer and Morneau, Kubel, Baker, Perkins, Duensing... Not a ton, but a couple of MVPs constitute decent players, in my opinion, at least.

jimbo92107
05-07-2012, 11:20 AM
Everybody's hurt, and things look gloomy.

Orders for the day: Attack!

roger
05-07-2012, 11:28 AM
My point (or counter-point) would be that I don't care about their salary, someone has to step up and lead.

Where is Nick Punto when we need him? Although I agree that he should remain in Rochester for a few months, Ben Revere provides a spark/fire that this team desperately needs.

cr9617
05-07-2012, 11:29 AM
When he his leadership (and mouth) was still in MN, they did not lose 99, did they?

Ha. That is such a worthless point. That team was destined to lose 99 games, with or without Cuddy. There were holes all over the field...obviously.
He seemed to be the one guy who believed in accountability.

mike wants wins
05-07-2012, 11:36 AM
I have no idea how anyone thinks Cuddy's leadership would help this team win games. It might, but what, 1-3 a year, at most? And, he's not built for this field offesnively. If they had kept him, Willingham would not be here (for more production at less money). That was a good decision by Ryan. But, looking at the majors and the minors and their previous willingness to spend money (or not), I think they are likely to be one of the 5 worst teams this year, next year, and maybe the year after. By then, Mauer will be out of his prime, and saving all those prospects will have not paide off, again.

CDog
05-07-2012, 12:03 PM
... he also brought a clubhouse presence that a Joe Mauer or Denard Span has yet to possess. You can't blame Cuddyer for leaving, he could see where things were headed. It's too bad the team's management didn't have that forethought.

And you've spent how much time in the clubhouse? And your definition of a good kind of leadership is the guy who bolts after one bad season? Huh.

Yoshii
05-07-2012, 01:06 PM
Well said Nick. At least it will be a nice night tonight going to the game.

James Richter
05-07-2012, 01:09 PM
It's important to stress accountability - thanks for that, Nick. You and Seth were right to predict 77-82 wins for this team - that is their actual ability level. For me, there's an important distinction between a team that sucks and a decent team that's playing like ass. You can't blame players that suck for losing - after all, they suck! This team, however, has no business playing as poorly as they have. Step the hell up is right.

sotafan
05-07-2012, 02:19 PM
At this point, do they need to sign Oswalt just to save face??

twinzgrl
05-07-2012, 05:08 PM
Your article is right on the mark. I, also, figured a .500 season would be the best we could expect. We have some EXCELLENT hitters on this team who for some odd reason can't buy a hit. It is so disheartening to watch. We knew the starting pitching would be dubious, but again who could have predicted it to be as AWFUL as it has been. The new players are doing fine, especially Mr. Willingham. The RF situation really confuses me--they send Ben R. down, get Clete Thomas, dump him, get the new guy--Kumatsu? WHY didn't they keep either Cuddy or Kubel, rather than play roulette with these other guys, or just let Ben play, and let him figure it out this year. Mauer is a great hitter, but can't seem to get the big hit when we really need it. I was so encouraged by Morneau for a week or so there, and then....i don't have any answers. They pay many people big money to figure that out. I have been a fan for 51 years, and will continue to be, but, THIS IS SO HARD TO WATCH!

one_eyed_jack
05-07-2012, 05:48 PM
Here is my counterpoint: He was the "leader" after Hunter left. What exactly did the Twins win or accomplish (other than a division championship, and that thanks to Delmon Young, btw) with him as the leader? Not. that. much. And go back and read his statements after the game 163 loss in Chicago to talk about "stepping up" and being ok with losses... And that was a game that he personally could have won with a take out slide at the plate, instead he did not want to have contact with AJP... So Cudduyer and his alleged leadership was part of the problem and not the solution...


Wow, didn't think there was anyone you despised as much as Gardenhire, but apparently there is! And as with Gardy, your personal dislike of Cuddyer making you willfully blind to certain facts, which leads to irrational conclusions.

1) The Twins lost Game 163 in '08 by one run. The most Cuddyer could have done is tie the game if he had scored. Last I checked, you don't get a bonus run for knocking the catcher over. He could not have "personally won" that game
2) Cuddyer was 1-3 with a double. The rest of the team was 1-23 with no XBH. So pinning the loss on Cuddyer is just plain silly. Not as silly as ripping on Gardenhire for attending his daughter's college graduation, but it's up there.
3) The Twins did not win a divison title after Hunter left. They won 2. Funny how 2009, Cuddyer's best year as a Twin, gets ignored in your little diatribe. Cuddyer deserves a lot of credit for the division title that year for the way he played after taking over first base for an injured Morneau. Certainly more than Young deserves for the 2010 division title.

righty8383
05-07-2012, 09:34 PM
Hey Nick, congratulations on being quoted by ESPN in the latest power rankings.

savvyspy
05-08-2012, 07:23 AM
Fortunately, Terry Ryan should have plenty of budget to fill at least two rotation spots with quality pitchers next season.

Unfortunately, the lineup is also in dire need of upgrades at 5 spots; and even if Morneau is healthy next year, he'll probably need to be replaced in 2014, too. I don't think money alone could fix enough holes to make the team a contender anytime soon. I expect we'll have to wait for Ryan to rebuild the farm system before we get back to enjoying pennant races again.

I think we're past using Morneau and healthy in the same sentence. Its time to fire sale this thing and start from scratch. It might be time to pull the plug on Mauer. I've never seen a supposed "leader" this comfortable with losing.