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View Full Version : What's to Blame for the Rotation?



YourHouseIsMyHouse
08-13-2012, 11:20 AM
What frequently gets tossed around on TD is that the Twins failed to 'restock' on arms. True to an extent, I fervently disagree it's the main problem and I think it's more unfortunate luck to fault. The Twins lack of depth there has been exposed this season, but that's not to say the original plan was bad. 2 'major league ready' pitchers they drafted both succumbed to TJ surgery and a few previously reliable starters flopped in addition to a free agent signing.
At this point, the Twins FO of 2010 had to expect a rotation similar to this:
1. Gibson
2. Baker
3. Innings Eater Pavano
4. Wimmers
5. Blackburn

Liriano also being a factor if everything went according to plan. Injuries took a toll on 4/5 of these players (TJ for 3) and that's not something any FO could predict.

DPJ
08-13-2012, 11:22 AM
A combination of Deron Johnson and the Twins scouts and a fundamentally flawed idea that back of the rotation arms can anchor a rotation.

Brock Beauchamp
08-13-2012, 11:23 AM
It's a combination of bad drafting, bad luck, and poor use of the FA market. You can't pin all the failures on one aspect of the organization. It took almost everybody to make this mess.

gunnarthor
08-13-2012, 11:35 AM
A combination of Deron Johnson and the Twins scouts and a fundamentally flawed idea that back of the rotation arms can anchor a rotation.

You do realize that Johnson's drafting philosophy has been far different than Radcliff's, right? Gibson, Hunt, Bullock, Tootle, Berrios, Willaims, Gutierrez, Boer, Boyd etc can not really be described as typical Twins pitchers. Wimmers would fall into that category but generally Johnson has made more risky picks on flame throwers and HS pitchers than Radcliff did.

drivlikejehu
08-13-2012, 11:36 AM
Relying on a best-case scenario is pretty much always the step right before failure, in baseball or anything else. But the pitching situation is just an organizational problem that we can't trace directly, from the outside. Johnson would seem to be an obvious factor, and no doubt he is one, but the groundwork is all laid by the scouts on the ground across the country (and world). Not to mention, Johnson and the scouting department, and every other aspect of the organization, are part of a Twins' culture that is outdated.

If Ryan has a real strategy to turn things around, we wouldn't know about it. Unfortunately I suspect it's something along the lines of 'get back to the old ways' rather than 'let's rethink things and see how we can bring ourselves up to date.'

YourHouseIsMyHouse
08-13-2012, 11:37 AM
Maybe all these faults were pre-destined.... it did allow Minnesota to draft Byron Buxton, Twins superstar, and a future member of the HOF....

Willihammer
08-13-2012, 11:52 AM
There are over 50 starting pitchers on the DL around baseball. Any FO that doesn't account for injury risk from pitching is thinking wishfully.

DPJ
08-13-2012, 11:55 AM
You do realize that Johnson's drafting philosophy has been far different than Radcliff's, right? Gibson, Hunt, Bullock, Tootle, Berrios, Willaims, Gutierrez, Boer, Boyd etc can not really be described as typical Twins pitchers. Wimmers would fall into that category but generally Johnson has made more risky picks on flame throwers and HS pitchers than Radcliff did.

Half those guys profiled as relief pitchers, some are too young or early in their career to comment on and the rest have been hurt or suck.

So once again, blame goes toward Deron Johnson.

Thrylos
08-13-2012, 12:09 PM
It's a combination of bad drafting, bad luck, and poor use of the FA market. You can't pin all the failures on one aspect of the organization. It took almost everybody to make this mess.

Agreed, but you have to add:

- bad player development
- bad coaching
- bad scouting and evaluation of their own players (e.g. RA Dickey, Kevin Slowey)
- bad training and medical staff

Boom Boom
08-13-2012, 12:12 PM
It's a combination of bad drafting, bad luck, and poor use of the FA market. You can't pin all the failures on one aspect of the organization. It took almost everybody to make this mess.

Agreed, but you have to add:

- bad player development
- bad coaching
- bad scouting and evaluation of their own players (e.g. RA Dickey, Kevin Slowey)
- bad training and medical staff

Bad trades?

Out of the three pitchers the Twins received in the Santana trade, two never made a start for the Twins and are now gone, and the third is a full-time reliever now.

Thrylos
08-13-2012, 12:22 PM
Bad trades?

Out of the three pitchers the Twins received in the Santana trade, two never made a start for the Twins and are now gone, and the third is a full-time reliever now.

Guerra is still young. Mulvey was turned into Rauch who helped the Twins win a division title. The guy who threw the perfect game is part of the bad player evaluation part. Same with Gomez/JJ Hardy.

Still what they got from Santana was probably more than what they would have gotten with 2 sandwich picks in 2008 (because the Mets' pick was the 33rd below the Twins' sup pick). Here (http://www.baseball-reference.com/draft/?query_type=year_round&year_ID=2008&draft_round=1&draft_type=junreg&)is who was drafted in 2008 in the 1st and sup rounds. Not exactly ground shakers where those picks would have been....

old nurse
08-13-2012, 01:28 PM
At this point in 2010 Pavano, Liriano and Slowey were having good seasons. Blackburn and Baker were signed through 2013. The FO could have thought the rotation was set for a few years. Wimmers was in the low minors and would not have been part of the plan for 2012. Gibson would have allowed them to trade Slowey. The FO did not extend his contract, he would have been the odd man out. Who could have foreseen how 2011 played out with the ineffectiveness of those starters, then the injuries that continued into 2012.

Buck Nasty
08-13-2012, 02:10 PM
At this point in 2010 Pavano, Liriano and Slowey were having good seasons. Blackburn and Baker were signed through 2013. The FO could have thought the rotation was set for a few years. Wimmers was in the low minors and would not have been part of the plan for 2012. Gibson would have allowed them to trade Slowey. The FO did not extend his contract, he would have been the odd man out. Who could have foreseen how 2011 played out with the ineffectiveness of those starters, then the injuries that continued into 2012.

Absolutely. It all fell apart so fast. Pavano, Liriano, Baker, Blackburn, Slowey all had double digit wins that year and pitched over 150 innings each. Then you had Duensing finish the year as a starter and did ok (I think he took over when Slowey went down). All those guys were ages 26-28 except Pavano. Then there was Perkins (still a starter at that time in AAA), Swarzak (prospect star fading, but still only 24 at that time), Gibson (22) at AA along with Guerra (21) and two more 21 year olds in Wimmers/Hendricks at A ball. Wow that blew up fast....

birdwatcher
08-13-2012, 02:12 PM
To blame the Twin's pitching problems on any one person (Deron Johnson? C'mon.) or label it all as bad bad bad bad (thrylos of course) is incredibly simplistic. This year's rotation problems specifically? The buck stops clearly with Ryan. Some of people think they made a good call and had bad luck. Some people, myself included, think they made an risky bet and paid the price. And of course, some people are far less charitable.

I have a theory related to the causes of the current shortage of promising starters in the system, and I would suggest this order of the most significant causes:

1. A full decade of picking in the back half of the draft order. (One exception, which netted us Hicks). No prospect considered to have a #1 ceiling was available to the Twins, not one, during this entire ten-year period. No high-profile, sure-fire ace lasts until even the 14th pick of the first round. Go for ten years, or 500 rounds worth of selections, always picking in the second half, and then ask yourself why anyone should expect your pitching pipeline to be better than average. By the way, the Twin's farm system is still more highly rated than any othe team in its division except KC, which has picked in top five for over a decade probably.
2. Some bad luck with injuries and setbacks that could not have been anticipated.**
3. Some bad decisions.**

Some of you are experts, so you can tell us which of these picks was bad luck versus bad judgment. If you submit that they are all a result of bad judgment, you have zero credibility. Zero. Hunt, Bashore, Gutierrez, Tootle, Gibson, Wimmers, Waldrop, Rainville, Fox...

I don't buy all the bad evaluation, bad scouting, bad coaching, bad development nonsense. And I definately also do not buy the "soft tosser" preference stuff. I'm very skeptical that ther's been any change in philosophy regarding "hard throwers", although by appearances, it's possible. I just don't think the five dozen scouts employed by the Twins are told to avoid pitchers who "throw hard". Here's a test: make a list of the top 20 "hardest throwers" on the Twins active roster over the past decade. Then make a list of the top 20 "softest tossers". Now, compare the fastball velocity of the #20 guy on each list. What's the difference? My guess is about 2.5MPH. This soft versus hard is simplistic.

YourHouseIsMyHouse
08-13-2012, 02:24 PM
At this point in 2010 Pavano, Liriano and Slowey were having good seasons. Blackburn and Baker were signed through 2013. The FO could have thought the rotation was set for a few years. Wimmers was in the low minors and would not have been part of the plan for 2012. Gibson would have allowed them to trade Slowey. The FO did not extend his contract, he would have been the odd man out. Who could have foreseen how 2011 played out with the ineffectiveness of those starters, then the injuries that continued into 2012.

I had heard Wimmers was the 'safe' and most league ready arm if I remember correctly. A two year ETA doesn't seem too out of reach with that being said. Unfortunately he's free fallen since the organization COMPLETELY screwed up his UCL tear. Too stupid to get the surgery done right away.

DPJ
08-13-2012, 02:56 PM
At this point in 2010 Pavano, Liriano and Slowey were having good seasons. Blackburn and Baker were signed through 2013. The FO could have thought the rotation was set for a few years. Wimmers was in the low minors and would not have been part of the plan for 2012. Gibson would have allowed them to trade Slowey. The FO did not extend his contract, he would have been the odd man out. Who could have foreseen how 2011 played out with the ineffectiveness of those starters, then the injuries that continued into 2012.

You know what the good teams go, they prepare and add depth up the ass for things like that. The moment you think you're deep at a position, you realize you're not through injuries bad luck or whatever. Pavano was in his mid-30's and Blackburn is the type of arm that could fall apart at any moment. Baker & Slowey were always banged up and spending time on the DL. Hell Liriano is really the only one out of that group who I didn't see this coming, but goes to show what I know.

The point is depth is the greatest thing you can plan for during a major league offseason. Prepare yourself that people are gonna get hurt, prepare yourself for losing guys in the majors and minors. The Twins have long relied on having a respectable farm system for kids to come up and fill those holes in the field or rotation. Now that the farm system has tailed off those kids aren't there and you're left giving 38 year infielders multi-year contracts or having a rotation of a Duensing, Blackburn, Daduno, Diamond and the DeVries.

jokin
08-13-2012, 03:01 PM
...and then ask yourself why anyone should expect your pitching pipeline to be better than average....




OK. I just did. Given the succession of-

poor trades of pitchers moved from, or acquired by, the Twins,
the outright release of arms left with value and
outright misses on now-MLB-successful lower round pitching draft picks on other teams,
the current wretched state of the pitching staff up and down the upper levels of the system,
an apparently flawed training and developmental regimen and,
an apparently less-than-competent medical evaluation process-

I found myself more than acceptant to a pipeline slighly below average as a reasonable expectation. The Twins failed even at a bar set that low.

jokin
08-13-2012, 03:07 PM
....By the way, the Twin's farm system is still more highly rated than any othe team in its division except KC....


Filed for new entry under- Faint Praise, damning with (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=damn%20with%20faint%20praise)

gunnarthor
08-13-2012, 03:47 PM
To blame the Twin's pitching problems on any one person (Deron Johnson? C'mon.) or label it all as bad bad bad bad (thrylos of course) is incredibly simplistic. This year's rotation problems specifically? The buck stops clearly with Ryan. Some of people think they made a good call and had bad luck. Some people, myself included, think they made an risky bet and paid the price. And of course, some people are far less charitable.

I have a theory related to the causes of the current shortage of promising starters in the system, and I would suggest this order of the most significant causes:

1. A full decade of picking in the back half of the draft order. (One exception, which netted us Hicks). No prospect considered to have a #1 ceiling was available to the Twins, not one, during this entire ten-year period. No high-profile, sure-fire ace lasts until even the 14th pick of the first round. Go for ten years, or 500 rounds worth of selections, always picking in the second half, and then ask yourself why anyone should expect your pitching pipeline to be better than average. By the way, the Twin's farm system is still more highly rated than any othe team in its division except KC, which has picked in top five for over a decade probably.
2. Some bad luck with injuries and setbacks that could not have been anticipated.**
3. Some bad decisions.**

Some of you are experts, so you can tell us which of these picks was bad luck versus bad judgment. If you submit that they are all a result of bad judgment, you have zero credibility. Zero. Hunt, Bashore, Gutierrez, Tootle, Gibson, Wimmers, Waldrop, Rainville, Fox...

I don't buy all the bad evaluation, bad scouting, bad coaching, bad development nonsense. And I definately also do not buy the "soft tosser" preference stuff. I'm very skeptical that ther's been any change in philosophy regarding "hard throwers", although by appearances, it's possible. I just don't think the five dozen scouts employed by the Twins are told to avoid pitchers who "throw hard". Here's a test: make a list of the top 20 "hardest throwers" on the Twins active roster over the past decade. Then make a list of the top 20 "softest tossers". Now, compare the fastball velocity of the #20 guy on each list. What's the difference? My guess is about 2.5MPH. This soft versus hard is simplistic.

This is a good post. After the 2004 draft, BA ranked the Twins draft the best. But injuries hit all four of those pitchers ...

IIRC, Gutierrez was seen as a reach in the first round but it could also have been a money thing, since the Twins had 3 picks in the top 30ish that year. Klaw ripped the Twins for taking Gutierrez but praised them for taking Hunt. I think the prospect community (BA, Klaw, Prospectus, Mayo) have generally been positive of recent Twins drafts. We got a lot of praise for taking Gibson, Hicks, and the last two years drafts first few picks. We got some criticism for taking Revere and Span and not overpaying later in the draft (I think that has some basis in reality, I wish the Twins would have spent a little more and signed Marvel this season, for instance). Parmelee was seen as a good gamble pick as he was the #1 high school power bat in his draft class. Wimmers was a well regarded conservative move although some pushed for the Twins to take a gamble on HS pitcher Stetson Allie. I can't remember the specifics of taking guys like Tootle, Bullock and Bashore but I think someone wondered about the health of one of them. The Twins tendency to draft toolsy HS players is probably something that most in the prospect community support, since they understand the Twins are making an athletic bet and they probably enjoy that.

Thrylos
08-13-2012, 04:03 PM
I don't buy all the bad evaluation, bad scouting, bad coaching, bad development nonsense. .

So tell us why R.A. Dickey is not a Twin right now and why Blackburn is signed until 2014? Luck?

Cleveland got rid of their pitching coach even though their rotation has been better than the Twins. The Twins are on pace to finish with the worse record in the AL for a second season in a row and the Scholarships that the interim was so against at the beginning of the season, still stand for the manager and the coaches of that debacle.

How can they be unscratched here. Someone has to pay.

And Marquis who was pitching like crap earlier this season, took a no-hitter into the 7th inning and ended up with a two-hitter. And you are telling me the coach is clean....

LaBombo
08-13-2012, 04:12 PM
I don't buy all the bad evaluation, bad scouting, bad coaching, bad development nonsense. And I definately also do not buy the "soft tosser" preference stuff. I'm very skeptical that ther's been any change in philosophy regarding "hard throwers", although by appearances, it's possible. I just don't think the five dozen scouts employed by the Twins are told to avoid pitchers who "throw hard". Here's a test: make a list of the top 20 "hardest throwers" on the Twins active roster over the past decade. Then make a list of the top 20 "softest tossers". Now, compare the fastball velocity of the #20 guy on each list. What's the difference? My guess is about 2.5MPH. This soft versus hard is simplistic.

How many people are discussing the Twins' pitching philosophy purely in terms of velocity? Most people are talking in terms of "pitch to contact" and the low strikeout rate that goes with it.

In Liriano's last good year, 2010, the Twins still managed to finish ahead of only perennial also-rans KC, Baltimore, Seattle, and Cleveland in K rate among all MLB teams. Last year, they were dead last, and will almost certainly finish 2012 in their current position, dead last.

When an organization posts a dreadful strikeout rate and then lowers it in the following seasons despite spending more than the league average, then two things are apparent.

1. Blaming Ryan for this mess after less than a year on the job is beyond ridiculous. He was handed a bag of crap that started really stinking after Wild BS took over.

2. At least some, if not all, of the facets of the organization you insist are not bad... are pretty bleeping bad.

LimestoneBaggy
08-13-2012, 04:20 PM
So tell us why R.A. Dickey is not a Twin right now

For the same reason that Scott Diamond isn't a Brave right now.

LaBombo
08-13-2012, 04:34 PM
At this point in 2010 Pavano, Liriano and Slowey were having good seasons. Blackburn and Baker were signed through 2013. The FO could have thought the rotation was set for a few years. Wimmers was in the low minors and would not have been part of the plan for 2012. Gibson would have allowed them to trade Slowey. The FO did not extend his contract, he would have been the odd man out. Who could have foreseen how 2011 played out with the ineffectiveness of those starters, then the injuries that continued into 2012.

I had heard Wimmers was the 'safe' and most league ready arm if I remember correctly. A two year ETA doesn't seem too out of reach with that being said. Unfortunately he's free fallen since the organization COMPLETELY screwed up his UCL tear. Too stupid to get the surgery done right away.

I'm sorry, but if you seriously believe that the Twins FO in 2010 was counting on a guy with at BEST one full year of LOW minor league experience to hold a spot in the major league 2012 rotation, well, that's just crazy. When have they ever done that voluntarily, with either pitchers or position players?

And the idea that Wimmers would take the place of a near-Cy Young candidate under contract through 2012 just indicates that you don't believe your own point about the 'woe is me' luck of the Twins with injuries. If you thought the point could stand on its own, you wouldn't have to rely on the rainbows and unicorns scenario you concocted to place Wimmers (darn the bad luck!) instead of Liriano (who sucked instead of getting injured and didn't fit your bad luck narrative) in the 2012 rotation.

Agree with your assessment that the Twins multiplied their own bad luck with their handling of Wimmers' injury. It's an ugly, repeating theme in an organization that has several others as well.

It's looking more and more like the Twins fear losing a bunch of games more than they fear not contending, and fear change even more than they fear losing.

Twins Fear-o-meter summary: not contending < losing season(s) < change.

Seth Stohs
08-13-2012, 04:52 PM
Someone has to pay.

Geez, what is this? Some marvel comic movie???

We get it... Bobby Cuellar is the great pitching coach ever (with the possible exception of Dave Duncan)... right?

Seth Stohs
08-13-2012, 04:57 PM
I would agree with those that say blaming any one person is ridiculous. Deron Johnson has drafted well, but obviously things haven't worked out yet for a few of the pitchers. Gibson was a good choice. Wimmers was a good choice. Bashore was a lefty throwing 97 two weeks before the draft. Tootle was throwing triple-digits. Bullock was only walking one every other inning back then. Gutierrez was a top closer coming out of a top university just a year after Tommy John. If the Twins didn't take him at 27, the Red Sox would have before the Twins took Hunt at 31. No one can predict Steve Blass disease.

I know most think I'm overly positive, but to say that there isn't some bad luck in there isn't fair either.

We've seen the lack of power arms throughout the system. Each of those pitchers (with the exception of the two best - Gibson/Wimmers) were power arms.

Go back to that 2004 draft. Perkins has turned out pretty good. Waldrop got hurt. Swarzak had other issues, but he's been alright in long relief. Rainville got hurt. Morlan got traded before he got hurt.

2005 - Duensing's been a very good 3rd round pick, especially in the bullpen.

I don't know. I just hate always needing to find blame. Things happen and then they need to respond. That's what this year and next year are all about.

Thrylos
08-13-2012, 05:03 PM
Someone has to pay.

Geez, what is this? Some marvel comic movie???

We get it... Bobby Cuellar is the great pitching coach ever (with the possible exception of Dave Duncan)... right?

It's professional sports. When a team has been the worst in the league for 2 years in a row, changes have to be made. That simple. Look at Cleveland this season and Boston last season. And both are better than where the Twins have been. Look at the football team in Minnesota after last season when it hit rock bottom. They made changes. The Twins have stayed pretty much unchanged (other than musical chairs) since TK retired on the field and since Andy MacPhail left on the front office. That does not serve them well.... About time for some new blood there.

And I do not like Duncan (and any one on that A's cheater team). For all we know Duncan and La Russa injected their own players. Who knows (and who cares, other than the fact that they cheated the Twins out of AL West division championships back then...)

But it is time that there is some blame placed on Gardy and Andy and Company (like every other professional sports franchise does... before the Twins turn into a worse than a marvel comic movie - if they are not already there...)

IdahoPilgrim
08-13-2012, 05:15 PM
Driving through upstate New York today, I listened to a local sports channel on the radio. Guess what they were griping about? The Yankees starting pitching. All the injuries to pitchers (and they were blaming a poor medical staff too). How half their rotation are #5 starters at best (would you believe that one has a record barely over .500?) The more things change...

gunnarthor
08-13-2012, 05:23 PM
Someone has to pay.

Geez, what is this? Some marvel comic movie???

We get it... Bobby Cuellar is the great pitching coach ever (with the possible exception of Dave Duncan)... right?

It's professional sports. When a team has been the worst in the league for 2 years in a row, changes have to be made. That simple. Look at Cleveland this season and Boston last season. And both are better than where the Twins have been. Look at the football team in Minnesota after last season when it hit rock bottom. They made changes. The Twins have stayed pretty much unchanged (other than musical chairs) since TK retired on the field and since Andy MacPhail left on the front office. That does not serve them well.... About time for some new blood there.

Did Cleveland make a move that I missed? Acta's still their manager, right? Boston isn't really like any situation the Twins have.

Changes made by Twins since 99 loss year: Fired GM, brought in Ryan. Added Krivisky to front office. Fired AAA coaches and promoted Bruno. Moved Radcliff back to draft room to work w/Johnson. (I know you'll say something silly like Ryan is the same as Smith, Krivisky is retread, Radcliff should be fired, not put in charge of draft. And you'll say something nice about Bruno). Generally, stability in a team is a good thing. How many GMs and managers did the Rays, Royals, Pirates, Ranagers, M's go through? Ryan et all has shown he can create a winning team and quickly rebuild the teams nucleus. He deserves a chance to show he can do it again.

Gardy and Andy have a track record of success, so they get a chance to rebuild. This is Gardy's 11th season and it'll be his 3rd w/a losing record. One less than Francona.

Thrylos
08-13-2012, 05:29 PM
Did Cleveland make a move that I missed? Acta's still their manager, right? Boston isn't really like any situation the Twins have.

Changes made by Twins since 99 loss year: Fired GM, brought in Ryan. Added Krivisky to front office. Fired AAA coaches and promoted Bruno. Moved Radcliff back to draft room to work w/Johnson. (I know you'll say something silly like Ryan is the same as Smith, Krivisky is retread, Radcliff should be fired, not put in charge of draft. And you'll say something nice about Bruno). Generally, stability in a team is a good thing. How many GMs and managers did the Rays, Royals, Pirates, Ranagers, M's go through? Ryan et all has shown he can create a winning team and quickly rebuild the teams nucleus. He deserves a chance to show he can do it again.

Gardy and Andy have a track record of success, so they get a chance to rebuild. This is Gardy's 11th season and it'll be his 3rd w/a losing record. One less than Francona.


Cleveland fired their pitching coach.

Stability in a team is a good thing when they are winning titles. And the Twins have not won since '91. And that is a whole different group than the '91 group (other than Rantz.) They need to change

Childress had a better record of winning with the Vikings (he took them deeper in the post season and was cheated out of the Super Bowl) than Gardenhire ever did for the Twins (including a season when he led the team that included both the MVP and the Cy Young winner to a postseason sweep). Gardy and Andy have been the masters of 3 and outs in the post-season. They need to follow Childress' path. Interesting that the same fan base thinks so differently about their Football and Baseball leaders.

Monkeypaws
08-13-2012, 05:41 PM
I'd say a combination of bad luck - bad scouting - law of averages.

Gibson and Wimmers having TJ, well that's probably all 3.

Shooter Hunt going wild, nobody predicted it.

Adam Johnson, bad scouting.

Ryan Mills was a bullet proof prospect on draft day. Bad luck.


I think the missing element of Twins pitching prospects is make-up more than anything. I want guys that battle on every pitch, that are mentally tough; you can pitch to contact if you have that, and baseball smarts, another quality I find lacking in a lot of our pitchers.

Radke is a good example of what I'm talking about.

birdwatcher
08-13-2012, 05:42 PM
thrylos, RA Dickey and Blackburn are very good examples of moves that didn't pan out. And for every example like that, we can find you an example that someone, if they wanted to, could use to make the opposite point you ALWAYS make, which is that everybody employed by the Twins is old, uses an abacus, and sucks at their job. It's great to be critical. It's perfectly fine to be pessimistic about this team.

This is not in the cards for you, thrylos, but being fairminded about criticism and praise, (even faint praise, jokin) is a form of honesty that most of us appreciate. Being intentionally unfair is a form of dishonesty. Are you being honest?

I guess that's possible, thrylos, who recently informed all of us that the situation is so sad that "the glass is not half empty or half full. The glass is shuttered on the floor in a million pieces." Wow. Have a nice day.

Marquis? Yes, I'm telling you I believe the "coach is clean". You see, for every example you or jokin or others want to cite as evidence of incompetence, we can cite an example to show demonstrate their prowess. For every poor trade, jokin, like everyone's favorite, Santana, there is a good trade, like Pavano. For every "bad release" like Breslow, there is a Burton.

Try to be balanced and fair. It will help your credibility.

jokin
08-13-2012, 05:53 PM
Driving through upstate New York today, I listened to a local sports channel on the radio. Guess what they were griping about? The Yankees starting pitching. All the injuries to pitchers (and they were blaming a poor medical staff too). How half their rotation are #5 starters at best (would you believe that one has a record barely over .500?) The more things change...

Everything is relative, but some things are more relative than others

Funny stuff from the spoiled Yankees fans. I think the Twins fans complaints are slightly more justified. I'd take any of their "#5 starters" in a heartbeat (except Freddy Garcia, of course). The ubiquitous injury thing throughout baseball probably needs a lot more study. What's changed, if anything, in the last few years? 40 years ago 4-man rotations were common. New types of pitches that arms aren't meant to throw? Kids throwing too much too soon at the developmental levels and college? Lack of arm strength from not throwing enough? Flawed mechanics development?

Yankees SP stats: ERA 4.10/K-9 7.90/WHIP 1.29/OBA .262
Twins SP stats: ERA 5.48/K-9 5.62/WHIP 1.48/OBA .292

Thrylos
08-13-2012, 05:57 PM
I guess that's possible, thrylos, who recently informed all of us that the situation is so sad that "the glass is not half empty or half full. The glass is shuttered on the floor in a million pieces." Wow. Have a nice day..

If you think that there is anything overall positive about a team that has the worst record in the league for 2 seasons in a row, and major changes are not needed to right the ship, you are deluded, thus the shuttered glass analogy...

Yes, there are some hopeful signs, but the facts that Diamond could be a decent #3 starter and that Willingham and Doumit have been great sings and that Mauer is being playing everyday and performing and Revere potentially broke through, etc... do not make for the facta that this team is awful as a team and that it never had 2 years in a row like this even during the darkest times, since it moved to Minnesota. The only other times that this team ended in the bottom for 2 years in a row was in 1999 and 2000 (yes, the contraction seasons) and they lost 97 and 93 those seasons.

FACT: Historically the last 2 seasons is the proverbial Rock Bottom. As bad as it ever got for the Twins. If that does not mean that the glass is shuttered and the team is a mess, I don't know what would make some people realize it or they rather do not see the truth.

Yes there are hopeful signs. But right now the team historically sucks in a way it never sucked before... And it is about time people realize it and quite thinking about the glory years or whatever that might be. This suckage is historic and it really is sad that people have blinders on.

jokin
08-13-2012, 06:13 PM
thrylos, RA Dickey and Blackburn are very good examples of moves that didn't pan out. And for every example like that, we can find you an example that someone, if they wanted to, could use to make the opposite point you ALWAYS make, which is that everybody employed by the Twins is old, uses an abacus, and sucks at their job. It's great to be critical. It's perfectly fine to be pessimistic about this team.

This is not in the cards for you, thrylos, but being fairminded about criticism and praise, (even faint praise, jokin) is a form of honesty that most of us appreciate. Being intentionally unfair is a form of dishonesty. Are you being honest?

I guess that's possible, thrylos, who recently informed all of us that the situation is so sad that "the glass is not half empty or half full. The glass is shuttered on the floor in a million pieces." Wow. Have a nice day.

Marquis? Yes, I'm telling you I believe the "coach is clean". You see, for every example you or jokin or others want to cite as evidence of incompetence, we can cite an example to show demonstrate their prowess. For every poor trade, jokin, like everyone's favorite, Santana, there is a good trade, like Pavano. For every "bad release" like Breslow, there is a Burton.

Try to be balanced and fair. It will help your credibility.

Somehow the citation of 'Twins management "prowess demonstration"' in the last 6 years seems more oxymoronic than standard-issue concepts like: "government worker", "Microsoft Works" and "honest broker".

darin617
08-13-2012, 06:16 PM
It's a combination of bad drafting, bad luck, and poor use of the FA market. You can't pin all the failures on one aspect of the organization. It took almost everybody to make this mess.

So does that mean Terry Ryan and Gardy have a little responsibility for this nightmare of a rotation? The one person who is actually most to blame would have to be our All Star catcher taking up almost 20% of the payroll. Just wait when the payroll drops to $100M or lower and one "hitter" is almost 25% of payroll and then you can really see how poor a rotation we will have then..........

birdwatcher
08-13-2012, 06:17 PM
Deron Johnson, Mike Radcliff and forty scouts piled into a room at Super 8 (Pohlad's orders, you see) to go over the draft. Deron: "Are you serious? No way we take that guy. He throws way too many strikes." Mike: "Let me remind everyone that we will only consider pitchers who project as back of the rotation guys or worse."

darin617
08-13-2012, 06:28 PM
Maybe it's time to quit babying these prospects and see if they can handle the next levels of baseball.

drivlikejehu
08-13-2012, 06:31 PM
It's amazing how many Twins fans are just aghast at the idea of accountability. In what organization, of any kind, should failure be rewarded? Despite the GM switch, this is essentially the same leadership that has been in place for a long, long time. The excuses are endless. Guess what- every team has bad luck. Every team has injuries and draft picks that go awry. The Twins stink because their management made bad choices over the years, period. That is just an empirical fact.

jokin
08-13-2012, 06:33 PM
Deron Johnson, Mike Radcliff and forty scouts piled into a room at Super 8 (Pohlad's orders, you see) to go over the draft. Deron: "Are you serious? No way we take that guy. He throws way too many strikes." Mike: "Let me remind everyone that we will only consider pitchers who project as back of the rotation guys or worse."

Add Nick Nelson to the list of whiners who missed the fair and balanced memo and apparently now another new-found questioner of alleged Twins Prowess:

"The signing of Nishioka and the corresponding roster maneuvering namely, trading J.J. Hardy for what amounted to nothing were puzzling at the time and far worse in hindsight.

It's not that the moves themselves have set the organization back irreversibly, as Nishioka's $3 million salary is hardly a massive burden and Hardy has come hurdling back to earth in year one of his new contract (though I'd argue he's still a decent value at $7 million). It's more that the thought process behind the decisions the misplaced priorities, the awful player evaluation, the lack of long-term foresight represented everything wrong with the front office under Smith. These weaknesses were also on display in moves like the Nick Blackburn extension, the Carl Pavano re-signing and the Matt Capps trade.

Mixed in with a good hint of bad luck, this shaky leadership sent a thriving and annually competitive franchise to the very bottom. The Twins lost 99 games last year and they're on pace to lose 92 this year. If it pans out that way, it will be the worst two-year stretch for the club since the early '80s. "

birdwatcher
08-13-2012, 06:37 PM
That's your response, jokin? A cute, empty answer? Where's the smiley face?:)

Thrylos
08-13-2012, 06:41 PM
Mixed in with a good hint of bad luck, this shaky leadership sent a thriving and annually competitive franchise to the very bottom. The Twins lost 99 games last year and they're on pace to lose 92 this year. If it pans out that way, it will be the worst two-year stretch for the club since the early '80s. "

Thanks I didn't catch that...

Actually it is worse than the 80s... The did finish last for 2 seasons in a row then, but one was the strike shortened '81 season. The worst was 99-00 with 97 and 93 wins (and that was the contraction time). This one is one upping it. Worst ever since they moved to MN

LaBombo
08-13-2012, 06:49 PM
Deron Johnson, Mike Radcliff and forty scouts piled into a room at Super 8 (Pohlad's orders, you see) to go over the draft. Deron: "Are you serious? No way we take that guy. He throws way too many strikes." Mike: "Let me remind everyone that we will only consider pitchers who project as back of the rotation guys or worse."

Same straw man. More sarcastic clothes.

The Twins have had an awful K rate the past three seasons, including distant, dead last in MLB twice. They've usually ranged from mediocre to bad in previous years. Other than that the Twins are a franchise that doesn't value strikeouts as much as other teams, or are plagued by an organization-wide ineptitude at finding guys who can miss bats (good luck with that one), what's the story? Let's hear your theory.

And you're at the point where even your sarcasm doesn't make sense. Almost anybody who disagrees with you about the overall organizational pitching philosophy would expect Deron to be saying some shade of exactly the opposite of that. "Pitches to contact. Doesn't walk many. Perfect Twin! Let the defense worry about the high rate of balls put in play and the screaming line drives. It keeps them happy and engaged". Obscure FO non-player talent evaluator: "His K rate is low for a high pick". Radcliff: "Shut up and go get us more beer".

There's the sarcastic version of the argument you're failing to put even a tiny dent in.

birdwatcher
08-13-2012, 06:55 PM
The Twins have made some really bad decisions, no doubt about it. Nishioka, re-signing Capps, signing Blackburn, the Wilson Ramos trade. Those are all really bad moves, but hardly "irreversible setbacks". It's entirely reasonable, jokin, for you and others to conclude that this FO should go.

The Twins have made some really good decisions, no doubt about it (or is there, jokin?). Drafting Mauer instead of Prior, trading for Santana and Nathan, signing Sano, trading Pino for Pavano, signing Arcia, Burton, Diamond, Revere....the list of good decisions goes on and on and on...right? Now, it's entirely reasonable, jokin, for me and others to conclude that changing the FO is not necessary.

Thrylos
08-13-2012, 07:21 PM
Now, it's entirely reasonable, jokin, for me and others to conclude that changing the FO is not necessary.

Bottom line: No World Championships since 1991 when (other) young people ran the front office and the field.

If you like mediocrity and worse and no titles for 21 years, keep them. Some of us don't like that

LaBombo
08-13-2012, 07:34 PM
The Twins have made some really good decisions, no doubt about it (or is there, jokin?). Drafting Mauer instead of Prior, trading for Santana and Nathan, signing Sano, trading Pino for Pavano, signing Arcia, Burton, Diamond, Revere....the list of good decisions goes on and on and on...right? Now, it's entirely reasonable, jokin, for me and others to conclude that changing the FO is not necessary.

Mauer was a signability pick. Santana was a great move that happened a dozen years ago. The Nathan/FL/BB trade was another great one that took place in 2004. Pavano has provided one ERA+ season above 100 at a cost of nearly $8 million per year. The last 4 are all BS's moves. If you want to make Ryan look better, how about Willingham and Doumit? That would hold more water.

That said, I'm happy with Ryan the roster chess player. I'm ready to give up on Ryan the shaper of the franchise's future direction.

Bark's Lounge
08-13-2012, 07:46 PM
Now, it's entirely reasonable, jokin, for me and others to conclude that changing the FO is not necessary.

Bottom line: No World Championships since 1991 when (other) young people ran the front office and the field.

If you like mediocrity and worse and no titles for 21 years, keep them. Some of us don't like that

Thrylos, be careful what you wish for. Drayton Moore has not turned around KC's fortunes and he was a highly rated Schierholz disciple. Change is a crapshoot and I tend to believe that the Pohlads when hiring a new GM, FO staff, Field Manager and Field Coaches are going to pick the guys that fit into their method of their madness. That may be a downgrade from what we are dealing with now and last I checked, you cannot fire owners.

Just Sayin' Diggity

Thrylos
08-13-2012, 07:55 PM
That may be a downgrade from what we are dealing with now

Repeat:

FACT: The last 2 seasons are the worst 2 consecutive seasons EVER since the franchise moved to Minnesota.

That bad
No way a downgrade is possible

Brock Beauchamp
08-13-2012, 08:01 PM
Repeat:

FACT: The last 2 seasons are the worst 2 consecutive seasons EVER since the franchise moved to Minnesota.

That bad
No way a downgrade is possible

Shouldn't the Twins be allowed to play two full seasons before we start declaring this two season stretch the worst in history and declaring it as "fact"?

Generally, I believe "facts" are reserved for things that have actually happened, not based on future speculation.

Thrylos
08-13-2012, 08:23 PM
Repeat:

FACT: The last 2 seasons are the worst 2 consecutive seasons EVER since the franchise moved to Minnesota SO FAR.

That bad
No way a downgrade is possible

Shouldn't the Twins be allowed to play two full seasons before we start declaring this two season stretch the worst in history and declaring it as "fact"?

Generally, I believe "facts" are reserved for things that have actually happened, not based on future speculation.

Alright. We will be here at the end of the season and I am amending my statement above to be exact... But the point is that this sucks really badly right now and small little changes here and there do not cut it...

birdwatcher
08-13-2012, 08:23 PM
LaBombo, you make a compelling case regarding the "pitch to contact" philosophy and the failings of the FO to find bat-missing pitchers for the rotation. I subscribe, I'm sure, to the same theory you do on that subject, I'm guessing.

Sorry I fell flat with my sarcasm, and thanks for your sophisticated rhetorical criticism. The point you missed as you critiqued my work was that conclusions are often exaggerated for effect. Example: I don't think the FO needs to be repolaced. Therefore, thrylos has concluded that I "like mediocrity and worse". The FO likes pitch to contact guys, so therefore they hate strikeout pitchers. A couple of Ryan's moves haven't panned out, so therefore he doesn't have a plan. Gardy has certain biases, so therefore he has sexual relations with players who fit his mold.

Frankly, LaBombo, I'm less enamored with Ryan as a roster tweaker than you are I guess. But I'm also more confident that Ryan is surrounded with smart, competent people, top to bottom, and that they have a post-Target Field strategy regarding the future direction of the franchise. It will take time, but some of us are seeing many signs of improvement, the W-L record notwithstanding.

LaBombo
08-13-2012, 08:59 PM
LaBombo, you make a compelling case regarding the "pitch to contact" philosophy and the failings of the FO to find bat-missing pitchers for the rotation. I subscribe, I'm sure, to the same theory you do on that subject, I'm guessing.

Sorry I fell flat with my sarcasm, and thanks for your sophisticated rhetorical criticism. The point you missed as you critiqued my work was that conclusions are often exaggerated for effect. Example: I don't think the FO needs to be repolaced. Therefore, thrylos has concluded that I "like mediocrity and worse". The FO likes pitch to contact guys, so therefore they hate strikeout pitchers. A couple of Ryan's moves haven't panned out, so therefore he doesn't have a plan. Gardy has certain biases, so therefore he has sexual relations with players who fit his mold.

Frankly, LaBombo, I'm less enamored with Ryan as a roster tweaker than you are I guess. But I'm also more confident that Ryan is surrounded with smart, competent people, top to bottom, and that they have a post-Target Field strategy regarding the future direction of the franchise. It will take time, but some of us are seeing many signs of improvement, the W-L record notwithstanding.

Fair enough. It was quality sarcasm; just seemed 180 off the P.T.C argument, ie. the Twins DON'T want them. And I lean heavily toward believing that an organization with a reputation for quality scouting cannot possibly fail so consistently to get strikeout pitchers if it's a priority.

We'll have to see where Ryan takes the Twins in the next few years. Organizational emphasis on various kinds of ballplayers aside, Ryan simply exceeds Smith in terms of trading players and signing free agents in my view. It's not that Ryan is a genious; he's pretty good in my book, and looks twice as good as he is due to the blinding contrast between his recent years and the nightmare that was Bill Smith's tenure.

Riverbrian
08-13-2012, 09:05 PM
In response to the original question... I have no idea but it takes a village and the chief in charge typically.

The Twins have been loyal employers. Rarely Does anyone get fired from the front office... YET Bill Smith was. That's rare in this organization and suggests pretty loudly that Bill Smith is seen as responsible for something and blame worthy by the decision makers.

birdwatcher
08-13-2012, 09:18 PM
I'm in 100% agreement with your assessment of Ryan, LaBombo. What gives me some extra hope is thatTarget Field ushers in a new economic situation, and I expect to see more aggressive investments. International signings; finally getting their act together in the Dominican Republic, participation in free agency, player payroll, etc. I'll look for signs, good and bad. Signing Amaurys Minier, for example, is a good sign. Ryan saying he doesn't expect to be a big player in the FA market? I'll wait to see what happens before concluding anything, but it's a worrisome signal. It ought to be interesting.

old nurse
08-14-2012, 01:20 AM
You know what the good teams go, they prepare and add depth up the ass for things like that. The moment you think you're deep at a position, you realize you're not through injuries bad luck or whatever. Pavano was in his mid-30's and Blackburn is the type of arm that could fall apart at any moment. Baker & Slowey were always banged up and spending time on the DL. Hell Liriano is really the only one out of that group who I didn't see this coming, but goes to show what I know.

The point is depth is the greatest thing you can plan for during a major league offseason. Prepare yourself that people are gonna get hurt, prepare yourself for losing guys in the majors and minors. The Twins have long relied on having a respectable farm system for kids to come up and fill those holes in the field or rotation. Now that the farm system has tailed off those kids aren't there and you're left giving 38 year infielders multi-year contracts or having a rotation of a Duensing, Blackburn, Daduno, Diamond and the DeVries.[/QUOTE]

2010 Redwings starters Perkins, Manship and Swarzak. All have seen time with the Twins. Bromberg and Matt Fox were the other predominate starters for that team. New Britain had Gibson. Guerra, Guitterez, and Tyler Robertson starting. The latter three are now relievers. Robertson made it, the other two might. It is fair to say the Twins staff could not add a third quality pitch to many of these pitchers. I have every reason to believe they tried. Anything below those levels to me are always wishful thinking
I am not going to say anything about middle infielders on a pitching thread.

John Bonnes
08-14-2012, 03:02 PM
I'll say this: I did a weekly podcast where we reviewed every move the Twins made. At no time do I remember us blasting the Twins for going into this season with the rotation they had. The biggest concerns were the bullpen and lineup. I'm as surprised by this year's meltdown as anyone.

Boom Boom
08-14-2012, 03:25 PM
I'll say this: I did a weekly podcast where we reviewed every move the Twins made. At no time do I remember us blasting the Twins for going into this season with the rotation they had. The biggest concerns were the bullpen and lineup. I'm as surprised by this year's meltdown as anyone.

It certainly was a weak crop of FA starters. There really wasn't anyone on the market that was going to put this rotation over the top so I can't really fault TR for not signing more of them.

But even with a healthy Baker and Pavano this rotation was mediocre at best.

YourHouseIsMyHouse
08-14-2012, 03:26 PM
At this point in 2010 Pavano, Liriano and Slowey were having good seasons. Blackburn and Baker were signed through 2013. The FO could have thought the rotation was set for a few years. Wimmers was in the low minors and would not have been part of the plan for 2012. Gibson would have allowed them to trade Slowey. The FO did not extend his contract, he would have been the odd man out. Who could have foreseen how 2011 played out with the ineffectiveness of those starters, then the injuries that continued into 2012.

I had heard Wimmers was the 'safe' and most league ready arm if I remember correctly. A two year ETA doesn't seem too out of reach with that being said. Unfortunately he's free fallen since the organization COMPLETELY screwed up his UCL tear. Too stupid to get the surgery done right away.

I'm sorry, but if you seriously believe that the Twins FO in 2010 was counting on a guy with at BEST one full year of LOW minor league experience to hold a spot in the major league 2012 rotation, well, that's just crazy. When have they ever done that voluntarily, with either pitchers or position players?

And the idea that Wimmers would take the place of a near-Cy Young candidate under contract through 2012 just indicates that you don't believe your own point about the 'woe is me' luck of the Twins with injuries. If you thought the point could stand on its own, you wouldn't have to rely on the rainbows and unicorns scenario you concocted to place Wimmers (darn the bad luck!) instead of Liriano (who sucked instead of getting injured and didn't fit your bad luck narrative) in the 2012 rotation.

So that simple a change completely screws with my whole "gag" here? Excuse me for forgetting Liriano was good for a year. 2010 being the only good season of the past 4 years can make a person forget when it wasn't really what I was basing my point around anyway. Throw Liriano in instead of Wimmers at 4 or even higher I really don't care. I thought it was likely Wimmers would be in the bigs in 2012. That actually makes it look like a better rotation they forecasted.

birdwatcher
08-14-2012, 03:30 PM
John, that is interesting and surprising that no one blasted the Twins for going into the season with Baker, Liriano, Pavano, Blackburn, and Marquis/Hendriks. Given how disastrous things turned out, its understandable that we have collectively revised our own history about the level of consternation we felt. From reading the comments, one would have to be so completely incompetent to rely on that rotation that firing them is a no-brainer.

Boom Boom
08-14-2012, 03:36 PM
John, that is interesting and surprising that no one blasted the Twins for going into the season with Baker, Liriano, Pavano, Blackburn, and Marquis/Hendriks. Given how disastrous things turned out, its understandable that we have collectively revised our own history about the level of consternation we felt. From reading the comments, one would have to be so completely incompetent to rely on that rotation that firing them is a no-brainer.

No one?

YourHouseIsMyHouse
08-14-2012, 03:38 PM
I guess as somewhat of a concluding statement, it's not that the Twins didn't draft starting pitchers for the future or reload. They did draft plenty of high upside hurlers and the success rate finally caught up to them. Look at any draft and you'll see how few of those guys 'make it'. In the Twins case, nearly all of those guys failed and drafting late, poor coaching, poor scouting, and the big one: injuries/medical staff, ravaged the starting pitching pipeline and system. More or less, it's an excuse on behalf of the management that gets a lot of heat here. Sure, you can attribute some of problem to them, but much of it was unpredictable and a part of baseball that just happens. Different faces in the front office situation couldn't have handled it much better. These multiple occurrences would hurt most major league teams and not just the 'lowly' and 'stupid' Twins.

diehardtwinsfan
08-14-2012, 03:49 PM
John, that is interesting and surprising that no one blasted the Twins for going into the season with Baker, Liriano, Pavano, Blackburn, and Marquis/Hendriks. Given how disastrous things turned out, its understandable that we have collectively revised our own history about the level of consternation we felt. From reading the comments, one would have to be so completely incompetent to rely on that rotation that firing them is a no-brainer.


apparently you didn't read BYTO

nokomismod
08-14-2012, 03:50 PM
At this point in 2010 Pavano, Liriano and Slowey were having good seasons. Blackburn and Baker were signed through 2013. The FO could have thought the rotation was set for a few years. Wimmers was in the low minors and would not have been part of the plan for 2012. Gibson would have allowed them to trade Slowey. The FO did not extend his contract, he would have been the odd man out. Who could have foreseen how 2011 played out with the ineffectiveness of those starters, then the injuries that continued into 2012.

Absolutely. It all fell apart so fast. Pavano, Liriano, Baker, Blackburn, Slowey all had double digit wins that year and pitched over 150 innings each. Then you had Duensing finish the year as a starter and did ok (I think he took over when Slowey went down). All those guys were ages 26-28 except Pavano. Then there was Perkins (still a starter at that time in AAA), Swarzak (prospect star fading, but still only 24 at that time), Gibson (22) at AA along with Guerra (21) and two more 21 year olds in Wimmers/Hendricks at A ball. Wow that blew up fast....

It's astonishing isn't it?! I was feeling pretty good about your rotation at that time too. I guess you can never have too much in the bank just in case.

nokomismod
08-14-2012, 04:00 PM
I'll say this: I did a weekly podcast where we reviewed every move the Twins made. At no time do I remember us blasting the Twins for going into this season with the rotation they had. The biggest concerns were the bullpen and lineup. I'm as surprised by this year's meltdown as anyone.

It certainly was a weak crop of FA starters. There really wasn't anyone on the market that was going to put this rotation over the top so I can't really fault TR for not signing more of them.

But even with a healthy Baker and Pavano this rotation was mediocre at best.
TR might have looked at this season as more of a "what do we have here?" and "let's stop the bleeding". He needed to find out if Mauer and Morneau could be counted on to contribute again before going after guys like CJ Wilson. I know I would have wanted to know if my two core players were back before trying to make a run again. He did the right thing in letting Kubes and Cuddyer go, bringing in Doumit, Carrol, and Willingham. It's this offseason that he better go for it though. The rest of the team is ready and the window will close soon with this core.

birdwatcher
08-14-2012, 05:09 PM
Sorry, I misread Mr. Bonnes' comment. I am no longer surprised, Boom Boom.

LaBombo
08-14-2012, 05:56 PM
So that simple a change completely screws with my whole "gag" here? Excuse me for forgetting Liriano was good for a year. 2010 being the only good season of the past 4 years can make a person forget when it wasn't really what I was basing my point around anyway. Throw Liriano in instead of Wimmers at 4 or even higher I really don't care. I thought it was likely Wimmers would be in the bigs in 2012. That actually makes it look like a better rotation they forecasted.

You were talking about the Twins front office and their best guess in 2010 what a 2012 rotation might look like. They obviously had no idea what Liriano would do in 2011 and 2012 or they would've traded him after the 2010 season. So your point about "1 good season in 4" is irrelevant.

After the 2010 Liriano was 26, a fringe Cy candidate, and cheap through 2012. Alex Wimmers was a 21 year old with 15 innings of A ball under his belt. Suggesting that the front office projected Wimmers as a 2012 major league starter over Liriano at that point is absurd.

So your predicted rotation becomes Liriano, Baker, Pavano, Blackburn, and Gibson. Your point was that unforeseeable injuries ruined that rotation.
My contention is that even then it didn't look great, and by the end of 2011 it should've been obvious that NONE of those guys could be counted on in 2012.

Setting aside that wildcard Liriano guy you forgot about, the 2010 winter meeting FO brain trust was rightly (according to you) counting on these guys to anchor the 2012 rotation:

Baker: Almost as maddening as Liriano. Very good stuff, but zero previous seasons in which he wasn't either injured or mediocre.

Pavano: Coming off a good season which also saw his K rate plummet by 2.5/9 innings. 36 years old at the start of the 2012 season.

Blackburn. One of the most hittable pitchers in MLB, he got worse in 2010. Miniscule K rate went even lower.

Gibson: A rapidly rising star, he finished his first year of pro ball in AAA.

So Gibson was a promising but unknown quantity who suffered a serious injury. But how on earth can you say that any of the other three tanking was some sort of unforeseeable shock? None of the four pitchers had pitched 200+ innings more than once in the three preceding seasons.

And at the end of 2011 it should've been obvious that not a single one of the guys in your projected rotation could be counted on. The Twins responded to their shattered rotation plan by signing Jason Marquis and conceding the 2012 season. That's no big deal if he's just a body while you rebuild, but the Twins haven't behaved much like a rebuilding team.

If you think that an organization finds itself with a rotation full of castoffs because of bad luck, you've got to make a better case than that.

TheLeviathan
08-14-2012, 06:08 PM
Well said Labombo - the shock some people are feigning that this rotation wasn't very good this year is pretty hard to swallow. It wasn't good to start with and not much of a leap to have predicted they'd be awful.

twinsnorth49
08-14-2012, 06:34 PM
The rotation was really based on a wing and a prayer, no logical person could say otherwise given the past performances, injury history and advancing age of the 5 they decided to go with. Is that all TR really had to work with however?

YourHouseIsMyHouse
08-14-2012, 07:23 PM
So that simple a change completely screws with my whole "gag" here? Excuse me for forgetting Liriano was good for a year. 2010 being the only good season of the past 4 years can make a person forget when it wasn't really what I was basing my point around anyway. Throw Liriano in instead of Wimmers at 4 or even higher I really don't care. I thought it was likely Wimmers would be in the bigs in 2012. That actually makes it look like a better rotation they forecasted.

You were talking about the Twins front office and their best guess in 2010 what a 2012 rotation might look like. They obviously had no idea what Liriano would do in 2011 and 2012 or they would've traded him after the 2010 season. So your point about "1 good season in 4" is irrelevant.

After the 2010 Liriano was 26, a fringe Cy candidate, and cheap through 2012. Alex Wimmers was a 21 year old with 15 innings of A ball under his belt. Suggesting that the front office projected Wimmers as a 2012 major league starter over Liriano at that point is absurd.

So your predicted rotation becomes Liriano, Baker, Pavano, Blackburn, and Gibson. Your point was that unforeseeable injuries ruined that rotation.
My contention is that even then it didn't look great, and by the end of 2011 it should've been obvious that NONE of those guys could be counted on in 2012.

Setting aside that wildcard Liriano guy you forgot about, the 2010 winter meeting FO brain trust was rightly (according to you) counting on these guys to anchor the 2012 rotation:

Baker: Almost as maddening as Liriano. Very good stuff, but zero previous seasons in which he wasn't either injured or mediocre.

Pavano: Coming off a good season which also saw his K rate plummet by 2.5/9 innings. 36 years old at the start of the 2012 season.

Blackburn. One of the most hittable pitchers in MLB, he got worse in 2010. Miniscule K rate went even lower.

Gibson: A rapidly rising star, he finished his first year of pro ball in AAA.

So Gibson was a promising but unknown quantity who suffered a serious injury. But how on earth can you say that any of the other three tanking was some sort of unforeseeable shock? None of the four pitchers had pitched 200+ innings more than once in the three preceding seasons.

And at the end of 2011 it should've been obvious that not a single one of the guys in your projected rotation could be counted on. The Twins responded to their shattered rotation plan by signing Jason Marquis and conceding the 2012 season. That's no big deal if he's just a body while you rebuild, but the Twins haven't behaved much like a rebuilding team.

If you think that an organization finds itself with a rotation full of castoffs because of bad luck, you've got to make a better case than that.

The first statement you bolded wasn't actually a point. I had forgotten 2010 was Liriano's best season. The past few had muffled my image of him. Liriano was certainly showing flashes of an ace and the rotation did have a lot of promise.

1. Liriano- who like you said a Cy Young candidate. His slider and fastball were both plus pitches and a potential #1 pitcher fills the ace slot here.

2. Gibson- was projecting to be a #2 and was on the fast track to making the team in as soon as 2011. A #2 in the number two slot.

3. Baker- had a 4.32 Career ERA following 2010. His decent 7.1 K/9 made it acceptable to think he could be a #3 (Where he proved to be capable of doing so in 2011.)

4. Carl Pavano- probably the 2nd best season of his career where he eclipsed 200 innings. Regression was likely of course, but a 4/5 spot should have been manageable.

5. Nick Blackburn- an awful 2010 campaign with suspected hope he could become his 4ERA version of the past two years.
Not a 'bad' #5, but could have been much better and it was foolish to give him a big extension.

DEPTH
Wimmers- Projected as a 3. Could have been knocking for the #5 spot in the early point of his career.
Bromberg- I didn't mention him originally. But he had excellent year in Rochester in 2010. A 3.98 ERA, 1.154 WHIP, and a 8.1 K/9 as a 22 year old.
Waldrop- looked like a back end guy, but he did post a 2.57 ERA and a 6.1 K/9 in AAA

Not only does it look promising, but they have the appropriate potential/expected production for each spot as well. How convenient to have a #1 in the 1, a #2 in the 2, and so forth. Only Baker and to some extent Pavano performed to the appropriate measure in 2011. And all flamed out 2012 (even all 3 of depth). I just don't think it's crazy to think that most of your pitchers can perform consistently over a time span of a few years. I mean what do you pay them for? I guess not and after a little more research, there is some more depth than I expected.

YourHouseIsMyHouse
08-14-2012, 07:34 PM
Well said Labombo - the shock some people are feigning that this rotation wasn't very good this year is pretty hard to swallow. It wasn't good to start with and not much of a leap to have predicted they'd be awful.

Surely not a 'leap' to think so this year because you saw 2011. The point was was it predictable after a season like 2010? To have all 5 projected starters fail.

LaBombo
08-14-2012, 08:11 PM
Agree to disagree, I guess. If you can look at a kid with 15 innings of AAA, 3 veterans who had collectively managed consecutive healthy, above-average seasons zero times in their careers, and a guy who'd done it once in 13 years and was already in his mid-30's with a drastically dropping K rate... and see a promising, reliable rotation, well, you're more of a glass half full guy than I am.

At any rate, you have every right to chalk it up to bad luck if you like. Instead, I see an organization that has shot itself in one foot with a misguided talent valuation philosophy that undervalues pitcher strikeouts (among other problems), and then shot itself in the other with sub-par diagnose and treatment of injuries. Ryan is a huge step up from BS in terms of trading players and signing free agents, but I'm waiting to see some signs that they're moving out of the Dark Ages of baseball before I start doing cartwheels.

TheLeviathan
08-14-2012, 08:25 PM
Agree to disagree, I guess. If you can look at a kid with 15 innings of AAA, 3 veterans who had collectively managed consecutive healthy, above-average seasons zero times in their careers, and a guy who'd done it once in 13 years and was already in his mid-30's with a drastically dropping K rate... and see a promising, reliable rotation, well, you're more of a glass half full guy than I am.

At any rate, you have every right to chalk it up to bad luck if you like. Instead, I see an organization that has shot itself in one foot with a misguided talent valuation philosophy that undervalues pitcher strikeouts (among other problems), and then shot itself in the other with sub-par diagnose and treatment of injuries. Ryan is a huge step up from BS in terms of trading players and signing free agents, but I'm waiting to see some signs that they're moving out of the Dark Ages of baseball before I start doing cartwheels.

Couldn't have said it better. If you want to hide behind "bad luck" you're overlooking some pretty significant historical track records for the guys they went with.

John Bonnes
08-14-2012, 08:26 PM
Hey, there are always people who can point to criticism during the offserason of not having enough of this or that. All I'm saying is that I don't remember eAaron, who is hardly hesitant to be candid, nor I focused on the rotation. I don't remmber a lot of chatter about it. The Twins had bigger fish to fry. The bullpen was a mess last year. The lineup lost a ton of talent and had a ton of question marks. I'm trying to remember how many of the GM Handbook plans I saw that had overhauling the pitching staff as a priority. Not many, I don't think.

Basher12
08-14-2012, 08:28 PM
I don't see why everyone's so upset....Between Deduno, DeVries, PJ Walters, and Duensing...thats like 20 Cy Youngs right there

LaBombo
08-14-2012, 09:38 PM
Hey, there are always people who can point to criticism during the offserason of not having enough of this or that. All I'm saying is that I don't remember eAaron, who is hardly hesitant to be candid, nor I focused on the rotation. I don't remmber a lot of chatter about it. The Twins had bigger fish to fry. The bullpen was a mess last year. The lineup lost a ton of talent and had a ton of question marks. I'm trying to remember how many of the GM Handbook plans I saw that had overhauling the pitching staff as a priority. Not many, I don't think.

Are we talking about the same thing? The OP was talking about how surprising the current state of the Twins rotation is relative to how locked in it seemed looking forward to this year from the 2010 offseason, not this past offseason.

Following the 2010 season the only lineup issues were replacing Hudson and wondering how much of the team's offensive decline was Target-induced. On the other hand, the rotation was Liriano and question marks.

You're right about the hindsight 20/20, dime a dozen on the internet thing. And yet I still reject the idea that a rotation like that of the opening day 2012 Twins built exclusively of guys with a history of falling apart...fell apart... is like being hit by lightning from a clear blue sky.

No. It's more like being hit by lightning from a sky like the one that forms over the Nazis at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

USAFChief
08-14-2012, 09:58 PM
I remember the general consensus at BYTO in March being the Twins would be as good as the starting pitching, and that the starting pitching was pretty iffy.

jokin
08-14-2012, 10:04 PM
Hey, there are always people who can point to criticism during the offserason of not having enough of this or that. All I'm saying is that I don't remember eAaron, who is hardly hesitant to be candid, nor I focused on the rotation. I don't remmber a lot of chatter about it. The Twins had bigger fish to fry. The bullpen was a mess last year. The lineup lost a ton of talent and had a ton of question marks. I'm trying to remember how many of the GM Handbook plans I saw that had overhauling the pitching staff as a priority. Not many, I don't think.

Go back and check multiple sites. The unwashed masses, of which I am a proud member were for the most part on top of the rickety state of the SP staff and were in general agreement in calling for the acquisition of one or more ( I wanted 3) quality to above-replacement-level FA starting arms and removal of the detritus from the rotation for whatever the market would bring.

YourHouseIsMyHouse
08-14-2012, 11:07 PM
Agree to disagree, I guess. If you can look at a kid with 15 innings of AAA, 3 veterans who had collectively managed consecutive healthy, above-average seasons zero times in their careers, and a guy who'd done it once in 13 years and was already in his mid-30's with a drastically dropping K rate... and see a promising, reliable rotation, well, you're more of a glass half full guy than I am.

At any rate, you have every right to chalk it up to bad luck if you like. Instead, I see an organization that has shot itself in one foot with a misguided talent valuation philosophy that undervalues pitcher strikeouts (among other problems), and then shot itself in the other with sub-par diagnose and treatment of injuries. Ryan is a huge step up from BS in terms of trading players and signing free agents, but I'm waiting to see some signs that they're moving out of the Dark Ages of baseball before I start doing cartwheels.

It would seem like it. I just don't see this happen elsewhere in the MLB where everything on a contending team's rotation ends up in the scrap heap. There's no use of explaining either side much more and I have no problem with what you're saying. I just think they (FO) have done more than people realize and it's unfair to be highly critical even if they are accountable. Being a GM is difficult and while the plan looked good in my view and the Twins of course, it was risky enough to end up where we are now. Too often there are 'geniuses' who tear apart the Twins thinking and act proud when it blows up in their face as they had so 'predicted' (or claim to). I'm not accusing you of doing so obviously since you backed up your point despite it being very pessimistic. I used 2010 as my example since it was the last good year (duh :)). Further back is when things started to crumble, but it would have been more difficult to trace and much would have been bogus speculation anyway: like oh they could have drafted him instead, acquired this guy, etc. I suppose all we can agree on is that it took bad turn and is a mess now. At the very least a few young players, who never would have otherwise, made the show and had their dreams come true.

Badsmerf
08-15-2012, 12:35 AM
I remember the general consensus at BYTO in March being the Twins would be as good as the starting pitching, and that the starting pitching was pretty iffy.
iffy is being generous. Once Baker went down it was over. Add Pavano early in the season on top of it and the Twins had no chance. Adding them two pitching to expectations (reasonable ones) and the Twins could be around 500. That is only winning 8 more games. Even if everyone was healthy though, this team would have trouble competing for a playoff spot.

Nick Nelson
08-15-2012, 12:37 AM
I will say that, personally, starting pitching was definitely my top concern entering this season (http://www.startribune.com/sports/twins/blogs/146054855.html).


As long as the injury bug doesn't bite hard again, the lineup should be decent at worst, with the potential to be quite good if, say, Justin Morneau's late spring performance is a sign of things to come or Chris Parmelee is for real. With that said, this offense isn't going to be confused with the Yankees. If the Twins are to stay afloat in the AL Central, they're going to need quality pitching, which was in short supply last year.

It's here that my optimism fades somewhat. If all goes well with the starters – Francisco Liriano commands his fastball, Scott Baker's elbow doesn't blow up, Carl Pavano craftily succeeds, Nick Blackburn returns to 2008/09 form and Jason Marquis throws strikes – the rotation could be an asset. But, so rarely does all go well. Whereas the lineup has suitable depth, it's not clear that the Twins will be prepared to adequately replace multiple starters if that need arises.

I don't think I was alone in my concerns about the unit. Many others echoed the same sentiments.

Siehbiscuit
08-15-2012, 10:01 AM
Back to the pitching and reasons why... I haven't read anyone mention anything about our minor league pitching coaches and their inability to develop pitching. I look at the many teams around the league that every year have 2-3 AA and AAA guys that are competing for the last spot in the rotation and this happens year after year for those teams. Look at the Rays, they always have quality young arms coming up. I don't think the draft has been the problem at all. Injuries to the Twins parent club has derailed the team, but not having developed prospects has sunk the team. Did Liriano ever get better than he was when we originally got him San Fran? My biggest gripe is our pitchers don't seem to get better year after year. Our hitters seem to develop, not as greatly as a fan wishes, but more in line with the rest of the league. The Twins pitching philosophy might need to be changed, amended or tweaked. Not just the "pitch to contact"-thing, but more like what Nolan Ryan's philosophy has instilled in the Rangers. They don't have any "aces" that they brought through their system, but the get stronger and better year after year. With the Rangers its not about pitch counts its about each pitcher knowing their limits and pushing through a little more. Mental toughness is amazing in that organization and something that our team really needs.

I love seeing our young bats developing. That is very encouraging. The pitching prospects need to grow in a similar way and that comes from an organizational philosophy and a staff that can implement it and push these kids to get better each time out. Our pitchers have to be better developed from the lowest levels to our parent club.

diehardtwinsfan
08-15-2012, 10:08 AM
Hey, there are always people who can point to criticism during the offserason of not having enough of this or that. All I'm saying is that I don't remember eAaron, who is hardly hesitant to be candid, nor I focused on the rotation. I don't remmber a lot of chatter about it. The Twins had bigger fish to fry. The bullpen was a mess last year. The lineup lost a ton of talent and had a ton of question marks. I'm trying to remember how many of the GM Handbook plans I saw that had overhauling the pitching staff as a priority. Not many, I don't think.

I'll have to respectfully disagree here John. Though last year there were so many questionmarks and only so much to go around. Though in defense of the FO, with the budget TR had, he could not have fixed every hole this offseason, but I remember a number of occasions where my main concern was the rotation. Baker and Liriano were the only two that had a chance of being above average pitchers, and both of them had some pretty signficiant question marks. That said, I don't get the enfatuation with spending tons of cash on relief pitchers. Bullpens will do a ton better if starters are consistently going 6-7 innings/start... You give them decent starters, and they improve on their own.