PDA

View Full Version : Twins and GroupThink vs Accountability



John Bonnes
10-24-2013, 11:19 PM
One of the criticisms raised of Ryan, especially after rehiring Gardy and bringing Molitor on board: the Twins are too enamored with GroupThink, too inbred, limit their promotions to internal people and are resistant to external ideas/people. This is one of the debates that came up in the Terry Ryan interview thread (http://twinsdaily.com/minnesota-twins-talk/9228-article-twinsdaily-interview-terry-ryan-gardenhire-molitor.html), and I think it deserves it's own thread.

There is a balance there, no doubt. But I think it's worth mentioning that there are risks both ways.

One of Ryan's core philosophies - one that is clear over and over in the full TD Offseason Handbook interview - is that there is more to be benefited organization-wide by focusing on rewarding your people or holding them accountable, than by focusing outside of the organization and possibly overlooking them.

If you haven't read the whole thing (personally, I think it's worth the $5 just for it) you come away with the impression that above all, Terry Ryan believes in MANAGING. He believes that if everyone is vested then the scouts scout better, the coaches coach better and the players play better. And I can tell you from people I know within the organization that the perception is that Bill Smith - far more than any decision he made - wasn't able to make sure that the whole organization was doing its job.

And I'll note another place this paradigm makes sense: the seeming disdain for free agents. Free agents get in the way of people within the organization, and they encourage a quick fix mentality that problems can be bought away.

I've stated several times that the Twins reliance on their minor leagues isn't just out of financial necessity - it is a core philosophy. The Twins don't just develop minor leaguers to play at the majors - they play at the majors to develop minor leaguers. It's that important.

But after reading and listening to that interview, I wonder if even that view wasn't too narrow. That philosophy is part of an even larger one, and it extends to people in the front office and the coaching staff and the scouting department. Ryan wants people who really care, because it's impossible to manage that many people who don't. If you care and do a good job, they'll find a place upstairs for you. And they do that by focusing internally.

Shane Wahl
10-24-2013, 11:54 PM
Honestly, that interview tells me that Terry Ryan likes to say things that have no meaning.

And there is *no one* being held accountable for three 96+ loss seasons in a row. No one. Something's got to give somewhere. And it isn't.

Shane Wahl
10-24-2013, 11:56 PM
And by "caring" one might think it implies using every available tool and every available means of evaluating talent. The manager still doesn't understand the value of on base percentage. For the love of god.

jokin
10-25-2013, 01:08 AM
Honestly, that interview tells me that Terry Ryan likes to say things that have no meaning.

And there is *no one* being held accountable for three 96+ loss seasons in a row. No one. Something's got to give somewhere. And it isn't.

Oh c'mon, Jerry White was frogmarched out the door for his "transgressions".

jokin
10-25-2013, 01:10 AM
And by "caring" one might think it implies using every available tool and every available means of evaluating talent. The manager still doesn't understand the value of on base percentage. For the love of god.

Among other things.....

jokin
10-25-2013, 01:14 AM
The Twins don't just develop minor leaguers to play at the majors - they play at the majors to develop minor leaguers. It's that important.

Ahh...so now I understand why Doug Bernier, Sharon Martis and Eric Fryer got their extended call-ups.....Go Red Wings in 2014!

BHtwins
10-25-2013, 03:35 AM
I think its a valid management style for business when talent disparities arent as apparent. In other words, if you get an extra 10% from Bob in accounting because he loves loves loves his company that means something tangible. On the other hand if you get an extra 10% out of Doug Bernier it doesnt turn him into a valuable major leaguer

TheLeviathan
10-25-2013, 05:15 AM
I think its a valid management style for business when talent disparities arent as apparent. In other words, if you get an extra 10% from Bob in accounting because he loves loves loves his company that means something tangible. On the other hand if you get an extra 10% out of Doug Bernier it doesnt turn him into a valuable major leaguer

Exactly. And even if you agree with this philosophy in general, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing too. At some point close knit becomes "shut in".

Thrylos
10-25-2013, 07:41 AM
One of Ryan's core philosophies - one that is clear over and over in the full TD Offseason Handbook interview - is that there is more to be benefited organization-wide by focusing on rewarding your people or holding them accountable, than by focusing outside of the organization and possibly overlooking them.

The accountability (or lack of) part has been discussed ad neauseum so I am not going to add.

As far as retaining staff and promoting within goes here is my 2 cents (in baseball and in any business in general) :

If you have a sustained success, makes sense to promote within because you have build a culture of success within your organization and you want to keep the staff who made you successful around and reward them, so you continue being successful (See: Cardinals, St. Louis)

If, however, you have not have success for a while (in the Twins' case one can argue it is either 3 years or 22 years, but no one can argue that the Twins have been successful recently) it is time for a turn-around. And you cannot turn around a ball club or a business by keeping, promoting and rewarding the people who got you in that mess. So you go outside the organization and look for people who have proven success in turning around a business like yours or a baseball team.

For the Twins not doing the latter, means one thing: They feel that they have been successful lately and this is a scary thought... (Of course they have been successful financially. Bloomberg has estimated the Twins' 2013 revenue to be $215M (http://www.bloomberg.com/infographics/2013-10-23/mlb-team-values.html) - click in the Twins logo icon to see the data in the link).

Brock Beauchamp
10-25-2013, 07:51 AM
And I can tell you from people I know within the organization that the perception is that Bill Smith - far more than any decision he made - wasn't able to make sure that the whole organization was doing its job.

Interesting comment. Smith was a suit; a guy who should have excelled at managing an organization of this size. That it was one of his biggest faults is pretty damning of his tenure.

Brock Beauchamp
10-25-2013, 07:56 AM
If, however, you have not have success for a while (in the Twins' case one can argue it is either 3 years or 22 years, but no one can argue that the Twins have been successful recently) it is time for a turn-around. And you cannot turn around a ball club or a business by keeping, promoting and rewarding the people who got you in that mess. So you go outside the organization and look for people who have proven success in turning around a business like yours or a baseball team.

I don't believe it's that cut and dry and you're a bit limiting in the definition of "success".

Has the MLB team been a success in the past three years? No, absolutely not. It has been an unmitigated disaster.

On the other hand, the Twins are widely regarded to have the best farm system (or top three, at the very least) in all of baseball.

If the Twins were, say, the White Sox right now, I'd be more inclined to agree. The White Sox have wheedled away at their farm system for years while producing a mediocre on-field product in Chicago. Now that well is completely dry. They are an awful organization from front to back.

If the 2015 Twins are bad, I'm with you. Sweeping changes will need to be made... but not everything the Twins have done in the past 3-4 years has been unsuccessful... In fact, they've done many things right, we're simply not seeing the product in Minnesota yet (and may never see it, but that's an entirely different argument).

jokin
10-25-2013, 08:11 AM
I don't believe it's that cut and dry and you're a bit limiting in the definition of "success".

Has the MLB team been a success in the past three years? No, absolutely not. It has been an unmitigated disaster.

On the other hand, the Twins are widely regarded to have the best farm system (or top three, at the very least) in all of baseball.

If the Twins were, say, the White Sox right now, I'd be more inclined to agree. The White Sox have wheedled away at their farm system for years while producing a mediocre on-field product in Chicago. Now that well is completely dry. They are an awful organization from front to back.

If the 2015 Twins are bad, I'm with you. Sweeping changes will need to be made... but not everything the Twins have done in the past 3-4 years has been unsuccessful... In fact, they've done many things right, we're simply not seeing the product in Minnesota yet (and may never see it, but that's an entirely different argument).

As you pointed out in the other thread, Alex Meyer is the ONLY SP prospect on the immediate horizon to fill a front-end starter role by 2015. It's difficult to envision that the Twins will be much better than "bad" without the, quite necessary, "sweeping changes". I honestly don't see how this management group gets from "here" to "there" in that time frame with what they have to work with and what they're willing to spend to make it happen.

And sadly, the pathetic White Sox looked like the far superior organization in the last 2 series with the Twins. Much better pitching overall, and through their 2012-13 salary purge, multiple aquisitions of young players that appear to be ready to contribute as a part of the solution on a more accelerated time frame than the Twins. And Abreu may be just their first big off-season move in their bid to get back to relevance.

mike wants wins
10-25-2013, 08:27 AM
I still don't get the whole "short cut" thing. In every business on the planet, if you can bring in excellent talent, you do it. If today Kershaw came here and said, "I'll play for you for $1", would the Twins say "no" because of their organizational philosophy? I doubt it. Also, how is trading for Alex Meyer any different than signing a free agent. Isn't he getting in the way of all their awesome draft picks? How is that different, philosophically? Did Ryan think Shannon Stewart was getting in the way of some OFer in the minors? How, exactly, would bringing in a good FA pitcher this year hurt anyone in the minors? Wouldn't it actually help some of the young fielders, to play with other good players? And, actually, problems can be bought away. This belief that somehow fixing your team easily is evil/bad/wrong is baffling. If you have the money, and there is a player there, what is the harm? Describe to me the actual harm done to the team if they were to bring in a good pitcher this year (if one was available). And, explain how making a trade is ok, but signing a FA is not.

As for groupthink, anyone who has spent any time in MBA school, or in the real world in big business, knows it is a real phenomenon. To deny its existence is to deny decades of scientific research on what happens in companies when they don't bring in any outside voices. Decades of research.

Brock Beauchamp
10-25-2013, 08:30 AM
As you pointed out in the other thread, Alex Meyer is the ONLY SP prospect on the immediate horizon to fill a front-end starter role by 2015. It's difficult to envision that the Twins will be much better than "bad" without the, quite necessary, "sweeping changes". I honestly don't see how this management group gets from "here" to "there" in that time frame with what they have to work with and what they're willing to spend to make it happen.

And sadly, the pathetic White Sox looked like the far superior organization in the last 2 series with the Twins. Much better pitching overall, and through their 2012-13 salary purge, multiple aquisitions of young players that appear to be ready to contribute as a part of the solution on a more accelerated time frame than the Twins. And Abreu may be just their first big off-season move in their bid to get back to relevance.

The White Sox have one of the worst farm systems in baseball and the MLB team had the third-worst record in MLB. There's no hope for them any time soon. They're old (minus a few arms), they have no MiLB depth, and Abreu, while a nice pickup, is not going to change that. They're going to be bad for quite some time and two September series against the also-bad Twins doesn't make their future look any better.

Rebuilding an MLB franchise isn't a two-season affair. Yeah, the Twins are seriously lacking in starting pitching depth in the upper minors... But we've all known that for ages, which is why most of us are clamoring for a high-upside FA signing, whether that be a Ubaldo or a Hughes. That helps bridge the next few years until guys like Berrios, Stewart, and Thorpe (hopefully) mature into quality MLB pitchers.

But if things go well for the Twins, they don't need an ace pitcher to succeed (to an extent, anyway). Some people seem to be banking on November ticker-tape parades in 2015 but that's more than a little optimistic. If Meyer turns into a good #2, some of the rest of the group (Mays, Gibson) turn into quality #3s, and then a couple more (Eades, Wimmers, Deduno, Hendriks) turn into #4s, that's the foundation of a decent, though unspectacular, staff. Couple it with a good bullpen and a solid offense and you're looking at a fringe contender.

Will it happen? I have no idea. Would Phil Hughes or Ubaldo Jimenez or Josh Johnson help? Almost certainly.

But to write off this team as hopeless is more than a little short-sighted. They have two of best five prospects in all of baseball, two guys that will be on the MLB squad in no more than 18 months from now.

Winston Smith
10-25-2013, 08:36 AM
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. (http://twinsdaily.com/quotes/quotes/a/alberteins133991.html)
Albert Einstein (http://twinsdaily.com/quotes/quotes/a/alberteins133991.html)

Brock Beauchamp
10-25-2013, 08:38 AM
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. (http://twinsdaily.com/quotes/quotes/a/alberteins133991.html)
Albert Einstein (http://twinsdaily.com/quotes/quotes/a/alberteins133991.html)




First, you're not really bringing anything to the conversation with trite quotations.

Second, one could make the argument that the Twins are doing exactly the same thing that brought them a decade of sustained success in the 2000s. Focus on the draft, focus on the international market, and bring players slowly but steadily through the system.

I think they should be doing more by exploring the free agent market but it's pretty hard to call them insane when you look at their farm system.

jokin
10-25-2013, 08:46 AM
Will it happen? I have no idea. Would Phil Hughes or Ubaldo Jimenez or Josh Johnson help? Almost certainly.

But to write off this team as hopeless is more than a little short-sighted. They have two of best five prospects in all of baseball, two guys that will be on the MLB squad in no more than 18 months from now.

I would strongly argue, that, notwithstanding the possibility, but not probability, of both Sano and Buxton in the opening day lineup, April 2015...... without the signing of at least one high-impact pitcher signing such as those that you suggest, the prospect of Meyer and whatever construction you can construe from the other 6 names on your list still results in a team still as likely to lose 90 games as not.

I'm not writing them and their 2015 prospects off, at all, it's certainly do-able with an organization willing to go all-in. I'm just saying, with 20-20 far-sighted foresight, that there's a significant mountain to climb, and the recent past suggests the FO lacks the physical and intellectual vigor to complete the climb.

Brock Beauchamp
10-25-2013, 08:52 AM
I would strongly argue, that, notwithstanding the possibility, but not probability, of both Sano and Buxton in the opening day lineup, April 2015...... without the signing of at least one high-impact pitcher signing such as those that you suggest, the prospect of Meyer and whatever construction you can construe from the other 6 names on your list still results in a team still as likely to lose 90 games as not.

I'm not writing them and their 2015 prospects off, at all, it's certainly do-able with an organization willing to go all-in. I'm just saying, with 20-20 far-sighted foresight, that there's a significant mountain to climb, and the recent past suggests the FO lacks the physical and intellectual vigor to complete the climb.

We'll just have to disagree. If Buxton, Meyer, and Sano develop, I don't see how this team loses 90 games in 2015. You're looking at a roster with four potential 3+ WAR players (Mauer, Buxton, Sano, Meyer) and possibly a few more 2+ WAR players (Arcia, Dozier, Mays, Gibson). That's the foundation of a decent team maybe even if it isn't a "true contender".

nicksaviking
10-25-2013, 09:06 AM
Yeah, Mike's got a good point contradicting the implied "earned promotions." Why is trading for Alex Meyer, who surely is a roadblock for another minor league, a move to be proud of where as signing free agents is so shameful? Most major companies hire from outside the organization and not only to discourage group think, but because there are talented would-be employees outside of your world. The oranization acts and talks as though they are a family, thus this practice is basically nepotism, which is not admirable.

As for holding employees accountable, it may be done, but it does not seem to result in termination. Bill Smith is still there after all.

Brock Beauchamp
10-25-2013, 09:20 AM
As for holding employees accountable, it may be done, but it does not seem to result in termination. Bill Smith is still there after all.

I have no issues with Smith being in the org. He proved himself to be a capable employee at his position, enough for ownership to promote him to General Manager.

You don't punish the person for going beyond his Peter Principle position. You put him back into a role where he can succeed and ownership gets the blame for promoting him in the first place.

USAFChief
10-25-2013, 09:32 AM
The White Sox have one of the worst farm systems in baseball and the MLB team had the third-worst record in MLB. There's no hope for them any time soon. They're old (minus a few arms), they have no MiLB depth, and Abreu, while a nice pickup, is not going to change that. They're going to be bad for quite some time and two September series against the also-bad Twins doesn't make their future look any better.

Rebuilding an MLB franchise isn't a two-season affair. Yeah, the Twins are seriously lacking in starting pitching depth in the upper minors... But we've all known that for ages, which is why most of us are clamoring for a high-upside FA signing, whether that be a Ubaldo or a Hughes. That helps bridge the next few years until guys like Berrios, Stewart, and Thorpe (hopefully) mature into quality MLB pitchers.

But if things go well for the Twins, they don't need an ace pitcher to succeed (to an extent, anyway). Some people seem to be banking on November ticker-tape parades in 2015 but that's more than a little optimistic. If Meyer turns into a good #2, some of the rest of the group (Mays, Gibson) turn into quality #3s, and then a couple more (Eades, Wimmers, Deduno, Hendriks) turn into #4s, that's the foundation of a decent, though unspectacular, staff. Couple it with a good bullpen and a solid offense and you're looking at a fringe contender.

Will it happen? I have no idea. Would Phil Hughes or Ubaldo Jimenez or Josh Johnson help? Almost certainly.

But to write off this team as hopeless is more than a little short-sighted. They have two of best five prospects in all of baseball, two guys that will be on the MLB squad in no more than 18 months from now.
I could be wrong, but it seems you're defending Ryan (and his apparent belief that signing free agents is somehow wrong...a "quick fix"-- and/or demotivating to internal assets) while at the same time admitting the Twins can't succeed without signing free agents.

Kwak
10-25-2013, 09:39 AM
Interesting comment. Smith was a suit; a guy who should have excelled at managing an organization of this size. That it was one of his biggest faults is pretty damning of his tenure.

I find it damning that the organization tries to fix the entire blame on Bill Smith. The Twins, an organization that professes group-think, yet when things went South, it is one guy that gets all of the blame. Recently I read a claim that the problems of today were caused by the bad trades Smith made! Not only does this ignore the group-think of the Twins but also those responsible for new player drafting and developing. I'm not trying to defend Smith, but it is clear to me that there is considerable animosity toward him (or is it just plain-old scapegoating?--blame he who isn't here) as if he challenged "the established order".

Another comment that disturbs me is the animosity toward a free agent because he "is blocking somebody". This smacks of favoring longevity over performance--"it's not how well you have performed, but how long you have been here". That attitude will doom an organization.

Winston Smith
10-25-2013, 09:47 AM
First, you're not really bringing anything to the conversation with trite quotations.

Second, one could make the argument that the Twins are doing exactly the same thing that brought them a decade of sustained success in the 2000s. Focus on the draft, focus on the international market, and bring players slowly but steadily through the system.

I think they should be doing more by exploring the free agent market but it's pretty hard to call them insane when you look at their farm system.

To your point nobody is calling anyone insane and that's not what he said.

Life and business evolve and grow over time. If you live in a bubble and don't expand your thinking you will be left behind. Doing what you did 10 years ago likely doesn't work any more. That's why every top MBA school has lines of businesses recruiting the grads as they walk out the door. They want that young energy and fresh look at things.
John said: "the Twins are too enamored with GroupThink, too inbred, limit their promotions to internal people and are resistant to external ideas/people." IMO that quote agrees with with what John said.

Brock Beauchamp
10-25-2013, 09:49 AM
I could be wrong, but it seems you're defending Ryan (and his apparent belief that signing free agents is somehow wrong...a "quick fix"-- and/or demotivating to internal assets) while at the same time admitting the Twins can't succeed without signing free agents.

No, I'm simply arguing that Ryan does many things right and that "sweeping changes" may not be necessary to achieve success.

Ryan isn't perfect, far from it. His apparent refusal to pay market price for free agents is maddening.

But if you're going to give me a guy who can corral and build a powerful farm system but is averse to free agent signings, I'll take him all day over the guy who does the opposite. I don't have to like everything Ryan does to believe he's a better GM than most in the game and if you fire everybody in the organization (which many here seem to advocate on a daily basis), there's a damned good chance you're going to fill those vacancies with people worse at their job, not better.

Brock Beauchamp
10-25-2013, 09:51 AM
I find it damning that the organization tries to fix the entire blame on Bill Smith.

I've never heard anyone in the organization publicly say anything negative about Smith.

Hell, the guy still works for the organization. Obviously, they don't hate him that much.

nicksaviking
10-25-2013, 09:58 AM
You don't punish the person for going beyond his Peter Principle position. You put him back into a role where he can succeed and ownership gets the blame for promoting him in the first place.

That makes the situation even worse in my opinion. That would imply that Ryan stepped aside and Smith didn't even apply for the job, St. Peter just told Smith, "Ready or not, you've been promoted, good luck."

Why wasn't there a search for a new GM? When Smith failed and got relieved of his duties, why wasn't there ANOTHER search for a new GM? This is like a Monarchy, inbred heirs take the throne regardless of skill, there is no search for a new candidate, there is no voting commitee, everything stays within the family regardless if new blood could oversee the kingdom with better results.

There aren't many functional monarchies left in the world, and for good reason. I always said the Twins were stuck with '80's baseball ideologies. Maybe I meant 1680's.

Nick Nelson
10-25-2013, 10:15 AM
Life and business evolve and grow over time. If you live in a bubble and don't expand your thinking you will be left behind. Doing what you did 10 years ago likely doesn't work any more.

I think this is what bothers me most. The Twins continue to say things like "We were a model organization during the last decade, we need to get back to doing the things we were doing then." Well, the game has changed since then. The Twins no longer have a steady pipeline of pitching talent (it's tough to see them having a truly strong rotation any time before 2016 if they don't sign or trade for at least one high-end talent). The division is no longer the cream puff it once was. And there is (or at least there should be) more money to spend.

One of the most baffling statements in the TR interview was toward the end when he said he doesn't operate any differently now than he did in the Dome days, with the exception of not needing to unload players. The availability of extra cash doesn't mean you should start making stupid decisions, but you should certainly be more willing to take some financial risks. Ryan pointed multiple times at Cleveland as an example of a team that turned it around quickly, but Cleveland has proven willing to take bold risks -- trading for Jimenez, trading for Bauer, signing major free agents. The Twins continue to give no indication that they're willing to do so, because those would apparently be defined as "shortcuts."

Boom Boom
10-25-2013, 10:17 AM
Why wasn't there a search for a new GM? When Smith failed and got relieved of his duties, why wasn't there ANOTHER search for a new GM? This is like a Monarchy, inbred heirs take the throne regardless of skill, there is no search for a new candidate, there is no voting commitee, everything stays within the family regardless if new blood could oversee the kingdom with better results.

This is a solid point. When TR stepped down, the organization was so focused internally that it promoted one of "their guys" to a position he couldn't handle rather than taking a look outside to find someone more qualified. I suppose it's possible they could have done worse than Smith, but I doubt it. Who was in the room when that decision was made? And why was Smith the only one to take a fall?

JB_Iowa
10-25-2013, 10:19 AM
To me it comes down to blending in new personalities -- whether it be players through trades and free agency or front-office staff through new hires from outside the organization. Not wholesale changes but a willingness to blend in new talent and ideas.

I'm dealing with the same issues in another part of my life right now. A governmental body where its members have become long-term and entrenched. They have developed an arrogance about what they are doing that causes them to no longer discuss anything publicly, to have votes that are always 5-0, to bully anyone in the public who dares to question any behavior. And you know what, the public has just basically shut down because fighting it gets so difficult.

To me it appears that the Twins' group think is so deeply entrenched that it would take a series of new hires for any of their ideas or philosophies to begin to percolate. Of course people should feel like they have the chance to move up in an organization -- but there should also be some among them who desire to grow enough to be hired elsewhere as well. We don't see that. We don't see new hires in. But we also don't see much of people leaving for better positions elsewhere. This has gone beyond stability into a slow death.

Brock Beauchamp
10-25-2013, 10:20 AM
Who was in the room when that decision was made? And why was Smith the only one to take a fall?

My guess to that question is "you can't fire ownership".

Boom Boom
10-25-2013, 10:21 AM
My guess to that is that the answer is "you can't fire ownership".

I get that the Pohlads are ultimately where the buck stops, but I don't believe that they just blindly promoted Smith without consulting with their own people to find TR's replacement.

Brock Beauchamp
10-25-2013, 10:23 AM
To me it comes down to blending in new personalities -- whether it be players through trades and free agency or front-office staff through new hires from outside the organization. Not wholesale changes but a willingness to blend in new talent and ideas.

I'm dealing with the same issues in another part of my life right now. A governmental body where its members have become long-term and entrenched. They have developed an arrogance about what they are doing that causes them to no longer discuss anything publicly, to have votes that are always 5-0, to bully anyone in the public who dares to question any behavior. And you know what, the public has just basically shut down because fighting it gets so difficult.

To me it appears that the Twins' group think is so deeply entrenched that it would take a series of new hires for any of their ideas or philosophies to begin to percolate. Of course people should feel like they have the chance to move up in an organization -- but there should also be some among them who desire to grow enough to be hired elsewhere as well. We don't see that. We don't see new hires in. But we also don't see much of people leaving for better positions elsewhere. This has gone beyond stability into a slow death.

I can't disagree with this post. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle... Stability is good but fresh eyes and influence are good, too.

mike wants wins
10-25-2013, 10:23 AM
How is trading for a guy different than signing a free agent? Buehler? Buehler?

Willihammer
10-25-2013, 10:28 AM
By all means, give me the shortcuts.

Kwak
10-25-2013, 10:45 AM
That makes the situation even worse in my opinion. That would imply that Ryan stepped aside and Smith didn't even apply for the job, St. Peter just told Smith, "Ready or not, you've been promoted, good luck."

Why wasn't there a search for a new GM? When Smith failed and got relieved of his duties, why wasn't there ANOTHER search for a new GM? This is like a Monarchy, inbred heirs take the throne regardless of skill, there is no search for a new candidate, there is no voting commitee, everything stays within the family regardless if new blood could oversee the kingdom with better results.

There aren't many functional monarchies left in the world, and for good reason. I always said the Twins were stuck with '80's baseball ideologies. Maybe I meant 1680's.

Addressing the new GM/search issue:

I don't know (do you?) that there wasn't a "search". For example maybe one or two people were "approached" and their response might have been along a similar line to Smith's--spend a lot of money. Or, "perform major surgery on the organization". Or "...if I'm in charge, I must have complete control..."; or other unacceptable answers according to the owner. The type of close-knit, group-think organization did not happen by accident and change would be considered anathma, outright heresy. Quite likely everything originates from the top, and then change can only happen when initiated from the top. Continued healthy profits would likely prevent any sea change in organization.

Siehbiscuit
10-25-2013, 10:55 AM
I have no issues with Smith being in the org. He proved himself to be a capable employee at his position, enough for ownership to promote him to General Manager.

You don't punish the person for going beyond his Peter Principle position. You put him back into a role where he can succeed and ownership gets the blame for promoting him in the first place.

I have to disagree with you, Brock. Once someone within your organization has been the boss he very rarely should stay within the organization as it often causes dissention. I am sure Bill Smith had things that he was very good at and could still have been avaluable piece within the organization, but he would have followers that believed in him and may not have bought into Terry Ryan the same way had he been around still.

Terry Ryan stayed in the organization, but his move out was like a retiring CEO. He stays on as a consultant, but it is clear to everyone else that there is a NEW boss. Ryan definitely got out of the way for Smith.

For Smith to go back to his old gig or something really close to that would not be a good thing for the organization.

Brock Beauchamp
10-25-2013, 11:04 AM
I have to disagree with you, Brock. Once someone within your organization has been the boss he very rarely should stay within the organization as it often causes dissention. I am sure Bill Smith had things that he was very good at and could still have been avaluable piece within the organization, but he would have followers that believed in him and may not have bought into Terry Ryan the same way had he been around still.

Terry Ryan stayed in the organization, but his move out was like a retiring CEO. He stays on as a consultant, but it is clear to everyone else that there is a NEW boss. Ryan definitely got out of the way for Smith.

For Smith to go back to his old gig or something really close to that would not be a good thing for the organization.

But if Ryan can bow out and get out of Smith's way, why can't Smith do the same for Ryan?

Siehbiscuit
10-25-2013, 11:08 AM
I have very little issues with the core philosophy of the Twins. Even doing them the way they were done in the "Dome Days" isn't too mind-blowing. The core phiosophy is who you are. The Cardinals do things the same way that they have for years and its proven to be a successful model. The Twins had a way of doing things and it worked for nearly a decade.

The problem started when the lack of new young talent stopped coming. There was a dry spell in the organizations ability to bring in talent that produced at the MLB level from 2007 till now. The starting pitchers that were dominant in the minors and were supposed to be rotation guys for years (Blackburn, Slowey and Perkins) were not good as MLBers. Add in the fact that Gibson and Wimmers were drafted high as guys that were close to MLB-ready pitchers coming out and they both blew out there arms right away and it has absolutely crushed this organizations pitching depth. What was being fostered and appeared to be looking good in the mid and late 2000's took a comlete nose dive. Some of this is bad luck, some is poor development and maybe some is on our favorite pitching coach. Regardless, this turnaround will take time and the core philosophy will not change. Parts may, like pursuing more high velocity arms vs. the soft-tossers of yesteryear, but overall, the Pohlads apparently agree with the FO core philosophy and that building this team from the bottom up is the best way to go. Doing it this way will take time.

Siehbiscuit
10-25-2013, 11:09 AM
But if Ryan can bow out and get out of Smith's way, why can't Smith do the same for Ryan?

Because Ryan was the hero and had done well. Smith had fallen from grace and wasn't seen as good at his job. At the time of their respective exits, they were in two very different places with the organizations/ownership.

Brock Beauchamp
10-25-2013, 11:15 AM
Because Ryan was the hero and had done well. Smith had fallen from grace and wasn't seen as good at his job. At the time of their respective exits, they were in two very different places with the organizations/ownership.

Fair enough. I don't know enough about the situation to say for certain but I could see either situation being the case (Smith being a problem versus Smith returning to his previous role and thriving).

diehardtwinsfan
10-25-2013, 11:23 AM
Very interesting thread.


I think the big problem I have is that there seems to be an assumption from some that Ryan's primary goal (rebuilding the farm system) is the definition of insanity. I get that Ryan is using the same methods he used in the late 90s and throughout the early part of the 2000s. The problem as I see it is that the method works (building a strong farm), and I'm failing to understand how baseball has changed such that this no longer would work.

I've stated repeatedly that right now, I think Ryan is the right guy for the job, but I'm not so sure in a few years. I understand that Smith played a part of this as this process started under him, but our system was at best middle of the pack when Ryan took over. Right now, it is considered at worst a top 5 farm system and a lot of analysts this offseason will have our farm system as the best in the minor leagues. This, to me, is always going to be the core of any successful baseball franchize, and it isn't as though the Twins are targeting future 5 starts like they tended to do during the Dome days. People who are endicting Ryan for repeating the same mistakes over and over again are missing this. You can call it group think if you'd want, but this is always going to be core to any baseball franchize. Even the Yankees invest in the farm, and for good reason.

That said, I get the FA complaint. He hasn't gone after those guys. But at the same time, even had they gotten Greinke or Sanchez, they would still have been a 90 loss team. That doesn't make sense. Where I'm a bit more concerned is along the point Jokin raised. In 2015, who is starting for this team? Gibson and Meyer should be locks in the rotation and hopefully producing, but the other 3 spots would potentially be taken by guys like May, Worley, and Darnell backed up by Baxendale, Deduno, and Diamond. May is the only one of that group that I think could be a very good ML pitcher, but I am probably in a minority on that one at this point, and while I don't necessarily dislike Worley and Darnell, they are back of the rotation type guys. That leaves little room for injury or ineffectiveness.

To me, a lot of this is philosophical. What SHOULD a rebuilding team be doing right now? Some have argued to trade the prospects for legit players. I personally think that's a bad idea. Others want to sign everyone. I'm not sure that's smart either. Most I think want some signings, and I don't think that's a bad idea, but the concern I'd have is that paying big money now for a guy who will be under contract but ineffective in 2016-2018 is also a bad idea, as it will handicap the next wave at a time when signing that big name FA will make a lot more sense.

That brings me back to my original point, Ryan is probably a good fit for the job NOW... 2014 is going to be a transition year when a lot of the next wave starts to graduate. I don't think they will lose 90 again next year, but the actions for next season have to be predicated on aquiring more long term talent for the next wave. That's why I'd spend the money on Tanaka along with some lottery tickets that could be flipped and strongly consider flipping Perkins for some pitching help in the higher minors. Ryan, I think, can do most of that. Come 2015/16 though, I'm not so certain. I'm also think this is where the Twins "group think" will start to bite them.

nicksaviking
10-25-2013, 11:25 AM
Addressing the new GM/search issue:

I don't know (do you?) that there wasn't a "search". For example maybe one or two people were "approached" and their response might have been along a similar line to Smith's--spend a lot of money. Or, "perform major surgery on the organization". Or "...if I'm in charge, I must have complete control..."; or other unacceptable answers according to the owner. The type of close-knit, group-think organization did not happen by accident and change would be considered anathma, outright heresy. Quite likely everything originates from the top, and then change can only happen when initiated from the top. Continued healthy profits would likely prevent any sea change in organization.

Perhaps they did open the job to others, but if they did, it never got reported. Ryan's retirement and Smith's promotion were announced at the same time. I think it unlikely any external options could have been considered and still maintain absolute secrecy.

TheLeviathan
10-25-2013, 11:29 AM
One of the most baffling statements in the TR interview was toward the end when he said he doesn't operate any differently now than he did in the Dome days, with the exception of not needing to unload players.

I don't think I actually posted this, but a few weeks back I thought this exact thing. When have the Twins ever said "Target field will help us retain and attract better players".

The whole "attract" part is never mentioned. Ever. Always "retain".

John Bonnes
10-25-2013, 11:31 AM
I find it interesting that Bill Smith still being in the organization is such a smoking gun in some minds. He was bumped to a business side job primarily overseeing the development of the new sports complex in Florida. There is no way he's a distraction. He was respected enough to be named GM - I don't know why he wouldn't be respected enough to do that now.

But back to the groupthink vs innovation debate: I don't think I emphasized my point enough and I don't think I stated the philosophy. The philosophy is this: when you have a need (or a job opening) you first look internally to see if someone can handle it. If you can't, then you look externally, like for an Alex Meyer.

The advantage is that everyone internal knows that performance and results are rewarded and not overlooked for greener grass on the other side of the fence. And that has a real long-term impact. It's also hard to see from the outside, but from personal experience I find it much more powerful than big announcements or changes in direction that start loud and quickly wither.

The disadvantage is that over time, an organization can be slow to react to new ideas.

S.
10-25-2013, 11:38 AM
I feel sometimes too much emphasis is placed on how successful the Twins were from 2000-2010. The problem I have with this is that this success only worked to the extent that it got us to the playoffs in what was not a particularly daunting division. In the 6 playoff appearances in that span, we've gone a combined 6-19 (and lost the last 12 in a row). Now, dont get me wrong, I'd certainly rather go to the playoffs in any way than not go to them at all, but those numbers indicate a serious lack of success when it comes to playing good teams in high leverage situations, ie: when it counts.

The biggest problem I have with this, is that this is setting the bar for success incredibly low. If the FO's gauge of success is simply making it to the playoffs and then getting decimated, then we're doomed to repeat ourselves. And I think the lack of action to push our team over the top by adding additional good players in those successful years is quite damning in regards to their willingness to truly be a GOOD team and not just a "competitive" team.

JB_Iowa
10-25-2013, 11:45 AM
But back to the groupthink vs innovation debate: I don't think I emphasized my point enough and I don't think I stated the philosophy. The philosophy is this: when you have a need (or a job opening) you first look internally to see if someone can handle it. If you can't, then you look externally, like for an Alex Meyer.

The problem comes in when you seemingly do it almost 100% of the time.

Nick Nelson
10-25-2013, 11:48 AM
The disadvantage is that over time, an organization can be slow to react to new ideas.
I'd say that on a more basic level, the disadvantage is that quite often you don't end up with the best available person for the job. And that's a real problem.

mike wants wins
10-25-2013, 12:00 PM
Why is it better to give up a player to get a player, than to use money to get a player and have two players?

nicksaviking
10-25-2013, 01:04 PM
But back to the groupthink vs innovation debate: I don't think I emphasized my point enough and I don't think I stated the philosophy. The philosophy is this: when you have a need (or a job opening) you first look internally to see if someone can handle it.

That's not how my company (and it's a big one) or most major companies work. Most positions are open for all candidates. After all, how do you know the internal candidate is best if you don't look at all your options.

My last two bosses have been brought in from competitors. Inernally, some people grumbled because they don't like the changes that came with them. But really, in the business world is keeping the status quo and placated employees more important than taking advantage of all avenues to put the company on top?

Things are running fine and now we have the knowledge of how our company has always operated plus the knowledge of how our competitor does things. We now have a much more expansive knowledge base to draw from.

Alex
10-25-2013, 01:21 PM
Very interesting thread.


I think the big problem I have is that there seems to be an assumption from some that Ryan's primary goal (rebuilding the farm system) is the definition of insanity. I get that Ryan is using the same methods he used in the late 90s and throughout the early part of the 2000s. The problem as I see it is that the method works (building a strong farm), and I'm failing to understand how baseball has changed such that this no longer would work.



I don't think anyone, literally -- not a single person, has said anything close to this on any of the threads I've read here. The point most people make is that the situation the Twins are now in that they can actually build the farm system and have resources to maintain a competitive (not necessarily division winning) team. However, they've been unable to do it and have even seemed unwilling to try.

spycake
10-25-2013, 01:30 PM
Second, one could make the argument that the Twins are doing exactly the same thing that brought them a decade of sustained success in the 2000s. Focus on the draft, focus on the international market, and bring players slowly but steadily through the system.

Maybe off topic, but what product of the international market brought the Twins sustained success in the 2000s? Luis Rivas? The Astros signing Johan Santana?

Also, maybe back on topic, the 2000s success was preceded by 8 straight losing seasons (6 with TR at the helm, only one of which topped 70 wins). I'm not sure if that's the best blueprint for a rebuilding process...

Winston Smith
10-25-2013, 01:36 PM
Weather you think Ryan is great or out dated his record is not nearly as good as many want to remember. He has been the GM for 15 years, 1995-2007 and 2012-13. His overall record is 1155-1254 and if you take out the last two years because they were Bill Smiths fault it is still below .500 at 1023-1062.

To his credit his teams won 4 division titles in 5 years but only one playoff series. On the other side 11 out of those 15 years they didn't make the playoffs.
Is that good enough? IMO no.

On a side note the Twins farm system actually improved it's grading under Smith.

Brock Beauchamp
10-25-2013, 01:37 PM
Maybe off topic, but what product of the international market brought the Twins sustained success in the 2000s? Luis Rivas? The Astros signing Johan Santana?

Also, maybe back on topic, the 2000s success was preceded by 8 straight losing seasons (6 with TR at the helm, only one of which topped 70 wins). I'm not sure if that's the best blueprint for a rebuilding process...

The international market came later, for sure... But it's apparent the Twins have focused heavily on some international markets with guys like Arcia, Sano, Kepler, and Thorpe. They've done better in the international market in recent years than they did the draft.

As for Ryan's early seasons, he didn't try to actually rebuild until the mid-to-late 90s. The mid-90s teams were full of creaky vets, not young players.

spycake
10-25-2013, 01:45 PM
As for Ryan's early seasons, he didn't try to actually rebuild until the mid-to-late 90s. The mid-90s teams were full of creaky vets, not young players.

No doubt there were some farewell tours etc. but TR was rebuilding from his first season on the job. It just takes a long time when you confine your rebuild to draft picks only at slot (or lower) prices.

spycake
10-25-2013, 01:52 PM
I think the big problem I have is that there seems to be an assumption from some that Ryan's primary goal (rebuilding the farm system) is the definition of insanity. I get that Ryan is using the same methods he used in the late 90s and throughout the early part of the 2000s. The problem as I see it is that the method works (building a strong farm), and I'm failing to understand how baseball has changed such that this no longer would work.

Actually MLB has changed a lot to HELP Terry Ryan. With the spending caps on the draft and most international guys, the Twins can no longer get beat in those areas based on cash alone.

They still can and will get beat in MLB free agency and Cuban/Japan free agency, but that's generally nothing new. It's a little maddening that they'd let themselves get beat in those areas when they're well under reasonable payroll expectations -- it seems more like a part of the job that TR just doesn't want to do (identify and buy MLB ready talent), rather than the result of any grand philosophy.

mike wants wins
10-25-2013, 02:57 PM
Well, here you go, from TR interview with Woflson when talking about maybe bringing in people from TB or other successful orgs:

Why not hire some of their guys? Find their No. 6 or 7 guy and make him the No.4 guy under you?
Why don't I just copy what they're doing? I have a lot of trust in our guys. We'll get this thing squared up.

That pretty much sums it up in terms of whether or not they'll bring in thinkers from other orgs, doesn't it?

nicksaviking
10-25-2013, 03:21 PM
Well, here you go, from TR interview with Woflson when talking about maybe bringing in people from TB or other successful orgs:

Why not hire some of their guys? Find their No. 6 or 7 guy and make him the No.4 guy under you?
Why don't I just copy what they're doing? I have a lot of trust in our guys. We'll get this thing squared up.

That pretty much sums it up in terms of whether or not they'll bring in thinkers from other orgs, doesn't it?

And he recently bragged about how other clubs copied his approach early this century.

The nerve! Suggesting that the Twins should deign to emulate something a successful organization is doing! Be gone blasphemer and take your phony dinosaur bones with you!

mike wants wins
10-25-2013, 03:40 PM
Not sure how to read that, Nick. I have no issue with copying other orgs, it is a decent business strategy. I was merely copying in a quote that I thought indicated Ryan's stance on bringing in outside voices from other clubs, since that was one of the things being discussed here.

nicksaviking
10-25-2013, 03:43 PM
Not sure how to read that, Nick. I have no issue with copying other orgs, it is a decent business strategy. I was merely copying in a quote that I thought indicated Ryan's stance on bringing in outside voices from other clubs, since that was one of the things being discussed here.

No I agree. The sarcasm in my post probably didn't translate properly. Probably because I did it with a snooty British accent.

Seth Stohs
10-25-2013, 05:54 PM
I'm 100% in favor of building from within and organizational development, in the real world and in baseball. That never means don't bring in new people. It just means that people that are developing and progressing and doing the right things and getting better should have an opportunity. That's a good thing. But, if the company has holes, with no one internally to take over, they always should bring in new people who can.

Jim H
10-25-2013, 06:08 PM
I don't really want to involve myself in this debate, largely because nobody is going to change their mind on what they believe about the Twins organization, anyway. There are however, a few things thrown out there, here and other threads that aren't really all that true, but seem to be accepted as fact.

First, the Twins have made changes in their scouting over the last five years or so. They have a new scouting director, changes in assignments and I believe, new scouts. They have also made changes in how they evaluate, according to reports.

2nd, in development, that is coaching and managing in the minors, they have made significant changes in this area over the last 5 years. In fact most of the minor league managers from 5 years ago are gone and so are many of the coaches. Some of these people are new to the organization, Glynn and Brunansky(who afterall had not been part of the Twins organization for over 20 years). There are few others who are new to the organization as well as a number of younger guys(former players) such as Jake Mauer and Watkins.

Now, it is true that the top of the organization is pretty intrenched with people who have been with the organization a long time. But, there does seem to be some changing of the guard at other levels. Whether this is enough change for you, is a personal opinion. But to suggest there is no change and that no people from outside the organization are ever brought in, is a bit of an exageration.

jokin
10-25-2013, 06:13 PM
This is a solid point. When TR stepped down, the organization was so focused internally that it promoted one of "their guys" to a position he couldn't handle rather than taking a look outside to find someone more qualified. I suppose it's possible they could have done worse than Smith, but I doubt it. Who was in the room when that decision was made? And why was Smith the only one to take a fall?

Excellent points. We really never know anything for certain about the decision-making process for these BIG DECISIONS. We can speculate that it's very likely that the man, Terry Ryan, who had essentially called all the shots for the last 13 years was working under the Halo Effect from his recent successes. He likely just threw Bill Smith's name out there and consensus was quickly built around the nominee. This was a classic case of central tendency, familiarity, and confirmation biases in favor of a clearly inferior hiring candidate, characteristic of a too-insular organization. Perhaps they thought that they needed a "marketing guy" more than a nut-and-bolts baseball guy with the pending advent of the new stadium. If that was the case, they should have spent the money on a consultant, and researched case evidence for the ramifications for a GM and successful mid-market teams in conjunction with the building of a new ballpark (Jacobs/ AT&T /Camden Yards) and then made a hire consistent with demonstrable managerial attributes that could bring about a reasonable long-term plan for success.

We're still waiting for some semblance of a plan 7 years later.

jokin
10-25-2013, 08:48 PM
By all means, give me the shortcuts.

Funny how the passive voice/aggressive voice roles in this organization operate. Jim Pohlad has publicly prnounced his embarrasment at what has taken place these last 3 years and that the route to his checkbook is shortcut-friendly, while Stay-The-Course Terry is seemingly strictly towing the 7 year long-cut route.

Twins Daily Admin
10-25-2013, 10:07 PM
I'd say that on a more basic level, the disadvantage is that quite often you don't end up with the best available person for the job. And that's a real problem.

There's also a disadvantage to not looking within - your best people leave. Also, within the organization, people have less motivation to perform or go the extra mile.

jokin
10-25-2013, 10:16 PM
There's also a disadvantage to not looking within - your best people leave. Also, within the organization, people have less motivation to perform or go the extra mile.

How many tears would have been shed if Bill Smith had been hired away from the Twins (assuming he was one of the motivated "best people" we're talking about here).

It would make for an interesting research study to go back to 2007 and find out just which alternative, extra mile, candidates for the GM job could have been hired from within instead of Smith....and how many seasoned and/or up-and-comers were possibilities for the Twins GM job in other organizations.

Kwak
10-25-2013, 10:29 PM
How many tears would have been shed if Bill Smith had been hired away from the Twins (assuming he was one of the motivated "best people" we're talking about here).

It would make for an interesting research study to go back to 2007 and find out just which alternative, extra mile, candidates for the GM job could have been hired from within instead of Smith....and how many seasoned and/or up-and-comers were possibilities for the Twins GM job in other organizations.

You seem to be taking both sides of the issue. This is your second post in this thread about groupthink where you imply that if Bill Smith had never been GM things would be much better. Yet other posts bash the "groupthink" and "closed system". So which is it? If its "groupthink" then Smith is only one of many voices and likely one that didn't have as much authority as his job title implied. Or, Smith somehow bullied the group into making bad personnel decisions/trades/drafts.

nicksaviking
10-25-2013, 10:42 PM
There's also a disadvantage to not looking within - your best people leave. Also, within the organization, people have less motivation to perform or go the extra mile.

Do you really want employees who are only motivated to put forth a strong effort with the bribe of a promotion? Please, let those folks walk out the door.

No one is saying you can't promote from within. I'm simply arguing that it shouldn't be done without first interviewing some outside candidates.

glunn
10-25-2013, 11:45 PM
It seems to me that if I am running Coke and we are kicking Pepsi's ass, then I should be inclined to promote from within. But if Pepsi is kicking our ass, then we should hire some of their people to find out if they know things that we have not figured out.

jokin
10-26-2013, 12:23 AM
You seem to be taking both sides of the issue. This is your second post in this thread about groupthink where you imply that if Bill Smith had never been GM things would be much better.

Yet other posts bash the "groupthink" and "closed system". So which is it? If its "groupthink" then Smith is only one of many voices and likely one that didn't have as much authority as his job title implied. Or, Smith somehow bullied the group into making bad personnel decisions/trades/drafts.

No. I don't wish to imply that another GM other than Smith could have been better>>>I think it's demonstrable that Smith was a horrible GM and it's virtually certain that there were multitudes of candidates that would have been better had the organization felt comfortable enough to step outside of their self-imposed cocoon. The outside GM hiring alone could have brought in a new leadership direction with fresh approaches to a game in the midst of drastic change, particularly after PEDs were so dramatically extracted from influencing the game. The Twins chose their usual, risk-averse approach, Groupthink spawned Smith, he was a part of the "insiders club" philosophically, who, according to the poster I responded to, apparently qualified as the top candidate the organization had to offer, and who presumably would have had other clubs beating down the doors, were he not so valuable and loyal to the organization.

So he ultimately was deemd "the best", the one who internal consensus annointed to assume Ryan's role- with the power and authority associated with Ryan's role, presumably with Ryan's blessing as his personal pick for the job, but unfortunately, with demonstrably woefully less capacity and capability to handle the inside-baseball aspects of Ryan's role- leading to disaster. That disaster came about when the decision-making processes of organizational rubber had to meet the resulting personnel decisions road of reality. The almost-overnight collapse of the organizational competitiveness and no obvious Plan Bs in place to make 2011 a one-year anomaly was the result.

It was clearly a collaborative effort borne of stale groupthink and poor decision-making at the top, it's not an either/or outcome as you presumed- bad GM, stale culture- one the product of the other in a never-ending loop.

The Wise One
10-26-2013, 06:26 AM
There is a group think on this board. It has a set belief and nothing is going to change it.
The Twins front office may have a lot of the same people in it but other than signing free agents can you really say there is a staid approach to baseball?
Advanced statistics. Early in the 50's Branch Rickey devised a new formula. It was called OBP. Sometime in the 60's linear weighted batting average formula were started. There has always been a stats guy more interested in how to better to describe how much better his favorite player was than someone else's. Bill James invented Sabrmetics as a term. He did not invent deeper statistical analysis of baseball. There is that group think that does not realize this.

In reality (Not used to inflame) it isn't that hard to emulate what another organization is doing. All you have to do is look for the traits that emerge on analysis of their drafts. Look at what was drafted before and the changing profile. There is a trend. Also note though that there trend might be adaptable to situation. For example in pitching if there were a minimal speed number for FB but a guy has an 88 with plus plus slider, as well as another plus plus pitch you still might take the guy.

diehardtwinsfan
10-26-2013, 06:41 AM
Do you really want employees who are only motivated to put forth a strong effort with the bribe of a promotion? Please, let those folks walk out the door.



I'm not quite sure where to begin with this statement, and I'm guessing it came across to say more than you intended, but talented people typically do not like being stuck in some role. It won't take more than a handful of times of being passed up that will cause them to leave. That's simply a fact of life. Put yourself in their shoes (or extrapolate it to a personal situation if one exists), but talented people are going to want to be recognized for their hard work and when more challenging and better paying positions appear, they are going to want them. It has nothing to do with being bribed as you put it.

I do agree more with your second point that there's no harm in looking externally (especially for higher level positions), but to deny someone who has shown the ability to do it is not a good way to run an organization.

diehardtwinsfan
10-26-2013, 06:44 AM
I should note on Bill Smith that I suspect that with the Mauer thing coming and the whole TF thing opening that the org new they needed someone who was more likely to take those spending risks that Ryan wasn't going to take. That was likely the primary reason Smith was given the reigns. Situational awareness plays into big decisions like that. Unfortunately, I think that there were some consequences that were not clearly thought out.

JB_Iowa
10-26-2013, 09:36 AM
If you say that you will always give preference to present staff -- without opening up the positions to outsiders (even for consideration), you actually give a disincentive for performance. Then staff is not competing with the "outside world" but only within their cocoon.

There have been changes in staffing but they haven't really opened up the organization to new ideas. Last year: coaching staff changes -- Brunansky "promoted" (no MLB or MiLB coaching experience outside Twins); Cuellar "promoted" (at least he had only been entrenched in the Twins way for about 5 years before the promotion); Steinbach (no MLB or MiLB coaching experience outside Twins). Joe Vavra did have significant experience in the Dodgers org before being hired as hitting coach in 2005 but Gardenhire, Ullger & Anderson have all been with the Twins for about 20 years (or more).

Dave St. Peter (Team President) (with Twins since 1990)
Terry Ryan (General Manager) (with Twins about 1986)
Mike Radcliff (Vice President of Player Personnel) (with Twins since 1987)
Rob Antony (Assistant GM) (with Twins since 1987) (interesting interview with Souhan in 2008: Jim Souhan: Antony is living life of his dreams | Star Tribune (http://www.startribune.com/sports/11922191.html))
Tom Kelly (Special Asst to GM) (with Twins since about 1971)
Wayne Krivsky (Special Asst to GM) (back with Twins since 2011 but did spend times with a lot of organizations including the Twins)
Mike Herman (Director, Team Travel) (with Twins since 1999)
Jack Goin (Manager Major League Admin & Baseball Stats) (with Twins since 2000)
Brad Steil (Director of Minor League Operations) (with Twins since about 2000)
Joel Lepel (Minor League Field Coordinator) (with Twins since 1989)
Kate Townley (Senior Manager, Minor League Administration) (with Twins since 2005)
Lizz Downey (Admin. Asst. to Terry Ryan) (hired in January 2013)
Deron Johnson (Director of Scouting) (with Twins since 1994)
Vern Followell (Pro Scouting Coordinator) (with Twins since 1989)
Amanda Daley (Senior Manager, Scouting & International Administration) (??????)
Rafael Yanez (Administrative Assistant to Scouting) (also serves as a translator) (????)
Dave Preumer (Head Trainer) (with Twins since 1994)
Tony Leo (Asst Trainer) (with Twins since 1997)
Lanning Tucker (Asst Trainer) (with Twins since 1992)


I'm not going to go through all the positions in PR, Finance, etc. but I'm guessing you will see a very similar pattern. Unfortunately I don't know where to find a list of scouts.

The few "new hires" we see are almost all very young and in their first jobs. There is a tendency to hire as interns and then eventually promote into top management. While that is not entirely bad, it means that they SELDOM bring in outside experience from the baseball world (Krivsky, Vavra & Cuellar seemingly being the only exceptions).

Most of the top personnel go back to the same time frame as Terry Ryan -- late 80's.

It is no wonder to me that there is "group think" and I think that the hire dates don't lie. Fresh talent, ideas and innovation are desperately needed.

Edit: Just realized I forgot Molitor. He definitely has experience outside Twins but he is also indoctrinated in the "Twins way".

nicksaviking
10-26-2013, 10:57 AM
I'm not quite sure where to begin with this statement, and I'm guessing it came across to say more than you intended, but talented people typically do not like being stuck in some role. It won't take more than a handful of times of being passed up that will cause them to leave. That's simply a fact of life. Put yourself in their shoes (or extrapolate it to a personal situation if one exists), but talented people are going to want to be recognized for their hard work and when more challenging and better paying positions appear, they are going to want them. It has nothing to do with being bribed as you put it.

I do agree more with your second point that there's no harm in looking externally (especially for higher level positions), but to deny someone who has shown the ability to do it is not a good way to run an organization.

I'm not aiming to deny anyone in house from a deserved promotion, but I am of the mind that the job still needs to go to the most capable person. This isn't a mom and pop business no matter how the Twins like to try to sell this club to the public. I don't want to promote a less talented person simply because I don't want them leaving the company. There's a decent chance the best candidate may not be with the company. If Bill Smith is the top candidate, great, but how would we know if the Twins won't open the position to all comers?

The Wise One
10-26-2013, 12:03 PM
I'm not aiming to deny anyone in house from a deserved promotion, but I am of the mind that the job still needs to go to the most capable person. This isn't a mom and pop business no matter how the Twins like to try to sell this club to the public. I don't want to promote a less talented person simply because I don't want them leaving the company. There's a decent chance the best candidate may not be with the company. If Bill Smith is the top candidate, great, but how would we know if the Twins won't open the position to all comers?

Have you ever been promoted within your company? It is not meant as a shot but to make you consider this. There are very few proven commodities. You on the outside may think that the 4th in command at XYZ team may be more qualified than the internal candidate. When that person turns out to be no more qualified than the person that was within the company, then you go backwards. It destroys morale. The outside has to be superior to what is within. In terms of GM the owner could have been very discreet. You can have an opinion one way or the other as to what happens, but you don't know. Baseball tends to be tight lipped on how they operate.

The Wise One
10-26-2013, 12:16 PM
If you say that you will always give preference to present staff -- without opening up the positions to outsiders (even for consideration), you actually give a disincentive for performance. Then staff is not competing with the "outside world" but only within their cocoon.

There have been changes in staffing but they haven't really opened up the organization to new ideas. Last year: coaching staff changes -- Brunansky "promoted" (no MLB or MiLB coaching experience outside Twins); Cuellar "promoted" (at least he had only been entrenched in the Twins way for about 5 years before the promotion); Steinbach (no MLB or MiLB coaching experience outside Twins). Joe Vavra did have significant experience in the Dodgers org before being hired as hitting coach in 2005 but Gardenhire, Ullger & Anderson have all been with the Twins for about 20 years (or more).

Dave St. Peter (Team President) (with Twins since 1990)
Terry Ryan (General Manager) (with Twins about 1986)
Mike Radcliff (Vice President of Player Personnel) (with Twins since 1987)
Rob Antony (Assistant GM) (with Twins since 1987) (interesting interview with Souhan in 2008: Jim Souhan: Antony is living life of his dreams | Star Tribune (http://www.startribune.com/sports/11922191.html))
Tom Kelly (Special Asst to GM) (with Twins since about 1971)
Wayne Krivsky (Special Asst to GM) (back with Twins since 2011 but did spend times with a lot of organizations including the Twins)
Mike Herman (Director, Team Travel) (with Twins since 1999)
Jack Goin (Manager Major League Admin & Baseball Stats) (with Twins since 2000)
Brad Steil (Director of Minor League Operations) (with Twins since about 2000)
Joel Lepel (Minor League Field Coordinator) (with Twins since 1989)
Kate Townley (Senior Manager, Minor League Administration) (with Twins since 2005)
Lizz Downey (Admin. Asst. to Terry Ryan) (hired in January 2013)
Deron Johnson (Director of Scouting) (with Twins since 1994)
Vern Followell (Pro Scouting Coordinator) (with Twins since 1989)
Amanda Daley (Senior Manager, Scouting & International Administration) (??????)
Rafael Yanez (Administrative Assistant to Scouting) (also serves as a translator) (????)
Dave Preumer (Head Trainer) (with Twins since 1994)
Tony Leo (Asst Trainer) (with Twins since 1997)
Lanning Tucker (Asst Trainer) (with Twins since 1992)


I'm not going to go through all the positions in PR, Finance, etc. but I'm guessing you will see a very similar pattern. Unfortunately I don't know where to find a list of scouts.

The few "new hires" we see are almost all very young and in their first jobs. There is a tendency to hire as interns and then eventually promote into top management. While that is not entirely bad, it means that they SELDOM bring in outside experience from the baseball world (Krivsky, Vavra & Cuellar seemingly being the only exceptions).

Most of the top personnel go back to the same time frame as Terry Ryan -- late 80's.

It is no wonder to me that there is "group think" and I think that the hire dates don't lie. Fresh talent, ideas and innovation are desperately needed.

Edit: Just realized I forgot Molitor. He definitely has experience outside Twins but he is also indoctrinated in the "Twins way".

So what to your list. How is it any different from any other baseball team with some success? The team in place has netted the Pohlads a few hundred million in increaced valuation of the team. In the last 4 years even a profit. From a business sense the Twins management has delivered to the Pohlads what they wanted. The individuals within the system worked hard and have received promotions. It was very bad of them to work hard and generally stay within the organization to get promoted. I wish you had a list of the scouts, as well as ball boys, janitors and anyone else as to how long they have worked for the team.
You can have an opinion that there is an indoctrination to the Twins way. If there is really such a thing and it bothers you so much you are going to remain in misery as long as the Pohlads own the team.

nicksaviking
10-26-2013, 12:17 PM
Have you ever been promoted within your company? It is not meant as a shot but to make you consider this. There are very few proven commodities. You on the outside may think that the 4th in command at XYZ team may be more qualified than the internal candidate. When that person turns out to be no more qualified than the person that was within the company, then you go backwards. It destroys morale. The outside has to be superior to what is within. In terms of GM the owner could have been very discreet. You can have an opinion one way or the other as to what happens, but you don't know. Baseball tends to be tight lipped on how they operate.

You don't go backwards and morale is not destroyed. How many employees at 3M do you really think are affected or even care if they hire a new CFO away from Cargill? My company is large, just as the Minnesota Twins are large, most employees are not affected by high level position changes, it's just business as usual with a different guy calling the shots.

I've received multiple promotions at my job and we have hired on people from outside almost as often, even in very high levels of the business. Especially in high levels of the business. I'm not sure what your comment about being discreet is in reference to. I get the impression that you are trying to imply the Twins DID interview outside candidates but kept it quite. I find that extremely unlikely. Outside candidates will want their name out there so other clubs know they are a viable option for future considerations. This also contradicts Ryan's own stated philosophy about hiring.

drivlikejehu
10-26-2013, 12:54 PM
I'm not familiar with any other firm that operates like the Twins. I have seen it in academia, non-profits, government, etc.: entities not engaged in profit-seeking or not acting in a fully competitive environment. For a competitive business, the Twins' insular and backwards nature is very, very uncommon, because even if a firm did behave that way it would usually fail.

The Twins' business is fine because they are part of a joint venture with the other clubs that ensures substantial revenues. But their obvious and inarguable management failings certainly are manifest in terms of on-the-field results. The Twins openly and proudly emphasize the fact that they value things like loyalty and familiarity over talent and innovation. This is universally considered a recipe for failure, and the only real surprise is that the Twins haven't failed even more.

The Wise One
10-26-2013, 01:08 PM
You don't go backwards and morale is not destroyed. How many employees at 3M do you really think are affected or even care if they hire a new CFO away from Cargill? My company is large, just as the Minnesota Twins are large, most employees are not affected by high level position changes, it's just business as usual with a different guy calling the shots.

I've received multiple promotions at my job and we have hired on people from outside almost as often, even in very high levels of the business. Especially in high levels of the business. I'm not sure what your comment about being discreet is in reference to. I get the impression that you are trying to imply the Twins DID interview outside candidates but kept it quite. I find that extremely unlikely. Outside candidates will want their name out there so other clubs know they are a viable option for future considerations. This also contradicts Ryan's own stated philosophy about hiring.
You rarely see someone move laterally from organization to organization. That makes baseball different from business. When someone is brought from the outside it is a promotion based on hoped for expectations or said person is acailable for that job because they have been fired elsewhere(deemed not good enough). Apply this to you. Rather than you being promoted, they brought someone else in who held a position similar to yours. You would be real happy about that? Why weren't you promoted? Oh, the other person came from an organization that was deemed more successful. What did management just tell you about the work that you and your department have done. Management has determined your level of the Peter Principal. If you think they are wrong, you shouldn't be happy.
Brian Auld may field a few inquiries about a GM position. If he politely declines to discuss it, the other organization isn't going to bring it up either. Discretion.

The Wise One
10-26-2013, 01:14 PM
I'm not familiar with any other firm that operates like the Twins. I have seen it in academia, non-profits, government, etc.: entities not engaged in profit-seeking or not acting in a fully competitive environment. For a competitive business, the Twins' insular and backwards nature is very, very uncommon, because even if a firm did behave that way it would usually fail.

The Twins' business is fine because they are part of a joint venture with the other clubs that ensures substantial revenues. But their obvious and inarguable management failings certainly are manifest in terms of on-the-field results. The Twins openly and proudly emphasize the fact that they value things like loyalty and familiarity over talent and innovation. This is universally considered a recipe for failure, and the only real surprise is that the Twins haven't failed even more.

The Twins do not operate in a competitive environment. The bulk of their money is made through a cooperative effort with the other teams.
What innovation are the Twins lacking in your opinion?

drivlikejehu
10-26-2013, 03:28 PM
The Twins do not operate in a competitive environment. The bulk of their money is made through a cooperative effort with the other teams.
What innovation are the Twins lacking in your opinion?

Like I said, the Twins are fine from a business standpoint, though they would make more with a better on-field product. And this is an organization that was almost contracted, so really their business success owes to outside forces. In any case, the competitive deficiencies show up in terms of wins and losses.

With some changes apparently being made in Philly (even with Amaro in place), the Twins are now the last MLB organization to resist a rigorous and data-driven approach to management, whether that concerns player evaluation, contract formulation, medical treatment, and so on. They are the literal antithesis of innovation, openly defying what amounts to MLB best practices, and for irrational reasons.

nicksaviking
10-26-2013, 03:48 PM
You rarely see someone move laterally from organization to organization. That makes baseball different from business. When someone is brought from the outside it is a promotion based on hoped for expectations or said person is acailable for that job because they have been fired elsewhere(deemed not good enough). Apply this to you. Rather than you being promoted, they brought someone else in who held a position similar to yours. You would be real happy about that? Why weren't you promoted? Oh, the other person came from an organization that was deemed more successful. What did management just tell you about the work that you and your department have done. Management has determined your level of the Peter Principal. If you think they are wrong, you shouldn't be happy.
Brian Auld may field a few inquiries about a GM position. If he politely declines to discuss it, the other organization isn't going to bring it up either. Discretion.

But MY happiness is not essential to the company's success. It is not, and should not be the overriding factor when it comes to personnel moves. The goal of the Twins should be to win baseball games. To accomplish this goal they should be looking to get the best possible people in the best possible positions. To do that you need to consider ALL options. If an internal guy ends up with the best credentials, great! If not, tough, he or she can be pissed off, but they can't blame the boss because their resume or interview skills are inferior.

The first thought when filling positions of need should not be to placate those already on the payroll.

The Wise One
10-26-2013, 09:49 PM
Like I said, the Twins are fine from a business standpoint, though they would make more with a better on-field product. And this is an organization that was almost contracted, so really their business success owes to outside forces. In any case, the competitive deficiencies show up in terms of wins and losses.

With some changes apparently being made in Philly (even with Amaro in place), the Twins are now the last MLB organization to resist a rigorous and data-driven approach to management, whether that concerns player evaluation, contract formulation, medical treatment, and so on. They are the literal antithesis of innovation, openly defying what amounts to MLB best practices, and for irrational reasons.

And you proof on how they evaluate players is?
Your knowledge on how they medically treat the players and how players make medical decisions is? Better yet what medical system treats patient's based on statistics versus individual symptoms?

The Wise One
10-26-2013, 09:57 PM
But MY happiness is not essential to the company's success. It is not, and should not be the overriding factor when it comes to personnel moves. The goal of the Twins should be to win baseball games. To accomplish this goal they should be looking to get the best possible people in the best possible positions. To do that you need to consider ALL options. If an internal guy ends up with the best credentials, great! If not, tough, he or she can be pissed off, but they can't blame the boss because their resume or interview skills are inferior.

The first thought when filling positions of need should not be to placate those already on the payroll.
I guess older people have a far different world view than what you do. All things being equal, you wouldn't be unhappy that a company passed you over for a promotion and gave it to an outsider.
Best qualified. You did not refute my first statement in regards to FO positions. SO when you compare what is available out there to promote it would be subjective as to who is the better candidate as you are asking someone to do a role they had never done before. See Wayne Krivisky's career.

drivlikejehu
10-26-2013, 10:09 PM
And you proof on how they evaluate players is?
Your knowledge on how they medically treat the players and how players make medical decisions is? Better yet what medical system treats patient's based on statistics versus individual symptoms?

The proof is everywhere. You can choose to deny it, I really don't care. Competent organizations don't give an extension to Nick Blackburn or give two years to Correia. Medically sound organizations don't constantly put players out there who shouldn't be, misdiagnose injuries, dramatically underestimate recovery time, etc. Modern organizations don't have just one full-time stats guy.

The Twins are living in the past. That's a fact, not an opinion. If you're opinion is that living in the past is smart, then so be it. My opinion is that the other 29 organizations must have some reason for moving forward.

nicksaviking
10-26-2013, 10:26 PM
I guess older people have a far different world view than what you do. All things being equal, you wouldn't be unhappy that a company passed you over for a promotion and gave it to an outsider.
Best qualified. You did not refute my first statement in regards to FO positions. SO when you compare what is available out there to promote it would be subjective as to who is the better candidate as you are asking someone to do a role they had never done before. See Wayne Krivisky's career.

Well I'm not sure what is considered middle age, but if I'm not there yet, I'm knocking on the door. I don't know how many times I have to keep saying that for a large competitive business, making an individual employee happy should not come before what's best for the business.

I don't know what your first point is. That the Twins can't possibly lure a qualified outsider into their employ? Why would it be subjective, there are interviews, there are resumes, there are plenty of factors that can be evaluated to determine who is more qualified. These are common hiring practices, why should the Twins also not use them? Do they already have better or equal employees to everyone else in the industry? If so, prove it, have open interviews.

I think you keep avoiding the big picture as I have never said an internal candidate should not get the job if they are the best for the position. I have a hard time believing that under the hypothetical situation where the Twins are looking to fill a position, anybody thinks they shouldn't hire the person who could best put the team in a position to win.

The Wise One
10-27-2013, 07:12 AM
Well I'm not sure what is considered middle age, but if I'm not there yet, I'm knocking on the door. I don't know how many times I have to keep saying that for a large competitive business, making an individual employee happy should not come before what's best for the business.

I don't know what your first point is. That the Twins can't possibly lure a qualified outsider into their employ? Why would it be subjective, there are interviews, there are resumes, there are plenty of factors that can be evaluated to determine who is more qualified. These are common hiring practices, why should the Twins also not use them? Do they already have better or equal employees to everyone else in the industry? If so, prove it, have open interviews.

I think you keep avoiding the big picture as I have never said an internal candidate should not get the job if they are the best for the position. I have a hard time believing that under the hypothetical situation where the Twins are looking to fill a position, anybody thinks they shouldn't hire the person who could best put the team in a position to win.

There is a reason you do not understand the first point that is not easily explainable in a short sentence. Open interviews is not the Pohlad style. Backroom and secrecy is.
The most qualified candidate is the one who has successfully done the job before. At the VP/GM level there are generally not many looking for work as the key word successful shows up. Anything after that becomes a bit of a guessing game. You are asking someone to do a job they haven't done before. The world is littered with people who did fine at one level but couldn't do the next step up. That is the big picture

The Wise One
10-27-2013, 07:16 AM
The proof is everywhere. You can choose to deny it, I really don't care. Competent organizations don't give an extension to Nick Blackburn or give two years to Correia. Medically sound organizations don't constantly put players out there who shouldn't be, misdiagnose injuries, dramatically underestimate recovery time, etc. Modern organizations don't have just one full-time stats guy.

The Twins are living in the past. That's a fact, not an opinion. If you're opinion is that living in the past is smart, then so be it. My opinion is that the other 29 organizations must have some reason for moving forward.

Medicine isn't like a flat tire on a car. I am happy that you personally do not know the concept of differential diagnosis.
You made the claim they do not use data. Duck and run. Deny all you want. 20 other posters on Twins Daily isn't proof.

USAFChief
10-27-2013, 09:08 AM
Moderator note: This is an interesting thread, addressing (what I think is) an important aspect of Twins management/philosophy. Lets keep the discussion on topic and off other posters.

Thanks.

Brock Beauchamp
10-27-2013, 02:36 PM
The proof is everywhere. You can choose to deny it, I really don't care. Competent organizations don't give an extension to Nick Blackburn or give two years to Correia. Medically sound organizations don't constantly put players out there who shouldn't be, misdiagnose injuries, dramatically underestimate recovery time, etc. Modern organizations don't have just one full-time stats guy.

The Twins are living in the past. That's a fact, not an opinion. If you're opinion is that living in the past is smart, then so be it. My opinion is that the other 29 organizations must have some reason for moving forward.

Except that the Twins have more than one full-time stats guy. Ryan has said as much in recent interviews.

Are they late to the game? Sure. But let's put the "ONE STAT GUY" thing to bed already.

And at this point, are we still bashing Kevin Correia? The team got a marginal #4/5 starter for a #4/5 starter price. Most of the guys we were rah-rah about last winter were far worse than Kevin Correia, often at 2-3 times the cost.

I don't think that absolves Ryan of his risk-averse FA signings but Kevin Correia was a good pick-up at the price, whether we want to admit it or not.

drivlikejehu
10-27-2013, 07:24 PM
Except that the Twins have more than one full-time stats guy. Ryan has said as much in recent interviews.

Are they late to the game? Sure. But let's put the "ONE STAT GUY" thing to bed already.


I must have missed it then. Where and when did he say they have more than 1, not counting interns?

Brock Beauchamp
10-27-2013, 07:48 PM
I must have missed it then. Where and when did he say they have more than 1, not counting interns?

Well, the Twins Daily Offseason Handbook interview, for one.

Oxtung
10-27-2013, 11:39 PM
What innovation are the Twins lacking in your opinion?

Let's flip this around because it might be easier to answer. What have the Twins done that is innovative?

Off the top of my head:

1) Aggressively pursue intl FA's in Australia and Europe. To date though this has provided almost nothing to the major league club, to be fair there are a few nice prospects that might turn the perception around. Of course their pursuit of Australia and Europe were a result of being late to Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. At best this seems like a double edged sword.

2) The Twins marketing team clearly has something going for them. Bloomberg's recent analysis ranked the Twins 17th in Attendance and yet 8th in Gate Receipts. That is pretty impressive. Of course the Twins are far behind in the local media TV deals. So again, double edged.

3) Perhaps something on the scouting side of things. I am not informed enough in what the Twins are doing or what their competitors are to make any judgements. The scuttlebutt implies the Twins are a great scouting team though.

4) Depending on how you view the Twins FO one could claim their insular attitude and hiring practices are innovative.

The Twins certainly haven't been innovative with respect to Japanese/Cuban international free agents. Traditional FA is another no. Ryan has made some good trades that have been almost universally liked but none were particularly innovative. Whether there are one or more people within the stats department the Twins aren't pushing the boundaries with advanced metrics. Defensive shifts? Platooning? No and No. Experimentation with the definition of starting rotation, perhaps dropping to 4 starters or limiting innings or piggybacking pitchers? Nope. How about using your best reliever outside of the traditional "closer" role so that he can effect more innings and situations? Pitch framing? Over-budget on international FA's? Scoff, Guffaw and *eye roll*.

Perhaps some of those are good ideas. Perhaps none are. Perhaps the Twins have good reasons for not embracing these ideas, I don't know. What I do know is that when you are the worst franchise in baseball over a 3 year time period something needs to change. What you have been doing isn't working. When I look at the Twins I just don't see those changes. I don't see the innovation, the trying of new and creative ideas to jump start the organization.

If you always do what you've always done then you'll always get what you've always got.

Oxtung
10-27-2013, 11:46 PM
There's also a disadvantage to not looking within - your best people leave. Also, within the organization, people have less motivation to perform or go the extra mile.

If a company goes outside the organization 3 or 4 times and passes over an employee for multiple positions because they find better candidates and that employee ends up leaving then what has the company actually lost? If your best people aren't as good as the outside talent then it sounds like something needs to change and your employees leaving isn't a bad start. In fact perhaps that is where it should start. With pink slips. Or perhaps with better training. Either way it shouldn't result in a promotion just because someone happens to reside within your company.

I'm not making any statements about whether the Twins should or shouldn't clean out their house, just making some general comments.