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New Face, Old Gard(y): Twins Choose Tradition over Talent, Again

Posted by GoGonzoJournal , 03 November 2014 · 2,628 views

paul molitor terry ryan madison bumgarner starting pitching bullpen

Poll: Are you happy with Terry Ryan's pick of Paul Molitor as manager? (11 member(s) have cast votes)

Are you happy with Terry Ryan's pick of Paul Molitor as manager?

  1. Yes (9 votes [82%])

    Percentage of vote: 82%

  2. No (2 votes [19%])

    Percentage of vote: 19%

Vote Guests cannot vote
New Face, Old Gard(y): Twins Choose Tradition over Talent, Again Terry Ryan kept with company policy and made the long-expected and unsurprising decision to offer Paul Molitor a contract to become the new manager of the Minnesota Twins. Molitor, a St. Paul native, has been expected to take over as Ron Gardenhire’s replacement for at least a year, if not longer depending on the rumors you choose to believe, and could have taken over for Tom Kelly in 2002 had he not removed himself from the running due to the contraction fiasco. So Terry Ryan and the Twins got the man they wanted 13 years ago. No surprises in Twins Territory.

This blog was originally published at Go Gonzo Journal Sports.

The move means absolutely nothing. There is no discernible difference between Molitor and Gardy. They're both infield and baserunning specialists, although Molitor may be more in tune with today’s dependence on statistics when it comes to defensive play, and will hopefully be more open to platoon players with extreme splits to increase overall productivity. That’s a difference of winning a few extra games per season. It won't make the Twins a contender.

The ONLY thing that will make the Twins a contender is an ace, and I'm not talking about Phil Hughes. I’m talking about Madison Bumgarner, or someone with comparable talents. Although, after his World Series performance, comparable talents may not exist. Bumgarner proved that in almost 150 years of organized baseball, nothing has changed. Starting pitching still wins championships. Kansas City’s bullpen approach didn't work. You can have as many high-powered arms in the pen as you like, but one man can still shut you out and win three games in a seven-game series despite an average offense that had very little pop in the MLB Playoffs. The Royals could have run a different pitcher out there every inning and still would have lost. Cliff Corcoran of Sports Illustrated found the Royals’ bullpen ranked seventh in runs allowed in all-time postseason history. Even they couldn't hang with Bumgarner and were rocked in Game 4. Starting pitching still wins championships.

You can make all the noise you want about the Royals being sound defensively, especially in the outfield, but they didn’t win, and the Giants did despite a two-base error by their center fielder in the ninth inning of Game 7. Starting pitching still wins championships.

You can make the argument that you need the bats of Hunter Pence and Pablo Sandoval in order to score enough runs to win, but you'd be wrong. Gregor Blanco drew a bases loaded walk and scored again after drawing a walk when rookie Joe Panik tripled in Game 1.

Blanco got the scoring started with another walk in Game 4, took second on a wild pitch, and took third because he could, later scoring on a groundout by Pence. Matt Duffy, who had just two plate appearances in the World Series, scored on a single by Buster Posey after slapping a leadoff single of his own and taking second on a groundout. Then, in the bottom of the seventh inning, Brandon Crawford hit an infield single and Michael Morse walked to put Blanco in a bunting situation. He laid it down and reached on an error allowing Crawford to score. The rookie Panik then doubled to score Morse and Blanco. That would be all the Giants needed to win Game 4.

Juan Perez, a defensive replacement, scored an unearned run in the bottom of the eighth inning of Game 5 on a single by Crawford. In fact, the only game the Giants truly needed the bats of Sandoval and Pence was Game 7. They accounted for every run scored, but it was Morse and Crawford that drove them in. Pence and Sandoval had stellar performances that would have been MVP-worthy any other year, but starting pitching still wins championships.

Without an ace on the staff, like Bert Blyleven, Jack Morris, Johan Santana, or even a young Francisco Liriano, the hopes and dreams of Twins’ fans will continue to be dashed by the front office at Twins Way. Unless Terry Ryan and the rest of his disciples learn the Twins’ way isn't the winning way, Molitor replacing Gardy as manager is meaningless, and every job in the front office should be made available.

----

Anthony Varriano is editor of Go Gonzo Journal, a blog featuring the rants of fans and outlaw journalists.




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stringer bell
Nov 03 2014 06:57 AM

I am neither pro- nor anti-Molitor.I know that he is very smart and knows his baseball.He will be a better interview than Gardy, but might wear on everyone faster if the Twins continue to be a losing franchise.I understand that the pitching needs to be upgraded, but finding an ace isn't easy.If it were, every team would have one.I personally don't think free agency is the answer.Most top-dollar contracts for pitchers just don't work. 

I agree you cannot buy an ace.You have to develop them and the Twins need to find out in the next two years which of their young pitchers are or could be one.Pitching coach will have to know how to help the young pitchers as his will be the most important job on this team.

There appear to be two very separate points in this article...

 

1.) Gardy and Molitor are the same, which you acknowledge later isn't actually true.

2.) The Twins need an ace. That has nothing to do with the managerial situation.

    • DK likes this

Wow, what a burning #HotTake.

 

So basically, the argument boils down to not the manager, but that we need one of the top 10 pitchers in baseball. Awesome. I agree completely. Any ideas on how we do that?

 

I'll look for more of your content in the future.

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twinsfanstreif
Nov 03 2014 11:22 AM
I agree with Seth, just because he was an in house guy doesn't mean he's Gardy. In fact I've read that Molitor was like the Black Sheep of that clubhouse because he had a different mentality than Gardy and his guys. They are not the same and we shouldn't lump them together like that. The other point about an ace is a good one but Bumgarner is an unfair comparison. He just got done dominating a World Series like we've literally never seen before. He singlehandedly won that series and he is one of the top 5 pitchers in all of Baseball. Every team in the majors would love to have a guy like that on their team but they don't exactly grow on trees. Plus the argument doesn't really hold up with anyone else. Remember that Philly's rotation a few years back that was supposed to dominate everyone, didn't exactly work out. One of the best pitchers in the majors this year was Yu Darvish and his team almost was the worst in MLB. I agree that Starting pitching is important and an ace is important as well but history suggests that it's not the only thing
    • GoGonzoJournal likes this
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GoGonzoJournal
Nov 03 2014 01:31 PM

There appear to be two very separate points in this article...

 

1.) Gardy and Molitor are the same, which you acknowledge later isn't actually true.

2.) The Twins need an ace. That has nothing to do with the managerial situation.

Not an article. Just a blog. Gardy and Molitor are the same when it comes to winning games is the argument I try to make. Difference in WAR is negligible. And the need of an ace has everything to do with managerial situation. If we had one there wouldn't be a managerial situation.

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GoGonzoJournal
Nov 03 2014 01:33 PM

I agree that Starting pitching is important and an ace is important as well but history suggests that it's not the only thing

Like I said to Seth, the number of wins Molitor brings over Gardy is negligible. Managers don't make teams winners. Starting pitching does. We have everything else except outfield defense, which is coming, and will improve overall pitching numbers.

There is only one Gardenhire.  And that is a blessing.  Everyone else is different, including Molitor.

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GoGonzoJournal
Nov 03 2014 02:24 PM

Wow, what a burning #HotTake.

 

So basically, the argument boils down to not the manager, but that we need one of the top 10 pitchers in baseball. Awesome. I agree completely. Any ideas on how we do that?

 

I'll look for more of your content in the future.

Most likely through trade. Terry Ryan has never and will never pay top dollar for a starter. It's just not his style. He'll sign some low-risk, high-reward guy like Masterson. 

We all know that ace pitchers grow on trees.All you have to do is pick one

off the branch.Ha. I would rather have three or four really good quality starters, Three quality late inning guys, a good defense and an offense that scores runs.