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Blame Game "Who is at fault" in the Rotation

Posted by Brandon , 29 June 2016 · 1,274 views

There has been a lot of talk on here calling for Terry Ryan to get fired. I disagree with that assesment and instead of arguing i figured to make the scenarios into a game of who is at fault? Terry Ryan, The player, or something else....Also I will make this a series starting with the rotation today then the bullpen, IF and C, then OF and prospects.

In 2013 Terry Ryan signed Phil Hughes to a 3 year 24 million contract. in 2014 he posted strong numbers and basically justified the whole contract the first season. So the Twins signed him to another 3 year extension for 42 million more. At the time this was a great move because if the Twins waited one season and Hughes performed he would have been a 100 million plus player. so potentially getting a 100 million player for 42 million was a steal. and even if he regressed some he still should have justified the contract. So the next year he had back problems and lost velocity and effectiveness. then this year he was hit by a line drive but also is having shoulder surgery. (a result of overcompensating for the back injury) next year we hope he can return to form and be a solid pitcher.

Whose fault is this? I would say injuries and maybe Hughes depending on how he prepared in the offseason. Its debatable. But I'm going to go with injury to blame. Terry Ryan did his job in getting a deal on two different contracts and injury is wrecking the value in the second one.

When we signed Ervin Santana he was rated the 4th best starting pitcher that offseason in an offseason with lots of starting pitchers available. Terry Ryan did something we clamored for in making a big signing in free agency. and the cost to sign him was reasonable. We didn't know that Ervin did steroids thus hurting his value in season 1 and was inconsistent too. this year his performance is lagging but he has had a little value as a 4th starter even though he was signed to be a 2nd or 3rd. He is not quite averaging 6 innings per start this year. I would blame Ryan some for the value received so far but the real blame has been the performance of the pitcher and his personal decisions to not watch the supplements he is taking. though it could be expected that Santana would decline some over the contract so I'm going 30% blame on Ryan and 70% on Santana for the decision to sign Santana and him not providing the value we were looking for.

Signing Nolasco. lets be honest my expectations for Nolasco was a pitcher with around a 3.75 to 4.25 era and pitch 180 to 200 innings. the first season he tried to justify the contract by pitching through the injury he had and made things worse for his record. The second season he was injured and dealt with it. but missed a lot if time. when heathy he was 5-0 and had an era of 3.77 in the month of May. in the 3 starts and relief appearance in which he was hurt he was 0-2 with a sky high era. I blame the second season on the injury and a little on Nolasco for some of his quotes which seem lackadaisical about the team. This season Nolasco has been healthy and averaged 6 innings per start and is on pace for 192 innings. while his era is about .5 runs more than we like he is overall not far off from what I expected from him. there is no blame for this season as he is pitching near enough to expectations. It would be nice if he lowered his ERA a half run per 9 innings.

in summary season 1 of Nolasco's contract is 100% Nolasco's fault. his second season is 20% Nolasco's fault and 80% injury. This season there is minimal blame as he is close to expectations.

Millone: He was signed to be a 5th starter. the track record is there but he is having a bad season with the Twins this year. I would blame Ryan for the signing but not much because he has a track record of pitching a solid 5th starter innings but he doesn't have that much talent despite the results and Millone is only on a 1 year contract for 4.5 million which isn't too much money or long term commitment either. but Terry Ryan also has 3 or 4 options already set to join the rotation so it wasn't like Terry Ryan wasn't prepared with contingencies.

so for Millione I blame Millone for being ineffective and I would blame Ryan except he had the team with Nolasco, Berrios and others ready in case he Millone wasn't effective. so I blame 25% Millone and 25% Ryan and 50% others who haven't stepped up to take his spot away from him.

Gibson: He is still making less than 600k so the blame at this point this year is injury. Terry Ryan had plans in place for injuries. with 8 potential starters we had the depth in case of injuries. no one has stepped up.

Duffy: he was given a spot in the rotation based off of his minors track record and his job he did at the end of the season. Since Terry Ryan had contingencies going into the season I blame the player for not stepping up and running with his opportunity

Berrios, Dean, and Meyer: I blame Ryan for not giving Meyer a few more outings but that is minor in the grand scheme. I do think it was a great experience for Berrios to come up early for 4 starts. he wasn't up long enough to get discouraged but he got a chance to learn and now knows what to expect when he comes back up. I view Dean as filler. He can pitch a decent start as a fill in .

So overall There is some blame for Ryan for the state of the rotation but overall the young players Duffy mainly hasn't stepped up to win the job, Injury is to blame for Hughes and Gibson's season. and Millone wasn't expected to be great but with all the injuries we needed at least what he did last year and he regressed. Nolasco is closest to expectations so no blame this year and Santana has been less effective then expected and that is 10-20% injury as he did go on the 15 day DL but the rest falls on him.

How do you feel about these observations? From Where I sit I cant tell if Molitor has any blame for the rotation maybe you can let me know. I will do the bullpen next and at the end we can tally it all up and see where the blame for this season goes.

Jun 29 2016 09:32 AM
Pitchers are going to decline ages 32-35. They are going to be injured more frequently. A player needs to be very good entering those ages to return in a good performance in that span. If you are league average ages 26-31, there is a good chance you won't be very useful by age 35.

The performance and health that the Twins are getting from Santana, Nolasco and Hughes is well within what should have been expected. Terry Ryan is 100% responsible for those decisions.


Yes, all three should've been entering their prime and we should expect 12-12 records with a 4.14 ERA and approximately 180 averaged over the course of the contract. They might be better, but shouldn't be the dismal worse that they are showing this year and especially last year.


Case in point, Gibson should've figured it out. Maybe he started this year injured (tell us, people, when you can't pitch).


The point is that if you sign a bunch of middle-of-the-order average guys, you are going to get middle-of-the-order average pitchers for the most part. That's fine, if you excel at hitting and have a stopper to lead the rotation.


What really hurts is when you supplement this rotation with a bunch of guys who will have very limited careers (Albers, Dean, Deduno, DeVries, Manship, Hendriks, Vasquez, Marquis, Walters, Hernandez, Kris Johnson, Pino, Duffey.)


You don't recognize what you have sometimes (Manship and Hendriks are examples) that can be better used in other positions. 


We want the Twins to spend money,but look at the results (Pavano, Worley, Correia, Pelfrey, Milone).

Jul 01 2016 08:14 AM

Yes, all three should've been entering their prime and we should expect 12-12 records with a 4.14 ERA and approximately 180 averaged over the course of the contract. They might be better, but shouldn't be the dismal worse that they are showing this year and especially last year.

I may be misunderstanding the "should've" since they were exiting their primes.

In no way should the Twins have expected 12-12 records with 4.14 ERAs from Nolasco and Santana. At best, they should have hoped for 2 or 3 seasons between the two of them out of the 8 at that level. I think the performance they have received is much more typical of similar pitchers in their ages 32-35 seasons. They are getting what they paid for.

Hughes was in his prime and the Twins locked him up throughout his prime years. They were fools to extend him after a single good season. He would have been off the books after this year looking for a minor league deal.

It is signings like these that continue the cycle of mediocrity.

The alternatives were what?With that defense they have have had the last few years you would need to have a pitcher with a double digit k/9 to be effective. Maybe you all would rather just have a staff of Walters, Albers, Hendrik and Vasquez. At least there was a chance with a better starting point. Yes there is a risk of injury and decline. Actual decline varies from player to player and types of injury.

Jul 04 2016 11:49 AM
The Santana and Hughes signings I was in favor of. Nolasco. Not so much. I think everyone saw his struggles and injury woes coming from a mile away. Santana and Hughes have shown flashes of brilliance in the past. Hughes had the spectacular 2014 and I think he has one more above average season in him. Maybe two which would justify his contract and extension. Santana needs one solid season to justify his. I think that is about all you are gonna get from these types. Unless you spend 20M+ for a guy you probably are not going to see spectacular performances. You kinda just bite the bullet and hope you get 2-3 above average years out of a 4-6 year contract. Better than marching out AAA retreads for a couple years until your in house talent makes it up.