• Under-Delivering

    In his latest column for ESPN 1500, Phil Mackey opens with the following statement: "Unlike in the previous two offseasons, there will be no over-promising and under-delivering by the Minnesota Twins in 2013."

    Incidentally, that's pretty much exactly how I would describe this offseason for the Twins. Over-promising and under-delivering. Terry Ryan talked at length in the early days of winter about moving aggressively to upgrade the club's beleaguered pitching corps, and because I tend to trust Ryan, I bought into this stated commitment.

    In his interview for the Offseason Handbook, Ryan insisted that the Twins would pursue a "pretty darn good pitcher" in free agency. In a subsequent interview with MLB Network, he responded to a question from Ken Rosenthal about his apparent rebuilding approach by saying, "I think that's a good excuse to fail, Kenny. I don't have much interest in telling people we're playing for 2015. We need to get going here, we've had two tough years… We've got to quit talking about building for the future."

    All of that rhetoric certainly falls short of what we've actually seen this offseason, however. Ryan made a couple nice trades for the long-term, swapping out Denard Span and Ben Revere for some intriguing young arms, but his short-term strategy has been puzzling to say the least. Kevin Correia was the team's top "prize" in free agency, followed by fliers on a couple reclamation projects in Mike Pelfrey and Rich Harden. By nearly all accounts, the Twins have made very little effort to outbid the competition for remotely high-profile names. Now, with at least $15 million in supposedly available payroll remaining, Ryan is "likely done making significant moves."

    In his ESPN 1500 interview, the Twins' general manager attempted to put a realistic slant on the coming season, noting that making the playoffs would be ideal but is unlikely. This is probably what Mackey was getting at with his opening line, but even Ryan's adjusted goal of playing meaningful baseball in September looks like a reach based on the moves he's made. When your pitching staff ranks as one of the worst in the game, it takes more than a couple low-end stopgap solutions to foster significant improvement, and the club's hesitance to put more of its available funds toward tapping into that middle tier of starters suggests a level of commitment that is not in line with their purported resolve.

    Up to this point, the Twins have spent minimally in addressing their pitiful rotation via free agency, and if payroll remains around its current ~$80 million mark, it will be $15 million lower than it was last year and $30 million lower than 2011. Heck, right now the number is closer to where it was in 2007 in the Metrodome than where it's been any year at Target Field.

    Payroll isn't everything, of course, but the amount that the Twins are willing to spend says a lot about their true desire to promptly right the ship, especially with such drastic needs in the starting corps and so many free agent pitchers inking lucrative deals.

    Maybe Ryan and Co. really do believe they've done enough to position this team for a leap forward in 2013. Perhaps they're confident in the ability of internal options to step up, or they have some reason to believe Pelfrey and Harden will be healthy and productive that I'm not aware of. Perhaps there's another move coming and the quotes we're seeing are intended to flip the script by under-promising and over-delivering.

    Right now that's feeling like wishful thinking. If what we see is what we're going to get, this season is shaping up to be more of the same, and despite their adamant claims to the contrary the organization doesn't appear all that fiercely determined to prevent such an outcome.
    This article was originally published in blog: Under-Delivering started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 239 Comments
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Grady Kruse View Post
      I hate to defend Terry Ryan because I'm as frustrated as you guys are, but I think he had every intention of signing better starting pitchers. The market just went too high in a hurry. The Correia move was one of desperation. He figured they needed to get someone with a pulse since the other guys were too expensive for them.
      What's his excuse for not going after Marcum right now? It's hard to claim that the market has been bullish on Marcum.
    1. peterb18's Avatar
      peterb18 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Highabove View Post
      Are we back to being a Small Market Team?

      I must have missed the Memo.

      By all accounts the Twins are a mid-market team. This small market stuff gets old. If the Pohlads wanted a competitive team on the field there would be one. They are the ones who have to step up to the plate.
    1. lightfoot789's Avatar
      lightfoot789 -
      I am sorry - Mid Market Team
      The point is that the Twins are usually a decent team in the AL central and fans can't handle a drought without wanting the GM or Coaches head. I believe that management knows what it is doing and I believe that they want a winning product on the field as much as the fans. I also believe that they probably have better insight on free agents than we do and have made the right inquiires. There might be a reason Marcum is still on the market? You don't know!!! Have some faith and trust that things will get better. Your minor league system is already one of the top 6 in the MLB. Vast improvement. Give TR a break and ride the train for a while without pretending you know more than the conductor. The Twins are on the verge of some great teams with complete control of those players for some time. FAITH PEOPLE
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      The market is not too high and the apologetics here are ridiculous. Nick is right to be frustrated with the (my words) lying done by Terry Ryan on behalf of the Pohlads.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by lightfoot789 View Post
      I am sorry - Mid Market Team
      The point is that the Twins are usually a decent team in the AL central and fans can't handle a drought without wanting the GM or Coaches head. I believe that management knows what it is doing and I believe that they want a winning product on the field as much as the fans. I also believe that they probably have better insight on free agents than we do and have made the right inquiires. There might be a reason Marcum is still on the market? You don't know!!! Have some faith and trust that things will get better. Your minor league system is already one of the top 6 in the MLB. Vast improvement. Give TR a break and ride the train for a while without pretending you know more than the conductor. The Twins are on the verge of some great teams with complete control of those players for some time. FAITH PEOPLE
      There's a difference between faith and blind faith. We're talking about the huge difference between what we were told and what is being done. Additionally, your assumption that we're on the verge of some great teams with complete control of those players for some time is nothing but assumption. There are teams that have had high ranked systems for years that never did anything. That is because prospects are just that, prospects. All of our high ranked prospects would have to all work out for us to have a chance to have great teams, cause we won't be supplementing them with any top notch talent from outside. What are the odds that even 75% of our prospects turn out to even be starter material?

      I'm glad you're an optimist, but I don't think you need to rail on people having discussion in the negative about how things are going as if you know for sure how things will be in a few years to come.
    1. Jim Crikket's Avatar
      Jim Crikket -
      I just don't get the "either - or" mentality of some folks. Sure, the minor league talent coming up is better than it has been for a long time and there's cause for optimism about many of the young players. But why the hell does that mean the Twins should be allowed to put a crappy product on the field in the mean time without being called on it? The Pohlad quotes that ThePuck posted SHOULD be followed up on by media with ownership... but they won't be. I don't think it's at all unreasonable for the fan base to question Twins ownership and management, given how things have unfolded. There is absolutely no excuse for the Twins to be once again putting a minor league level product on the field this season. If the only way that Terry Ryan knows how to put a competitive team on the field is to spend 4-5 years developing one up through the minor league organization, then perhaps he should be replaced by a GM who is capable of blending development with integration of quality free agents. He has not delivered on Pohlad's on-the-record promises.
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      It's ironic how Mackey put it in that article - the Twins won't overpromise and underdeliver in 2013. I know he's referring to the product on the field, but overpromising and underdelivering is exactly how TR has handled this offseason.
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      Marcier Izturis...we miss a chance to add this years gremlin(Carroll) and to improve the middle infield, for what? 4 million per year.Im guessing that when the season is over the Twins payroll will be closer to 70 million (73) then to 80 million, meaning that since 2011 payroll has shrunk 40 million,and once again we will have a very sub .500 season
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Does it really just come down to greedy billionaires wanting more of that sweet, sweet money?
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      Sometimes I feel like a few people would be happier if the Twins would have given Correia 2 years and $50 million because then the payroll would be back at $100 million and "at least the Pohlad's won't pocket it."
      Then you are missing the point. It's not about spending to spend. It's about spending to make the team better.

      Quote Originally Posted by old nurse View Post
      It became apparent a long time ago that no first or second tier healthy free agent would sign here.
      Yep. Right around the time it became apparent that the Twins wouldn't make competitive offers for any of them.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      If the Twins have one of only a few GM's who couldn't either reasonably predict the free agent market or adapt to it on the fly, they need to get a new one. Ryan's done a lot of good for this orgainzation, but I don't think he's an elite GM any longer.

      It's probably not true, but I half fear that Ryan actually believes that Correia and Pelfrey are on par with the other mid-tier pitchers and he got a bargain signing them. That lack of judgment would actually be more concerning than his inactivity.
    1. LewFordLives's Avatar
      LewFordLives -
      I don't understand this Shaun Marcum fixation people have. He missed two months last year with arm trouble and the Brewers have made no attempt to resign him. Doesn't this concern anybody? We also don't know what his asking price is. A large multi-year deal on a soft throwing righty with a history of arm trouble is not in Twins best interest. I know they need starting pitching, but I don't see the point in throwing away lots of money on stop-gap solution (see Kevin Correia) until younger guys arrive on the scene.
    1. old nurse's Avatar
      old nurse -
      How do you know the offers were not competitive? We know for sure they were not accepted.
    1. old nurse's Avatar
      old nurse -
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      Do you by any chance work for Fox News?
      I guess personal insults are not beneath military personnel.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by old nurse View Post
      I guess personal insults are not beneath military personnel.
      You constantly do it to others, bu then complain when others do it to you. Wow, speaking of stuff said that never gets responded to, I've said that to you many times and it's always gone unanswered by you...
    1. old nurse's Avatar
      old nurse -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      You constantly do it to others, bu then complain when others do it to you. Wow, speaking of stuff said that never gets responded to, I've said that to you many times and it's always gone unanswered by you...
      I got a note from John. If you call questioning your claim on the Twins should have signed somebody after the 2010 season an insult, so be it. You never answered the question.
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      You make an offer. It is accepted or rejected. You look at performance, personality, etc. etc. etc. You look at who is in the pipeline, who is due what when, et al. Not easy being a general manager. You do have top constantly look ahead at payroll in the future compared to now. You have to try and second-guess what a team is doing today compared to tomorrow (will Verlander, for example, resign with the Tigers who become a free agent, thus making the Tigers a weaker team). Will signing a pitcher for 2-3-4 years be worth it when you look at options that might be available in those coming years. On the flipside, you are hailed a hero if you get a bargain free agent (last year Doumit and Willingham). If a bargain free agent doesn't pan out (Zumaya -- why was the looksee guaranteed) and Marquis, you eat a little crow, but hopefully they don't pan out well for someone else. You trade Liriano for peanuts, but you got something in exchange. The White Sox didn't get anything. But then you sign a bunch of AAAA guys to back up your major league roster, but also slow development in the minors....arbitration issues solved? The ultimate: you have to put a team on the field that will be competitive, and then convince layers to not only stay, but come here and play. I will say that being a general manager isn't an easy job.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by old nurse View Post
      I got a note from John. If you call questioning your claim on the Twins should have signed somebody after the 2010 season an insult, so be it. You never answered the question.
      No, I don't think your last post to me was an insult at all..did I say it was? My post just now was about you complaining about USAFChief insulting you. That's why I quoted your complaint to him instead of your post to me. My post to you was also about all the other times you've complained about people insulting you. You insult people all the time, you talk poorly to people all the time, but get all ticked when someone does it to you.
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      Quote Originally Posted by lightfoot789 View Post
      Would you be happy if we were the 2012 Angels? Spend happy with the same results as Twins = home for playoffs? We are a small market team that is looking to compete this year and go back to the Twins Way for the next 10 years. The Twins have and will only be = good year in and year out = when they utilize the Draft and Trades. The Angels were never truly "in it" despite the rookie excitement of Trout. My advice is TRUST T.R. and see where he takes us in the next 2-3 years? Hard to do for a spoiled group of fans who have been the best small market team in MLB over the last 20+ years (thru draft & trades). Allow the train to get back on track and get to MN on time or you will derail it again and for good!!
      Twins way? to offer just enough to qualify as an offer but to little to get a signature?
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      Our payroll in 2007 was a 71.4M...regular inflation makes that just under 80M today. That's where our current payroll sits. And players salaries have gone up at a higher rate than standard inflation.
      after the much publisised trade of Justin Morneau ,at mid season our payroll will be around 73 million for the season....
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