All the Right Moves?
by, 05-25-2013 at 11:27 PM (370 Views)
After a period of stability, the Twins have made a rash of moves. Many of the moves have been panned by the denizens of Twins Daily for being shortsighted, cheap, stupid or all of the above. Some are calling out the GM for saying the team was trying to compete when, in fact, they are rebuilding and focusing on next year or the year after.
News flash! The team isn't going to contend this year. Ryan's "contention" talk was predicated on miraculous performances by pitchers who have been much less than miraculous. The hitters have been, on balance, disappointing and a couple teams in the AL Central are pretty good. No chance in 2013. Certainly, Ryan knew this could happen and the next step for Project 2013 is to prepare a nucleus for next year and 2015 and find out what he needs to acquire to make future teams viable in the division.
There are a large number of question marks and several categories of players to be evaluated. Here's my take of the categories and the players in the categories for which Ryan must make decisions:
Veterans--Morneau, Doumit, Willingham, Carroll, Perkins and Burton. These are established players with established roles and Ryan must decide whether hold on to them or trade them.
Not established non-rookies--Hendriks, Robertson (both demoted early), Plouffe, Florimon,
Dozier, and Parmelee. Several position players were new starters this April, none of them had started all year in 2012. This is a group that the Twins have to determine whether they should be starters going forward and if the Twins need to check out the minors of other teams. So far, the results have been mixed, at best. Dozier and Parmelee have been disappointments, Plouffe held his own until his injury and Florimon has exceeded very modest expectations. The two pitchers I mentioned didn't make it through April.
Fringe guys--Hernandez, Walters, Deduno, Colabello, and Thielbar--These guys mostly are placeholders who get a chance to stay in the majors. None of them project to be long term Twins or stars, but they will get a chance to keep in the majors if they do their jobs. If any of these guys have to be demoted or ride the bench for a long period, so be it. If any of them can be a productive player in the coming years, it will be a bonus.
Rookie Prospects--First of all, these are guys who the Twins are banking on to help them be a good team again. The team will do everything they can to help these guys become producers in the coming years. The players include Arcia, Hicks, and Gibson. The Twins approach seems to be different for each guy--they've stuck with Hicks despite his major struggles, they've sent Arcia down three times and much to many contributors' frustrations they have refused to promote Kyle Gibson despite the worst starting rotation in the major leagues.
In discussing transactions, playing time, trades, or demotions, it is important to remember that everybody doesn't get treated the same, nor should they. Goal one is to do what is right to help the prospects succeed. We can argue with the plan, but we, the fan base, must support the idea of developing talented, young, and inexpensive players. For me, I would have sent Hicks down to secure his services for another year and build his confidence at Rochester. Gibson, IMHO, should have been promoted at least a week ago and I basically agree with the treatment of Arcia, although it hasn't been smooth for him.
The unproven non-rookies need a longer leash than barely a quarter of the season. Since this is a non-competing year, the Twins need to find out about them. I think somewhere around midseason is a fair evaluation period. Some of the veterans need to be traded, some should stay as veteran preference for the improved teams fueled by a (now) top-notch farm system.
The key component for the near future for the Twins is their starting staff. They need to develop/acquire enough talent to compete with the deep rotations in Detroit, Cleveland and several other AL cities. Let's see if Ryan's moves work out, particularly with the starting staff.