Get off the ledge
by, 04-08-2012 at 08:27 AM (764 Views)
The Twinsare 0-2 after two dreadful performances against the Orioles that saw the Twinsdominated by two average at best pitchers, struggled defensively, and had theirpitchers battered. Some will say that itis over and that Ron Gardenhire should be fired and replaced with PaulMolitor. They will say that Terry Ryanshould never have returned and he is no better than Bill Smith. They will say that Jim Pohlad is one of thecheapest owners in baseball that should spend like the Tigers. They will say that Joe Mauer is overpaid andthat Justin Morneau should just retire. I am not one of those people and will never be one of those people. I am here to explain what Twins fans should “realistically”expect out of this season and where this franchise is heading.
I have been telling anyone thatwould listen that 2012 was a rebuilding year for the Twins coming off their 99loss 2011 season. The Twins would notcome out and say it was a rebuilding year because as a professional baseballteam you should always try to win. Ireally respect what Terry Ryan has tried to do by signing stopgap guys for ayear that here for one reason and one reason only. They are here to try to win because that’s whatthe Twins do is win as they have won six division titles in the last 11 yearsunder manager Ron Gardenhire. With thatsaid they are letting more talented players develop at their pace. Some teams push prospects up before they areready and you lose them because of that. Guys like Joe Benson, Brian Dozier, Carlos Gutierrez, Deolis Guerra,Rene Tosoni, Alex Wimmers could be up and struggling, but the Twins believe inprotecting these guys and allowing them to continue to develop. So instead of pushing them Terry Ryan signedguys like Jamey Carroll that allows Dozier to develop, Jared Burton allowsGutierrez to develop, Jeff Gray allows Guerra to develop, Ryan Doumit allowsJoe Benson to develop, and so on.
Then guys like Joe Nathan, and Michael Cuddyer wanted moremoney than the Twins were willing to spend. By resigning Matt Capps they didn’t push Glen Perkins into the closersrole, but rest assured he will be the closer in 2013 and going forward. Where I think Ryan did his finest work wasreplacing Cuddyer with Josh Willingham who is equal to him offensively andcosts 3.5 million a year less. GrantedWillingham was not good yesterday, but every player has games were they are notgood and last night was a game that Willingham was not good. I will take my chances with Willingham and noone is talking about the homerun he had the day before and the great throw hemade to cut a run down at the plate.
Then those that are criticizing Jim Pohlad, the Twins have a100 million dollar payroll that is in the top third in baseball. When the Twins signed Joe Mauer to his 8 year184 million dollar contract we all knew that the Twins would have to be thriftywith other guys. The problem is that forthe last three years Justin Morneau has been injured and he makes 15 million ayear. Being a mid-market team you can’tjust throw away 38 million dollars like they did last year with the injuries toMauer and Morneau, you just can’t. Goingforward the Twins need these guys to stay healthy and productive. If they don’t stay healthy and aren’tproductive it doesn’t matter what other players do.
With that said it is only two games and the Twins will win alot of games this year. They are muchtoo talented to play like this. However,you need to give credit where credit is due in that Jake Arrieta and TommyHunter were excellent the last two days. Especially Arrieta who I have not seen that good before and trust me theYankees and Tigers would have struggled with him the way he pitched the otherday. It also should not be surprisingthat the Twins have struggled being that they have replaced four out of ninestarters and it will take some time to click getting used to playing with eachother. It is not supposed to be anexcuse as these guys are professional baseball players who are being paid wellto do better than what they are. However, there are 160 games to go and there will be games where theTwins play bad, but Twins fans need to learn to relax and just enjoy thegames. I know that is not in Twins fansnature to just relax when they lose so all I am saying is try not to jump offthe ledge until they are ten games out. All I know is that 48 hours ago I was super excited for the season andam not going to get all upset over two losses and will continue to enjoy theTwins. I refuse to panic about the teamyet, well atleast not for another week.