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Twins Mgmt Convincing Themselves Fallback Plan Will Work?

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#1 phalvorson

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 02:38 PM

So admittedly, I'm as itchy as everyone else on these forums waiting to see the Twins do something about their starting rotation. Obviously, nothing has happened. We hear continuously that they "are interested" in this pitcher or that pitcher, but no signings have occurred (yet). Most of us realize that the Twins' "interest" is akin to one of us saying that we "are interested" in Heidi Klum or Katy Perry. IOW, it ain't gonna happen because there needs to be mutual interest from both parties. And most of the (good) starting pitchers available on the market aren't willing to play for the Twins at some cut rate price and on a team that (for now) is a non-contender in 2013.

So I had this dreaded realization -- and premature, I certainly realize -- that Terry Ryan and the rest of the Twins braintrust might have already come to the realization that they really aren't in on any of the good quality starting pitchers who are available on the market. They don't stand a chance, either because they don't want to spend the dollars, or there just isn't mutual interest from the pitchers who are out there. So maybe all of this spurned interest has forced TR & Co. to move on to the fallback plan. I certainly hope not, but I can see them sitting in their offices already trying to convince themselves that the following rotation for 2013 will be good enough to get the job done:

1. Scott Diamond
2. Kyle Gibson
3. Liam Hendriks
4. Sam Deduno (or Cole Devries or P.J. Walters)
5. Innings eater street free agent

1. We know Diamond is a lock. Most people agree that he would be a #3 or #4 guy on any other team, but on the Twins he will be their Opening Day starter. Lock it down now, people!

2. Kyle is having a great season in the AFL. Seems fully recovered from Tommy John surgery. He might not start the season in the rotation, but it definitely won't take him long to fall into one of their open slots. The Twins might just try to rush him into the majors -- and yet limit his innings -- if no other options present themselves.

3. TR says (and yes, I'm making this up): "He got better the more we threw him out there. Had some good starts towards the end of the season. Once he got that first win, it seemed to relieve some of the mental pressure on him, and he pitched better. So we'll start the season with him penciled in to the rotation and go from there." (End of made up quote.)

4. Cole is still on the 40-man roster, so maybe he should be listed first. But my point here is that for all three of these guys -- Sam, Cole, or P.J. -- it was their first year as regular starters in the majors. The bright lights might have scared them a little. They might have taken awhile to find their groove. And by the time they did, the rigors of a full season might have started to wear on their arms/bodies a little bit. Maybe there was too much pressure on them in their first year. A 2nd year will give them time to settle in a little more. To be a bit more comfortable from the get-go in the starting rotation. That first year of seasoning will do wonders for them. They all had ERA's under 5, right, once you take out a few shaky starts and look at how they produced once they had settled in and weren't battling injuries? If we can get one of these guys -- whoever looks the best coming out of spring training -- to eat innings and hold an ERA in the low to mid 4.00 range, then with our firepower we can put enough runs up on the board to get a win more often than not. (Again, sounds like I'm quoting TR, but I'm just trying to think like him.)

5. And this slot would be reserved for the perennial bargain bin street free agent. The "gamble" or reclamation project made by the front office that we see every year, or more appropriately, the "innings eater" with a 4.54 career ERA who just might thrive in the friendly confines of Target Field. In the past it was Jason Marquis.... Carl Pavano (when they re-signed him).... Livian Hernandez... R.A. Dickey (yes, this 2012 Cy Young winner was on the Twins once, and signed as a reclamation project from Seattle).... Ramon Ortiz... and, let us not forget...Sidney Ponson. Unfortunately, as we all know (and I just realized yet again as I typed that list), this is "The Twins Way" and someone in this category WILL be signed before spring training begins.

So who will be this year's lucky winner for the #5 spot? Will it be the devil you know -- someone who has been on the Twins before, like Kevin Slowey (yes, the Indians released him and he's out there), Carl Pavano (who is now fully recovered and willing to sign a "prove it" incentive-laden deal), Francisco Liriano (who despite his inconsistency, COULD at times be very good)? Or will it be the devil you don't know, like Joe Saunders, or Jeremy Guthrie (who just re-signed with KC), or Shaun Marcum, or Joe Blanton, or Roy Oswalt, or ????

But my point is made. The Twins can easily (I'm afraid) justify going into 2013 with a rotation that looks pretty close to what you see above. I suspect they will make a trade -- no, I HOPE they will make a trade -- and bring in a quality starter in exchange for one of their Outfielders or Justin Morneau, but I think TR tends to overvalue his trade pieces. So even if he makes that trade, I wouldn't be surprised if he trades one of his major pieces for a bunch of prospects (aka a magic bag of beans) that aren't Major League ready with the hope that he can get by for another year with the 5-man rotation noted above while those prospects gain some seasoning in AAA until they're ready in 2014.

I'm rambling at this point. I'll stop. But I felt the need to vent a little frustration at the lack of activity and at the continued following of "The Twins Way" when it comes to filling in holes with unproven gambles or retreads. I know that I should have hope. And I still do. And I hope that I'm proven wrong. I really do. Maybe 2013 will have a rotation of Scott Diamond and four shiny new pitchers who will stay healthy and lead the charge back to playoff contention. We'll see! :)

#2 StormJH1

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 02:50 PM

Somewhere in there was an argument/position about what you think the Twins front office might be thinking, and that seems to be that they could just limp into 2013 with the same assortment of crap they had last year, plus 150-ish innnings of Kyle Gibson and a Jason Marquis-like rotation stuffer. If that's the plan, good luck. It'll be a fun month and a half of baseball before we're talking about Morneau as a rental player trade and moving Josh Willingham again (provided he's still here).

I think Terry Ryan will do SOMETHING tradewise, if only to avoid the Free Agent market as much as he can. It's just sad/frustrating because you would to think the Twins could sign 2 or 3 of these mid-tier guys, trade Span for "B" or "C" prospect or post-hype young starter, and probably threaten 80 wins next year while keeping the payroll under $100 million. And they absolutely won't do that.

Also, let's not get too married to the idea that Scott Diamond is a "staff ace". He pitched well last year, but there was absolutely no track record to support that, and it's not like he was blowing guys away even when he was "on", either. I just get the sense that Twins fans will feel this deep sense of betrayal if Diamond posts a 5.00 ERA next year, and they probably shouldn't.

#3 chagen

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 02:56 PM

If this is the case Bill and Seth will get there way and we can watch another year of Minor League Starting Pitching and watch more season ticket holders leave and wonder why.

#4 Twins Twerp

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 03:12 PM

I don't think TR could get away with a winter lik that. The fans would not allow it. I personally like TR and think he is a damn good gm, but I do wish we would have gone a different direction for this fact alone: TR is going to try to build a winner next year. I do not think it is possible with the bunch we have right now. The pitching staff is the worst in the league and adding high price free agents will only hurt the teams future (unless we sign four studs). I think David St. Pierre (who never gets included in the three stooges argument for some reason), needs to bring in someone else to clean house and build for 2014. No way do I trade a proven MLB body like Mornie, Span, or Willingham, for someone who isn't going to be under team control until 2016. I'm talking prospects, loads and loads of prospects. Build the best farm system in the game.

I know what some of you are saying, the KC Royals did that and look at how they have done with the best farm system for half a decade. True, I get that. But my argument would be the same argument Democrats used to have about universal gov't run health care: We can do it better than them because we are the US. In other words, we have better development and we have been relevant more recent than they have.

We can follow the Rays vision. Suck for a few years, bring prospects along slowly, nail your top draft picks, sign people before they get too good to sign, and be a perennial contender. The best thing is, we have more payroll flexibility once we get to where they are at.

Another counter argument: "If you rebuild, you are wasting Mauers prime years rebuilding." To answer that I have nothing. Sure it sucks, but the last two years have sucked. We have added nothing new to the farm system while sucking, than we would have had we been winning. So you mind as well try to build a contender while we still have Mauer in 2016.

To sum up: REBUILD THE FARM SYSTEM AT THE EXPENSE OF THE MLB TEAM!!!

#5 Boom Boom

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 03:21 PM

It's not about how good the Twins feel about their fallback plan - it's about convincing the fans that, whatever happens, they'll be competitive, at least until it becomes painfully obvious during the season that they won't.

Honestly I don't believe the Twins think they will be competitive next year. They just say otherwise so they don't drive away the ticket buyers.

#6 glanzer

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 04:15 PM

I agree that hearing zero Twins rumors is frustrating and I like most others am extremely impatient. To me, this lack of activity is more frustrating than the actual losing going on on the field during the season. The biggest Twins news so far this offseason is coaching and personnel shakeups. Of course Terry Ryan is the most tight-lipped executive in sports, so what can be expected.

#7 ThePuck

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 04:21 PM

Everyone seems to believe that winning is their goal...and by winning, I mean really winning...playoff bound and a true W Series contender.

I believe their goal is to maximize profits. I don't think ownership gives a rat's behind about winning or losing...just about money. So they'll slap a team together, hoping they get a few more wins and are competitive in the division, so attendance doesn't drop any lower than last year, or gets a bit better, and that's that.

#8 70charger

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 04:43 PM

God, there's so much impatience in this thread. I'd prefer something real to speculation, but maybe that's just me.

#9 minn55441

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 04:44 PM

Everyone seems to believe that winning is their goal...and by winning, I mean really winning...playoff bound and a true W Series contender.

I believe their goal is to maximize profits. I don't think ownership gives a rat's behind about winning or losing...just about money. So they'll slap a team together, hoping they get a few more wins and are competitive in the division, so attendance doesn't drop any lower than last year, or gets a bit better, and that's that.


I think Gardy wants to win next year. In fact if they don't finish above .500 I think he and Rick Anderson are gone. I think Terry Ryan wants to win (yes, a world series), but I think he takes the attitude that he doesn't want to give away our future (prospects such as Sano, Hicks, Buxton) to win now. He will try and balance wins this year with a future that still looks bright.

I think you are right about the Pohlad's however. I think they want to win, but only if they can make money doing it. I don't think they are interested in losing money to buy a championship. I'm sure TR has some flexibility with his payroll, as long as he doesn't lose money. With the reduction in ticket sales in 2013, it will be interesting to see how aggressively TR will be with free agents. I don't agree with the premise that there is a fallback plan. They will add 2 if not 3 pitchers, personally I'm hoping for 4.

#10 old nurse

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 04:49 PM

God, there's so much impatience in this thread. I'd prefer something real to speculation, but maybe that's just me.


Whith nothing tangible and faulty leaks there is only speculation to post about. More than speculation, there is just a lot of baseless complaining.

#11 ThePuck

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 05:16 PM

God, there's so much impatience in this thread. I'd prefer something real to speculation, but maybe that's just me.


I think EVERYONE would prefer something real...have you seen something happen the rest of us missed?

#12 twinsnorth49

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 05:18 PM

Somewhere in there was an argument/position about what you think the Twins front office might be thinking, and that seems to be that they could just limp into 2013 with the same assortment of crap they had last year, plus 150-ish innnings of Kyle Gibson and a Jason Marquis-like rotation stuffer. If that's the plan, good luck. It'll be a fun month and a half of baseball before we're talking about Morneau as a rental player trade and moving Josh Willingham again (provided he's still here).

I think Terry Ryan will do SOMETHING tradewise, if only to avoid the Free Agent market as much as he can. It's just sad/frustrating because you would to think the Twins could sign 2 or 3 of these mid-tier guys, trade Span for "B" or "C" prospect or post-hype young starter, and probably threaten 80 wins next year while keeping the payroll under $100 million. And they absolutely won't do that.

Also, let's not get too married to the idea that Scott Diamond is a "staff ace". He pitched well last year, but there was absolutely no track record to support that, and it's not like he was blowing guys away even when he was "on", either. I just get the sense that Twins fans will feel this deep sense of betrayal if Diamond posts a 5.00 ERA next year, and they probably shouldn't.


I don't think many realistic people are married to the idea that Diamond is an Ace. I think they're more fearful that the Twins are going to consider him one. I'm a Diamond fan but I'm under no illusion that he's likely to sustain last year's success, you're right in the fact that if he doesn't he's going to get unfairly castigated by the masses.

#13 ThePuck

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 05:24 PM

I think Gardy wants to win next year. In fact if they don't finish above .500 I think he and Rick Anderson are gone.


I wasn't referring to Gardy or the players...

#14 ThePuck

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 05:27 PM

In no way should a pitcher who was a rookie last year, and who posted a 2nd half ERA of 4.31, be considered any kind of Ace. He's a decent #3. But he's the best we got, which is sad.

#15 righty8383

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 05:29 PM

In no way should a pitcher who was a rookie last year, and who posted a 2nd half ERA of 4.31, be considered any kind of Ace. He's a decent #3. But he's the best we got, which is sad.


Yep, but unless we get someone better like Shields for example, Diamond will be the starting pitcher on April 1st.:banghead:

#16 Riverbrian

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 06:35 PM

If the Winter concludes and the Pitchers report and Twins pitching isn't significantly addressed. I will then be disappointed. Until then... I'm on their side.

#17 beckmt

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 06:55 PM

If you look at what Guthrie(an innings eater type got), it is frightning(Believe it is posted at 3 years for $25 mil). Prices as expected are heading out of sight. Twins may be reduced to trading 1 - 2 outfielders for prospects(and they had better be right). I also am giving TR the benefit of the doubt, but hope that something happens soon.