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Still so far away/ the time is now.

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#1 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 05:02 PM

Today's performance was another reminder (OK, I never really forgot) of just how bad this team is, and just how far away we still are.

I often hear it tossed around that it is all just the necessary growing pains for what is going to be a resurgance beginning in 2015. (Some have even suggested 2014, to which I am speechless.)

I'm sorry, but I just can't see anything that soon as being possible.
We could be in this mess for several more years to come.

I think some of that optimism might have been valid coming into the season, after all it was supposed to be a year in which we identified which players were going to be a part of that future. (That is of course, unless you believe the words of the front office, when they adamantly claimed that they were putting a contending team on the field.)

Yet, here we, a little more than 3/4 through the season, and not a whole lot has become much clearer.
In fact, aside from Dozier, and perhaps Arcia, the things that have become clearer have been negatives.

Here it is, 8/18, and Terry Ryan still chooses to roster a 25 man team full of players who will (or at least SHOULD) not have any part of our future.

Here it is, 8/18 and Gardy still chooses to field a lineup full of players who will (or again, SHOULD) not be part of our next division winning team.

Gardy continues his obsession with carrying 3 catchers, rather than evaluating someone who could possibly be a part of the future.
Even in the extremely unlikely situation where you are forced to finish a game without your DH, what is the worst consequence of that? You might lose an otherwise winnable game? In a season like this, I say big deal. Is the 0.1% chance of losing an otherwise winnable game worth demoting a player who just a week ago you claimed needed everyday AB's so we could see what we had in him?

Among our position players, we have perhaps 3 or 4 players who might actually be a part of our future?
Sorry, that is not good enough.
Rip the Astros and Marlins all you want, but at least their losing is for a better cause.
At least those clubs are rolling with guys who might be a part of something down the road. At least those clubs aren't trotting out guys like Doug Bernier, Ryan Doumit, Clete Thomas, Wilkin Ramirez, and Chris Herrmann.

Coming into the season I heard our starting rotation couldn't possibly be as bad.
Fast forward 102 games, and it's just as bad, with no reason to believe it will get better anytime soon.

Even if Sano pans out and replaces Plouffe, and Buxton pans out and becomes Mike Trout, and Rosario pans out and moves Dozier for a prospect (he was a disaster at SS, not sure where else you can move him), even if Meyer pans out and replaces Correia or Pelfry, does that turn us into a division winner? I don't think it's nearly enough.

In order to create an environment where our top prospects can thrive and propel us back to the top of the division, they are going to need to be augmented by an overhaul in philosophy by both upper and field management.
No more bargain bin hunting for starting pitchers.
No more waiting until guys hit their lowest possible value before moving them.
No more giving valuable playing time to guys who don't have a future here.
No more complaining about a lack of bench move options, when you are carrying 13 pitchers and 3 catchers.
No more sitting Arcia against lefties, just so that a journeyman like Wilkin Ramirez can "get some swings in".
No more catchers and DH's playing in the outfield.
No more throwing young players under the bus in the media when they make a mistake. It's not exactly breaking news that young, inexperienced players are going to make mistakes. Handle those things behind closed doors.
No more mocking and thumbing your nose at advanced metrics. Both statistical AND scouting analysis are needed in the modern game. Don't let your pride be your downfall.

In closing, I'm as excited as anyone about our farm system. I can't tell you exciting it is to have a once in a generation prospect like Buxton doing the things he's doing, to have a legit impact bat like Sano, and a couple front line starter prospects in Meyer and Stewart.
But until/unless Terry Ryan is willing/able to augment those guys by being more aggressive in free agency and in the international market (I'm talking about the big $$$ guys not covered by the spending pool), it's not going to be enough.
And until/unless Gardy is willing/able to admit that he has some major flaws in how he fills out the lineup card and handles certain players, it's not going to be enough.
The time is now. We are at a tipping point. This thing is about to go one of two ways, the necessary pains of a rebuilding process, or simply just one more lost season in the midst of a long stretch of bad baseball.
Things have to change this offseason if this organization is serious about winning.
Gardy has proven he is capable of being a good manager, and Terry Ryan has proven he is capable of being a good GM. But, nobody is immune to being passed on by time.
The MLB, like most businesses, is constantly evolving and shifting. It's time for those two guys to step up and admit that there are mistakes being made, and organizational beliefs that need to be changed.
If they insist on winning, I have faith that they can.
If they insist on winning "their way", then we might be in for a long run of ineptitude.

Sorry, extremely long winded rant over.

Edited by Mr. Brooks, 18 August 2013 - 05:10 PM.


#2 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 05:12 PM

The pitching, while still awful, is not "just as bad". It's a full half run better in ERA.

#3 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 05:17 PM

The pitching, while still awful, is not "just as bad". It's a full half run better in ERA.


That is mostly due to an improved bullpen.
I was clearly referring to starting pitching. Our starters are only 0.3 runs better, and with the real Deduno stepping forward, it could be much closer by the end of the year.

#4 benchwarmerjim

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 06:03 PM

I'd rather see Herrmann in the lineup than Clete Thomas.

Anyway, Im not one to get overly worked up about roster construction and stuff, (Im not sitting in the GMs office listening to phone calls and rarely do you get useful info during interviews), or who why a guy is in Gardy's doghouse (again, not in the lockerroom so I dont know the full story)

but this off season is a huge one. (cliche alert!!!). The Twins absolutely have to get a stud pitcher, whether it be through trade or free agency. Too me, its "#1 with a bullet" priority. Because if next season the starting pitching staff looks like what we have this year, there is no hope to luck into 90 wins and then make a run in the playoffs.

#5 Willihammer

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 06:47 PM

Would it be fair to say that you view the 2013 Twins' position similarly to the 2010 Astros or the 2012 Marlins'?

#6 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 06:55 PM

Would it be fair to say that you view the 2013 Twins' position similarly to the 2010 Astros or the 2012 Marlins'?


I don't know. I'm not sure I follow those organizations closely enough to know what type of organizational changes they made.

I'm just saying that I think there are issues other than talent that needs to be addressed. Such as avenues for acquiring talent, the Twins over reliance on "traditional" scouting, their disdain for advanced metrics and outside input, their relative "conservative" approach to FA (Terry Ryan seems scared to death to make a big $$ mistake, well, IMO you can't win if you don't play), and several other areas that I feel need to be addressed.

I'm not giving up on the GM or the manager, I hope I am clear in that.
Both have proven, while flawed, they are CAPABLE of being successful. I just feel they have failed to adapt thus far, are stuck in a previous era that no longer exists.
If they can be self critical, and address their shortcomings, I think they can rebound. If they are not capable of that, and choose to stubbornly plow ahead with what right now is not working, then it could be a long decade.

#7 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 07:00 PM

I guess I'm not sure what you are arguing for. We have a nice farm, you've said so yourself. If we sign a crap load of players, those guys get blocked. If you are saying "Go out and get a good FA pitcher to complement these guys when they come up", I think you have a point, but I don't think you'll be able to make 2014 a playoff caliber team by what's available in free agency, even if the Pohlads gave Ryan the green light to spend on whatever he wanted. Nor do I think trading from that farm is particularly wise either. The time is now to stockpile talent that fits into this next group of guys.

Rebuilds are typically a five year process. We are in year three, and I suspect we will really start seeing reasons to get our hopes up next year and in 2015. It takes time.

#8 Danchat

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 07:28 PM

Look... I haven't enjoyed all these veteran players playing. We haven't traded any veterans for some real prospects... (shoulda maybe traded Perkins?) Doumit in RF has given me stomachaches. Why is he playing there? There are so many players who aren't apart of the future and are starting. That's what I don't like.

And on the starting pitching, I knew it would be this horrible. I'm glad we got May and Meyer, but I think May will be a bullpen pitchers and Meyer needs to stay healthy.

#9 clutterheart

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 07:51 PM

That is mostly due to an improved bullpen.
I was clearly referring to starting pitching. Our starters are only 0.3 runs better, and with the real Deduno stepping forward, it could be much closer by the end of the year.


Don't Blame Deduno for today.
Very few pitchers could have success with an outfield consisting of:
Ramirez CF
Arcia - RF
Willingham - LF

There were more than a few doubles that could have been singles or even outs if Hicks was in the line-up.
This is not Gardy's fault as its Ryan who sets the roster

#10 clutterheart

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 08:00 PM

I think the Pirates are the model to build on here. They have some really nice position player talent with some nice pitching but went out and spent 30 Million on Burnett and Wandy Rodriguez. Those guys took the pressure off their young players and now they are in first and now they have the talent to go far in the postseason if they get there.

Ryan's plan probably is to wait until Buxton/Sano come up and see where the pitching staff is at. But we still need to wait 2 years for that.

The problem is the team has Joe Mauer who is one of the best players in the game. And Ryan is wasting Mauer's years catching for this pitching staff.

BUT. As a fan, I can wait through the bad years, because I see amazing things coming down the pipeline.

That pitching staff in E-town is so young but there is a lot of talent there. I would guess none of those guys will be ready until 2016 or so...but...I can wait.

#11 Rosterman

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 08:15 PM

Sometimes I cringe with Gardy's line-up construction. But considering that the team has NO LEGIT #1 and #2 hitters this year, who can argue (leave Mauer at #3). Then we get to who bats clean-up, let alone 5th and 6th. We have no problem putting guys in the 7th-8th-9th spots.

We can't argue about who Ryan didn't sign this past off-season. It was a dismal crop in the end. I just wish we could totally start over (someone claim Correia) with a new crop of wannabees and rejects and revivals in 2014. Of course, ....

2014 will be the real season to see what we have.

Chris Merrmann and Josmil Pinto (and maybe Rohfling) will get shots at catcher.
Parmelee will make or break himself as a first baseman. Colabello is a temporary choice, nothing mroe, nothing less.
Dozier is the place-setter at second/
We need someone other tha nFlorimon or escobar at shortstop, but both will have next season to impress.
Plouffe will egt at bats and then has to make the decision to long for free agency or become a utility/bench guy.
Arcia will hold down an outfield spot.
Hicks is still questionable. Could see him starting next season at AAA. But who else will the Twins field...Bigley, Mastro. It's too bad Benson didn't totally realize the opportunity he had.
We have Worley and Hendriks and Deduno and Albers and Diamond and whomever for the rotation. Okay, Gibson go be up or down again. Maybe May or Meyer will shine.
The bullpen is overstocked. Will the Twins 40-man Aaron Thompson. Will Tonkin shine in September. Will Oliveros and Guerra come back. There is strength in the bullpen with the only casuality being Roeincke....probably.

2014...the same players will have an opportunity to show that they will stay as others push from the wings - Rosario, Sano, Vargas, maybe Buxton, Santana.

But the Twins better be stockpiling monies for 2015. I expect them to open the vault bigtime to pursue a bat or two, at least one qualified long-term starter, and maybe a fantastic bench vet.
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rosterman at www.twinscards.com

#12 howieramone1406390264

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 08:22 PM

They will have the bats by 2015. Only question is starting pitching.

#13 Willihammer

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 08:33 PM

I don't know if they'll need to wait that long necessarily.

I could see this lineup out of ST 2014:

Dozier
Mauer 1B
Hammer
Sano
Arcia
Plouffe DH
Doumit C
Mastroianni
Florigroan / Escobar / Bernier / Free Agent

That lineup could struggle, or, with a few breaks, right they could put up some crooked numbers I think.

#14 TheLeviathan

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 08:54 PM

I don't know if they'll need to wait that long necessarily.

I could see this lineup out of ST 2014:

Dozier
Mauer 1B
Hammer
Sano
Arcia
Plouffe DH
Doumit C
Mastroianni
Florigroan / Escobar / Bernier / Free Agent

That lineup could struggle, or, with a few breaks, right they could put up some crooked numbers I think.


That lineup inspires me as much as the 2013 lineup inspired me before the season: not much.

I like Arcia to really bust out next year (though it's about time we start talking about the fact that he's a DH, because holy hell is he brutal in the OF), but other than that I see a lot of injuries and disappointments in that group. We're still too far away from debuts and even if they do debut, we have to be fair and expect struggles.

#15 raindog

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 08:57 PM

I don't know if they'll need to wait that long necessarily.

I could see this lineup out of ST 2014:

Dozier
Mauer 1B
Hammer
Sano
Arcia
Plouffe DH
Doumit C
Mastroianni
Florigroan / Escobar / Bernier / Free Agent

That lineup could struggle, or, with a few breaks, right they could put up some crooked numbers I think.


I don't think that lineup is going to strike fear into any team's hearts. Starting pitching will still be bad.

2015 will be the earliest the Twins can compete unless something miraculous happens.

#16 beckmt

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 08:57 PM

I don't know if they'll need to wait that long necessarily.

I could see this lineup out of ST 2014:

Dozier
Mauer 1B
Hammer
Sano
Arcia
Plouffe DH
Doumit C
Mastroianni
Florigroan / Escobar / Bernier / Free Agent

That lineup could struggle, or, with a few breaks, right they could put up some crooked numbers I think.


Not an unreasonable lineup, still need starting pitching and should have the money to sign some.

#17 jorgenswest

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 09:04 PM

I don't know if they'll need to wait that long necessarily.

I could see this lineup out of ST 2014:

Dozier
Mauer 1B
Hammer
Sano
Arcia
Plouffe DH
Doumit C
Mastroianni
Florimon / Escobar / Bernier / Free Agent

That lineup could struggle, or, with a few breaks, right they could put up some crooked numbers I think.


That would be a historically bad defensive line up. Mastroianni will be below average in CF. Sano may be at the bottom of the league. Arcia will be close. Willingham should be DH. The Twins may be the only team in baseball that would play Doumit at catcher.

If the Twins want to develop pitching, they need to have a real defense behind them. Long term, it is better for the development of pitchers if they start with a foundation of defense.

It might be better to have fewer crooked numbers on both sides.

#18 mike wants wins

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 09:16 PM

Which pitchers, exactly, would new pitchers block? I count zero legit MLB pitchers on this roster. And no one in AAA. At least the Astros and Marlins were honest about their rebuilds. Rip the Marlins all you want, but they traded their vets at peak.....what, exactly, has Ryan done that makes next year look better? Meyer, may, Correia? That is what he has added so far. How does that make you feel about next year?
Lighten up Francis....

#19 Kwak

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 09:25 PM

Wait until 2016? Maybe Rookie League pitchers will become all-stars, maybe I'll lose 25 lbs?
...maybe the Twins decide to spend money and put a better team on the field next year? Or is it the strategy to pour Kool-Aid, tout the "best minor league system in the majors", and use the profit to pay down the short-term debt--yeah that's "The Twins Way". I can only imagine what quote they will use in 2015 when Sano and Buxton on on the Twins and the minor league system falls to league average. Maybe: "These are your Minnesota Twins--get to know 'em"! ...and pray.

#20 CGNikolic

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 09:25 PM

I would put the struggles on this franchise much more on Ryan than on Gardy, as he is just trying to field the best lineup he can and win every night. He cannot be focused on the future, because that is the mentality that leads to managers being fired. Righting this ship is on Ryan to start spending more (although I think the Pohlads love his spending habits, and may be a big part of it) and for us to keep building our farm system, while trading away veterans who are not part of our future. It is the same thing as Philadelphia, Manuel should not have been blamed or fired, and neither should Gardenhire. This is on Ryan and the regime before him. And if anyone gets punished for the on going struggles from the last three years, it is the FO. I like Ryan a lot don't get me wrong, but this is all much more on him than Gardy and his staff. You can't win games with an outfield like the one that was thrown out there today. I would not be surprised if Gardy resigns at some point.. but I hope that the Twins have the decency to realize he is not the problem. And DO NOT fire him in midseason like Philadelphia just unmercifully did to Manuel.

#21 clutterheart

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 10:16 PM

If Bernier makes the team out of Spring Training Ryan failed as a GM.
He's a great story and all but...I have seen him play SS and it wasn't fun.

#22 clutterheart

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 10:23 PM

I count zero legit MLB pitchers on this roster. And no one in AAA.


Thats a little extreme. But I guess "legit" is in the eye of the beholder. I think every starter on the team right now is a legit MLB pitcher. Hell even Diamond could make a lot of teams out of spring training.

The problem is they are all back end #5 type guys. No one who is going to be consistent and could open a playoff series without shame. (or even pitch the 3rd game of the playoffs)

So I would say:
There isn't any GOOD starting pitchers on the team, and Gibson is probably the only one who has the potential to be good.

#23 Marta Shearing

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 06:48 AM

I don't know if they'll need to wait that long necessarily.
I could see this lineup out of ST 2014:

Dozier
Mauer 1B
Hammer
Sano
Arcia
Plouffe DH
Doumit C
Mastroianni
Florigroan / Escobar / Bernier / Free Agent

That lineup could struggle, or, with a few breaks, right they could put up some crooked numbers I think.

No thanks to any lineup including Plouffe.

#24 mike wants wins

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 07:33 AM

I count two, Correia and Gibson. Ryan has said several times it's a transitional year. That's another way of saying rebuilding, as if it really matters.


Actually, the Twins stated, while trying to sell tickets last year, that they would do what it took to sign pitching, and that they expected to play meaningful games in the fall. Not once has this team admitted, to its fans or itself, that it is rebuillding. If it had, they never would have signed Doumit to an extension, for example.

Fair enough, there are probably a bunch of #5/AAAA starters on this roster.....but I guess that's just not enough for me.
Lighten up Francis....

#25 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 07:57 AM

I guess I'm not sure what you are arguing for. We have a nice farm, you've said so yourself. If we sign a crap load of players, those guys get blocked. If you are saying "Go out and get a good FA pitcher to complement these guys when they come up", I think you have a point, but I don't think you'll be able to make 2014 a playoff caliber team by what's available in free agency, even if the Pohlads gave Ryan the green light to spend on whatever he wanted. Nor do I think trading from that farm is particularly wise either. The time is now to stockpile talent that fits into this next group of guys.

Rebuilds are typically a five year process. We are in year three, and I suspect we will really start seeing reasons to get our hopes up next year and in 2015. It takes time.


What I am hoping for is to not stubbornly close off avenues for acquiring talent.
There are plenty of spots on this roster that could be improved without blocking a prospect.
You know as well as anyone that not all (in fact most) prospects don't pan out. I'm fine with holding spots for Sano, Buxton and Meyer, but beyond those 3, all spots should be open for improvement.

I'm arguing for a stop to this ignorance from the front office and the manager regarding advanced metrics, and outside input.
Sure, many of the advanced metrics can be flawed, but that doesn't mean you throw out the baby with the bathwater. Teams that have embraced these concepts are thriving, so obviously there is some good to be found in them.
They hired one stats guy, mostly (IMO) to appease the cries for it, as evidenced by Gardy's need to get cheap shots in (Cybermetrics).
When is the last time they looked outside the organization for input? Why not go try to find a rising star in one of the organizations that is actually thriving at what the Twins strive for (building a consistently competitive club on the cheap)?
Are you a fan of the HBO series The Newsroom?
I'm not sure if this is actually done, but on the show, when they are investigating a major news story, they intentionally keep some people in the dark, so that when the story is ready, they can use them as "The Red Team". The Red Team's job is to be a fresh set of eyes on the story, free of bias and emotional attachment, to look at the story and try to poke holes in it for credibility.
It seems like a good concept to me. But, the Twins organization seems to live in a bubble, they seem to think that they are superior, and to invite someone in from outside the organization would be a sin.
Sometimes it seems to me that winning "their way", is more important than winning.

I don't think you can complete a rebuild exclusively with prospects.Obviously
you want your foundation to be made up of homegrown talent, but it needs to be supported by key acquisitions, and those acquisitions can't always be found on the cheap.

Finally, I wan't Terry Ryan to prove capable of not being afraid to take a big risk in free agency.
As I said before, it seems like is his scared to make a big money mistake.
While you obviously don't want to make too many of them, other teams have shown that you can make 1 or 2 big mistakes in FA, and still overcome them.
You can't win if you don't play, you can't hit a HR if you don't swing the bat.
If there is a high priced FA pitcher, or a high priced Cuban FA who can help this team, I'd like to see Terry Ryan be aggressive and overpay a bit for them if he has to.

#26 Kwak

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 08:19 AM

"Sometimes it seems to me that winning "their way", is more important than winning."

So true! GMs don't get kudos for doing the same thing everybody else does. Sort of like that line "...but if we win, we'll change baseball." That's the motto.

#27 nicksaviking

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 08:45 AM

I guess I'm not sure what you are arguing for. We have a nice farm, you've said so yourself. If we sign a crap load of players, those guys get blocked.


No, he does not want to sign a crap load of players, to me it seems he wants to sign a couple of actual upgrades. I'm with him, I cannot say enough how much I detest Ryan's five-for-a-dollar free agent stratagy. Those five guys ARE blocking the youngsters, use that money on one or two actual upgrades. Doumit, Carrol, Correia and Pelfrey had absolutely no business being on a team that started out the season at this stage of a rebuild. Go big in free agency or use the prospects, no more half-measures.

#28 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 08:57 AM

I don't think anyone disagrees with the need to sign some actual upgrades. The disagreement is like more along the lines of "when" and not if. I don't agree when you say spots should only be reserved for Sano, Buxton, and Meyer (I'd add Stewart to this list, but he's got a ways to go). Spots have to be open to allow for tryouts. Guys like Rosario, May, Berrios, Parmelee, Darnell, Worley, Hicks, Tonkin, Pinto, etc. all need to get opportunities. In some cases (like starting pitching) spending some money and getting an established guy won't really get in the way of things. Getting several of them will. I personally think free agency needs to be targeted to fill in those gaps, but it's hard to know where those gaps are until the kids come up and start playing. That part takes patience.

I think we all agree that getting the KCs of the world is getting old. I don't have a problem with some bargain basement guys, but I want upside (like Harden), even with risk. Given where the Twins are, I don't see a whole lot of signings this year, as spots need to be open to let the kids play. I would be wholeheartedly in favor of a FA signing of one solid pitcher, but beyond that, lots of guys are going to need to get auditions, and I'd rather target high risk high reward type guys.

#29 TheLeviathan

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 08:58 AM

Those five guys ARE blocking the youngsters


This is maybe the thing that is bugging me most right now. I'm really tired of watching Clete Thomas, Ryan Doumit, and the rest of the cavalcade of guys that won't be here in two years taking the bulk of the at-bats.

If we're going to be terrible I'd at least like it to be for a purpose. (Player progression)

#30 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 09:05 AM

There are 25 spots on the MLB roster.
There is plenty of room to sign a couple of impact FA's without affecting the possibility of those handful of players you mention getting their shot at a roster spot when their time comes.