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The model organization to emulate?

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#1 ThePuck

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 04:07 PM

Some interesting parts:

'The amazing thing to me is the Cardinals won the World Series in 2006 and the only two players left from that roster are Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina (plus the injured Chris Carpenter). '

'But the rest of the roster has completely turned over, and it's been done without the luxury of high draft picks, usually the surest way to developing stars.... '

'What makes the Cardinals so smart, however, is that they don't necessarily fall in love with their prospects. They're very good at evaluation once these guys start playing in the minors. Daric Barton, Brett Wallace and Zack Cox were all first-round picks traded away before reaching the majors. The team traded Colby Rasmus back in 2011 to help bring in reinforcements for a playoff run, believing in Jon Jay in center field. '

The best organization in baseball - SweetSpot Blog - ESPN
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#2 Thrylos

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 07:48 PM

I'd have a hard time looking at any La Russa managed team and think that the players are clean. Sorry.
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#3 Kwak

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 09:08 PM

Is La Russa around? NO. Did he assemble these players? Do the present Cardinals give the impression of rampant drug use? NO and NO. When MLB cast its net this year, were any Cardinals mentioned/cited? And if any present-day Cardinals really are users, how does this fall on La Russa?

#4 gunnarthor

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 09:46 PM

Is La Russa around? NO. Did he assemble these players? Do the present Cardinals give the impression of rampant drug use? NO and NO. When MLB cast its net this year, were any Cardinals mentioned/cited? And if any present-day Cardinals really are users, how does this fall on La Russa?


I always thought Molina was using something. Was I the only one?

#5 glunn

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 11:33 PM

This is getting way off topic.

The article about the Cardinals is interesting. Why not discuss what the Twins might learn from the Cardinals? Or perhaps debate whether the Rays or the A's or some other team might make a better role model?

#6 Trevor0333

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 12:41 AM

The obvious answer would be 50/50 between the Rays & A's. However that can't really be done the way they have succeeded so well in the past as easily atleast.

The Rays had an unprecedented streak of bad years getting top 5 picks, but they also very smartly played the compensation cards getting extra picks as FA comp in the few rounds. This really isnt possible anymore with the new FA compensation system.

The A's have traded guys before they lost their value, loaded up on pitching & smartly played the FA market with short term deals and using good analytics to identify bargains to take chances on. They also seem to platoon players as well as any maximizing value. With all the teams really being much smarter using all these new tools, fewer diamonds in the rough are falling through the cracks.

I would lean towards the Braves, they don't overpay or trade the wrong guys, arent afraid to deal the ones whom are & do an admirable job buying low on talent they feel they can turn around.

The Cardinals being a great example but they have had an unprecedented run of luck nailing on guyys in later rounds who have fourished. IT's almost uncanny.

Edited by Trevor0333, 11 October 2013 - 12:46 AM.


#7 Kwak

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 07:12 AM

The obvious answer would be 50/50 between the Rays & A's. However that can't really be done the way they have succeeded so well in the past as easily atleast.

The Rays had an unprecedented streak of bad years getting top 5 picks, but they also very smartly played the compensation cards getting extra picks as FA comp in the few rounds. This really isnt possible anymore with the new FA compensation system.

The A's have traded guys before they lost their value, loaded up on pitching & smartly played the FA market with short term deals and using good analytics to identify bargains to take chances on. They also seem to platoon players as well as any maximizing value. With all the teams really being much smarter using all these new tools, fewer diamonds in the rough are falling through the cracks.

I would lean towards the Braves, they don't overpay or trade the wrong guys, arent afraid to deal the ones whom are & do an admirable job buying low on talent they feel they can turn around.

The Cardinals being a great example but they have had an unprecendented run of luck nailing on guys in later rounds who have flourished. IT's almost uncanny.


Frame this and give a copy to the front office: a) there is a lot of talent in the draft other than the top three players; B) it isn't luck that teams find these players; c) you have failed to credit the Cardinals (and others) to deveelop this young man into a quality MLB player--or is that luck also?; d) it is a pathetic response to obscure the failure in the Twins organization by claiming that success by others is luck.

#8 Marta Shearing

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 07:37 AM

Ryan still thinks teams emulate the Twins. I dont think he's open to looking outside the box.

#9 mike wants wins

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 08:13 AM

Lots of research in the business world shows that if all you try to do is take best practices, you can't win long term.....because everyone else is doing that. You need to do things differently.

I do think they can learn from the teams mentioned here, but their success is largely driven by end to end thinking....it isn't just about acquiring players, but how you use them on the field also.

I hope the Twins somehow get off their high horse, that they have this "one right way, the Twins way", and start showing they are changing/improving/evolving.
Lighten up Francis....

#10 Siehbiscuit

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 08:28 AM

Here are a few of my observations from spending time in a family (married into) of Cardinals fans.

This is the way the Twins need to run their organization in baseball. I hesitate to use the term 'best run organization,' because teams like the A's and the Rays, are operating with completely different budgets and they do a TREMENDOUS job with the resources they have. Ultimately, though it is about winning championships and having a team that has that opportnity every year. That's the Cardinals.

Pitching: There was an article in SI this summer that had an amazing Cardinals feature in it. It spoke of the organizational philosophy in what the look for in pitchers (didn't give details). They look for specific physical traits that keep their pitchers from breaking down and also makeup is a key component. Their stuff, although very important, is not top priority.

Fanbase support: Secondly, as a previous poster had said, the organization doesn't get "emotionally" attached. And like some posters here, that tend to fall into the "blindly" following of the Twins FO, the majority of Cardinals fans are like this. When it was time to sign Pujols, the fan base was split on whether to pay him the 10 year deal or not, but when the organization stuck to its model and said no to Pujols, the fanbase didn't have a meltdown (maybe a very short-term one), but send let's see how we can replace him and the FO did (at least in the aggregate). THe Twins FO may be on to a something, but the Cardinals FO has creditbility.

Acquiring FA: The Cardinals sign top free agents or trade for them as a part of their strategy. This is not their only way, they develop within and make trades, but they are not afraid to pony up some cash to fill a void. They don't get into the Elite/crazy expensive guys like Greinke, BJ Upton, or other guys, but they will find the RIGHT player at the RIGHT price. Lately, the Cards have been getting the injured-ridden, past their prime stars and pay them fairly and on shorter term deals (see Beltran and Berkman) and have milked their last couple of seasons from them. These guys have produced.

Development: The Cardinals' organization also develops players year after year, in both the minors and at the big league level. An area that often goes unnoticed is their young guys on the MLB roster keep improving. That can't be said about our favorite organization. Continung to improve in the minors AND at the MLB level is essential. Baseball America always has Cardinals prospects littering their top 100 and that is without high draft picks. They have a strategy in their scouting and developing that work hand in hand.

The Cardinals are in the same financial tier as the Twins and should be used as THE model. The A's and Rays have many great ideas that we can use, but the Cardinals have proven success over MANY seasons and agai we compare financially to the Cardinals.

#11 gunnarthor

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 08:33 AM

This is getting way off topic.

The article about the Cardinals is interesting. Why not discuss what the Twins might learn from the Cardinals? Or perhaps debate whether the Rays or the A's or some other team might make a better role model?


Seriously though, no one thinks Molina's a roider? I'm the only one?

More seriously, I think the Cards have probably been the best run org for some time now. They've had some nice stability in the FO and management for some time, the org knows who it is, they've used payroll pretty well to add nice pieces. I don't think they're the little team that could - they had nice payrolls and their fans were actually upset it didn't increase at times - but even teams with better payrolls haven't done as well as them. I've always been a bit dismissive of NL teams but we'll ignore that for now.

Edited by ChiTownTwinsFan, 11 October 2013 - 09:45 AM.


#12 JB_Iowa

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 09:13 AM

GREAT post, Siehbiscuit.

While I agree with mikewantswins that each team has to find their own path to success, there are obviously some strategies that the Twins could adopt from the Cards (and some other teams).

I was struck again, this morning, though by the "Money Factor". Before the playoffs began, SI had an article about how this year's playoff roster was the lowest average payroll. And that was true when the playoffs began. But when you look at where we are at going into the Division Series, we have 3 of the top 5 payrolls in baseball and the Cardinals at #11.

It seems to me that the Braves' success is very similar to that of the Twins. A lot of regular season success but limited playoff success (although not quite as dismal in the 1st round as the Twins).

The Cards seem to have been able to move beyond that. Although they have a bit more revenue than the Twins, its not so much as to put them into a different tier. It would be well worth it to study some of their strategies.

#13 ThePuck

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 09:25 AM

The Cards seem to have been able to move beyond that. Although they have a bit more revenue than the Twins, its not so much as to put them into a different tier. It would be well worth it to study some of their strategies.


Last year the Cardinals had 25M more in revenue. Haven't seen the numbers this year, but in baseball terms, is that considered a big gap, especially if they go by around the 52% rule? We're talking about an ability to spend and additional 12M+ difference in payroll. If we aren't AT our 52% spending anyway, does that difference actually matter?

Edited by ThePuck, 11 October 2013 - 09:40 AM.

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#14 JB_Iowa

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 09:55 AM

Last year the Cardinals had 25M more in revenue. Haven't seen the numbers this year, but in baseball terms, is that considered a big gap, especially if they go by around the 52% rule? We're talking about an ability to spend and additional 12M+ difference in payroll. If we aren't AT our 52% spending anyway, does that difference actually matter?


What we're looking at here is long-term strategy/success, isn't it? Not just a return to relevance next year?

All of these threads are starting to run together for me because it seems like it is coming down to $, $, $.

And, if so, isn't the question whether the Twins can be -- and STAY -- a mid-market team rather than fall into the bottom tier in revenue? And if they can do so, how do they translate that revenue (that is certainly greater than that of the A's, Rays, etc.) into success knowing that they will NEVER be in the same revenue category as the Yankees, Red, Sox, Dodger, etc.

Part of it may well be revisiting the 50% rule (or 52% or 54%) so that becomes an average over a period of years (7-10) rather than the "rule" for A particular year. If, in these years of futility, they said that they were harboring dollars for "better days" so they could really make a run when prospects arrive, I'd could accept that but it has never been their business model and it still isn't something that they talk about.

#15 ThePuck

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 10:09 AM

What we're looking at here is long-term strategy/success, isn't it? Not just a return to relevance next year?

All of these threads are starting to run together for me because it seems like it is coming down to $, $, $.

And, if so, isn't the question whether the Twins can be -- and STAY -- a mid-market team rather than fall into the bottom tier in revenue? And if they can do so, how do they translate that revenue (that is certainly greater than that of the A's, Rays, etc.) into success knowing that they will NEVER be in the same revenue category as the Yankees, Red, Sox, Dodger, etc.

Part of it may well be revisiting the 50% rule (or 52% or 54%) so that becomes an average over a period of years (7-10) rather than the "rule" for A particular year. If, in these years of futility, they said that they were harboring dollars for "better days" so they could really make a run when prospects arrive, I'd could accept that but it has never been their business model and it still isn't something that they talk about.


I was just asking for clarification on what you meant. You mentioned their revenue being a bit more, and all I'm saying is if their revenue is only 25M more than ours, the spending should only be a difference of 12M+. That 12M advantage for payroll is only there if both teams spend the same percentage, but if the Twins choose to spend say, 40%, now the gap in payroll advantage is artificially larger than it needs to be. And it goes both ways. If the Twins are spending their 52% but the Cards go nuts and spend 60%, that 12M+ difference will get artificially larger.

Does that make sense? I'm not making it about payroll, that was the last place I was going with this when I posted it, but I was looking to get clarification on something you wrote.

Edited by ThePuck, 11 October 2013 - 10:15 AM.

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#16 mike wants wins

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 10:11 AM

Thank you JB......this isn't about money, this is about a lot of things. Money matters, but it is not the only thing.
Lighten up Francis....

#17 whydidnt

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 10:26 AM

I think the one thing we can say about both the Cardinals and A's is that they aren't afraid to move "prospects" or supplement their talent with Free Agents. I would say the Twins under Terry Ryan have an extreme aversion to both. Certainly not the only way to be successful, but I fear the Twins have fallen too in love with themselves and their philosophy and aren't willing to try new approaches. It seems to me that after three straight awful seasons, you might be willing to try a new approach, yet we just hear Ryan saying they are going to keep doing what they've been doing.

#18 DJL44

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 10:49 AM

Whichever Cardinals executive negotiated that they qualify for a competitive balance draft pick was a genius.

#19 IdahoPilgrim

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 10:52 AM

At the risk of inciting a firestorm (which I am not intentionally trying to do) why are some people so enamored with the Oakland system?

Let me explain my question. The Twins have been critiqued for not embracing the newer competitive advantages that other teams have developed (and that critique is not without merit), and the A's are often seen as a model for that. Yet, they have not been that much more successful than Minnesota. They have won 1 postseason series during Billy Beane's tenure (same as Minnesota during that time frame). Some have been critical of Gardenhire because of his post-season record, but Bob Melvin's in Oakland is no better. Since 2000 Oakland has won 6 division titles. So has Minnesota. Granted, right now Oakland is "peaking" and Minnesota is in the pits. But is their overall track record really that much better that we should be lauding them as much as some do?

#20 JB_Iowa

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 11:05 AM

Pilgrim, you are right and that's why, unfortunately, I think a lot of it does come down to money (I wasn't really arguing with you Puck, just trying to clarify).

The Rays, Oakland and the 2002-2009 Twins were all praised as having success on low budgets -- and they did. But the fact is that without the extra $$$, their success generally ends/ended early in the playoffs.

I think that down the road the Twins have the ability to add pieces that could push them to a little more playoff success but they'll have to take some risks as well. My big issue is that I don't trust Terry Ryan to do that but we've been over that ad nauseum.

But before they even reach that point, I want to be sure that the Twins STAY a mid-market team in revenue and part of that is to put a good enough product on the field that they can continue to draw close to 3 million even in down years (and that is a concern since attendance fell below 2.5 million this year per ESPN).

It is a tricky balance -- and one that requires some on-the-field success even while rebuilding so that attendance and revenues don't nosedive before the prospects "arrive".

#21 ThePuck

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 11:12 AM

Melvin has only been on the job in Oakland for 2 1/2 seasons, and in both of his full seasons (2012 and 2013), they won the division after not having a winning season since 2006, jumping over a team that had gone to the W Series the previous two years (2010 and 2011).

They also haven't been swept in a ALDS in that time frame. I know losing is losing, but for me, getting swept three series in a row...and 12 playoffs games in a row...yeah that hurts.

Anyway, this is about whether or not the CARDINALS are the team to emulate.

Edited by ThePuck, 11 October 2013 - 11:24 AM.

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#22 Sconnie

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 11:25 AM

Frame this and give a copy to the front office: a) there is a lot of talent in the draft other than the top three players; B) it isn't luck that teams find these players; c) you have failed to credit the Cardinals (and others) to deveelop this young man into a quality MLB player--or is that luck also?; d) it is a pathetic response to obscure the failure in the Twins organization by claiming that success by others is luck.

Nature vs nurture. Can you find a guy who looks like he has marginal talent and coach him up to exceed expectations? There is organizational skill there with the Cardinals, no doubt. It takes some luck though too. It should be nature AND nurture. It's just like the rest of the team building strategy. You can't only rely on free agents, or only rely on draft picks, you have to use a combination. And when you're evaulating players, you can't only take the no-brainer locks, you have to take fliers on marginal guys, but you have to coach them and build on successes of the team as a whole. Including luck.

#23 Kwak

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 12:05 PM

I clicked-on the Cardinals site to research their rotation--here's what I found:

1) Adam Wainwright--drafted 2000 1st rd, 29th by ATL. 2006 was first ML appearance.

2) Lance Lynn--Undrafted Univ of Mississippi signed as FA by StL.

3) Shelby Miller--2009 drafted 1st rd 19th. Note: Twins selected Gibson 1st rd 22nd U of Missouri @ Columbia. How many tink that StL scouted Gibson closely--and passed on him because of their scouting? I do.

4) Joe Kelly--2009 drafted 3rd rd.

5) Micheal Wacha--drafted 2012 1st rd 19th Texas A&M Univ.

Please note: None of these guys were TOP 3 or whatever. One was a 3 round, another was undrafted, signed as a free agent! Wacha is already at the major league level! And was drafted only last year!! Some teams don't force their premier talent to pay excessive dues in the minors like the Twins. Dare anyone call this success LUCK? Luck happens once in a while--but consistent success? NO! Not LUCK!

As for those who claim that the St. Louis players are using PEDs--please show something resembling truth to your claim--or desist until you have said proof.

The Twins could (but maybe not can) learn from St.Louis. But at the very least the Twins should be poaching (with appropriate position promotions and salary increases to match) some of St. Louis' scouts/player (pitcher) development personnel, because clearly StL is on to something and the Twins are adrift and rudderless.

#24 Ben B

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 12:19 PM

As someone already mentioned, the Cardinals' success in the late rounds of the draft is uncanny. Look:

Matt Carpenter 13th round
Allen Craig 8th round
Matt Adams 23rd round
Jaime Garcia 22nd round
Trevor Rosenthal 21st round
Yadier Molina 4th round
Kevin Siegrist 41st round
Seth Maness 11th round

They've also had their fair share of high draft picks and savvy FA signings, but that's a good chunk of their core that they picked up after the first three rounds of the draft.

If you look at the Twins' last decade of drafts who have they gotten after the third round that's contributing right now? Brian Dozier (8th), Chris Herrmann (6th), and Michael Tonkin (30th).

Edited by Ben B, 11 October 2013 - 03:34 PM.


#25 Ben B

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 12:24 PM

2) Lance Lynn--Undrafted Univ of Mississippi signed as FA by StL.


Lynn was a 1st rounder in 2008.

#26 big dog

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 12:40 PM

3) Shelby Miller--2009 drafted 1st rd 19th. Note: Twins selected Gibson 1st rd 22nd U of Missouri @ Columbia. How many tink that StL scouted Gibson closely--and passed on him because of their scouting? I do.


Sure, that's entirely possible. Might the Twins have picked him instead of Gibson if they had been given the opportunity? Also possible. I think the various arguments here make sense, and St Louis has done some admirable things, but I'm not sure I'd trash the Twins FO for picking Gibson instead of Miller when Miller was already gone.

Roids? "I'm not here to talk about the past." Hee hee.

#27 spycake

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 12:48 PM

At the risk of inciting a firestorm (which I am not intentionally trying to do) why are some people so enamored with the Oakland system?

Let me explain my question. The Twins have been critiqued for not embracing the newer competitive advantages that other teams have developed (and that critique is not without merit), and the A's are often seen as a model for that. Yet, they have not been that much more successful than Minnesota. They have won 1 postseason series during Billy Beane's tenure (same as Minnesota during that time frame). Some have been critical of Gardenhire because of his post-season record, but Bob Melvin's in Oakland is no better. Since 2000 Oakland has won 6 division titles. So has Minnesota. Granted, right now Oakland is "peaking" and Minnesota is in the pits. But is their overall track record really that much better that we should be lauding them as much as some do?


Hold up.

First of all, Oakland is the team with the case for "bad luck" in the postseason. 6 division series, all going the full 5 games, with Oakland on the losing end each time. That's where a bad break or a smaller budget can make a difference. The Twins have been blown out of the water in the playoffs -- even before the sweeps started (in 2006, by Oakland, going against Minnesota home field advantage), the Twins were winning the first game of a series and then getting swept. This franchise has been nowhere near macro-competitive in the playoffs.

And in the regular season, Oakland has never won fewer than 74 games in the Beane era, only once finished last (with 75 wins), and have 4 seasons equaling or exceeding the Twins best 96 wins.

No question that Oakland has been the better organization over the last 15 years overall, and going forward for at least the next few seasons if not more. If you take out the Billy Smith years, maybe the Twins avoid their current trough or at least keep it in 75 win range, but then we don't have Buxton or Sano on the farm either, and that doesn't even address our serious playoff problems.

#28 Kwak

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 01:04 PM

Lynn was a 1st rounder in 2008.


Yahoo sports misidentifies Lynn's background (they were my source) sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/8650 My"google search" for Micheal (Lance) Lynn, yielded a draft in supplemental round 1, 39th overall in 2008 by the Cardinals--and that he signed.

Trusting Yahoo does have its risk. But again, another player selected not at the top, and in that area that the Twins complain they can't find talent. Twins draftee before Lynn--Aaron Hicks 1st Rd, 14th overall--still trying to learn to hit enough to be a bench OFer.

Edited by Kwak, 11 October 2013 - 01:09 PM.


#29 gunnarthor

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 01:13 PM

Hold up.

First of all, Oakland is the team with the case for "bad luck" in the postseason. 6 division series, all going the full 5 games, with Oakland on the losing end each time. That's where a bad break or a smaller budget can make a difference. The Twins have been blown out of the water in the playoffs -- even before the sweeps started (in 2006, by Oakland, going against Minnesota home field advantage), the Twins were winning the first game of a series and then getting swept. This franchise has been nowhere near macro-competitive in the playoffs.
.


I suspect that, had the Twins lost 6 series like that, and had the better record than their opponent in each one (and several with home field advantage), you might not be this open minded about bad luck.

Heck, two of those teams won more than 100 games and two of their opponents won fewer than 90. Yet Oakland could never beat teams with worse records in the playoffs. Oakland avg 97 wins against 92 for their opponents in the post season (for comparison, the Twins avg 92 wins against 100 for theirs).

Edited by gunnarthor, 11 October 2013 - 01:18 PM.


#30 mike wants wins

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 01:14 PM

But you can't find starting picthing outside the top 5 picks......can we kill that one yet?
Lighten up Francis....