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Ryan Q&A with Darren Wolfson

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#1 PseudoSABR

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 12:15 PM

Wolfson gives a pretty good interview.

Lots to chew on: clarification on Molitor, Mauer to firstbase, sabermetrics, and everyone's favorite, free agent pitching.

#2 gunnarthor

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 01:14 PM

Nice interview. Seems he's confident in his plans.

I hope Plouffe has a strong year next season. He's frustrating.

#3 mike wants wins

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 01:53 PM

Great interview. He's making himself accessible. I appreciate that.

This part was interesting to me:

Why not hire some of their guys? Find their No. 6 or 7 guy and make him the No.4 guy under you?
Why don't I just copy what they're doing? I have a lot of trust in our guys. We'll get this thing squared up.
Lighten up Francis....

#4 gunnarthor

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 03:10 PM

Why not hire some of their guys? Find their No. 6 or 7 guy and make him the No.4 guy under you?
Why don't I just copy what they're doing? I have a lot of trust in our guys. We'll get this thing squared up.


Yeah, I thought it was interesting too. And this is where the Ryan and anti-Ryan crowds will clash so I didn't post it. I agree with Ryan, others don't. It seems that people are so dug in now it doesn't really matter anymore.

#5 twinsnorth49

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 04:45 PM

Well, the Giants overwhelmed Lincecum. I think that contract will affect the market.
I don't know about that. We say that every year when a guy signs early. Everyone tries to portray that as the market. I don't necessarily agree with that. That's one instance. There will be a couple (contracts) that come into play this winter, or fall, and we will all grasp some. But that doesn't mean it sets the market.


Usually hate to play the cyncic but it sounds more to me like he's hoping it doesn't set the market, because he won't be in it if it does. Not that I would have advocted signing Lincecum to that deal but if that's what it takes for him, it's not going to get much better.



#6 TheLeviathan

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 05:26 PM

Straightforward, but I disagree when he said they never needed to use free agency during their last run. He's confusing need with desire, there were certainly needs.

#7 pierre75275

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 11:56 AM

I found it intresting he said Trevor would get a contract but declined to answer on Swarsak and Duensing. I wonder why that was? Was he hopin for more bargaining power? Or is he not planning on signing them?

#8 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 12:27 PM

I found it intresting he said Trevor would get a contract but declined to answer on Swarsak and Duensing. I wonder why that was? Was he hopin for more bargaining power? Or is he not planning on signing them?

I wouldn't sign either one of them, Swarzak is the definition of replaceable in the bullpen, and Duensing at this point is a mediocre LOOGY. With the pen being the one real strength, replacing both of those guys should be rather easy.

#9 jharaldson

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 01:29 PM

Do what the A's do: sign a bat to platoon with Plouffe and have him only start vs. lefties.

You could do that. That's a possibility. I'm not saying that's something that has been discussed. It could be. I'd like to think we can find guys who can play 140, 150 games. That's one of our problems. We've had very little continuity in any lineup. We've had guys bouncing all over. I'm not saying you couldn't put (Eduardo) Escobar over there. You could. Escobar's got some pop in his bat. There's a spot for him if he wants to take it. So, there's always that possibility.


I find it kind of odd that Terry is unable to even comprehend a question involving signing a free agent. Doogie asks about signing a guy to platoon with Plouffe and somehow Terry didn't hear the "Sign Somebody" but instead heard "Play someone on your roster, maybe Escobar". This is probably just another example of how far the free agency process is from his mind when thinking about improving this team.

#10 Wookiee of the Year

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 01:35 PM

Good interview. Wolfson did a good job of throwing out specific names and situations and making Ryan respond.

I agree with twinsnorth49--the response to Doogie's comment on Lincecum was pretty telling. Sounds like Ryan might once again be surprised by how high the market will go this year. (Or hopefully, he's right and Lincecum's an isolated case. But I'd bet more on the former than the latter.)

I've also noticed a pattern in Ryan's interviews where he makes a lot of references to "taking the phone calls" from other GMs, but he rarely says anything about making the calls. I don't know if it's a verbal tic or even intentional to keep people from knowing his priorities, but it does seem to suggest he's pretty passive on the trade market, which has been my impression.

The other exchange I found noteworthy:


How you would classify this free-agent pitching class?
It's OK. It'll be very competitive. There will be 25 clubs in on almost any quality starter. There's not enough to go around. We all know that. You'll probably be able to get one of them, hopefully. There's a couple guys out there that need to have their futures decided with an option and possibly a tender.

That sounds like a reference to Ubaldo Jimenez to me (does anyone else fit that "option and possibly a tender" description?). I wonder if TR's thinking Jimenez?

#11 Seth Stohs

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 01:44 PM

I found it intresting he said Trevor would get a contract but declined to answer on Swarsak and Duensing. I wonder why that was? Was he hopin for more bargaining power? Or is he not planning on signing them?


My thought is it means that both could be trade possibilities and he doesn't want to give away too much. If he says, "No, we're going to non-tender them." why would anyone trade for them? I'm more surprised with his response about Plouffe, not that it is a surprise (it's obvious to tender him), just that he actually said it.

#12 Seth Stohs

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 01:46 PM

Well, the Giants overwhelmed Lincecum. I think that contract will affect the market.
I don't know about that. We say that every year when a guy signs early. Everyone tries to portray that as the market. I don't necessarily agree with that. That's one instance. There will be a couple (contracts) that come into play this winter, or fall, and we will all grasp some. But that doesn't mean it sets the market.


Usually hate to play the cyncic but it sounds more to me like he's hoping it doesn't set the market, because he won't be in it if it does. Not that I would have advocted signing Lincecum to that deal but if that's what it takes for him, it's not going to get much better.



I think he's right though. There are always these early signings and people gasp around wondering if it'll set the market, but then things come back down. Even with the economic gain (the $25M in additional revenues - of which $13M would equal about 52%, I don't think that Lincecum sets it. It was a crazy deal by the Giants, and teams know it.

#13 Seth Stohs

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 01:52 PM

Great interview. He's making himself accessible. I appreciate that.

This part was interesting to me:

Why not hire some of their guys? Find their No. 6 or 7 guy and make him the No.4 guy under you?
Why don't I just copy what they're doing? I have a lot of trust in our guys. We'll get this thing squared up.


I found this to be a strange question. First, this isn't realistic. How would TR know who the #6 stat guy is for the Rays? Who would know that? I get it. Bring in an outside voice, but there is more than one way to win and develop.

#14 gunnarthor

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 01:53 PM

I don't know if it's a verbal tic or even intentional to keep people from knowing his priorities, but it does seem to suggest he's pretty passive on the trade market, which has been my impression.


Has Ryan been passive on the trade market? In the two years he's been back, he's traded Slowey, Liriano, Valencia, Span, Revere, Butera and Morneau. Not sure if that's a passive trade pattern.

#15 pierre75275

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 02:08 PM

I wouldn't sign either one of them, Swarzak is the definition of replaceable in the bullpen, and Duensing at this point is a mediocre LOOGY. With the pen being the one real strength, replacing both of those guys should be rather easy.


I agree about Duensing. I think there will be cheaper equal options on the market. Swarzak I would keep in the same role however, because he is projected at 800k. I would NOT under any circumstances start him though.

#16 Thrylos

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 02:27 PM

I think he's right though. There are always these early signings and people gasp around wondering if it'll set the market, but then things come back down. Even with the economic gain (the $25M in additional revenues - of which $13M would equal about 52%, I don't think that Lincecum sets it. It was a crazy deal by the Giants, and teams know it.


Here is how the 52% (of the Twins' revenue going into payroll) should look like:

2013 Revenue: $215M plus that $25M = $240 M.
52% of that is $125 M.
The Twins are in the hook for around $60 M (including arbitration $ for Duensing, Swarzak and Plouffe)

this leaves Ryan $65 M to play with

65 not 15.

Lots one can do with $65 Million in a year, but you got to commit that 52% of revenues to payroll. I am convinced that if the Twins spend that $ wisely, they could be contending in 2014. However, I am almost convinced that Ryan does not know how to do this.
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#17 nicksaviking

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 02:28 PM

I've also noticed a pattern in Ryan's interviews where he makes a lot of references to "taking the phone calls" from other GMs, but he rarely says anything about making the calls. I don't know if it's a verbal tic or even intentional to keep people from knowing his priorities, but it does seem to suggest he's pretty passive on the trade market, which has been my impression.


No, I think you are correct. Ryan stated in an interview near the trade deadline that he doesn't initiate any trades, but instead he waits for others to call him. I'm sure he thinks that gives him the upper hand in negotiations and it may, but I agree it's too passive and he probably misses out on other valuable conversations.

#18 mike wants wins

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 02:45 PM

I found this to be a strange question. First, this isn't realistic. How would TR know who the #6 stat guy is for the Rays? Who would know that? I get it. Bring in an outside voice, but there is more than one way to win and develop.


I respect you a lot, Seth, but you know this wasn't about hiring "the number 6 guy". His answer was "I won't bring in outside guys".
Lighten up Francis....

#19 gunnarthor

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 02:49 PM

I respect you a lot, Seth, but you know this wasn't about hiring "the number 6 guy". His answer was "I won't bring in outside guys".


Actually, I think his answer was "we're smart enough to fix this."

#20 mike wants wins

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 02:50 PM

Actually, I think his answer was "we're smart enough to fix this."


Same answer, different sides of the coin.
Lighten up Francis....

#21 notoriousgod71

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 03:11 PM

Actually, I think his answer was "we're smart enough to fix this."


Or maybe it was "Nothing is broken. What's to fix?"

#22 Boom Boom

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 03:15 PM

I'm glad that Ryan feels confident that his team can turn the ship around, but when he says "we'll get this thing squared up" the "we" he's referring to is largely the same bunch that bungled it in the first place.

#23 twinsnorth49

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 07:33 PM

I think he's right though. There are always these early signings and people gasp around wondering if it'll set the market, but then things come back down. Even with the economic gain (the $25M in additional revenues - of which $13M would equal about 52%, I don't think that Lincecum sets it. It was a crazy deal by the Giants, and teams know it.


Perhaps he is and yes it is a common occurrence, although by no means a given. I just have this sinking feeling that he's saying it with his fingers crossed behind his back, because he ain't going there.

#24 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 06:47 AM

Lots one can do with $65 Million in a year, but you got to commit that 52% of revenues to payroll. I am convinced that if the Twins spend that $ wisely, they could be contending in 2014. However, I am almost convinced that Ryan does not know how to do this.


I think it's a bad idea to continually run yourself against your budget ceiling. It leaves no wiggle room for improvisation should something good or bad happen in 2014-2015. It also can crunch you when your young, good players start asking for raises and/or extensions.

On the other hand, if the Twins have a ceiling of $110m+ right now, they should be no lower than $90m at the end of this offseason.

That's still plenty of money to shore up this MLB team. Phil Hughes, Josh Johnson, and a few minor offensive bats can be had for $30m a year.

#25 nicksaviking

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 09:25 AM

Perhaps he is and yes it is a common occurrence, although by no means a given. I just have this sinking feeling that he's saying it with his fingers crossed behind his back, because he ain't going there.


To be fair, I think Ryan means it and believes in his guys. I just also think it's fair for us to not have the same faith in his crew and demand better results seeing as there are plenty of resources available.

#26 Winston Smith

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:02 PM

IMO it's an ego thing with Ryan. He wants to prove that he can do it without all the stats and spending a lot of money.

Pohlad has said the money is there (true or not) so even spending 30m to be at 90m payroll, well under the Pohlad stated 52%, might not make us a contender but should certainly make the team much easier to watch for the fans.

Note to Terry Ryan and Jim Pohlad, the last 3 years have been very hard to watch, please improve this team!!!
This comment brought to you from the Rosedale Mall studio by Hamm's Beer, brewed in the land of sky blue waters.

#27 gunnarthor

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:18 PM

IMO it's an ego thing with Ryan. He wants to prove that he can do it without all the stats and spending a lot of money.


In all honesty, how can you think it's an ego thing? The guy literally prevented a fawning book to be written about him. I'm sure he believes in his staff to fix this since they've done it before and he was the only small payroll GM to keep his team successful while turning over the teams nucleus.

It's not like he took over a team with an obvious quick fix solution. The Twins couldn't have spent their way out of this mess.

#28 spycake

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:21 PM

I think it's a bad idea to continually run yourself against your budget ceiling. It leaves no wiggle room for improvisation should something good or bad happen in 2014-2015. It also can crunch you when your young, good players start asking for raises and/or extensions.


It's going to be 3-4 years before the Twins have any decent young players looking for anything more than token raises. Probably 5-6 years until any homegrown talent could look for "star" money.

I'm all for leaving a little wiggle room in the budget, but $30+ million is more than "wiggle room." I'd rather prove NOW that this team and GM are willing to spend, and willing (and able) to use free agency to improve the team. That's going to be a lot more important to the next good Twins team than leaving extra payroll space over the next 5 years.

#29 spycake

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:27 PM

In all honesty, how can you think it's an ego thing? The guy literally prevented a fawning book to be written about him. I'm sure he believes in his staff to fix this since they've done it before and he was the only small payroll GM to keep his team successful while turning over the teams nucleus.

It's not like he took over a team with an obvious quick fix solution. The Twins couldn't have spent their way out of this mess.


I don't think its ego-driven necessarily. But I do get a dismissive "I'll do it my way, thanks" vibe from TR. Which was great when they emerged from the wilderness to have a good run in the low-budget Dome... less encouraging when we are lost in the wilderness again, under budget, and better players are always 2-3 years away.

#30 clutterheart

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 04:35 PM

Go twins!! Get better-soon!