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Thread: Terry Ryan: 2nd Offseason Priority Is The Bullpen

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    Owner All-Star John Bonnes's Avatar
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    Terry Ryan: 2nd Offseason Priority Is The Bullpen

    For those who have purchased the Offseason Handbook, I want to ask about the part of the Terry Ryan interview that shocked me the most: that the 2nd biggest priority is to improve the bullpen. When I asked why, the reply was that the team can never have enough arms, but also seemed to be that they still believe in Dozier and Florimon.

    I gotta say, I was pretty surprised by this. That one thing I thought about later was that maybe he meant it in relation to picking up waiver claims and 6-year minor league free agents, more than shopping on the market for an established reliever.

    Did that shock anyone else?

  2. #2
    Senior Member All-Star Willihammer's Avatar
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    The idiom that "you can never have enough pitching" is getting tiresome. It signals a fundamental disconnect between the old school wisdom and the saber understanding which says that wins can come from anywhere.

    Great interview btw

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    Senior Member All-Star Jim Crikket's Avatar
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    I found it interesting, but not shocking. I also can't say I really disagree with him totally. I'm not sure if the bullpen was all that strong or whether it just looked like it because we compared it to the rotation. Relief pitchers are notoriously inconsistent from one year to the next and when you consider the kind of patchwork bullpen the Twins cobbled together last season, I'm not at all confident that we should assume it would remain strong if left largely as-is. Are we REALLY comfortable with Anthony Swarzak, Tyler Robertson and Alex Burnett going in to 2013? Even the guys that performed better than expected (Casey Fien and Jared Burton) don't exactly have histories that shout "reliability." Heck, is it tough to imagine even Glen Perkins having a bit less success? Given that any rotation help they get is unlikely to include anyone who throws a lot of complete games, making the bullpen more reliable makes a lot of sense to me.

    The sense I got from Ryan in your interview with regard to the middle infield is that he feels the Twins have internal options that are probably just about as good as what's available via free agency. In middle infielders, you can't have bad defenders who also can't hit and for much of the season the Twins were using guys like that. You can get by with light hitting MIs who make a lot of plays defensively if the rest of your lineup knows what to do with a baseball bat. He thinks the Twins have people who can play defense up the middle anyway. It doesn't mean you don't also look to upgrade, but I don't necessarily disagree that pitching, both in the rotation and bullpen, is more critical.
    I opine about the Twins and Kernels regularly at Knuckleballsblog.com while my alter ego, SD Buhr covers the Kernels for MetroSportsReport.com.

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    Senior Member All-Star IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
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    I haven't looked at any numbers, but just from what I can remember about the season (and I'll admit I've already blocked-out large parts of it in my memory, in a gesture of self-health), the bullpen didn't look nearly as sharp in the second half of the season as it did in the first.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Crikket View Post
    I found it interesting, but not shocking. I also can't say I really disagree with him totally. I'm not sure if the bullpen was all that strong or whether it just looked like it because we compared it to the rotation. Relief pitchers are notoriously inconsistent from one year to the next and when you consider the kind of patchwork bullpen the Twins cobbled together last season, I'm not at all confident that we should assume it would remain strong if left largely as-is. Are we REALLY comfortable with Anthony Swarzak, Tyler Robertson and Alex Burnett going in to 2013? Even the guys that performed better than expected (Casey Fien and Jared Burton) don't exactly have histories that shout "reliability." Heck, is it tough to imagine even Glen Perkins having a bit less success? Given that any rotation help they get is unlikely to include anyone who throws a lot of complete games, making the bullpen more reliable makes a lot of sense to me.

    The sense I got from Ryan in your interview with regard to the middle infield is that he feels the Twins have internal options that are probably just about as good as what's available via free agency. In middle infielders, you can't have bad defenders who also can't hit and for much of the season the Twins were using guys like that. You can get by with light hitting MIs who make a lot of plays defensively if the rest of your lineup knows what to do with a baseball bat. He thinks the Twins have people who can play defense up the middle anyway. It doesn't mean you don't also look to upgrade, but I don't necessarily disagree that pitching, both in the rotation and bullpen, is more critical.

    Lately, when have the Twins put any kind of emphasis on the infield? Smith made an effort in 2010, then in the offseason prior to 2011, didn't keep Hudson and let Gardy convince him to trade Hardy. That's it. Doesn't seem middle infield or 3B is a concern to them. No way they can look at the internal options and, based on performance at the major league level, be satisfied with where they stand.

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    Senior Member All-Star SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
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    The only three guys I trust in the pen heading into next year are Perkins, Burton and Duensing, so yes, I think the bullpen should be a priority.

    We only need to really grab one MI on the FA market to upgrade. Caroll/Florimon/Dozier can hold down the other spot just fine.

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    I agree that you can never have too much pitching, and agree that you can never predict a bullpen. But I also look at the Twins and I don't see a ton of holes in the bullpen. And I just wonder if the TR signing someone else's leftovers and taking up 40 man space and sitting in the bullpen until August when everyone gets upset with him after blowing leads and on here we have threads on the guy, and at the same time there is 1.2.3.4.5 guys at AAA who at least deserve the same shot.

    So I guess it depends on what the Twins are doing, if they are minor league contracts/AAA contracts its one thing, but if they are major league contracts or 40 man space contracts I'll be upset.

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    i stated several times this year the twins need 2 front of the rotation starters and at least a lefty righty relever combo to add to burton,perkins fien and dunny ....to many times we watched as gray or robertson or others let games slip farther away ,

    what is shocking is that curly claims to be chasing starting pitching, i figure with there short armed, low pocket mentality that having the best bullpen is the most we can hope for

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    I suppose the bullpen is a concern for a team that really enjoys carrying 13 pitchers. Finding 8 suitable arms for the pen is a lot harder than finding 6 or 7 like most clubs. If only there was a better way to go about this.....

  10. #10
    Ryan mentioned this in one of his radio shows.
    I would love to look at some strikeout type pitchers like Jonathon Broxton and/or Jason Grilli
    Look at MN's bullpen numbers from 2012 & they were very mediocre except for ranking last in strikeouts despite being in the top for innings pitched.

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    Pixel Monkey MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    Jesus Christ, John. You can never have too much pitching.

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    It would be nice to have one middle infielder to go with all those arms....

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    Senior Member All-Star Jim Crikket's Avatar
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    I would also point out that whatever the "second" focus is could change, depending on how Ryan addresses the rotation problem. For example, if he determines the way to bring on rotation help is to trade away Willingham, then I might argue that his next greatest need might be to find a RH hitter with power to replace Willingham in the heart of the order. When you fill one need, you need to be careful about worsening other situations.
    I opine about the Twins and Kernels regularly at Knuckleballsblog.com while my alter ego, SD Buhr covers the Kernels for MetroSportsReport.com.

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  14. #14
    Senior Member All-Star Winston Smith's Avatar
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    Pitching, pitching, pitching I don't care what saber says.

    What do the Giants and Tigers share very good pitching staffs!

    What do the Twins, Astros, Cubs, Indians, Royals, Rockies all share really bad pitching.
    This comment brought to you from the Rosedale Mall studio by Hamm's Beer, brewed in the land of sky blue waters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Winston Smith View Post
    Pitching, pitching, pitching I don't care what saber says.

    What do the Giants and Tigers share very good pitching staffs!

    What do the Twins, Astros, Cubs, Indians, Royals, Rockies all share really bad pitching.
    The Giants and Tigers have pretty decent hitters too.... and those other teams are largely lacking there as well. You might be on to something

    Just giving you some crap... You are right though, the pitcher is the most valuable person on the diamond, and regardles of what saber says, the pitcher has more effect on a game than any of the guys 1-9... That said, this pen thing surprises me a bit. I tend to think the pen will improve if starting pitching can consistely go 6-7. That alone helps (though Gardy and his bring a guy in for four pitches routine kind of blows that up a bit)... I woudln't mind another power arm out of the pen, but I'd think the middle infield would be a bit higher on the list.

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    Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
    I woudln't mind another power arm out of the pen, but I'd think the middle infield would be a bit higher on the list.
    One could argue that since we preach pitch to contact, solid defense up the middle is imperative and would help our pitching immensely

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    Super Moderator All-Star twinsnorth49's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
    I woudln't mind another power arm out of the pen, but I'd think the middle infield would be a bit higher on the list.
    One could argue that since we preach pitch to contact, solid defense up the middle is imperative and would help our pitching immensely
    Ozzie Smith and Ryne Sandberg couldn't have saved that staff, save Diamond.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer
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    A good bullpen is the #1 cure to beat all of the SABR reasons why you should lose. (#2 is ground ball pitchers)

  19. #19
    Super Moderator MVP USAFChief's Avatar
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    The Twins bullpen was a problem last season. Not THE problem, but a problem. Decent at the end, but exceptionally weak from about number 3 or 4 on down.

    I've never agreed with the common myth that "bullpens are the easiest thing to build." Bad arms there cost you, just like bad arms in the rotation. And you can't really hide a shallow bullpen, either. Every pitcher in your 'pen is going to be forced into pitching high leverage innings during the course of a season. It's the nature of the beast. Most MLB games are close.

    If they truly are trying to compete next year, upgrading the bullpen is probably necessary.

  20. #20
    Super Moderator MVP Riverbrian's Avatar
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    I don't have a problem with bullpen being #2 on the list and I like the assumption that the 2013 starters(whoever they may be) are going to pitch well enough that an improved bullpen is important.

    If #1 isn't addressed significantly #2 won't matter. I take this as a clue that TR is going to go for it in regards to #1.

    if pitching is going to be weak... Another path would be to load up on offense to bash your way past it. He isn't taking that approach according to what John says.

    Therefore... I think TR is making a move on pitching... Fasten your seat belts. This might be a fun off season.
    Last edited by Riverbrian; 10-24-2012 at 10:12 PM.

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