What Happened to My Twins?
19 replies to this topic
Posted 04 May 2012 - 10:15 AM
It will take time, at least three to four years to fix this team. Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of answers in the minor leagues for a pitching staff that is in shambles. In 2005, the Twins drafted Garza, Slowey, Duensing and Burnett. That was a great draft...two very good starters, a marginal starter who will likely become a solid bullpen arm and an intriguing bullpen arm that needs to take that last step. Yes, two very good starters which included Slowey before his wrist injury. He hasn't been that same since! In 2006 and 2007, they went young...high school position players at the top. In 2008, Carlos Gutierrez was coming off surgery and Shooter Hunt was a mistake. In 2009 they took three college pitchers, Gibson, Bashore, and Bullock. Two of three have had major surgeries and they are hopeful that Gibson can return. In 2010, Alex Wimmers also has been dealing with an injury/problems since being drafted. Yes, scouts can't foresee injuries. But in some of these cases they could have as the player had a history of injury. The bottom line is that since 2005 they have taken six pitchers between the first and second rounds and haven't had an inning pitched by any of them on the field at the Dome or Target Field. The only value they have gotten is that Bullock brought them Scott Diamond in a trade. I know you will disagree, but I believe there is some truth to the comment I once told you about that a wise friend once told me, a comment about the changes in their scouting/drafting responsibilites.
Posted 04 May 2012 - 10:44 AM
The Twins need to get past their aversion to spending on starting pitchers. Yes, they're risky, and yes, the contracts have ballooned out of control, but it's a fact of Major League Baseball now. If you want a good rotation you have to spend big money on free agents or make big trades and sacrifice some prospects.
Posted 04 May 2012 - 11:14 AM
Good stuff. Every point there is valid. And it has not been just the last few seasons. The warning signs were there since they lost game 163 at the Cell. This organization and this team is just stuck in the 90s... Time for a wholesale change of the philosophy and the way things are done from top to the bottom and the bottom up. Cannot sustain winning this way (and at this point is not even sustaining, is more like regaining...)
Blogging Twins since 2007 at The Tenth Inning Stretch
Blogging Twins since 2007 at The Tenth Inning Stretch
Posted 04 May 2012 - 11:28 AM
I think the article echoes what many of us have been saying in this forum recently. Right now, the "Twins way" is not working. It's time to make changes and for the team to look at new ways of doing things and improving. It's down right sad that this team is so poorly put together. Let's hope ownership decides to get interested in the team and makes the changes necessary for us to have a competitive team in that beautiful ball park!
Posted 04 May 2012 - 01:09 PM
Good stuff. Every point there is valid.
I got a chuckle out of that because as I was reading I was thinking that almost every point was at least a little bit sketchy. Funny how the same thing can get opposite responses in different subjects.
The combination of the complaint about the Young/Garza trade with the complaint about not making a "get over the hump" move seems a bit conflictual. AT THE TIME the Twins were trading from a perceived position of depth to gain something they badly needed. The MAKE A TRADE point also feels a little sloppy when one thinks of Ramos-Capps, which was essentially that same attempt. Maybe not a good one, but that's my point here. The article suggests taking chances just like that.
As for the Grienke trade, I don't know that the Twins farm depth was what it needed to be to get that particular one done, nor another comparable. Maybe it could have been done, but it sure seems like a good way to get people screaming in a few years about how there's nothing on the farm to compete with. I just get a little skeptical of "why didn't we do this move?" stuff like we hear all the time. The other example of this (although not from this article) is the frequent calls for all the players we could have had for Santana from people who don't really know what offers were made or counter-made or what.
Another flag went up when I heard the oft-repeated "Who has improved under Anderson?" questioning. I started just poking around as names came to me and almost everyone has some and some lots. Scott Baker steadily improved. Joe Nathan obviously took huge strides here compared to before he got here, and even for several years after the trade before plateauing and then falling back a small amount. Pavano's first full year with the Twins was near the best of his career. Swarzak 2011 was way, way better than Swarzak 2010. Jon Rauch is interesting because he's played a lot of places, and his second best best FIP (and second best xFIP) was his one full season with the Twins. Duensing 2010 was much better than Duensing 2009 (Duensing 2011 got thrown into the rotation and he regressed...I'd say that's not a great comparison because of having to face all the righties he struggled against, and he's rebounded in the early going this year). Even Blackburn's improved on some peripheral stuff. From the counter-example pile, I went to the two most common that I see. Kyle Lohse in his first full year post-Twins was almost exactly the same as he was his last full year with Twins. Then he had a much improved season before going three more years almost exactly as he had with the Twins including a huge stinker in 2010 before having another very good year five years after leaving the team. Matt Garza showed great improvement from his first year with Twins to the second. Then he was pretty much that same pitcher for three years in Tampa before popping up a level in 2011 four years after leaving. Obviously those are all anecdotal, but finding more general results seems like a bigger project. And those aren't cherry-picked, that's every one I looked at.
Edited by CDog, 04 May 2012 - 01:14 PM.
Posted 04 May 2012 - 02:45 PM
And just to be clear...No, I don't think all is right with the world in Twins Territory. I have the same question as the article's title. I don't know the answer, and I don't think the article helped me to find it.
He also kind of lost me by saying we "may" have seen Mauer's best career season already. Gee, leading the league in On Base Percentage and Slugging simultaneously, as a catcher? Ya think?
Posted 04 May 2012 - 03:00 PM
Agree with CDog. This organization in a bad place right now, but I don't think the article does a very good job explaining how we got here or how to get out of it. And yes, I too got a chuckle out of the attempt to attribute the demise to both the unwillingness to make an "over the hump trade" and the decision to make the Garza deal which was exactly that. Regardless of how we got here, the more relevant question to me is how to get out of it. I don't see an obvious answer to that one. I understand that it's not going to happen overnight and the cupboard needs to be restocked. But at the same time, going into "rebuilding" mode can be very dangerous. "We're rebuilding" can quickly become a euphemistic crutch for "we suck." Teams like Kansas City, Pittsburgh and Baltimore have been "rebuilding" since the Clinton administration.
Posted 04 May 2012 - 04:28 PM
While I may be a never-say die guy when it comes to believing in the Twins, they are going to be having some serious problems for several years unless they realize they need to get their hands on at least two serious (and proven) starters in the Bigs. They have a great offseason to address this problem, as guys like Greinke (unlikely he leaves the Brewers, but possible), Edwin Jackson, Shawn Marcum, Joe Blanton, Jeff Francis, and Anibal Sanchez are all expected to be free agents this time around.
Posted 04 May 2012 - 04:44 PM
Also, in the 2013-2014 offseason, there are names that will theoretically be on the market like Lincecum, Josh Johnson, Edinson Volquez, Jason Hammel, and Jon Lester. Not that these pitchers would be in the Twins' price range, but they have the possibility of going after one or two of them.
Posted 04 May 2012 - 09:21 PM
What's frustrating is that digging out of this hole looks like a multi-year project for the Twins. To make the frustration worse, FSN ran the Johan Santana 17-K game from 2007 before tonight's Seattle game. The only 17-K performance we were likely to see this year would have been from Clete Thomas.
Posted 05 May 2012 - 12:44 AM
Sometimes stuff just happens. Maybe it was a big mistake to rely on Liriano and Baker as the top pitchers in the rotation, but one can about imagine how things around here would be if the Twins traded 3 top 10 prospects for some ace pitcher and then that ace pitcher has to have TJ surgery or something. One cannot complain about a "poor" farm system and then also demand to trade prospects away. The only trade that was truly abysmal at the time was the Ramos-Capps trade. The Young-Garza trade was made at a time when the Twins looked like they truly had some starting pitching depth and needed a good-great RH bat. Delmon Young was highly regarded. Maybe the Twins should trade Arcia and Morales for pitching, but if Joe Benson and Aaron Hicks then develop persistent injuries that seriously limit playing time, one can't look back and say that the team shouldn't have traded from a position of depth. Talking about wanting trades is stupid. We don't know much about what actually goes on, what is actually offered, etc.
Posted 05 May 2012 - 02:24 PM
Sometimes stuff just happens. Maybe it was a big mistake to rely on Liriano and Baker as the top pitchers in the rotation, but one can about imagine how things around here would be if the Twins traded 3 top 10 prospects for some ace pitcher and then that ace pitcher has to have TJ surgery or something. One cannot complain about a "poor" farm system and then also demand to trade prospects away.
The only trade that was truly abysmal at the time was the Ramos-Capps trade. The Young-Garza trade was made at a time when the Twins looked like they truly had some starting pitching depth and needed a good-great RH bat. Delmon Young was highly regarded. Maybe the Twins should trade Arcia and Morales for pitching, but if Joe Benson and Aaron Hicks then develop persistent injuries that seriously limit playing time, one can't look back and say that the team shouldn't have traded from a position of depth.
Talking about wanting trades is stupid. We don't know much about what actually goes on, what is actually offered, etc.
The things about trades are this... If someone is willing to trade someone to you... THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH HIM.
The Delmon Young trade was an over reaction trade by a young GM.
In 2008 everyone was screaming for Power and offense because it was lacking the year prior.
Morneau and Hunter were the only power sources in 2007. Hunter was looking for a long deal and heading out of town. Cuddyer and Kubel parked 16 and 13 homers respectively. With Hunter leaving we had 3 guys in double digits.
Gardy didn't like Garza(I have no personal knowledge just read that a couple of times) so the Young GM Bill Smith made a deal for Delmon Young who the Rays were willing to part with because he was an extreme attitude problem and they wanted to cash him in when the right deal came along. There was something wrong with Garza so we traded him for Young... Who the Rays had a problem with.
Garza was then traded to the Cubs for a boatload of prospects... The Rays could have traded any of their pitchers and may have got more prospects... Something was still wrong with Garza... What was wrong with those Cubs Prospects... They were too YOUNG.
Delmon Young was traded for Lester Oliveros. God I hope Oliveros becomes something... Anything. Cuz Oliveros cost us Garza and Bartlett and boy do we need starting pitching and a shortstop right now.
Posted 05 May 2012 - 02:59 PM
Jason Bartlett had one truly good season after that trade (it was a great season, actually).
Oliveros may be more valuable per dollar than Delmon by next year.
About Bartlett... I know... I'm just saying.
I hope you are right about Oliveros... But let me ask you this... Would you rather have Oliveros OR... Chris Archer, Hak Ju Lee, Brandon Guyer, Sam Fuld and Robinson Chirinos.
Trades only happen because there is something wrong with the player(s) being traded. Those Cubs Prospects were too young to contribute therefore available. Superstars are available only when they are about to become too expensive or getting ready to leave. Young talented players in the majors like Delmon are only available if they are bad attitudes.
If you want to build your team via the trade... The only strategy that works is to trade for the flawed young player who might develop into something. The other guys without flaws are not available for trade.
Bill Smith got his butt handed to him by a (at the time) 30 year old ex investment banker named Friedman.
Edited by Riverbrian, 05 May 2012 - 03:05 PM.