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Article: The Twins Are Stuck In Their Comfort Zone

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#21 The Wise One

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 07:00 AM

Ive seen you try to make this point in other threads and I don't think it holds much water. First, he said Ryan and Gardenhire, not just Gardy. Second, just because some new hires elsewhere hasn't seen some sort of sweeping improvement in the early going, that makes them failures? No, this is silly. When a person gets a job in any sphere, it is not a position for life or until you give it up. Orgs need outside thinking to stay fresh, period and yes, just that simple.


Silly? Outside ideas? Which organization do you like and tell me if the GM did not come from within or is a retread from being fired. Feel free to tell me then about fresh outside ideas if you can find someone who never was a GM having succeess in a new organization. Fresh ideas come from promoting the brightest person possible in the organization. That is the part that those clamoring for change don't seem to get.(Sidebar I can't resist, in 2007 either they were sadly mistaken about Smith's intelligence, or he was the brightest which would explain a lot. Changing the manager doesn't mean much without changing the talent. The point is changing the manager is not the recipe for improvement. Changing the talent is. That doesn't mean keep Gardenhire. It means if they do not change the talent you will have the same outcome. From what I read in these posts, all the Twins world will be a better place when Gardenhire and Ryan are gone. That is silly.

#22 The Wise One

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 07:04 AM

Took this from the Guerrier-specific thread.

If Kubel, Bartlett, and Guerrier had already been under contract, but the Twins moved on from them, I would completely agree with you. But that wasn't the case at all.

If cutting those 3 represent three steps forward, we merely re-gained the three steps back taken when they were added to the roster in the first place. (And I'd argue we took more steps back than steps forward in regards to these 3 in 2014, through the guys lost from the roster and the more interesting arms mostly stuck at AAA up until now. Not to mention basically forcing Hicks into the opening day lineup again.)


Guerrier was brought up when the yooung arm Tonkin faltered. You can't rewrite the history. Specifically what players were blocked by Kubel and Bartlet as they had to go outside of the organization to find their eventual replacements

#23 teekz

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 07:14 AM

Guerrier was brought up when the yooung arm Tonkin faltered. You can't rewrite the history. Specifically what players were blocked by Kubel and Bartlet as they had to go outside of the organization to find their eventual replacements


The Bartlet fiasco caused them to lose both Alex Presley and Darin Mastroianni.

#24 TheLeviathan

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 07:16 AM

The Bartlet fiasco caused them to lose both Alex Presley and Darin Mastroianni.


Which are not great players. But they also represent an option other than your 23 year old rookie SS playing CF.

#25 teekz

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 07:20 AM

Which are not great players. But they also represent an option other than your 23 year old rookie SS playing CF.



Totally agree they aren't great players. Nor long term pieces. But after seeing Parmelee, Escobar and Santana play CF so far this year...

#26 TwinsTerritory

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 07:39 AM

I'm with Seth on Kubel and Guerrier. They probably should have walked away from Kubel sooner, but I don't see where those 2 did much damage. On the other hand, the Bartlett experiment was truly poor decision making. I know Alex Presley isn't part of the long term solution, but he certainly would have given us some options other than pushing Hicks again.

I think Terry Ryan has done a good job since coming back and I'm sure Rob Antony is good at his job as well, but it would be interesting if there was a way to bring in a new face from another organization to serve in some role. I think the Twins are making changes in how they use data and scout players, but it seems it's been a slow learning curve and I wonder if someone from outside the organization might provide new insight.

#27 spycake

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 07:46 AM

Guerrier was brought up when the yooung arm Tonkin faltered. You can't rewrite the history. Specifically what players were blocked by Kubel and Bartlet as they had to go outside of the organization to find their eventual replacements


Not sure how I was re-writing history. Guerrier was promoted (and kept on the roster 2+ months) ahead of the following more likely future bullpen arms performing well in AAA: Darnell, Ibarra, Johnson, and Pressly on the 40-man roster at the time, not to mention Achter, Pino, and Guerra would could have been added, and also not to mention Meyer or May if you wanted to start them out in the pen (or shift Deduno/Pino/Johnson to their more likely long-term destination in the MLB pen the past few months).

Kubel and Bartlett led directly to the cutting of Presley and Mastroianni, and thus indirectly to the starting of Hicks. Heck, if we were looking for a guy on a minor league deal to guarantee a MLB roster spot regardless of performance, CFSam Fuld probably would have signed here back in February, and could have made it that much easier to start Hicks in the minors where he belonged.

The last places we needed to guarantee spots for longshot, low-upside fliers in a rebuilding year were corner OF/DH and the bullpen (and probably even backup SS too, given the nature of Bartlett's long shot, Florimon's remaining option, the presence of Escobar, and Danny Santana's promising spring).

#28 troyhobbs

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 07:58 AM

I don't think the twins ever fully grasped the notion that they're rebuilding. If you have a bunch of pieces in place it makes more sense to take a flyer on veterans that are past their prime, but when you're in a rebuild
it's better to error on the side of youth and future potential.

#29 spycake

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 07:58 AM

I'm with Seth on Kubel and Guerrier. They probably should have walked away from Kubel sooner, but I don't see where those 2 did much damage.


Obviously, on a fairly thoroughly non-contending team, no one player can do too much damage.

Kubel took a roster spot that could have gone to Presley or Mastroianni just as much as Bartlett did. Or his spot could have even gone to Sam Fuld, who was available on a minor league deal as late as February. All of which guaranteed Hicks a spot in MLB far too long. (Also losing a spot to Kubel was Parmelee, who while perhaps a lower-upside hitter, at least had the ability to play the field and not blame his poor hitting on tired legs.)

And I'd have rather given Guerrier's spot/innings to one of our multiple interesting AAA arms, to better inform us of their abilities in advance of our 2015 planning. (Best yet, give his bullpen spot to Deduno/Pino/Johnson and let Meyer and May log some MLB starts this season.)

And for what did we give up these opportunities? All three of Bartlett, Kubel, and Guerrier looked pretty well cooked before we had to officially guarantee them anything.

#30 jaimedude2

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 08:05 AM

"I think Terry Ryan has done a good job since coming back and I'm sure Rob Antony is good at his job as well, but it would be interesting if there was a way to bring in a new face from another organization to serve in some role. I think the Twins are making changes in how they use data and scout players, but it seems it's been a slow learning curve and I wonder if someone from outside the organization might provide new insight.


I wish he Gardenhire had as much influence or pull in bringing up prospects like Meyer to pitch, or May to pitch along with Rosario to play center field and play Santanna at short stop every day with Escobar filling for all three spots, 2nd base, short and third base so those guys Dozier and Plouffe could get a few more days off to recover. HE should have played Pinto at DH a lot more to start the season and got Danny Santanna up sooner.
They need to develop those two guys at key spots, or someone at catcher, and the younger pitchers in order to move forward. Johnson and Pino are what they are fillers, they got a better start out of Swarzak and probably would out of Hamburger than those two long relief or should be bullpen types.
It's hard to say whether new blood would help the team turn the corner, or right the ship if they would keep Gardenhire's field staff, or make a change, at some points they look like they are stuck in the mud and some games they look like they are developing players to get better and be more consistent. There has been incremental improvement in Arcia, and Escobar and Suzuki have overachieved.
I don't know if it is that they need new people or if the existing staff needs to push themselves out of their comfort zones and try some new things with developing the newer or younger guys? That is the 500 dollar question for now, can they get better with this field staff in place and turn the corner or do they need new "blood"? This Twins team although slightly improved in some areas is highly inconsistent. I can't say they are flat terrible because they are not they are competitive and play hard.
Not sure if they are going to turn the page and get better with current core and staff, or if they need to start anew with a rebuild. They are kind of at a crossroads of selecting that path right now. I guess I would rather trust the GM Ryan to choose the path, then go outside right now. IF he Ryan trusts Gardy they need to start showing some results before there is nothing but crickets in the stands at Target Field.

Edited by jaimedude2, 24 July 2014 - 08:23 AM.


#31 Dman

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 08:08 AM

Silly? Outside ideas? Which organization do you like and tell me if the GM did not come from within or is a retread from being fired. Feel free to tell me then about fresh outside ideas if you can find someone who never was a GM having succeess in a new organization. Fresh ideas come from promoting the brightest person possible in the organization. That is the part that those clamoring for change don't seem to get.(Sidebar I can't resist, in 2007 either they were sadly mistaken about Smith's intelligence, or he was the brightest which would explain a lot. Changing the manager doesn't mean much without changing the talent. The point is changing the manager is not the recipe for improvement. Changing the talent is. That doesn't mean keep Gardenhire. It means if they do not change the talent you will have the same outcome. From what I read in these posts, all the Twins world will be a better place when Gardenhire and Ryan are gone. That is silly.


I am with you on this analysis. Managers MANAGE talent they don't create it. When Gardy and Andy were winning and the Twins way was the envy of most teams in baseball they were brilliant at their jobs. When he won manager of the year he must have really been bad at his job.

They lost talented players especially pitching and now the manager needs to be replaced to fix things? Once the Twins start winning again no one will care if Gardy is still in charge or not. Blame who you want but the players have to perform to win games. I can't think of any manager who could win the division with the pitching staff we currently have. Talent coupled with consistent performance wins games. The Twins don't have much of that yet.

#32 Monkeypaws

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 08:22 AM

I see it as a lack of faith in the Twins organization in their AAA pool, coupled with very weak roster. With with a roster full of question marks, players fail to seize the opportunities given them: Hicks, Parmelee, Mastro, Florimon, etc. Kubel was the one that almost made sense, just 1 season removed from relevance.

Remember a few years back when Jacque Jones attempted a comeback, and actually looked the part, but in the end he was cut because the Twins had a major league roster.

Different times these.

#33 JB_Iowa

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 08:25 AM

Thank you, Nick.

.... but infused no fresh blood from outside the organization.

In general, I don't think that being loyal to your people and promoting from within are bad things, but there have got to be limits and exceptions. The Twins have been stuck in a losing rut for almost half a decade now, yet they haven't brought one prominent outside voice into the mix during that entire span.

I'm of the opinion that "fresh blood" should be infused during good times and bad times to prevent complacency. That allows for stability while also providing challenges to group think and the possibility of some eye-opening new ideas. Seeing new and different faces also has a psychological impact. We all get into a position where we can predict what long-time colleagues will do or say (heck, we can all pretty much predict what a lot of posters here will say -- I'm sure most of you could have predicted I'd post something along these lines).

Sometimes we need new and different faces (and ideas) just to get our attention and because we "hear" new voices differently. The baseball operations side of the Twins has gone far beyond stable to moribund and it is pretty hard to come back from the brink of death without a complete transfusion. I'm afraid that's where they are now ... at a point where a complete overhaul may be necessary. That might not have been required if they had been willing to blend in new talent earlier.

I'm not sure how long you can keep selling "wait 'til next year" .... when it doesn't seem like next year provides much improvement. We can all be excited about the prospects in the Twins system. But Jim Pohlad is right, they are still just prospects. We've yet to see whether they can have any great impact on the major league club.

#34 DaveW

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 08:28 AM

I 100% agree that Jason Bartlett should not have been on the Opening Day roster. I didn't mind the signing, but I assumed he would compete for a utility role in Rochester and shake off some rust and get an opportunity to help the Twins if things went well. With Pedro Florimon as the incumbent and not knowing how ready Danny Santana was, I thought that was a signing worth taking a flyer on.

I was (and remain) 100% fine with signing Kubel to the minor league deal and essentially handing him a roster spot. he was a year removed from hitting 30 home runs, and his 2013 was largely spent injured. He had enough equity built up in his career that I didn't have any problem with giving him a real opportunity to see if he could find it again. Should they have ended that attempt 2-4 weeks earlier? Sure. But I will always support this type of contract.

Matt Guerrier is in the same boat as Kubel, though he was older. He has had a long, very productive career. He had an opt-out and they had to make a choice. He was fine in the low-leverage situations until last night. I'm 100% good with making this change today and getting Ryan Pressly back up here.

This is the time of the year when you go into sell mode and youth movement, and we're seeing the Twins do that.

The Twins did the same thing with Jared Burton a couple of years ago. He signed a minor league contract and despite a tough spring, he was given an Opening Day roster position, and that worked out. Sure, maybe extending him hasn't been totally great, but the original decision was good... And, he was suggested by Wayne Krivsky.

So, I agree that all three of these were busts. I think we're making a bigger deal out of it because they were former good Twins players. However, I really hope they continue to sign these types of guys in the offseason to minor league contracts. It's a good strategy.


I wouldn't go as far to call Guerrier a "bust", he did make it to the major league roster and prior to his last game he did have a 2.67 ERA in 26 appearances. Again his k/9 etc weren't that sexy, but his results were "solid"

It was definitely time for him to go though as his luck definitely ran out.

Having Bartlett on the roster made zero sense to be honest. I don't mind taking a flyer on Kubel, especially after his "hot" start. I'd much rather give a guy a 2 mil contract for one year then give a large deal to a corner OF that ultimately just blocks other players.

At the end of the day though, none of those players ultimately blocked anyone.

 "1 out of 17 ain't bad"


#35 Dman

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 08:28 AM

Again: Either the Twins have talent (and the manager is to blame,) or the Twins do not have the talent (and the front office is to blame.) The Twins are not where they are (and have been since 1992) because of divine intervention...


I think the front office is more to blame than the manager(s). Even before Bill took over the well was pretty dry in the Minors. The front office also made some bad trades and in the end it cost us dearly. Some where along the way they thought they could take any control pitcher and turn him into Brad Radke. Whatever the strategy it failed miserably.

That being said it is hard to criticize a front office that has created the number 2 farm system in all of baseball. If they are such an incompetent bunch what does that say about the rest of the leagues GM's and FO's? They messed up and they are moving in a positive direction to fix it. Only team doing a better job might be the Cubs. If things work out well the Twins FO will redeem themselves in the next few years with or without new guys at the top.

#36 tarheeltwinsfan

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 08:34 AM

Nick - A really spot on article...and timely. There are many points to discuss here, but in essence we have some good guys running this organization. They care about the Twins' family. I like that. But it doesn't always result in winning the division title every year...and even sometimes it comes unraveled, as we have seen the last 4 years. I really like your looking at the big picture. I for one, feel like the Twins are in good hands and that consistent winning is just around the corner. There are many lessons to be learned from the last 4 years of Twins baseball...and I look forward to articles and discussions about these lessons to be learned.

#37 Dantes929

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 08:39 AM

I have always defended these moves because in theory they make senses. Talented players who may have something left in the tank signed to low risk moderate reward deals. The low risk is that if they don't perform in ST or the minor leagues they never see the light of day in the majors. Upside is the talent and track record mentioned earlier. I will no longer defend these moves since the Twins do not follow this simple logic. They turn it into moderate risk due to lost games and blocking younger players and into low rewards since these guys have not had to prove that they are capable or ready to rebound. Twins are criticized often and I defend them often because I feel it is either unwarranted or just too over the top. Not here. Any signing of these types will now be met with skepticism on my part as well.

#38 tarheeltwinsfan

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 08:39 AM

I think the front office is more to blame than the manager(s). Even before Bill took over the well was pretty dry in the Minors. The front office also made some bad trades and in the end it cost us dearly. Some where along the way they thought they could take any control pitcher and turn him into Brad Radke. Whatever the strategy it failed miserably.

That being said it is hard to criticize a front office that has created the number 2 farm system in all of baseball. If they are such an incompetent bunch what does that say about the rest of the leagues GM's and FO's? They messed up and they are moving in a positive direction to fix it. Only team doing a better job might be the Cubs. If things work out well the Twins FO will redeem themselves in the next few years with or without new guys at the top.


Unfortunately it is easier to build a great farm system when you have top 5 draft picks year after year for 4 years. The real test is having a solid farm system when the team is consistently winning...which the Twins were doing for 10 years prior. I contend that is the major reason the farm system had run dry 4 years ago. How do the Cardinals win year after year, and yet their farm system is consistently one of the best?

#39 tarheeltwinsfan

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 08:42 AM



"I'm of the opinion that "fresh blood" should be infused during good times and bad times to prevent complacency. That allows for stability while also providing challenges to group think and the possibility of some eye-opening new ideas. Seeing new and different faces also has a psychological impact. We all get into a position where we can predict what long-time colleagues will do or say (heck, we can all pretty much predict what a lot of posters here will say -- I'm sure most of you could have predicted I'd post something along these lines)." JB-Iowa


JB from Iowa - I knew you'd say that. :)

Edited by tarheeltwinsfan, 24 July 2014 - 08:46 AM.


#40 jorgenswest

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 08:43 AM

The problem with signing the trio is that they don't look elsewhere.

Even after signing Kubel, they could have seen his struggle in the spring and looked for a younger player like JD Martinez. They could have given the time in spring to minor league free agents with the upside of age.

They could have replaced Tonkin with AJ Achter. Wouldn't it be better to use those low leverage situations to give experience to a younger player?

Signing decline phase veterans continues the cycle of mediocrity.