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Article: 4 Creative Tweaks the Twins Can Make to Get Better

max kepler
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#141 Jim Hahn

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Posted 02 December 2018 - 07:48 PM

I'm going to ask two questions for everyone who reads this. I believe that if everyone truly thinks about the questions I'm about to ask, any concerns will float away but I ask that everyone truly thinks about both questions. (I apologize for answering the questions... which I will but please consider the questions anyway).

1. Why do Joe Maddon and Dave Roberts move players around? Additional question to this question (still the same question)... Why did the Brewers move Shaw to 2B and Why did the Indians move Ramirez to 2B and Kipnis to CF?

2. Did it hurt them?

Think about those questions.

Here are the answers.

1. It allows them to put the best possible lineup together every single day. Cody Bellinger is most likely better at one position or the other. The odds that he is exactly equal as a 1B or CF defensively is pretty low yet he plays both positions frequently and the reason is that it allows the team to move Muncy to 1B or Taylor to CF based on match-ups, slumps or whatever.

The response I get back is usually... "Yeah but the Twins don't have Ian Happ, Javier Baez, Ben Zobrist, Kris Bryant, David Bote, Cody Bellinger, Chris Taylor, Austin Barnes or Kike Hernandez.

My response to that would be... And we never will if we continue to be paralyzed by slight defensive differences and fail to adopt the concept. And I'd follow that response with... It is the off-season, this is the time to acquire players like this and if you can't acquire them because everybody wants them now... then you do like every business in America does when they can't find qualified applicants. They create their own.

2. Obviously not. The Dodgers and Cubs have been ahead of the curve for years, they have been acquiring and creating as many of these players as they can while everybody else stood still. They possess a tactical advantage over every other team as a result. The other teams have to catch up or become dinosaurs.

Sometime I get a response saying, the Twins and Tigers have utility players. They really don't especially in comparison... they have one guy who didn't win a starting job and became that one designated guy... just like teams have been doing for decades... one utility guy who plays on Sundays.

Adopting this concept is more important and will do more for the Twins than acquiring Harper or Machado.

Besides we can't acquire Harper because we have no place to put him with Kepler, Buxton and Rosario locking down the OF spots and un-moveable to a different position. :)

Number 2 isn't really true. Go back and look at lineup construction in the 50's and 60's. Harmon Killebrew played 3b, of, and 1b almost equally during the 1st half of his Twins career. He did it to help get the best possible bats into the lineups. The Twins did much the same with Tovar. Stengel did the same with the Yankees. He was famous for playing his catchers in left field. Ken Boyer was a gold glove, all star 3rd baseman who one year played over a hundred games in cf. He also played ss a lot.


Now, the question is why this practice died out. Some it may of been expansion. Not having an excess of good players you were trying to get into the lineup seemed to be part of it. The other part of it was having a bunch of players who hit but often didn't field very well didn't really help you win. That was the reason the Giants traded Cepeda rather than trying to continue to play him and McCovey at the same time.

I also think that teams feel that not having to platoon is better. They would rather have their depth at AAA rather than moving too many people around. The Dodgers are different maybe, or maybe they just have so much money that they can afford to have 2 former all star 2nd basemen sitting on the bench.

Edited by Jim Hahn, 02 December 2018 - 08:18 PM.

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#142 Riverbrian

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Posted 02 December 2018 - 08:52 PM

 

Number 2 isn't really true. Go back and look at lineup construction in the 50's and 60's. Harmon Killebrew played 3b, of, and 1b almost equally during the 1st half of his Twins career. He did it to help get the best possible bats into the lineups. The Twins did much the same with Tovar. Stengel did the same with the Yankees. He was famous for playing his catchers in left field. Ken Boyer was a gold glove, all star 3rd baseman who one year played over a hundred games in cf. He also played ss a lot.


Now, the question is why this practice died out. Some it may of been expansion. Not having an excess of good players you were trying to get into the lineup seemed to be part of it. The other part of it was having a bunch of players who hit but often didn't field very well didn't really help you win. That was the reason the Giants traded Cepeda rather than trying to continue to play him and McCovey at the same time.

I also think that teams feel that not having to platoon is better. They would rather have their depth at AAA rather than moving too many people around. The Dodgers are different maybe, or maybe they just have so much money that they can afford to have 2 former all star 2nd basemen sitting on the bench.

 

Yep... And fast forward to today and we have controversy if someone should play a different position. 

 

Back then they had to... We didn't have the DH for Harmon to slide into. The Manager would look at his choices and say... Got Don Mincher or Rich Reese at 1B... Harmon go play 3B. 

 

Cesar Tovar became a utility player because he wasn't a starter in 1965 or 1966... had to play wherever the manager asked him to and he performed well so he became a plus. 

 

I also remember one of the best defensive 3B in history starting out as an OF for our Minnesota Twins. Mr. Nettles. 

 

Anyway... No DH plus double switches and that's why flexibility has become more of a necessity in the National League. However, it's still necessary in the AL. It just got misplaced over the decades because the game lost it's mind over specialization. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I'm not a starting 9 guy!!!


#143 TheLeviathan

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Posted 02 December 2018 - 09:57 PM

Speaking of creative....anyone want to buy low on Kyle Seager?  


#144 Mike Sixel

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Posted 02 December 2018 - 10:44 PM

Speaking of creative....anyone want to buy low on Kyle Seager?


Yes. Once he's healthy again, he's a three or four win player.

Then trade Sano and Kepler and random pitcher for Thor and a low A prospect. Then sign mccutchen. But no idea who the Mariners would want.

I remain hopeful on Buxton and Sano.....but I'd not bet the franchise on them.


#145 tvagle

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Posted 02 December 2018 - 10:57 PM

 

Yes. Once he's healthy again, he's a three or four win player.

Then trade Sano and Kepler and random pitcher for Thor and a low A prospect. Then sign mccutchen. But no idea who the Mariners would want.

 

All the M's trades are looking for the same player

and they are finding him with each deal

 

He's a little green but fits well in most teams plans

 

That player?Mr. $100 Benjamin Franklin

Is it 2020 yet?


#146 Mike Sixel

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Posted 02 December 2018 - 11:27 PM

All the M's trades are looking for the same player
and they are finding him with each deal

He's a little green but fits well in most teams plans

That player? Mr. $100 Benjamin Franklin


And near MLB ready players. Twins have plenty of both.

I remain hopeful on Buxton and Sano.....but I'd not bet the franchise on them.


#147 tvagle

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 12:52 AM

 

Speaking of creative....anyone want to buy low on Kyle Seager?  

 

Only way I buy low on Seager is if they include Marco Gonzales in the deal

 

Would even take DeeGee-Cinco in a deal if it helps

 

As for what they are looking for other than taking their bad contracts

 

Garver (RH platoon with their other new catcher)

Reed (Gotta send money back to them)

Stewart/Gonsalves/Mejia (their pick)

 

for

 

Seager

Gonzales

Gordon, Dee

$21M 

 

This would be taking on $70M in salary from the M's

Is it 2020 yet?


#148 Jim Hahn

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 09:27 AM

Yep... And fast forward to today and we have controversy if someone should play a different position. 
 
Back then they had to... We didn't have the DH for Harmon to slide into. The Manager would look at his choices and say... Got Don Mincher or Rich Reese at 1B... Harmon go play 3B. 
 
Cesar Tovar became a utility player because he wasn't a starter in 1965 or 1966... had to play wherever the manager asked him to and he performed well so he became a plus. 
 
I also remember one of the best defensive 3B in history starting out as an OF for our Minnesota Twins. Mr. Nettles. 
 
Anyway... No DH plus double switches and that's why flexibility has become more of a necessity in the National League. However, it's still necessary in the AL. It just got misplaced over the decades because the game lost it's mind over specialization.


It still happens in the American League. Look at what Gardenhire did with Cuddyer. After he became a right fielder, he played a bunch of games at 2nd. He was also switched to 1st a lot some years. He at times appeared at 2nd, 3rd or cf well after he was established as the regular rf. Teams do what they have to. The thing is that when Cuddyer was playing out of his regular position it was a sign of injuries or bad performances than any grand plan.

The Twins actually tried a bit of flexibility when they tried Sano in rf one year. We know how that worked. I am not against flexibility, with big bullpens and short benches it is a necessity. Too much flexibility, however,probably means something has gone wrong.

#149 nicksaviking

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 09:54 AM

 

Number 2 isn't really true. Go back and look at lineup construction in the 50's and 60's. Harmon Killebrew played 3b, of, and 1b almost equally during the 1st half of his Twins career. He did it to help get the best possible bats into the lineups. The Twins did much the same with Tovar. Stengel did the same with the Yankees. He was famous for playing his catchers in left field. Ken Boyer was a gold glove, all star 3rd baseman who one year played over a hundred games in cf. He also played ss a lot.


Now, the question is why this practice died out. Some it may of been expansion. Not having an excess of good players you were trying to get into the lineup seemed to be part of it. The other part of it was having a bunch of players who hit but often didn't field very well didn't really help you win. That was the reason the Giants traded Cepeda rather than trying to continue to play him and McCovey at the same time.

I also think that teams feel that not having to platoon is better. They would rather have their depth at AAA rather than moving too many people around. The Dodgers are different maybe, or maybe they just have so much money that they can afford to have 2 former all star 2nd basemen sitting on the bench.

 

Harmon was a unique case, he sure did move around a lot, so did Carew. I don't know that guys changed positions too greatly back in the day, but I'd say the advent of the DH caused a lot less need for flexibility. With the DH the team didn't need to scramble to plug someone into RF when Oliva's knee was acting up for a month because he had already been penciled into the DH role from the get go. So instead the more flexible player became the "utility" player and "utility" was just a fancy term for bench player. No one wants to be a bench player, everyone wants to be starting.

 

But I'd guess it's not a turn off to many players anymore, they'd have to see how playing multiple positions will increase their value in today's game. My guess is the only thing stopping most players from playing multiple positions (aside from physical limitations of course) is a manger who hasn't asked them to do so.


#150 Riverbrian

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 02:01 PM

 

It still happens in the American League. Look at what Gardenhire did with Cuddyer. After he became a right fielder, he played a bunch of games at 2nd. He was also switched to 1st a lot some years. He at times appeared at 2nd, 3rd or cf well after he was established as the regular rf. Teams do what they have to. The thing is that when Cuddyer was playing out of his regular position it was a sign of injuries or bad performances than any grand plan.

The Twins actually tried a bit of flexibility when they tried Sano in rf one year. We know how that worked. I am not against flexibility, with big bullpens and short benches it is a necessity. Too much flexibility, however,probably means something has gone wrong.

 

Exactly... Cuddyer was created out of necessity. The Twins didn't plan for it... it just had to happen due to circumstance. I'd rather they just plan for it. Seek these type of players out and if they can't find them... start creating them. 

 

The single utility guy on every roster has been around for decades. What the Dodgers and Cubs are doing right now is different and I've been sold on it since Friedman and Maddon started doing it in Tampa. 

 

Depth and Flexibility could have mitigated some of the disaster that happened last year with Buxton, Sano, Morrison, Dozier and the like.

 

2018 was the last year that i'm going to put up with horrible play getting rewarded with every day playing time. I have invested a lot of time in my Twins, every single summer and I'm just not going to invest that amount of time if Morrison type performance keeps getting shoved down my throat. Either the front office or manager has another option to try or I'm not going to try.

 

I've been studying the solution and I've come to the conclusion that the only way you can avoid 2018 is through depth and flexibility or everybody performing to expectation.Everybody performing to expectation is such a rare thing... so rare that I've decided that depth and flexibility is the only reasonable approach. 

A Skeleton walks into a bar and says... "Give me a beer... And a mop".

 

President of the "Baseball Player Positional Flexibility" Club 

Founded 4-23-16 

 

Strike Zone Automation Advocate

 

I'm not a starting 9 guy!!!




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