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Article: How full is your Minnesota Twins glass?

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#21 Ultima Ratio

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 12:07 PM

About 5th out of 30 teams reduces to 1/6 full -- just because I'm an optimist. Like some others above have said, this team is no where near average/mediocre to warrant a discussion of "half" glass perspectives. If the offense and bullpen produce the same next year as this, and the rotation is vasty improved -- only then will we have a .500 team, or half a glass.

#22 DirkFun

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 12:22 PM

It depends what our ambition is. If the goal is to return to the playoffs, then we are closer to half-full - a few changes could turn this into a contending team (especially in the AL central). If the goal is a Yankees-style domination of baseball, then it is definitely more half-empty.

I would personally opt more for half-full - seeking to improve incrementally. The more radical the changes you seek, the greater the chance for failure as well. I'd hate to blow everything up, only to find that instead of having a World Series champion in 2017 we have instead three years of wasted baseball followed by one that is good but not great (which is all too likely). I guess I'm content with a competitive team and would appreciate but do not require a dominant one.



Very well put. I agree with what you and Seth later said in the comments. You have to get to the playoffs first before you can get to the World Series. Incremental improvements is more the "Twins way" of doing things. Way too huge of a gamble blowing up the whole roster and suffering for 3-4 more years and might end up being worse than that in 2017. Glass is definitely half-full and would gladly take a few above-average to average FA's this offseason and compete for our AL Central Division title in 2015 and beyond.

#23 mlhouse

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 12:27 PM

It would be half-full if the production we got from the players listed above contributed to a mediocre team, i.e. 81-81. But this team is far from that.

Second, the other reason why this team is far from half full is the financials. The Twins are paying a lot of money to lose 95+ games two years in a row.

Third, several of the players that Seth lists in the "half-full" category are far from proven. Scott Diamond had a good year, but is there any certainty in him having as good of a year next? Burton and Fein are short relievers, a position that has historically been hard to predict quality from year in to year out. Question marks abound about players like Trevor Plouffe, Chris Parmalee, and even Ben Revere to some degree.

#24 LastOnePicked

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 12:44 PM

If I've learned anything from the last two years, I'll take a competitive in the division team anytime over a team that may win a World Series once every 8 years and be poor 6 of the other 7 years.



Seth, I admire your writing and I appreciate everything you contribute to Twins baseball talk, but I totally don't get this perspective. We've had enough of this route to failure over the last decade, and a pathetic three-and-out against the Yankees puts a far worse taste in my mouth than a stinky season with the promise of a stronger draft. It bothers me that people say "anything can happen in the playoffs" --which is proveably false. Carl Pavano cannot magically become Curt Schilling in the postseason. Danny Valencia cannot become Miguel Cabrera. Ron Gardenhire cannot become Tony LaRussa. You get out of the playoffs what you bring into it. The Twins brought nothing into the postseason over the last decade, and got exactly that out of it. The trophy is never a guarantee, but, c'mon, there's a reason why the Yankees considered drawing the Twins a first-round bye. And they were right.

#25 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 12:55 PM

If I've learned anything from the last two years, I'll take a competitive in the division team anytime over a team that may win a World Series once every 8 years and be poor 6 of the other 7 years.



Seth, I admire your writing and I appreciate everything you contribute to Twins baseball talk, but I totally don't get this perspective. We've had enough of this route to failure over the last decade, and a pathetic three-and-out against the Yankees puts a far worse taste in my mouth than a stinky season with the promise of a stronger draft. It bothers me that people say "anything can happen in the playoffs" --which is proveably false. Carl Pavano cannot magically become Curt Schilling in the postseason. Danny Valencia cannot become Miguel Cabrera. Ron Gardenhire cannot become Tony LaRussa. You get out of the playoffs what you bring into it. The Twins brought nothing into the postseason over the last decade, and got exactly that out of it. The trophy is never a guarantee, but, c'mon, there's a reason why the Yankees considered drawing the Twins a first-round bye. And they were right.


It's a sound philosophy because baseball, more than any other sport, has the "best team on paper" losing to an "inferior team". The 2006 Cards were not the best team in baseball on paper, yet they won the World Series.

You can't get to the World Series without making the playoffs. After that, anything can happen. I'm all for the Twins pushing harder to make trades to push them over the top in years they are competitive but the idea of "building a World Series team in March" is a ridiculously impossible challenge. You do your best to field a competitive team, then you supplement that team mid-season in years where you think you have a real shot to win it all (2006 and 2010 come to mind).

The Twins have been very good at building a competitor. They have not been good at pushing hard to build a WS team mid-season.

But before you build that "WS team", you need to be competitive. Walk before you run. The Twins are awful right now. Their first step should be a return to legitimacy, not burning it all down and hoping that 500 things come together perfectly in 2016 and they become a world-beater because chances are that most of those 500 things required to build a world-beater just won't happen on the timeline you hoped to see. All you have to do is look through the recent histories of really bad MLB franchises to see how "building to win it all" often leads to "more losing seasons as prospects sputter and fail".

#26 Winston Smith

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 01:04 PM

A lot of stuff about how close this team is and all the good players we have. Yet 129-193 over the last 2 tears, drafted 2nd this year, likely 4th next year. So why is it that all these good players have such a bad record?

#27 JB_Iowa

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 02:19 PM

I think my problem with this whole discussion is that it doesn't really address the fundamentals of why the Twins had so little playoff success despite winning the division fairly regularly.

PLEASE don't just say "its a small sample size". It isn't really that small a sample size when you are talking about SOME success (not necessarily winning the WS but winning a game or a series).

The real issue, I think, is whether some of the philosophical underpinnings of this organization just don't work when it comes to post-season success (or when it comes to success against the best teams in the league even in the regular season). Does their pitching philosophy work? Not just "pitch to contact" (I'll agree that is a variant in most organizations) but a lack of power pitching. Strict pitch counts. Regimented use of the bullpen. Slap hitting. Injury diagnosis & treatment and training methods. Strict adherence to a small percentage range when it comes to the amount spent on salaries. Gardenhire's long-term view of the season (battle your tail off and there's another game tomorrow). There's a lot more that I'm sure some of you who are more immersed in this can add. (I wish I could add relying on fundamental defense but it's hard to believe that after what we've seen for 2 years).

At least for me, and I think for some others who see the glass as half-empty (if that), that's what it comes down to. i want some visible proof that the Twins understand that my discontent is not just about the last 2 years. That merely returning to relevance in the Central isn't good enough. I'm sure it would be good enough for the Twins organization because it would undoubtedly put butts in the seat and guarantee their profit margin.

But I want more than that. I want ownership and management to do things that will convince me that they care not just about their profit margin but that they care about competing with the best -- including in the post-season.

That doesn't meant that they have to blow up the team or that they can't be competitive next year. But when you never see anything really change, it's hard to believe that they really care about winning against the best.

Edited by JB_Iowa, 02 October 2012 - 02:23 PM.


#28 TheLeviathan

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 03:09 PM

If I've learned anything from the last two years, I'll take a competitive in the division team anytime over a team that may win a World Series once every 8 years and be poor 6 of the other 7 years. I remember that used to be a big question for many Twins fans back when the Twins were winning lots of division titles. Doesn't make the goal any less. Always trying to win every game, but can't get to the World Series without getting to the playoffs.


Well said, I've been saying this at BYTO for years. I hate the "throw everything in for one chance" model. I'd much rather have a gun loaded with multiple bullets than one silver one.

On this subject - very much empty. This team was 15-20 games worse than what it needed to be to be a playoff team and that was with a number of things going well. People who convince themselves that this offense can carry a team next year with a future pitcher additions are going to be sadly disappointed.

#29 BD57

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 03:19 PM

Half-empty.

Willingham, Doumit, Revere & Plouffe had the best years of their careers; Joe Mauer, meanwhile, was merely "very, very good" ... and we still only improved to "mediocre" in terms of scoring runs. While you can win with the offense we put on the field - there are playoff teams which have scored a similar number of runs - you'd better pitch REALLY well.

And we don't.

The challenge for us is we have to home-grow enough of the "top-flight" talent that we can afford to add a piece here & there which pushes us over the top.

#30 peterb18

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 05:01 PM

If I've learned anything from the last two years, I'll take a competitive in the division team anytime over a team that may win a World Series once every 8 years and be poor 6 of the other 7 years.



Seth, I admire your writing and I appreciate everything you contribute to Twins baseball talk, but I totally don't get this perspective. We've had enough of this route to failure over the last decade, and a pathetic three-and-out against the Yankees puts a far worse taste in my mouth than a stinky season with the promise of a stronger draft. It bothers me that people say "anything can happen in the playoffs" --which is proveably false. Carl Pavano cannot magically become Curt Schilling in the postseason. Danny Valencia cannot become Miguel Cabrera. Ron Gardenhire cannot become Tony LaRussa. You get out of the playoffs what you bring into it. The Twins brought nothing into the postseason over the last decade, and got exactly that out of it. The trophy is never a guarantee, but, c'mon, there's a reason why the Yankees considered drawing the Twins a first-round bye. And they were right.


I agree with this analysis. However, I think we need a willing ownership. I don't know if the desire is there for a successful team that looks for world championships. Now that the stadium has been built for them they seem to be satisfied.

#31 Mike Sixel

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 05:17 PM

Wow, that is a lot of optimism for a team 10th in runs scored, and 2nd to last in runs allowed in the AL! I hope TR doesn't agree with you all, because they need to jump about 1 run better (or more) in ERA, and up in runs scored. They are anemic at SS and 2B, everything went right in the OF and 1B and C, and they still were tenth in runs scored. They have no help in AAA for their weak positions at all. They need 3 or 4 starting pitchers, and they have maybe 1-2 internal candidates. To fix this team for next year, they either need career years from their best players and 3-5 free agents, or 5-7 free agents. And we all know they aren't going to sign 5 free agents that fill SS, 2B, 4 starting pitchers, and 1-2 relievers. I obviously am a fan, or I wouldn't keep coming here, but I don't see how you can think this team is on the rise when they have no help in the minors, and have lost this many games in two years.

Do you really think they'll sign enough players to fix the starting pitching? Has any team not in the top 5 in payroll ever signed that many new starters in one year? And, if they deal people, we know they'll keep Arcia and Hicks down and your OF will be Mastrionni as a starter instead of one of them. I'm impressed that you are all so optimistic, but I hope TR is not in agreement with you.

#32 Snortwood

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 09:49 PM

Kyle Gibson will jump right in and be a ROY candidate


Under Gardenhire the Twins almost never have a viable ROY candidate. Coincidence? I don't think so. Moreover, the idea that a rookie! and a starting pitcher!! might be given that opportunity is almost impossible to conceive.

But desperate times make for desperate measures. We'll see how desperate Gardy is to start winning again if Gibson is ready, we'll see if Ronnie will give him that chance right from Opening Day or make some special patented plea that brings back Pavano (ugh) or some other has been.

#33 Snortwood

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 09:51 PM

Middle infield and starting pitching is all they have to fix. Sounds so simple, and yet.. . .

#34 Chris in Osaka

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 10:05 PM

The Twins glass is less than half empty, the bottom is cracked, and the water is staining Ryan's desk. Not a pretty sight.

#35 twinsnorth49

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 10:07 PM

A lot of stuff about how close this team is and all the good players we have. Yet 129-193 over the last 2 tears, drafted 2nd this year, likely 4th next year. So why is it that all these good players have such a bad record?


Because none of them happen to be pitchers.

#36 twinsnorth49

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 10:11 PM

Kyle Gibson will jump right in and be a ROY candidate


Under Gardenhire the Twins almost never have a viable ROY candidate. Coincidence? I don't think so. Moreover, the idea that a rookie! and a starting pitcher!! might be given that opportunity is almost impossible to conceive.


Scott Diamond anybody?

#37 twinsnorth49

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 10:14 PM

Half full, as long as the pitching is there and the middle infield isn't a train wreck, is it any more complicated than that?

#38 Shane Wahl

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 12:24 AM

Half full, as long as the pitching is there and the middle infield isn't a train wreck, is it any more complicated than that?

No it isn't more complicated. But there is some STRONG nay-saying going on around here. The Twins were a COMPLETE mess at the beginning 1/6+ of the season. 7-21 DUE to players who are not going to be around anymore (Pavano, Liriano, Blackburn, and Marquis) is a big deal. And the woes continues for some of them for 1-3 months later. The Twins are truly about 10 games under performance, but most of that is the result of the disaster at the beginning of the season.

#39 Thrylos

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 12:32 AM

Half full, as long as the pitching is there and the middle infield isn't a train wreck, is it any more complicated than that?

No it isn't more complicated. But there is some STRONG nay-saying going on around here. The Twins were a COMPLETE mess at the beginning 1/6+ of the season. 7-21 DUE to players who are not going to be around anymore (Pavano, Liriano, Blackburn, and Marquis) is a big deal. And the woes continues for some of them for 1-3 months later. The Twins are truly about 10 games under performance, but most of that is the result of the disaster at the beginning of the season.


I think that there is part of the root cause of the problem...

Other that Liriano, the current regime is the one who thought that Pavano should get a hefty extension for mediocre performance and Blackburn too (btw, he will be back, if Gardy and Andy and Terry are around, mark my words) and gave up the green light to sign Marquis who had be mediocre.

So Pavano, Blackburn and Marquis are the symptoms in my book
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#40 kab21

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 09:10 AM

Half full, as long as the pitching is there and the middle infield isn't a train wreck, is it any more complicated than that?

No it isn't more complicated. But there is some STRONG nay-saying going on around here. The Twins were a COMPLETE mess at the beginning 1/6+ of the season. 7-21 DUE to players who are not going to be around anymore (Pavano, Liriano, Blackburn, and Marquis) is a big deal. And the woes continues for some of them for 1-3 months later. The Twins are truly about 10 games under performance, but most of that is the result of the disaster at the beginning of the season.


Let's ignore that just about everything (aside from MI) went perfectly for the Twins on offense. And they still had an average offense. Or that there's only one starter on the team that anyone has any confidence in.