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Front Page: Let’s Wait to Declare the Offseason a Failure for the Minnesota Twins

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#1 Patrick Wozniak

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Posted 10 January 2020 - 02:30 PM

For the time being the narrative around Minnesota’s offseason begins and ends with “impact pitching.” Derek Falvey and Thad Levine probably want nothing more that to enter a time machine and retract those two words. But over time it will be the results of 2020 that shape the narrative of how we view this offseason.It’s easy to look at the offseason as a failure simply due to the fact that the Twins “failed” to secure what is viewed as one of the top free-agent starters. However, to already call the offseason a failure is short-sighted. The truth is that whatever grades or assessments we attach to the acquisitions, or lack thereof, that the Twins have made thus far, what ultimately matters is what happens when the Twins actually play games.

Now we can look back at the World Series and point out how important impact pitching really is. It’s true that both Washington and Houston’s rotations were filled with stars. All things being equal, it would obviously be nice for the Twins to have someone like Stephen Strasberg or Gerrit Cole, but that was never going to happen. Given the fact that they had four rotation spots to fill, Minnesota did well to bring back two starters who were really effective for the Twins in 2019 and two new faces that at least offer some degree of upside.

Minnesota seems to be more interested in building a long-term winner and now has the infrastructure, personnel, and prospects in place to make that a reality. While some may argue that it’s better to go all in now, Thieres Rabelo recently wrote a great piece arguing that Minnesota is putting itself in the position for long-term success as the Los Angeles Dodgers have done. Of course, the current regime in L.A. has yet to win it all, but they’ve come close, and putting your team in a position to go all the way year after year should be any front office’s objective.

The truth is that we don’t know what will happen in 2020 and it makes little sense to call the offseason a failure at this point. As human beings we tend to experience a result and then go back and retroactively create a narrative to fit whatever happened. In reality we probably don’t have a great idea of what causes bring about the end results but we’re destined to assign some explanation to fill in the blanks. Now that the “impact pitching” narrative has been put in place it will be easy to fall back on, but it’s hard to know exactly what effect adding one of the top free agents would have made (it’s also possible that Minnesota actually did sign some of the most impactful starters of the bunch).

Imagine an alternate reality where Milwaukee bull-penned their way around Washington in the NL Wildcard and Tampa Bay squeaked past Houston in ALDS (or, God forbid, if the Yankees had prevailed with their superb bullpen). More of us around Twins Daily would undoubtedly be clamoring for the Twins to add a few impact relievers to complete a super bullpen (which, to some degree, the Twins did do by signing Sergio Romo and Tyler Clippard).

Of course, if the Twins should go on to win the World Series in 2020, or if they win it a few years down the road due to the rise of internal options, the offseason "failure" will likely be erased from our memory and we’ll be praising the FO for not mortgaging the future and letting things play out.

It seems a bit odd that so much resentment has come the way of the Twins front office after winning over 100 games in 2019. Maybe some of it is deserved due to their own choice of words, but shouldn’t they be given the benefit of the doubt due to level of success and improvement the Twins have shown in just three seasons? Let’s at least let the season play out before we write the narrative.

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#2 rdehring

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Posted 10 January 2020 - 02:52 PM

Thank you for writing what I have felt for some time.

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#3 MN_ExPat

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Posted 10 January 2020 - 03:01 PM

Thank you Patrick. It's great to see a piece or comment that is not all doom and gloom or, "TO CRUSH YOUR ENEMIES. SEE THEM DRIVEN BEFORE YOU AND TO HEAR THE LAMENTATIONS OF THEIR WOMEN!"  (OK, perhaps that last part is a little over the top ;)).

 

I can understand the frustration. I think we all pretty much see what this team could be capable of with just that "little" tweak...

 

but at the same time I would love to sit down with a lot of us, and a lot of good beer, and just say "OK, they promised to add "impact pitching" and they didn't get the perceived big fish after a superlative 100+ win campaign. So what?"

 

Was that the smartest thing Falvine could have said? Probably not, but I for one am not going to cover them in pitch and light them on fire just because things didn't work out like a perceived promise.

 

I'll use the analogy for those who have been in the military or law enforcement. Have you ever had a senior leader (especially one you liked) promise to do something for you and yours that just made you want to grab a tack hammer and pound your skull until the pain went away because what they said, while meant well, was pretty much one of the dumber things a human being could have said?

 

That was pretty much like it for me. Not the smartest thing, but in the end... I've moved on. It simply isn't worth it to hang on to it and feed the shriveled black lump of coal that is my tiny, frozen, uncaring heart :).

 

Let's play some ball, Go Twins!

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#4 jkcarew

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Posted 10 January 2020 - 03:17 PM

If Falvey and Levine had not earlier acknowledged that the club needed (and deserved) impact pitching this off-season...that would have made them disingenuous...or stupid.

 

That fact that they did acknowledge it, but didn't execute it...means that they failed. Might work out fine in the long run. Anything might. But they failed. (At least so far.)

 

IMO, any argument that the Twins have not failed this off-season begins and ends with "what have they done to close the gap between themselves and the top of the AL". And a compelling argument for same does NOT include "odd that so much resentment has come the way of the Twins front office after winning over 100 games in 2019".

 

What did the 101 wins in the 2019 AL central get you, again?

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#5 jud6312

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Posted 10 January 2020 - 03:23 PM

 

If Falvey and Levine had not earlier acknowledged that the club needed (and deserved) impact pitching this off-season...that would have made them disingenuous...or stupid.

 

That fact that they did acknowledge it, but didn't execute it...means that they failed. (At least so far.)

 

IMO, any argument that the Twins have not failed this off-season begins and ends with "what have they done to close the gap between themselves and the top of the AL". And a compelling argument for same does NOT include "odd that so much resentment has come the way of the Twins front office after winning over 100 games in 2019".

 

What did the 101 wins in the 2019 AL central get you, again?

 

All of this.

 

And I'll add a "what did they do to stave off the teams coming up behind them?" Hint: it's the same thing they did to close the gap with those above them.

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#6 Rosterman

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Posted 10 January 2020 - 03:40 PM

A baseball team has two things that drive the acquisition of talent. Money and Prospects.

 

We saw them weak at the Trade Deadline because they wish to hang onto prospects. Still trying to figure out the worth. And, with prospects, those we feel have worth (but are happy to trade away) can also be viewed with similar misgivings by trade partners. To trade for a quality player on another team, you have to be willing to eat salary and fill holes that team has on field or in their system.

 

It is fun to throw away money. Like betting millions on on-line poker that we pay for in pennies. No matter our love for the team, or interest in the players, we are looking at the big picture as a fan, not as ownership or management. They have the big picture. They know more about each and every piece in the system than we can imagine. They know the player depth of every organization, have worked out scenarios for cost of current players vs. the future, and ... well, that is their job. The flipside is that every other team is doing the same thing, going after the same players, working under the same budget restrictions (almost). And everyone wants to win.

 

And to top it off, you have to have organizational discipline and structure. You have to put together a field staff that will work with players. You have to get players that will work with players. And you always have dreams of dollars and cents looming over everything, often buttressed with an agent who cares more about the contract than anything related to baseball.

 

The Twins weren't alone missing out on imapct players in 2020. They do have a team, it looks pretty good on paper. There is some backup depth at every position. I'm sure we would like to see the 5th starter, 7th or 8th bullpen arm, the bench guy, and maybe even a position player repalced by someone of better quality (and expense). And it could be done, throwing dollars to the win (and 4-7 years), or a prospect. Those pesky prospects. If the Twins tie up Rosario, Sano, Buxton, Berrios, Garver whatever, it starts to change the picture. If they see the need to extend Arraez, Rogers, May, Duffy it frees up more trading pieces in the minors who become moot after 3-5 years anyways repalced by younger and just as promising talents.

 

I see the White Sox adding players, but wonder how they will all play together on the field. In the Twins, I do see a team familiar with each other and coming off a season of team play headed by a solid field staff. I am not disappointed. If a big name wanted to play in Minnesota, they could...sign the dotted line, negotiate a decent price. But between players and agents and big markets and spouses and horse farms and length of contract, it is a total crapshoot. 

 

75-80 days and we all start enjoying "Play Ball" - and it is a long season!

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#7 Mike Sixel

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Posted 10 January 2020 - 03:52 PM

Help me understand, are we not to judge the off season until after the season? If so, that's no way to judge decisions. You can make bad decisions, and things can still work out.....doesn't mean you should repeat those decisions.

 

Seriously, if you drive drunk and don't get hurt, it wasn't a successful decision. So, help me understand.

 

1. Are you arguing you can only judge things post hoc (which is awful logic)?

 

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It's been a fun year so far, GO Twins. 


#8 Homerhankie

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Posted 10 January 2020 - 04:14 PM

I do agree with you Mike, well said.
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#9 MMMordabito

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Posted 10 January 2020 - 04:41 PM

I could get behind waiting to call the off-season a failure until the off-season is over, but hoping for winning despite inefficiency and poor decision-making is going to be a long term losing gamble.The reference to the Dodger comparison that swept the org differences under the rug makes the argument even weaker.

 

 

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#10 twins_89

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Posted 10 January 2020 - 04:45 PM

I don't care about what was said or expected, I prefer to look at results.The Twins entered the off-season with only a few holes to fill and a truly impressive amount of payroll flexibility and prospect capital. With all that going for them I don't see any convincing argument that the team is even slightly improved over last season. There is still a bit of time to work the trade market, but with no further moves it's really hard to see this off-season as a success.

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#11 USAFChief

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Posted 10 January 2020 - 04:49 PM

"As human beings we tend to experience a result and then go back and retroactively create a narrative to fit whatever happened."

 

Perhaps I'm misreading this line from the article...isn't that what you're asking us to do? Wait until the 2020 WS is over before judging the current offseason?

 

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#12 h2oface

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Posted 10 January 2020 - 04:56 PM

Anything can happpen, and usually does. The only way this is not a failure, is if treading water is a success. And it could be. I just can't declare it not a failure, with all that presented itself.


#13 howieramone2

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Posted 10 January 2020 - 05:00 PM

No need to wait. MLB.com has us 4th in their first power rankings of the year. We ended last season 4th also.
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#14 David HK

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Posted 10 January 2020 - 05:06 PM

Welp, 'spose I'll just wait then. There's just something so, so familiar about this Twins off-season, let's see, what is it? The fact that we didn't address problem #1- a quality stater, and problem #1A- another quality starter? Patched that over with a couple of the usual bargain-bin creaky reclamation projects, and called it a day? Where have we seen that before?
The utter embarrassment of whom we sent to the mound in the playoff didn't make an impact on the FO?
101 wins, a murderous offense that may even be better next year, a fairly weak division, why weren't at least a couple of quality SPs clamoring to come here? (And no, we were never getting Cole or Steven, but there were others).
OK, I'll wait.
3... 2... 1...

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#15 Oxtung

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Posted 10 January 2020 - 05:15 PM

I fundamentally disagree with the premise of this article.

 

If I buy a new car and 2 years down the road a hailstorm totals it, does that mean my decision to buy the car was a bad one? If I get undergo chemo and the following year die of a heart attack, does that mean I shouldn't have gotten chemo? If I buy an apple at the grocery store and my neighbor comes over later to give me an apple from the tree in their back yard does that mean I shouldn't have bought the one at the store?

 

The answer to all these, and the premise of your article, is no. You judge decisions based on the evidence that is at hand when the decision was made. Sometimes bad things happen but that doesn't mean it was a bad decision. Until we can predict the future, judging decisions on hindsight is not logical.

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#16 mlhouse

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Posted 10 January 2020 - 05:15 PM

I thought last season's offseason was a failure and it only led to a 101 win season, although most of the production was done by Twins on the team previously.

 

It is a disappointment in that with a solid base there the team did little to add the players they need to get to that next level.

 

But time will tell.I think you can only go in one direction and that half way measures give you failing results.


#17 howieramone2

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Posted 10 January 2020 - 05:35 PM

Too many fans confuse free agency with Christmas. Free agency has been the market of last resort for many years, particularly for mid-market teams. Sustainability is the new black.
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#18 TwinsFan268

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Posted 10 January 2020 - 05:41 PM

Oh, God no, I would not call this offseason a failure. Just look what happen last year. We made a few little signings and we only became a 101 win team with 307 home runs. Totally a failure, right? NO. 

 

Bringing back Romo was a great move. Extending Odorizzi the qualifying offer was a bit of a leap of faith, but he accepted, and we brought back our top starter. (In the opinion of a very big Odo fan.) We signed Alex Avila, who's a great veteran catcher and will be a great addition to the team. (And that's coming from a huge Garver fan.) We signed Tyler Clippard, who will be a great addition to an already strong bullpen. We exercised Cruz's option for next year. (Which made Cruz fans like me and Twins fans in general breathe a little easier.) We will be a pretty good team in 2020.

 

If we are the Wild Card team, that doesn't mean there's no hope. I mean, look what happened to the Nationals!?!

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#19 MN_ExPat

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Posted 10 January 2020 - 05:43 PM

If Falvey and Levine had not earlier acknowledged that the club needed (and deserved) impact pitching this off-season...that would have made them disingenuous...or stupid.
 
That fact that they did acknowledge it, but didn't execute it...means that they failed. Might work out fine in the long run. Anything might. But they failed. (At least so far.)
 
IMO, any argument that the Twins have not failed this off-season begins and ends with "what have they done to close the gap between themselves and the top of the AL". And a compelling argument for same does NOT include "odd that so much resentment has come the way of the Twins front office after winning over 100 games in 2019".
 
What did the 101 wins in the 2019 AL central get you, again?


It doesn’t have to be “compelling”. Some people simply don’t agree with that sentiment that it’s been a failure. Righteous indignation doesn’t make one right.

#20 Mike Sixel

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Posted 10 January 2020 - 05:53 PM

 

It doesn’t have to be “compelling”. Some people simply don’t agree with that sentiment that it’s been a failure. Righteous indignation doesn’t make one right.

 

Disagreeing it is a failure is different than saying what for 9 months to decide.....those are two very different things.

 

Frankly, I'm disappointed this is on the front page. Make an argument that it isn't a failure, sure. But say that we should use post hoc logic to judge decisions? That's not a good take at all.

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It's been a fun year so far, GO Twins.