No, I'm comparing playoff results...you wanna give them a pass for losing 12 straight cause of payroll issues, cool...good on ya...but the team managed 94 wins with a payroll under 100M...and couldn't scrap out even one playoff win. Other teams have gotten to the second round and even into the W Series with a lower payroll than ours...
Not really, not in the AL anyways. MN and Oakland have only won in the playoffs when facing each other, otherwise 0-9. The 08 Rays are really the only low payroll team that had post season success, and, of course, they've been one and done twice since then. And that team was created by having high draft picks for a decade.
That's not to say that an avg payroll (the Rangers, Twins in 10) won't work in the playoffs. But actual, low, payrolls winning in the AL? Doesn't really happen.
12 games isn't really a good way to judge a manager, especially since you're trying to make sweeping generational claims about a system that has recently changed. Only the 06 and 10 Twins would've made the playoffs in the old system which covers most of baseball history (04 team would have tied Angels and had a playoff). Had their been more teams in the playoffs over the best 80 years, the 12 games you care about wouldn't be so unusual. The 69-70 Twins, for instance, got swept out both years despite avg 97.5 wins. They happened to run into a team that still managed to avg 10 more wins/season. That happens to be about the same avg difference in the Twins first round opponents in the Gardy era (1-4 in the first round).