First off I want to thank John, Nick, Seth, and Parker, and Aaron for making the Twins Handbook, putting good time and effort into it, and making it affordable for a good read about our favorite baseball team. I wanted to comment on a few things in the book, and give my opinion on some others.
Second off, if you haven't read the Handbook, read it. If you are a sabremetrics person or want ideas or thoughts on thinking outside the box read the "The Book" playing the percentages in baseball.
Everyone has opinions on what the Twins should do right or wrong, I like reading peoples opinions, and I like debate no matter what it is. The Twins Handbook had a real good interview which I am glad there were so many questions, and it seemed Terry Ryan answered them about the best he could without "tipping his hat" as they say. Terry Ryan seems cool and collective and I get the feeling he was one of the best GM's in baseball for a lot of years. I am no expert but it seems he has a more holistic approach to the "system" than Bill Smith did. It is one of those things that I have a good feeling about him knowing the situation and not overreacting to the now, and he knows what his limitations are without throwing the Pohlad's under the bus. He knows we need pitching, and not only starting but having a solid plan in place for relief pitching as well. He isn't in a bad spot this year because, there looks to be the one glaring problem, "pitching". If that is not the problem and he gets some good arms then I think you have to go to the manager.
One thing I really liked and disliked in the handbook was the player and $'s, you put them in the spot and come up with the end $ figure. I loved the concept, I wish we could have plugged the FA's in there and there "market" worth. For instance you have Diamond, Blackburn, Deduno, DeVries, Walters at the $'s, but it would have been nice to plug in a bunch of the free agents and expected worth. The exercise would have been great adding and subtracting where we need to be to be under lets say the 90 million mark. You guys kind of did that at the end in the blueprint. The same could have been said about all positions. I have been trying to do that myself when I could and it would be fun having a "fantasy football" white board with all the names and dollars and come up with the best teams. Yes I know I can do that in excel, being lazy it would be nice to have that set up already though.
So we know the Twins need pitching, maybe some middle infield help. One name that I saw you guys mention more than I want to hear is Fransisco Liriano. Why? Haven't we given this guy enough of a chance. I would not even want to take a flyer on bringing this guy back. He is really fun to watch when he is on, when he is off it is a disaster. I just don't think we could take him back. I don't know who we are going to get, I have kept looking and maybe switching my opinions a little, but I really like McCarthy,( yes he is injury prone, last year was a fluke thing though) I like Villanueva, James Shields, Feldman. I hear a lot of talk about signing Dan Haren for a longer term contract, I think if we incentive laden a contract for Baker and he stays, I think we sign him over Haren. Also, if we are going to try and get "that guy on the cheap" we take a fly on Daisuke. I like trying to go young in making a signing of one of these guys, I am getting sick of plugging in the washed up guys on the super cheap eg. Ponson, Ortiz, Marquis, Hernandez, lets try to establish a signing we can make a team out of .
Opinions and thoughts of the infield of the Twins has been a carousel for years as well. In theory the JJ Hardy deal was a good deal if Hardy didn't get hurt, it was going to be the Nishi, Hardy infield that never turned out. Back to the drawing board. Who do we have in the middle right now? Dozier, Florimon, Carroll, Escobar, Plouffe? I just want to say I have been a Plouffe fan for awhile and I think he is going to get the raw end of this again. First off I hope that Plouffe can play 3B. I personally like Carroll at 2B, now to find the SS, and/or someone that can challenge an infield position. What I think may happen is Plouffe ends up going to 2B, and we find a 3B, and please, please, please don't let that be Youkilis as I read a few times in the Handbook. Youkilis is slow, way declining, we don't need him. I actually hope Florimon pans out, so we can put more money into the rotation. I am hoping it ends up being Plouffe 3B, Florimon SS, Carroll 2B, Morneau 1B. Which leads to the next paragraph.
Trading Span, Willingham, or Morneau? I have gone back and forth with this soo many times because as a fan you like these players. As a fan a lot of times you don't get to see the offers on the table for players like these. I love Morneau!! As a fan I don't want to see him go, but it would be so hard not to take a serious offer due to the fact we have Parmalee that is going to play this year. The questions have to be are we going to contend this year or next? If not we obviously have to really consider getting the most we can for Morneau and start Parmalee at 1B. I really like having a solid RH batter that can win a silver slugger award!! We haven't seen a guy that can do that for awhile in MN, which again leaves to wonder what is going to happen to Span. The guy doesn't want to leave, he is a fan favorite, and a lead off guy who is very dependable there. I still think at this point we have to move him. The team friendly contract really helps the ability to trade him to the Rays or Atlanta. If somehow we can get a pitcher on the mound in a trade for Span, this helps plug in the starting rotation quite a bit, I am almost saying it is a must to make a deal happen with him.
A part of the Handbook had you grading the Twins current players that made up 2012. Later in the handbook you gave us kind of the depth chart going all the way down the single A. What I would have liked to see, since I don't think all of us know that much about the minors is seeing if there was a way to grade the depth in the minors. Looking in a GM way of thinking, and when you see these deals made for A, AA, or AAA type of guys it would be nice to understand what Terry Ryan may be thinking in terms of the long run. Obviously if we have a starter that is a D ranking at SS in AA, we need to improve that position, we don't get to understand those moves very well without some kind of ranking system. Understanding the time it takes to put in the time to do that is a burden, but in a GM lens I think it is something that would add a lot of substance to the Handbook.
Last thing I wanted to say about the Twins off season and the Handbook that I got to finish was I really liked the layout of the opinions you guys would do in the blueprint. I got to see what you are thinking about as you write the articles and opinions on certain players and what your thoughts of putting the next team on the field. What I didn't get to see was Gleemans blueprint. I listen and read Gleeman, I would have liked to see what his thoughts were.
I didn't want to get into the other Book that I read, which was "The Book" Playing the Percentages in baseball. As this got long enough, but I have some interesting comments and thoughts that surround that next time.
Overall, first handbook I purchased and will be purchasing the next one, and hopefully have some ideas or suggestions around that. Comments are always appreciated.