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Article: Who Should Be Gone From the Coaching Staff?


Nick Nelson
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I'm indifferent to what they do with Anderson if they keep Gardy.

Funny I am indifferent to what they do with Gardy if they keep Anderson. Biggest rip on Gardy appear to be he doesn't know when to pull pitchers which is a criticism of every manager in the history of the game. If the reliever doesn't do the job then the starter was puled too soon. If the starter doesn't do he job then he was left in too long. Not enough pitchers have had career years under Anderson. Too many have pitched worse than their career suggests they should. Not convinced he is the problem but I don't think he is the solution.
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I think many people that would say Gardy hasn't been bad enough or does not deserve to be fired, still need to look at that second question and ponder.  I don't believe he is the best guy out there.

That's a difficult, borderline impossible question to answer. The whole "This team is losing so the manager should go" line of thinking is incredibly oversimplified, which is why I tend to stay away from these conversations. I can say with confidence that Gardenhire isn't the reason the Twins have been losing 95 games each year instead of 70.

 

That said, I've seen enough of the same with this pitching staff over the last four years, through many different personnel, that I'm ready for a change there.

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Let me see...the premise of this article is: "it's the coaching staff that's at fault! Or maybe only one of the coaches is the problem. Just replace that coach and everything is 'fixed'." I guess if those coaches just were as loyal as the bloggers this mess would never have happened.

 

What was that record from August again? And wasn't this post-ASG schedule "softer"? The W/L record should have improved not regressed. Is this the coaches fault? After all this team isn't laden with no-talent boobs, nor besieged by injury to key regulars that preven the team from (at least) duplicating the win percentage from before the ASG.

 

The lineup used is nearly totally comprised of players that were on the Active Roster in July. Weren't Santana and Vargas promoted after the ASG and didn't both of them markedly improve the team? So what gives? The coaching staff didn't have time to corrupt them yet--so they are still very productive?

 

One would have to have blind loyalty to management to suggest that the problem was caused by one (or more) of the coaches and that all that needs to be done is to replace those "ungrateful coaches" and the Twins' problems will be fixed. The attitude that "just a tweek or two and all will be fixed" is reprehensible and runs counter to all evidence. Failure doesn't imply that any of the people involved are "bad people", it simply means that "their bit doesn't work anymore" and new people with a fresh perspective, energy, and motivation are needed.

 

Let's follow a logical process of who to blame.

 

If you blame the talent, you must improve the talent, blame the players and upgrade.

 

If, as many fans believe, the roster has more talent and the results are the same, where does the blame lie then?

 

If I believe (Which I do) that our current pitchers are better than last year (Correia, Deduno, DeVries, Diamond, Walters, Pelfrey VS Hughes, Gibson, May, Nolasco, Milone)

And If I believe we have added more talented fielders (Vargas, Santana) in place of lesser talent (Florimon, Colabello) then I must consider coaching changes.

 

If coaching changes don't change the outcome, then the FO is on the hook. To me that is the natural progression of the blame thought process.

 

I say hire a new manager (from within or without I care not) and if things are not better next year, Ryan is on the hook. Until then, I believe I have seen Ryan improve the whole organization and specifically the roster without any on field progress which. I think we should have been seeing this August/September.

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I know on the Twins Hangouts, Jeremy and I have talked about that, and for the last couple of months, my response has been that I think Ryan will tell Gardy that Anderson has to go, and that Gardy will resign. I don't know if that would happen, but that's my guess.

 

Hopefully Mientkiewicz is named the next manager soon after...

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I know on the Twins Hangouts, Jeremy and I have talked about that, and for the last couple of months, my response has been that I think Ryan will tell Gardy that Anderson has to go, and that Gardy will resign. I don't know if that would happen, but that's my guess.

 

Hopefully Mientkiewicz is named the next manager soon after...

I certainly agree that if one of Gardy or Anderson goes, the other will too. And, I'd be good with Dougie at the helm. Then the question becomes: who is the pitching coach?

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That's a difficult, borderline impossible question to answer. The whole "This team is losing so the manager should go" line of thinking is incredibly oversimplified, which is why I tend to stay away from these conversations. I can say with confidence that Gardenhire isn't the reason the Twins have been losing 95 games each year instead of 70.

 

That said, I've seen enough of the same with this pitching staff over the last four years, through many different personnel, that I'm ready for a change there.

 

This "solution" is also incredibly oversimplified.  Gardenhire, is the Captain of the ship, which means he is responsible for guiding them from port to port, through his chosen subordinate officers (the only subordinate apparently thrust upon him is Paul Molitor).  The job of his subordinates is to execute his vision for "success" (I'd settle for ANY incremental signs of team "improvement"***), and have his players demonstrate measurable increases in performance, relative to their potential capabilities ( while more and more, it seems the only major thing asked of the players is to "get after it" and "like" playing for the Captain ).  There is very, very little to show over the last 4 years, of an overarching "Twins' Way" strategy that has been employed that will ultimately lead the team up and out of this bottom-dwelling muddy morass.  

 

Gardy chose Anderson originally way back when, and even though the pitching has clearly failed over and over in the last four seasons, he stubbornly won't make a change, even if you are "ready for a change there,"  Gardy may not have all of the responsibility for four consecutive 95+ loss seasons, but my goodness!, it's equally inaccurate to completely exonerate him from his captaining of 4 consecutive shipwrecks. (Only Connie Mack and TK have done this bad and survived, and Mack couldn't fire himself). 

 

 

 

***  Year over year won-loss improvement through September 7:

 

Miami   + 16

Astros  +16

Giants +14

Mwkee  + 12

Cubs   + 6

Wht Sox  + 4

Twins   ZERO

Edited by jokin
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I think that at this point the question should be "who should stay" instead of "who should go" (Sorry Clash).  And why that person should stay.   And this should be not only for the coaches and manager but for everyone in the front office (including St. Peter) as well.

 

Also, I think that the "four 90+ loss" seasons is a bit misleading.  It is actually a three 96+ loss seasons and one TBD.  The Twins did a full 21 games worse than 90 loss seasons, the past 3 seasons.

Edited by Thrylos
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I know on the Twins Hangouts, Jeremy and I have talked about that, and for the last couple of months, my response has been that I think Ryan will tell Gardy that Anderson has to go, and that Gardy will resign. I don't know if that would happen, but that's my guess.

 

Hopefully Mientkiewicz is named the next manager soon after...

 

Interestingly enough I agree with about 95% of this.  The only disagreement is that Ryan will be gone before he will be able to fire Andy

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I wouldn't have a huge problem with Gardy staying one more year, but totally agree with Nick that Anderson should be gone. Wouldn't mind Gardy being gone for the right manager. Paul Molitor is a reasonable in-house solution. I wouldn't mind Ozzie Guillen. He is, at the very least, entertaining. And you know he's always wanted to manage the Piranhas.  

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Actually, I don't believe coaching plays a "major" part.  The Twins have had fundamentally sound teams and good pitching under this regime at certain points in the past.  What it really shows is that the Twins just haven't had many good players lately.

 

Fire them all if you want, just don't think coaching will take this starting rotation and turn it into gold.  I'm not advocating for keeping them either but it is way more important to go get a couple of pitchers than a couple new coaches.

this an indictment of Terry Ryan, who also should be on the block but that is a different thread

 

Granted, talent is the bigger part of the equation, but if coaching isn't important, why are the coaches there, why are they being paid? Who gets held accountable? This team has been fundamentally sound under this regime in the past, but that was 5 years ago.

 

Coaching will not make this rotation gold, but maybe bronze instead of [edit] Having great talent is important! but so is execution. A great team excels at both.

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This "solution" is also incredibly oversimplified.  Gardenhire, is the Captain of the ship, which means he is responsible for guiding them from port to port, through his chosen subordinate officers (the only subordinate apparently thrust upon him is Paul Molitor).  The job of his subordinates is to execute his vision for "success" (I'd settle for ANY incremental signs of team "improvement"***), and have his players demonstrate measurable increases in performance, relative to their potential capabilities ( while more and more, it seems the only major thing asked of the players is to "get after it" and "like" playing for the Captain ).  There is very, very little to show over the last 4 years, of an overarching "Twins' Way" strategy that has been employed that will ultimately lead the team up and out of this bottom-dwelling muddy morass.  

 

Gardy chose Anderson originally way back when, and even though the pitching has clearly failed over and over in the last four seasons, he stubbornly won't make a change, even if you are "ready for a change there,"  Gardy may not have all of the responsibility for four consecutive 95+ loss seasons, but my goodness!, it's equally inaccurate to completely exonerate him from his captaining of 4 consecutive shipwrecks. (Only Connie Mack and TK have done this bad and survived, and Mack couldn't fire himself). 

 

 

 

***  Year over year won-loss improvement through September 7:

 

Miami   + 16

Astros  +16

Giants +14

Mwkee  + 12

Cubs   + 6

Wht Sox  + 4

Twins   ZERO

This pitching issue does go into the minors. How can a team go so long without developing a single excellent pitcher?

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It is the little things and I get that we would be terrible either way.  But I don't understand how playing Santana in center field is making this team better this year or next.  How putting Pinto on the DH or bench is a wise move.  If I saw logic applied to the lineup, see some platooning,, I would feel more comfortable with Gardy in the future.

 

I can find a lot of things about which to criticize Gardy, but deciding Suzuki was his best alternative at catcher, and deciding that Santana was his best alternative in CF this year might in fact be two of his better decisions.

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The players regularly profess their fondness for Gardy. But why? Is he a great clubhouse guy? Big on back pats? Asks them how their mom is doing? Or is it because he is too easy on them? Is that why there are continued misplays, no I don't mean errors. Not following the hitter to second, going to third on a grounder to short, missed cutoff men, throwing to 3rd instead of second, and losing the double play chance. Ad nauseam. Much fun is made of the "Twins Way", but they used to do the little things. Now they don't. And those things are not the result of physical talent. Jordan Shafer and Mike Trout can both throw to the same correct base. (Just not as strong). But these mistakes don't cost playing time. I know rosters are tight with 13 pitchers, but a message here and there is more important than a win. And throwing someone under the bus in the media is not it. A day in the dugout might be more effective. Managers are to be respected, not liked.. There is a huge amount of difference.

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I know this much....if this staff is retained, the Twins can talk until they're blue in the face about not being "tone deaf"....

 

But actions speak WAY louder than words.  And they have for quite some time now.  I like Gardy, I don't think he's a "bad" manager.  His time, however, has come and gone for quite awhile now.

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I don't think Gardy has been a bad manager over the length of his tenure, but the team seems to be at a tipping point right now where there is an opportunity for a fresh voice in the clubhouse to bring a new team together.

 

Santana, Vargas, Pinto, Arcia, Hicks and in time Buxton, Sano, Polanco, Meyer, Berrios - it would be great for this group to grow together without a coaching staff burdened with 4+ years of 90+ losses.  That's why I'd like to see Mientkiewicz come in and grow with them, or failing that someone like Redmond.  The club keeps the "Minnesota nice" feeling of having some continuity with a former player at the helm (not so important for me, but maybe for Ownership or the FO), but they also get a fresh start in the dugout.

 

Open to suggestions for a new pitching coach, but I really think Anderson is past his use by date with this group of players.

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I know this much....if this staff is retained, the Twins can talk until they're blue in the face about not being "tone deaf"....

 

But actions speak WAY louder than words.  And they have for quite some time now.  I like Gardy, I don't think he's a "bad" manager.  His time, however, has come and gone for quite awhile now.

I see this year as 75% or more on the pitching staff.  The idea was for the not necessarily dominating starters to give innings so that the bullpen wouldn't be overworked, and lately the starters' failures have certainly effected the bullpen.   As mentioned above by Platoon, the Twins seem to be in the lowest quartile of fundamental play.  I am not really big on productive outs, but getting runners home from third with less than two out has been abysmal all year.  Defensive fundamentals have been substandard, as well.

 

I really can't fault lineups or who has played in the big picture, but four 90+ loss seasons is too many and  the biggest factor in the game has shown almost no improvement.  I think Gardy and Anderson should both go, but I see no real reason to retain Anderson.  It is time for someone new to work with the pitchers. 

Edited by stringer bell
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One other thought. While football and baseball are radically different sports, the Vikings had a team with a well liked coach. But his record was poor, his coordinators not up to the task, and the whole team had a look of disorganization. The GM cleaned house, and at first glance order has been restored. Time will tell.

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There is zero accountability in this organization. Loyalty is one thing, but it has to be loyalty with a REASON. Like they are loyal because "Gardy and Andy have been busting their ass to squeeze every last drop of production out of this roster"... c'mon - that ain't happening! They've been phoning it in for years. The only reason they ever had any success at all is because of what this organization does really well: 

 

Scout. 

 

We are better than most other organizations at finding rough-cut diamonds in the wild. And from the late 1990's to the early/mid 2000's, we almost strung enough of them together to get a ring. Or maybe we just got lucky, in any case a good jeweler knows if you want to build a winning timepiece you have to eventually fill in around those pieces. Painfully extending the metaphor, you can't make a 10 carat ring with five 1-carat diamonds. And you've got to have somebody who can bring it all together. 

 

Gardy/Andy are way, way over their head in today's game. (Some of the) Other teams probably know twice as much about the Twins as those two. Exhibit: Worley. 

 

I have zero faith in the Twins until - like the Vikings - there is some management installed that will create some accountability. And I'm not just saying that because they are 1-0... it's been Zimmer's MO from day one. The Twins keep doing failing the same way, year after year. I like loyalty, we all do, but not when its so clear that this group is phoning it in. Pretty soon it becomes nepotism or cronyism, whatever you want to call it.  

 

But if I'm so wrong about this, and there is magic happening behind the scenes - I'd LOVE(!) to be proven wrong. Tell us about the 2 hour film sessions and opponent dossiers. Show us the (specific) development plan+journal for even 4 players. If you've been this terrible for this long, it's not unreasonable to start checking people's work. Show me the comprehensive and systematic plan for improvement and I'll tell everyone I know the Twins aren't worth writing off.... but that stuff ain't happening. It's fly by the seat of your pants, squint and spit, decision making. That is NOT worth my time or my money. The Twins franchise will always be number one in my heart, but I'm waiting for it to get its sh** together before I start to actually care. And it's not about the talent on the field - it's about the process. Because without that, even a talented team will fall short. The Vikings have absolutely proven that. 

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I see this year as 75% or more on the pitching staff.  The idea was for the not necessarily dominating starters to give innings so that the bullpen wouldn't be overworked, and lately the starters' failures have certainly effected the bullpen.   As mentioned above by Platoon, the Twins seem to be in the lowest quartile of fundamental play.  I am not really big on productive outs, but getting runners home from third with less than two out has been abysmal all year.  Defensive fundamentals have been substandard, as well.

 

I really can't fault lineups or who has played in the big picture, but four 90+ loss seasons is too many and  the biggest factor in the game has shown almost no improvement.  I think Gardy and Anderson should both go, but I see no real reason to retain Anderson.  It is time for someone new to work with the pitchers. 

 

 

I originally thought this was an obvious truth, but after looking at the numbers, I think that 75% number is a little high.  First the good news, one area that has clearly improved, in some cases dramatically, in all of the various measures- (BsR, Spd, UBR, wSB)- is baserunning, and I believe that is Molitor's domain.

 

http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=0&type=1&season=2014&month=0&season1=2014&ind=0&team=8,ts&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0

 

Presumably, some of the obvious running gaffes we have witnessed are countered by the overall improved team numbers, which indicate that a smarter, and yet more aggressive stance has been taken by the club and been a part of the greater run production in 2014 vs. 2013  (+0.64 runs/game).  The means that the offense has produced 4.43 Runs/Game versus 3.79 Runs/Game in 2013 ,with a slight increase in wOBA, from .307 to .317, so a bit of good news there, as well.

 

Back to pitching- and it's slightly counter-intuitive to relate to these numbers based on what we've witnessed this year- but when you compare team stats for SPs and All Pitchers in ERA, FIP, xFIP, SIERA, K%, K/9, BB%, BB/9, HR/9, IP/Start, there are small, to slightly better than small, improvements in every single category but one. And that one is Team ERA, which is 4.62 this year, versus 4.55 in 2013.  And yet, the team has given up 4.49 runs per 9 innings, versus only 3.81 runs per 9 innings in 2013.  The RPs, on the other hand, have shown small, but not insignificant drops in performance in all of the pertaining categories, with the exception of a slight improvement in HR/9.  So, a relative decrease in RP performance, a drop in the LOB% from 70.2% in 2013 to 68.7% in 2014, along with some pretty shaky defense at times (IFs & DHs in the OF, which is largely on Gardy) seems to account for the 0.69 Runs/9 innings increase.  

 

So....  Anderson was unable to coax significant improvement from the returning staff of starters and relievers as a whole, while Hughes makes the SP numbers look better than they actually were.  If he gets credit for turning Hughes around and making Gibson at least serviceable, he must take the blame for the bad performance and performance reversals from most of the rest of the staff.  But maybe not the whole 75% enchilada blame......as meanwhile..... the shaky defense gets a portion of the blame as well,  DRS in 2014 is -67... versus  DRS of -10 in 2013.... rSB of -7 in 2014 versus rSB of +3 in 2013. 

 

http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=fld&lg=all&qual=0&type=1&season=2014&month=0&season1=2014&ind=0&team=8,ts&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0

Edited by jokin
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We can argue about who deserves blame  There are lots of candidates --

 

*  the coaches

 

*  the players

 

*  the pitching staff

 

*  the defense

 

*  the minor league coaches

 

*  the scouts

 

*  the front office

 

It seems to me that we will never have enough data to apportion the blame with any degree of accuracy.  I believe that this debate is interesting, but think that people should keep in mind that there are alternative explanations for every deficiency in the team's performance.

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I've been calling for Rick Anderson's head on a spike for awhile, well not on a spike, but for his head to be somewhere other than in the Twins dugout as the pitching coach.

 

I don't believe not brining him back solves the Twins problems, but leaving him there surely isn't the answer either. He's Gardy's guy, that's his pedigree. That's not good enough anymore.

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Terry Ryan signed three free agent pitchers, and they are still the worst starters in baseball, and you only want the coach gone?

 

The GM and all field staff should go.

 

 

Terry Ryan signed three free agent pitchers, and they are still the worst starters in baseball, and you only want the coach gone?

 

The GM and all field staff should go.

By WAR the staff  is ithe middle of the pack. By the defense independent metrics the Twins are not the worse. Intrestingly, thy are not that  far behind KC

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By WAR the staff  is ithe middle of the pack. By the defense independent metrics the Twins are not the worse. Intrestingly, thy are not that  far behind KC

 

But is that because Hughes is having such a stellar FIP year? I mean, he has been awesome this year and better than his ERA suggests, but there's still four other guys going out there. Gibson has been solid too, but I wouldn't say he has been way better than his ERA (without looking at his FIP). 

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That's a difficult, borderline impossible question to answer. The whole "This team is losing so the manager should go" line of thinking is incredibly oversimplified, which is why I tend to stay away from these conversations. I can say with confidence that Gardenhire isn't the reason the Twins have been losing 95 games each year instead of 70.

 

That said, I've seen enough of the same with this pitching staff over the last four years, through many different personnel, that I'm ready for a change there.

 

I think it is more complicated asd well. When you lose 95 games, more than one person is to blame.  No doubt.  We can talk about why Gardy should not be fired and even I can come up with excuses.  Nobody would have been good with his teams over the last 3 years.  He has won the division a zillion times.  He was the manager of the year.

 

But to me, I don't believe he is the right guy to lead this team moving forward.  He does put the lineup together and decide who plays and who doesn't.  He gets to decide who plays SS and CF, and catcher.  He never platoons. I have worries about him handling young, talented players. He has head scratching guys batting in certain places. He has an irrational fear of losing his DH. So even if he had talent, I think other managers would squeeze a few more wins a year out of his team.

 

At the end of the day, the single biggest thing that could help this franchise would be for the Pohlad family to sell.  Of course that is not going to happen.  But that would improve the team more than Gardy, Terry, or Anderson being fired.

Edited by tobi0040
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I think that at this point the question should be "who should stay" instead of "who should go" (Sorry Clash).  And why that person should stay.   And this should be not only for the coaches and manager but for everyone in the front office (including St. Peter) as well.

I'm fine with Ryan, at least for one more year to finish his rebuild. After that, I don't really care.

 

As for coaches, I'd retain Molitor, Brunansky, and Cuellar (with Bobby potentially sliding into the pitching coach position). None of them have been around long enough to get the blame for this losing stretch and Bruno/Cuellar had success in MiLB (and I think Bruno has done fine with MLB hitters). I think Molitor is potentially the next manager so I keep him around. If the team thinks Mienkiewicz is a better fit for the younger players, then it's probably best to move on from Molly as well. Don't care about the rest.

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