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What is the biggest problem with this Twins team?


Message added by Squirrel,

I'm going to interject a mod warning as some posts are leaving the realm of true discussion ... be careful about calling players whiny and lazy. It is disrespectful. And so is referring to the FO as clowns. Yes, our frustration is high, and yes, some players are just not playing up to expectations for a number of reasons, and yes, I wish, I wish, I wsh. But when you are drawing conclusions, please include your evidence. If you are just giving an opinion, be careful not to cross the line into disrespectfulness. Thanks, and carry on. Respectfully. So characterizing players to suit your narrative and stop name calling.

Frustration. Guys are hanging their heads. Murphy’s law in full effect. I’m not saying anyone has quit, but there sure seem to be guys who accept taking a called third strike far too well. We need some fire, someone to bust up the clubhouse, show some emotion. We need a Corey Koskie type, someone to bust Murphy in the ****ing mouth. We don’t SEEM to have this.

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These narratives about Baldelli need to stop. I'm hardly in the mood to defend the guy - I don't think he's done well as a field manager this season - but the hubris in comments and forums are driving

I think <50 games is too little to evaluate a coaching staff, particularly a recently successful one, but let's just say "their removal is on my radar at this point". As far as the team goes,

Nice bully rant, but you haven't addressed the OP's assertion. You've simply responded to "he does X" with "No, he doesnt." And then followed with the classic "Rocco played the game" argument.  A

The rotation looked decent on paper and had depth. But Maeda, if he was even average, would make this a plus. Shoemaker was on the bubble and we hoped Dobnak (or Thorpe) would be decent if need be. Happ is okay, but at this stage I would dangle him in the trade market.

When your four outfielders are Larnach, Garlick, Kirilloff, Refsnyder - you are looking at rebuilding. Okay if the rookies are learning on the job, but that doesn't give you contention.

 

Donaldson may be the spark needed, but offset by Sano. The home runs are nice, but is that all he has? Send him to New York or Boston and he will be a King with the Big Bat. At Target Field, he causes cringes when men are on base and we can only hope. I want to see Nick Gordon get some play. Arrarz is great if he works the count and hits .300+. Otherwise, the Twins look weak, and will need a shortstop come 2021.

 

If Garver is going to be Garver, I can wait for Jeffers to come back. Except for less power, catcher is a position that will eat up outs.

 

Cruz needs to stay healthy. At some point, the Twins will dangle his bat if they have no where to go to get the guy into a playoff team. And then we ask if Rooker gets another shot.

 

The bullpen is an utter mess. Even the decent (at times) arms allow runners to score, thus making a bad showing of the pitcher they replaced. Looks like the Twins have two rotating roster spots to run also rans thru the pen. Keep them if they sick (Jackson holding his own). Otherwise throw a few innings, get demoted, and maybe move elsewhere.

 

At some point will we see Griffin Jax this season, or is he so far behind Dobnak, Thorpe, Ober, Duran that there is no need to even take a peak. But, hey, while on he bullpen, let's make Thorpe a situational lefty.

 

The bullpen has definitely lost games for the team. The bats, or whatever you call the lineup (notice Willians hasn't gotten any playing time of late) ARE A MESS!

 

 

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The good new is the Twins only have about $45 million in committed salary next year.(Donaldson, Sano, Kepler, Polanco, Maeda, Dobnak) I say do not re-sign any of the 6 free agents signed this season.  Offer Berrios, Bux, Garver, and Rogers arbitration.  Kiriloff, Larnach, Arraez, Austudillo, Thorpe, Alcala, Jeffers, Rordtvet...Let Lewis start the season at SS...start Duran and Balazovic start the season in the bigs.  Offer Big Mike another 2 year deal  Now, that leaves 4 spots..all pitching.  Don't offer Duffey arbitration.   Maybe Nick Gordon gets a chance next season.  Free agency should be focused on the bullpen...and so should any offseason trades.  Maybe we find takers for Sano, maybe Polanco or Kepler.  I'd like to see what Kepler can do when healthy.  Polanco has been decent at 2nd, and is hitting a bit better.  I wouldn't be heart broken if the Twins could get a decent bullpen arm for him.  Then let Gordon start the season at 2nd.  This team won't win the World Series, but my guess it would be more fun to watch than this year's mess.

 

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7 hours ago, Rosterman said:

The rotation looked decent on paper and had depth. But Maeda, if he was even average, would make this a plus. Shoemaker was on the bubble and we hoped Dobnak (or Thorpe) would be decent if need be. Happ is okay, but at this stage I would dangle him in the trade market.

When your four outfielders are Larnach, Garlick, Kirilloff, Refsnyder - you are looking at rebuilding. Okay if the rookies are learning on the job, but that doesn't give you contention.

 

Donaldson may be the spark needed, but offset by Sano. The home runs are nice, but is that all he has? Send him to New York or Boston and he will be a King with the Big Bat. At Target Field, he causes cringes when men are on base and we can only hope. I want to see Nick Gordon get some play. Arrarz is great if he works the count and hits .300+. Otherwise, the Twins look weak, and will need a shortstop come 2021.

 

If Garver is going to be Garver, I can wait for Jeffers to come back. Except for less power, catcher is a position that will eat up outs.

 

Cruz needs to stay healthy. At some point, the Twins will dangle his bat if they have no where to go to get the guy into a playoff team. And then we ask if Rooker gets another shot.

 

The bullpen is an utter mess. Even the decent (at times) arms allow runners to score, thus making a bad showing of the pitcher they replaced. Looks like the Twins have two rotating roster spots to run also rans thru the pen. Keep them if they sick (Jackson holding his own). Otherwise throw a few innings, get demoted, and maybe move elsewhere.

 

At some point will we see Griffin Jax this season, or is he so far behind Dobnak, Thorpe, Ober, Duran that there is no need to even take a peak. But, hey, while on he bullpen, let's make Thorpe a situational lefty.

 

The bullpen has definitely lost games for the team. The bats, or whatever you call the lineup (notice Willians hasn't gotten any playing time of late) ARE A MESS!

 

 

The rotation had two number five pitchers. It didn't look decent. No ace. But three number twos. That's not championship caliber. 

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On 5/27/2021 at 9:46 PM, cHawk said:

You are looking it the inner game of baseball, and you make a great point. It could be a lack of leadership on the team. Now, I don’t believe that losing Eddie wrecked this team’s chemistry. They still guys like Arraez and Astudillo who play hard, and veteran leaders like JD and Nellie. And I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again — Eddie isn’t worth $10M, or anywhere close to it. But these aren’t robots, after all. They’re humans with emotions.

About the FO, regarding the pen. I see your point that many of the big name relievers either didn’t work out for their respective teams or got hurt. For example, Trevor Rosenthal and Kirby Yates got hurt. If one thinks the Twins should’ve coughed up $20M/year for 3 years of Liam Hendricks, who knows what they’re smoking. I think the problem is: a) They weren’t aggressive enough, going after too few arms; or b) They didn’t bud high enough. That said, I can’t say I know how many bullpen arms they went after.

But in any case, underperformance cannot be tolerated. Looking this bad at fundamental baseball cannot be tolerated. Someone will need to pay. And I don’t see how you make the players pay without completely burning down this roster.

Appreciate your response, as well as the entire OP. (As well as your 2nd OP addressing Rocco and his staff). But I just wanted to address your A and B points that you stated here.

A] They went after too few arms? Maybe. I guess we'll never know for sure how many they looked and or how many offers were presented. At the time, Robles and Colome seemed like fine additions. I also appreciated the young arms with upside such as Anderson and Hamilton, as well as some mkre experienced arms to work with and re-invent. I think it could be argued the numbers were there, though certainly the results haven't been. If anything, there may have been too much trust in their coaching/development process to come through yet again.

B] Didn't offer enough financially for some arms? Again this is possible, and again we'll never know how the process actually went down. IMO, they never saw the Mets swooping in and offering May the contract that they did. Were they short-sighted there? Perhaps. I would offered him $7M and not signed Colome, even though it would have nudged payroll a bit more.

Your opinions are all well thought out, and we are on the same page in regard to Hendricks and the number of arms the Twins were at least checking on that are either injured or just performing poorly.

While I am as frustrated and discouraged as anyone...and this is not directed at you or anyone specifically, just a general statement...i have yet to see anyone provide a list of FA available arms that are healthy and productive they could/should have signed instead. 

What the FO THOUGHT they were doing made perfect sense initially even it didn't go well at all. I hate that but I get it. Sometimes the moves you make just don't work. Stinks to high heaven! But I would argue the ATTEMPT was sound and just can't bash said attempt and make proclamations they blew it or didn't try. 

Now, where do we go from here is an entirely different topic.

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2 hours ago, cHawk said:

And most importantly, “How do we make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”

Twins FO has some tough decisions to make.  I feel like they need to retool.   The real problem is a lack of quality arms in the organization the last decade or so.   That leaves us in the position we are in now.  Not sure this can be fixed in the short run.  Hope the FO can make good decisions(or get lucky) with trades or free agents in the short run.  Otherwise, draft pitching, make some trades to stock the minor's with arms...and rebuild.

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21 minutes ago, cHawk said:

And most importantly, “How do we make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”

Responding to your question with a similar question.

How can we NOT make sure it doesn't happen again?

And I'm not being facetious bro, just trying to make a point. And I'm not being cavalier when I state the Twins of 2021 may just be victims of expectation and the ebbs and flows of sport and life. 

We can use reverse 20/20 vision, all of us, and try to assess blame because it's human nature and what we really want is not blame but answers. Because THEN, we figure we know how to fix things. Sorry crew, it just ain't that easy.

I can tell you things I said months ago. I wanted to keep May and would have done $5-6M and maybe a bit more. Retrospect, I would have gone the $7M, which I have previously stated. I could embarrass myself by re-stating that while he didn't have the velocity and K potential of May, I thought the FO did just fine bringing in Colome as a more consistent and proven arm coming off a 5yr stretch of quality and his very best season in 2020. Boy do I look stupid so far. But I could also remind that I thought Robles was a key and under the radar signing. And despite some hiccups, he's been pretty good and would make a great #4 guy in the pen.

I could also re-state that I love Jeffers and believe in his future, but thought Garver would turn it around and really wanted a veteran LH catcher to provide insurance. 

I could also remind you that I felt great about our last 4 bullpen spots but was worried about middle relief but hooeful for talent on hand. Woof!

My whole rambling point is, despite some question marks, most everyone from me/us/press felt this was a contending team. And just about everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. There really is no DELTA of what went wrong or who is to blame. 

The very disappointing but abject "fun" of being a fan is "what happens tomorrow"? Now, the reality is this team is too talented to be this bad if we get healthy and just perform better. But in a month, it's going to be too late and we will have to chalk this year up to a season where fate, injury and karma and whatever just decided it wasn't our year. 

Sucks!

This was a team, with a few question marks we just figured would sort themselves out...bullpen mostly...and be in the thick of it. It was also a team in prime position to re-tool on the fly with some very talented players on the cusp ready to make a difference and begin to transition and keep the window open.

This team resembles the 2020/2011 seasons where we ready to rock. But there is a big difference we didn't have then, compared to now and the question of how do we not repeat another lost season.

Kirilloff and Larnach have both arrived. They are young, they will have bad moments, but they are here to stay.

God and baseball gods willing, we have a nice duo in Arraez and Polanco for the infield. They have shown over and over what they can do if we can just find a way to keep them healthy.

Garver, just given time, has been Garver again. Funny how that works.

Unless a trade happens, we still have a solid 1-3 rotation. Dobnak has potential. A lost 2020 season has screwed development for us as well as most teams. But we've already seen growth, despite a lost 2020, from Winder and Duran and maybe even Ober and a few others potentially. We just haven't seen that in more than a few years.

So how do we prevent another 2021 disappointment?

1] Embrace the prospects. Not only AK and Larnach but let Gordon play a little. Keep growing Duran. Let him pitch the second half and let it fly. Give Ober another shot or two. Unless we rebound...and I sure hope we do...dont be afraid to run with a few kids. Dobnak in the rotation and Thorpe in the pen, for example.

2] Be aggressive with milb promotions even though it's a shortened season. TRUST in the development network you've put in place. Virtually every other team is going through a lost season the same way you are. Only a few 2020 non-contending teams filled their reserve roster with prospects. You either have put in place a system and collection of coaches you believe in, or you haven't. 

3] Examine your coaching staff and how you do things. Look, I think Rocco is a fine young manager who has done some great thjngs. And despite some very questionable moves here and there, like a young player he has real potential from what we've seen. But give him a trusted, experienced voice in his ear for a bench coach. And no insult to the batting coaches, and maybe we keep both, but is there a difference in approach we need to re-examine? The milb system has changed to look at each individual as a hitter. Have the ML coaches lost sight of this, or is it just a lost message or a continuation of everyone just being affected by 2020? Despite poor clutch situations, the Twins runs production is still in the upper third of MLB.

4] Don't be cute with your bullpen. Forget how smart you are, from FO to coaches. Keep looking for quality fliers. You do it well. And don't just thrust a potential quality SP in to the pen just because. But don't be afraid of a short term fix/help there. 

5] Don't be afraid to spend. You don't have to go nuts. And there a couple of potential key extensions you could be looking at. And I'm not saying a sudden $180-200M payroll. Nor am I saying sign the next Reed who bottoms out or a CRAZY Hendricks contract. But with the world going normal, don't be utterly afraid of potential extensions or a couple $M for a useful bullpen piece or reserve player. Maybe trust in Maeda and Berrios and keep Pineda. 

Heaven forbid we drop $15M on a quality #2/3 and still keep Pineda as a #4 while letting Dobnak and everyone else push for their spot..

Don't be stupid. But as the Twins FO/ownership,  you can do a $150M+ and lose nothing and augment a quality roster. Just don't be afraid to spend a little.

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Problem 1: Get strike one. Problem 2: Don't throw strikes down the middle.

The strike zone should be likened unto a sugar donut. In the hole is a mean old alligator. Outside the donut is a toxic wasteland. 

If you can hit the donut without hitting the alligator, life is sweet and good. If you can't even hit the donut, you won't survive long. If you throw it in the hole, you will be devoured immediately. 

Now, some pitchers are so skillful, they can tease the batter into thinking the pitch is going into the hole, but then it bends to hit the donut, or even better, just misses the donut. It's fun to tease that way, but when things get tense, the pitcher still must be able to hit the donut, but not the hole. 

Twins pitchers this season have been throwing a lot of pitches in the donut hole, or missing the donut by a little too far to get the alligator to snap at it. A happy alligator makes for a fat ERA, and a sad losing season.

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7 hours ago, SanoMustGo said:

Twins FO has some tough decisions to make.  I feel like they need to retool.   The real problem is a lack of quality arms in the organization the last decade or so.   That leaves us in the position we are in now.  Not sure this can be fixed in the short run.  Hope the FO can make good decisions(or get lucky) with trades or free agents in the short run.  Otherwise, draft pitching, make some trades to stock the minor's with arms...and rebuild.

Maybe we should build our next team like Atlanta. i.e. Draft the pitching and sign the hitters.

We also need to do better at building an offense. Specifically one without holes. Our lineups the last two years have had holes that have been massively exposed in the big games. 

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On 5/26/2021 at 11:48 AM, Cap'n Piranha said:

Eh, I think the plan is sound, just not foolproof.  It's pretty hard to have a foolproof plan in MLB.  Look at the bullpen ERA ranks below;

2018--22nd

2019--10th

2020--6th

2021--25th

Until this year, Falvey had been able to improve the bullpen every year except 2018, and without handing out big deals in free agency.  I think Falvey is a smart guy, and so I hope he'll adjust, and try to supplement his preferred method of building a bullpen (finding undervalued veterans he can fix) with some other methods as well.

I said before the season started that this year's bullpen looked utterly crazy, but it also looked utterly crazy in 2019 and 2020.  Since it miraculously worked out for them in those two years, I said I would skip judging this year's pen because they seemed to know what they were doing.

But beyond my opinion, the story here is the pitchers in this bullpen are completely different from the last two years.  Falvey (or whoever) neglected to keep player turnover at an acceptable rate.  The pipeline was inadequate and too many people left at once.  To make matters worse, almost all of the current guys are over 30.  The bullpen will still need to be completely rebuilt.

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37 minutes ago, Dodecahedron said:

The bullpen will still need to be completely rebuilt.

IDK about completely, maybe keep Duffey and Rogers around. Definitely keep Alcala. But everyone else should go

In a few years we could have Rogers, Duffey, Alcala, Colina, Canterino, Winder, and 2 FAs.

Of course that’s assuming Duffey returns to form and Alcala stops giving up HRs.

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The Twins are LAST in pitching WAR (look at team stats).....27th in pitching win probability added.....

This is what happens when you don't develop pitching, and sign Happ and Shoemaker to be in your rotation. The strategy of one to two year rentals every year is hard to pull off. Hopefully the pitching pipeline starts to produce, or the coming years will look a lot like this year (win loss wise).

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It's time to be blunt.  The biggest problem with this Twins team is they suck, which causes them to lose too often.

They suck at doing many things, if not most things.  All things top to bottom?  Maybe.  

I would offer this to many on the team and in the organization:  If they don't want to play baseball, they can quit.  Nothing is handed to any of us in this world.  I'm not sure what one could say to motivate a bunch of yobs who think baseball is too tough of a job to put enough work in to succeed other than, "Goodbye."  Too harsh?  Not really.  We all have tough jobs, and the reality is we all will be forced to hit the pavement if we do not perform.  The difference is we don't get to travel and eat catered food.  Who here got to travel in the past year?

We all know this Twins team has ample talent to hold its own in the MLB, yet they are not stepping up.  This is like watching Les Steckel's Vikings team, where the players just want it all to be over.  It's the Yankees playoff games all year long.  If the Twins players are unhappy about something, there are better ways to deal with it than dragging their feet through life.  This is a moral question -- do you work hard when things are tough, or do you give up when something does not go your way?  Snap out of it, fellas, these are your lives.  Being miserable by choice is always the wrong choice.

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Partial from Dodecahedron......"We all know this Twins team has ample talent to hold its own in the MLB, yet they are not stepping up......"

And this talent is comprised of exactly which players? I watched most of the entire Os series because I get MASN in my market which  carries the Os. The only established upper tier MLB player on the roster is Donaldson and he is still in the journeyman category who plays MLB level defense (as long as the shift isn't on) and has power( POTENTIAL). Name one other playoff winning talent on the entire roster. Polanco? Sano? Street clothes Buxton? (I am stealing Charles Barkley's perfect term for Anthony Davis with the Lakers who basically stays injured. So Street clothes Buxton it is). I am waiting. I bet less than 1% of Twins' fans could name last nights starting roster. By the way, Sano's grace period is over. Last nights ph appearance was pathetic to put it mildly.

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