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What Happened Between Josh Donaldson and Luis Arraez?


The Bally Sports North broadcast captured a somewhat heated discussion between Josh Donaldson and Luis Arraez during today’s game. Rocco Baldelli was noticeably absent while the interaction was taking place. Is this something to be concerned about?

In case you missed it, here's a video of what went down.

With Donaldson at the plate, Arraez was slow to get his lead off of second base. This led to Donaldson calling time and shouting something to Arraez, who reacted by lifting his arms up as if to say “what?”

The two appeared to be discussing that situation in the dugout between innings. According to Justin Morneau, they were also talking as they took the field and continued their conversation in the tunnel after that half inning. We don’t know the full details of what exactly was going on, and maybe never will, but this certainly feels from an outside perspective that Donaldson was making a mountain out of a molehill. Or possibly it was Arraez who was doing that. Again, there’s likely some context we’re missing.

One thing we do know by what we have here is that the mediators present during the first interaction in the dugout were mainly Nelson Cruz and first base coach Tommy Watkins. Noticeably absent: Rocco Baldelli.

It probably wouldn’t be fair to expect a manager to be involved in every conversation between his players, but this certainly feels like one where Baldelli should have been present. He’s a player’s manager, and apparently let’s his players police themselves, but this seems to be letting things go a bit too far.

This is the kind of thing that can make you wonder what some of the clubhouse fallout of trading away Cruz will be. If he’s the veteran presence overseeing things, what happens when he’s gone? If Rocco is going to be hands off with these kinds of situations, who’s going to be around to make sure things don’t go too far?

Speaking of making a mountain out of a molehill, it’s entirely possible that’s exactly what I’m doing here. Maybe this is nothing. When you’re following a team that’s 14-games under .500, swept by a bad team in an uninspiring effort and quickly approaching the trade deadline, it’s easy to be concerned when you see stuff like this.

Donaldson’s edge is part of what’s made him a premiere player. That fire is likely much more valuable on a team that’s driving toward the playoffs than one that's trying to stay out of the basement. Nobody likes losing, but Donaldson may be particularly bad at it. He hasn’t had much practice. He’s been on a losing team just once (the 76-86 Toronto Blue Jays). Arraez seems plenty competitive himself, for what it's worth.

What do you think? Anything about this concern you?

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Donaldson is seeing his name in the news more than he probably would've expected, signing the possible five-year Twins contact to end his career. You hear the good about how you can help others as well as the bad about how not doing well at all. The trading part of the calendar is something I'm sure most players would just like to avoid, but don't...because it IS there!

 

The Twins are currently being either over-coached or under-coached, depending on the glasses you are wearing. Us fans in the stands ask "why aren't they doing certain things" and others just wonder "why everyone seems to be too careful out there."

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If I was to hazard a guess it would have something to do with Donaldson being in his stance ready for the pitch and Arraez is staring off into the outfield stands, facing away from the plate unable to see what was happening. Then, Arraez started moving around in Donaldson's line of sight to pick up the pitch.

Arraez wasn't in position, he wasn't ready and he was distracting Donaldson. Feels pretty disrespectful to me. I don't think it's any big deal. More of just a "Come on, man! Get your head in the game!" The dugout conversation looked like a no biggie to me.

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55 minutes ago, bean5302 said:

If I was to hazard a guess it would have something to do with Donaldson being in his stance ready for the pitch and Arraez is staring off into the outfield stands, facing away from the plate unable to see what was happening. Then, Arraez started moving around in Donaldson's line of sight to pick up the pitch.

Arraez wasn't in position, he wasn't ready and he was distracting Donaldson. Feels pretty disrespectful to me. I don't think it's any big deal. More of just a "Come on, man! Get your head in the game!" The dugout conversation looked like a no biggie to me.

This really isn't a big deal.  I'll start with that.  Looking at the video, its very apparent to see the following:  Donaldson is digging in ready to pitch.  Peralta is on the rubber and ready to deliver the pitch. Arraez has his back turned to homeplate looking out into CF.  Very obvious to me that JD called "time" because Arraez was (my word) lollygagging---not being in position to take his lead off of 2B.  What IS more concerning to me is that Cruz and Tommy Watkins were the 2 interceding between Arraez and Donaldson in the dugout.  Where was Waldo?? oops...I mean Rocco. 

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I think a coach is the right person. Managers need to keep their head in the game and not what happened earlier. Rocco can address it in private if necessary after the game. Hopefully he will keep it private.

This is part of what the Twins bought with Donaldson. Both he and Arraez are intense in the moment. 

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In this instance if Arraez isn't ready to go when the batter is, then he needs a scolding. With Donaldson being the batter and the veteran player and with another veteran and a team leader Cruz by his side, then I see nothing wrong with it and actually applaud Donaldson and Cruz for doing it. The so-called Manager of this team has led this uninspired lack of readiness play to one of the most disappointing seasons in Twins history. Just another sign he doesn't have his players heads in the game. Blame the Manager.

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Agree with several of the above posters.  Arraez was not paying attention to the fact that the pitch was about to be thrown.  Donaldson realized this and called time out.  Simple as that.  It is on video tape.  From that point, Arraez denied that he was not ready.  Donaldson pointed it out...and Arraez continued to deny it.  It is over now and I'm sure Arraez will pay more attention moving forward.  It won't happen when he is 27 years old.  I will still take his entusiams and put up with a few youthful issues!

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It's two competitors being competitive. It could be a big deal, probably not though. You'd have to be on the inside to really know. I don't want this incident to negatively impact Arraez. Maybe it's time to cut bait with Donaldson and move him before the trade deadline? JD's time with the Twins has not lived up to expectations. 

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I think the characterizations of Arraez as "lollygagging" or just looking out to CF aren't totally accurate. Arraez looks to be checking the positioning of the outfielders. That's part of the game and something he should certainly do before each pitch to help him get the best jump he can on a ball in play. He was clearly late turning around, though. And I don't blame Donaldson for calling time there, or being upset, as he clearly sees Arraez turned around and his mind is there and not focusing on the pitch that would've been coming. I think it's a 1 off situation of Arraez being delayed (he would've been at the same lead distance on the pitch as he hurried his hop out once he saw the pitcher ready to throw), but not a big deal. 

This disaster of a season could certainly be leading to some escalated emotions (Arraez and Donaldson both seem to be very passionate players) which causes a situation like this to be bigger than needed. Especially in an embarrassing series like the one in Detroit. As for Rocco's role in it, I think it's much ado about nothing that he wasn't involved in the dugout. Nobody was throwing fists and they didn't even seem to be yelling all that loudly or anything. It's not like they had to be separated or anything. Seems reasonable enough to let it play out and have Rocco concentrate on the game itself. If it's a big enough deal he can sit down with them in his office after the game and figure things out. This feels like lost season drama caused by raised emotions from 2 competitors.

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My lip reading skills may need help, but Donaldson appears to ask Arraez what he was looking at. Similar to what you ask a 9 year old playing Cal Ripken level who sees his younger sibling eating ice cream and would rather be doing that than standing at second base waiting for the play to start. These guys heads need to be in the game at all times, case in point the Mets yesterday arguing about a fair ball call while 3 runs scored. There have been many other cases of MLB players looking lost or not ready to make a play this season. There are more aspects to this game than just hitting. Lost season or not, I will side with the veteran here.

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12 hours ago, bean5302 said:

If I was to hazard a guess it would have something to do with Donaldson being in his stance ready for the pitch and Arraez is staring off into the outfield stands, facing away from the plate unable to see what was happening. Then, Arraez started moving around in Donaldson's line of sight to pick up the pitch.

Arraez wasn't in position, he wasn't ready and he was distracting Donaldson. Feels pretty disrespectful to me. I don't think it's any big deal. More of just a "Come on, man! Get your head in the game!" The dugout conversation looked like a no biggie to me.

Yes.  The announcers said, diplomatically, that Arraez was "slow to lead off" or "being distracting."  That's part of it, but Arraez was staring off into the outfield with his back turned to the hitter, and this after everyone else was ready to go.  If Donaldson had a hit, not only would Arraez not be ready to run, but there's the possibility that Arraez would get hit with the ball.

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I'm sure we'll never know much more. This is probably not all that big of a deal, but even if it was, the team would downplay it.

Maybe Donaldson was upset that Arraez wasn't paying attention, or maybe he was upset that Arraez wasn't trying to steal signs for him.

I'm ready for a new manager, but in this case it seems like Watkins was the right guy for the job anyway. Part of the reason he was hired was that he is bilingual. I'd guess this situation was likely implicitly listed as one of his job duties long ago.

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Definitely a mountain out of a molehill situation. This wasn't Bryce Harper and Jonathan Papelbon going after each other in the dugout. When you foster an environment that encourages a player's competitive drive this is going to happen, but all parties involved handled it well. Donaldson and Arraez got their say, Cruz mediated it, and Rocco focused on the game at large. Had this escalated to anything notable then coaches get involved.

1 hour ago, Whitey333 said:

We certainly don't have a manager that manages a game.  Seems like his computer manages for him.

Can we just stop with this critique? Criticize Rocco for his lineups, or his defensive placements, or pitching management, but this is such a lazy take that it's all but worthless.

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2 hours ago, Whitey333 said:

Much to do about nothing.  Except the comment that the manager shouldn't be involved because he needs to concentrate on managing the game.  We certainly don't have a manager that manages a game.  Seems like his computer manages for him.

I am inferring you believe a manager should intervene at this point and take his attention away from the game. I want a manager who stays in the game. Part of being in the game is using the data to make decisions. There are other threads about how much a manager should be relying on that data for decision making.

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8 minutes ago, TheBoofIsLoose said:

Definitely a mountain out of a molehill situation. This wasn't Bryce Harper and Jonathan Papelbon going after each other in the dugout. When you foster an environment that encourages a player's competitive drive this is going to happen, but all parties involved handled it well. Donaldson and Arraez got their say, Cruz mediated it, and Rocco focused on the game at large. Had this escalated to anything notable then coaches get involved.

Can we just stop with this critique? Criticize Rocco for his lineups, or his defensive placements, or pitching management, but this is such a lazy take that it's all but worthless.

I can appreciate this critique - brevity is the soul of wit - much better than the novel we could all write, of which this particular critique wraps up a portion of it. The Rocco in-game mismanagement mistakes are plenty this season. I wish we had a manager, and an organization that fed off Donaldson's type of energy and emotion. We don't. Might as well deal him to a more aggressive fired up organization that prioritizes winning at every turn, and doesn't mind getting down and dirty to do it if that's what it takes.

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13 hours ago, bean5302 said:

If I was to hazard a guess it would have something to do with Donaldson being in his stance ready for the pitch and Arraez is staring off into the outfield stands, facing away from the plate unable to see what was happening. Then, Arraez started moving around in Donaldson's line of sight to pick up the pitch.

Arraez wasn't in position, he wasn't ready and he was distracting Donaldson. Feels pretty disrespectful to me. I don't think it's any big deal. More of just a "Come on, man! Get your head in the game!" The dugout conversation looked like a no biggie to me.

 

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It looks to me like Arraez was looking at the outfielders positions and was slow getting off the base distracting JD. I do agree that Rocco should of been involved and maybe he did get involved later off camera, who knows.

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2 hours ago, theBOMisthebomb said:

It's two competitors being competitive. It could be a big deal, probably not though. You'd have to be on the inside to really know. I don't want this incident to negatively impact Arraez. Maybe it's time to cut bait with Donaldson and move him before the trade deadline? JD's time with the Twins has not lived up to expectations. 

 

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I'm not sure why anyone feels Baldelli needs to be up in everybody's business about this. While I haven't examined this kind of thing numerically and my experience is anecdotal, I feel coaches, not managers, are typically more involved in dugout confrontations/discussions of this kind. If the manager needs to intervene, it will probably be done behind closed doors.

There were a few dust-ups in the dugout of those 2000's Twins teams and I never remember Gardy throwing himself into the middle of the situation. I'm sure discussions were had afterward but not right there in the dugout.

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44 minutes ago, In My La Z boy said:

I can appreciate this critique - brevity is the soul of wit - much better than the novel we could all write, of which this particular critique wraps up a portion of it. The Rocco in-game mismanagement mistakes are plenty this season. I wish we had a manager, and an organization that fed off Donaldson's type of energy and emotion. We don't. Might as well deal him to a more aggressive fired up organization that prioritizes winning at every turn, and doesn't mind getting down and dirty to do it if that's what it takes.

I get it, I think we just have different definitions of what constitutes, "wit." Personally, I prefer a level-head for a manager, let the players get fired up and emotional, but the manager needs to make the cool, rational choices. I don't know what to say about down and dirty, because I'm not sure what you're implying.

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20 minutes ago, TheBoofIsLoose said:

I get it, I think we just have different definitions of what constitutes, "wit." Personally, I prefer a level-head for a manager, let the players get fired up and emotional, but the manager needs to make the cool, rational choices. I don't know what to say about down and dirty, because I'm not sure what you're implying.

Implying attitude as much as anything. Bite Scratch Claw - a mindset - a toughness - a determination. Rocco takes calm cool and rational to the point where it stops looking like calm cool and rational and looks more like unsure aloof unaware and apathetic.

This style he has is unsettling to me, and doesn't look like leadership. 

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