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Twins, Rocco & Staff


Very few comments on the manager and his coaching staff during this lackluster season. There have been many coaching decisions,especially with pitchers that are very questionable. Such as leaving in your starter who is getting " shelled" by opposing batters, building up an insurmountable lead in runs.

Wes Johnson is first time ever college pitching coach who never spent a day in minor league baseball, thats very suspect in his ability to handle MLB caliber players.

Twins need to evaluate Roccos performance and not rely events from the past. Change should be highly considered.

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You're joking, right? You can't throw a rock on this forum without hitting five people who are mad at Baldelli.

I agree that the front office should be closely examining why Baldelli has faltered this season (I think the loss of Mike Bell has hurt him a lot) and how to change that going forward. After two successful seasons out of three, I'm not ready to move on from Rocco quite yet.

As for Johnson, I think your evaluation is pretty unfair. Just 12 months ago, he was a pitching genius for improving the squad drastically over a couple of seasons, culminating in the Twins posting a very good pitching staff last season. Until three months ago, no one questioned his ability to handle MLB pitching and it feels like a real knee-jerk reaction to decide he can't do the job because everything blew up in everyone's face this season. There's plenty of blame to go around this season from the backup role players all the way to Derek Falvey.

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37 minutes ago, GoBlue48 said:

Very few comments on the manager and his coaching staff during this lackluster season. There have been many coaching decisions,especially with pitchers that are very questionable. Such as leaving in your starter who is getting " shelled" by opposing batters, building up an insurmountable lead in runs.

Wes Johnson is first time ever college pitching coach who never spent a day in minor league baseball, thats very suspect in his ability to handle MLB caliber players.

Twins need to evaluate Roccos performance and not rely events from the past. Change should be highly considered.

I agree with you and it’s refreshing to finally see someone who notices the trend of Rocco leaving in pitchers who are getting shelled from the start (Shoemaker 2021, 9 run 1st and M. Perez 2019, 8 runs in two innings) or are gassed like Berrios was last night. A competent manager would have noticed that after 1 or 2 batters and relieved him and would have had a bullpen arm warming up sooner than Thielbar appeared to be. 

Quite simply, Baldelli leaves in pitchers who are either gassed or just don’t have it, both starters and relievers too long on a consistent basis for all three seasons! This often puts them too far behind for the stage of the game to come back. He shows little in the way of a sign that he’s going to change this or even realizes this incredibly long hook is losing games.

They may have won 106 in 2019 if he would relieve pitchers properly. The Martin Perez example is only 1 example from 2019. When your team is the greatest hitting HR outfit in the history of baseball some of those managing missteps are covered up.

No longer. Falvey and Levine have blundered away so much talent since then and made such poor acquisitions that the talent can no longer cover for Rocco’s abysmal pitching staff management. I think it’s the worst I’ve ever seen from any manager and I’ve been following the Twins since 1964!

I don’t take pleasure in this blunt assessment due to Rocco seeming like a nice guy, good with players. But the position of manager is a position that is merit based and his pitching staff management is killing us. His extra inning management has also been poor, IMO. For all those reasons I think he should be relieved of his duties ASAP. I’d prefer to lure Jim Leyland out of retirement than see Rocco blowing games for the Twins by leaving pitchers that are getting blasted in too long. It almost hurts to say it but that’s the cold hard truth as I see it.

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@Greglw3 Berríos threw just 94 pitches last night and sailed through six innings, allowing fewer baserunners than innings pitched.

And this is what vexes me about fandom and baseball management. Half the fanbase is screaming at Baldelli for pulling pitchers too early while the other half is screaming at him for leaving in pitchers for too long.

What's most likely is that Baldelli uses his pitchers in a pretty similar way to other managers, he's just not pulling the right strings and/or rolling snake eyes way more than usual this season.

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4 minutes ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

@Greglw3 Berríos threw just 94 pitches last night and sailed through six innings, allowing fewer baserunners than innings pitched.

And this is what vexes me about fandom and baseball management. Half the fanbase is screaming at Baldelli for pulling pitchers too early while the other half is screaming at him for leaving in pitchers for too long.

What's most likely is that Baldelli uses his pitchers in a pretty similar way to other managers, he's just not pulling the right strings and/or rolling snake eyes way more than usual this season.

Hey Brock, I hear you about the fans that think he pulls pitchers too early and that in aggregate, that is annoying to people to have both sides argued by the totality of Twins fans.

But I don’t think the fans that think he pulls pitchers too soon should have any impact on the merit of my argument and of GoBlue48, who I quoted.

But your opinion is just as valuable as mine. I’ll site an example of a manager who relieves his pitchers properly. Terry Francona. So different than Rocco!

I see your point about Berrios having thrown only 87 pitches entering the 9th but pitchers getting deep into a game can lose it suddenly and completely and that’s what happened to Berrios. A quicker hook and I think the Twins have a doubleheader sweep of their rival.

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7 minutes ago, Greglw3 said:

I see your point about Berrios having thrown only 87 pitches entering the 9th but pitchers getting deep into a game can lose it suddenly and completely and that’s what happened to Berrios. A quicker hook and I think the Twins have a doubleheader sweep of their rival.

He wasn't that deep into the game, though. He was well under 100 pitches through six innings and hadn't completed a third turn through the lineup. Up until the seventh inning, Berríos had no real high effort innings. Expecting the staff ace to pitch seven innings in a low effort game is far from unreasonable, especially coming out of the long rest provided by the All-Star break.

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4 minutes ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

He wasn't that deep into the game, though. He was well under 100 pitches through six innings and hadn't completed a third turn through the lineup. Up until the seventh inning, Berríos had no real high effort innings. Expecting the staff ace to pitch seven innings in a low effort game is far from unreasonable, especially coming out of the long rest provided by the All-Star break.

I agree with everything you say above, Brock. He should be able to do it but for whatever reason, he lost it very quickly in the 7th. I saw Thielbar warming up and I thought-- it’s gonna be too late.

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I think Rocco is a bit over his head right now. His first few years were pretty easy so he didn't have to deal with total system failures. I also think managers/GMs/coaches can get better and learn from their mistakes. I loved Terry Ryan but he really struggled when he took over and his first wave of players was a fiasco. The Pohlads were to cheap to fire him so he just got better. Torre and Cox both struggled until they found a situation that worked for them. Heck, even Bellachick was fired once.

So I'm not sure if he should go or not but I would hope that in the offseason, once he's out of this storm, he can evaluate what the heck he did wrong and fix it. I hope he looks at some of his strategies/tactics and compares it with other managers and tries to find out the difference. Our starters are 26th in WAR. Relievers are 24th. Is that just because they suck or was there something he did or didn't do that made things worse? What is Servais doing in Seattle that Rocco isn't doing here?

Maybe Rocco has to be more emotional and scream at players. Maybe he realizes he needs a more experienced bench coach with him. Maybe he realizes that this current Twins team needs more Spanish speaking coaches. But if he comes back next year having learned nothing this year he should be fired.

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I really can't fault Rocco for his pitching management.  Let's face it, any manager can be faulted after the fact.  Sure, some of his moves are head-scratching, but as most of you know by now the 2021 meltdown occurred very early due to bullpen failures caused by poor offseason choices(and we can throw in a very poor trade of Pressley just as this club's window was opening).  These failures are on the FO, not Rocco.

But you can blame Rocco and his coaching staff for a shocking lack of fundamentals on this team.  Is Rocco too easy on his players?  Is this team basically "soft", without enough leadership in the clubhouse to keep players on their toes?  Some of us have felt that since TK left, this team under Gardy, Molly, and now Rocco have all contributed to the painful, record-setting playoff streak.   How often has this squad, as well as past ones, failed to show any life once they fell behind?

So while it is easier to excuse Rocco for in-game mismanagement(this season's collapse is certainly more  due to poor FO moves and players falling short of their expectations), it is fair to question whether Rocco is the right person to lead this team back to contention and playoff success?    Give me a Sciosa, Showalter, or some younger version of TK to help lead this franchise back to relevance.   Rocco just doesn't have the chops.  But realistically we'll have to wait another year and if things haven't changed, then System Failure 2.0 should be obvious even to JP and a housecleaning can start then.

 

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Baldelli's decisions this year seem truly bizarre at times.  There is no question that he has the toughest job on the team, but he misses things that managers should not miss and he does things that managers should not do.  There are things that blew up that we could see were going to blow up long before they did.  I have said it before that I am a little worried about him.

Of course, we don't know what goes on behind the scenes with this team.  It's possible Baldelli is just the messenger when it comes to some of the decisions.

I don't agree that Baldelli needs to show more fire or be more emotional.  He needs to show better awareness and a higher sense of urgency.  He can do that without turning himself into a madman, or in other words the stereotypical alpha male.

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4 minutes ago, Dodecahedron said:

I don't agree that Baldelli needs to show more fire or be more emotional.  He needs to show better awareness and a higher sense of urgency.  He can do that without turning himself into a madman.

This is basically how I feel about Baldelli. I don't need a raving lunatic in the clubhouse and believe that management style hurts far more than it helps.

But I don't see a lot of fire from Baldelli. That doesn't mean it's not there, he could simply keep it behind closed doors. But I can't assume it's there, either.

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Its all very simple. When any Twins manager wins MOY honors he should be fired immediately. I think one key managers' role is to try to set an image or attitude for a team on the field and  his presence in the dugout should be kind of menacing to the other team. Most of the best managers seem to have kind of a lurking or "don't mess with me"  demeanor. Baldelli has none of that; just seems to be disinterested almost from the games I have seen on TV you would never know he was there.

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I'm not a Rocco fan but at this point I don't think he should be fired.  I blame most of this on FO decisions to sign pitchers on the bargain basement.  I do blame Rocco for poor fundamentals play, poor pitching management, in game decision making, and lack of pride and enthusiasm amongst the players.  Also would like to see him manage instead of his analytic computers doing it for them.  Those computers don't appear to be too smart.

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I am not a fan of Rocco’s style of management, but can’t say I really understand it either.  Having said that, he seems to fit what the FO is looking for, so unless they all go, I don’t see the reason for firing Rocco.

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I will take my chances with Berrios after pitching well through 6 innings with a low pitch count for that point. I think he is more likely to have a clean 7th than Thielbar. I certainly concerned that he went out for the 7th inning so any concern I might have had would have all been in hindsight. It didn’t work out but I’d make the same decision again. 

As for changing the coaching staff or manager sure if clearly better options become available. I don’t see those clearly better options.

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I am one in the fire him now category,  for many of the reasons stated above. Maybe Rowson will make a better manager and at the same time fix the hitting issues.  This is not all on him, but the lack of fire and sloppy play makes this an easy call for me.

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Definitely missing Bell on the coaching staff. Some other key departures on the hitting side of coaching seem to be haunting as well this season.
As far as leaving Berrios in, ditto to everything everyone else has said above, PLUS this was the second game of a double header which was the SECOND DOUBLE HEADER IN THREE DAYS. And he has to play a team the next day and the day after that FOR NINE MORE DAYS STRAIGHT. Should he burn through his bullpen on Monday night to be totally screwed for the next two days or should he give Berrios a chance to keep trucking?
Seriously. If he had pulled him and the bullpen had blown it again you'd be bitching about his "bad management" yesterday and then again today when he's got no arms left in the bullpen.

In other words, I say we give him at least another season. He's young and learning. I'd hate to see Rocco learn from all his mistakes and then take those lessons somewhere else to win. I can't even imagine the tears on this forum from an outcome like that. 😛

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2 hours ago, mike8791 said:

I really can't fault Rocco for his pitching management.  Let's face it, any manager can be faulted after the fact.  Sure, some of his moves are head-scratching, but as most of you know by now the 2021 meltdown occurred very early due to bullpen failures caused by poor offseason choices(and we can throw in a very poor trade of Pressley just as this club's window was opening).  These failures are on the FO, not Rocco.

But you can blame Rocco and his coaching staff for a shocking lack of fundamentals on this team.  Is Rocco too easy on his players?  Is this team basically "soft", without enough leadership in the clubhouse to keep players on their toes?  Some of us have felt that since TK left, this team under Gardy, Molly, and now Rocco have all contributed to the painful, record-setting playoff streak.   How often has this squad, as well as past ones, failed to show any life once they fell behind?

So while it is easier to excuse Rocco for in-game mismanagement(this season's collapse is certainly more  due to poor FO moves and players falling short of their expectations), it is fair to question whether Rocco is the right person to lead this team back to contention and playoff success?    Give me a Sciosa, Showalter, or some younger version of TK to help lead this franchise back to relevance.   Rocco just doesn't have the chops.  But realistically we'll have to wait another year and if things haven't changed, then System Failure 2.0 should be obvious even to JP and a housecleaning can start then.

 

I was planning on making this same comment, Mike.  This team has a total lack of fundamentals.  It would be disappointing if a Little League team made a lot of the mistakes this team makes.  And solving that begins throughout the system as these kids are working their way towards the Twins.  And it is addressed every year in spring training, at least that should be time for teaching basics.  

And you also mentioned lack of fire in this team.  Where is Eddie when we need him, eh?

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12 minutes ago, roger said:

I was planning on making this same comment, Mike.  This team has a total lack of fundamentals.  It would be disappointing if a Little League team made a lot of the mistakes this team makes.  And solving that begins throughout the system as these kids are working their way towards the Twins.  And it is addressed every year in spring training, at least that should be time for teaching basics.  

And you also mentioned lack of fire in this team.  Where is Eddie when we need him, eh?

face seeds GIF by MLB

I don't see any fire here, but he definitely brought some earth and wind.

One wonders if Astudillo ever made whatever-mistake-that-was again.

Can we bring Eddie back just to throw stuff at people?

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36 minutes ago, Seth Stohs said:

I think it's silly that this is even a conversation at this point. After the past two seasons, he is suddenly a lesser manager. Managers get too much credit when a team does well, and too much blame when things go wrong. He isn't a worse manager this year than the last two years. He didn't suddenly forget how to do things. 

I would agree that the problem is more us than it is him.

We are learning that hitting a record amount of dingers can mask a hell of a lot of problems.

Just like throwing money at a problem does not always work, throwing dingers at a problem does not always work either.  (Dingers were a priority in the Brunansky coaching years too, so we probably should have learned this one already).

Since it's public knowledge that 1/3 of teams built humidors in their stadiums since 2019 to combat the dingers strategy, either:

1. The Twins did not know that humidors were being installed to combat teams like the Twins (bad).
2. The Twins knew about the humidor push, but did not feel it was worth changing anything (bad).

In any case, I am digressing.  Back to the point, yes, I agree that as fans there is a lesson to learn here, but the lesson is not necessarily that Baldelli is still good.  The lesson may be that he was never good, and that dingers were masking his problems.

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39 minutes ago, Seth Stohs said:

I think it's silly that this is even a conversation at this point. After the past two seasons, he is suddenly a lesser manager.

IMO, he wasn't a good manage the past two seasons either, he was bailed out by the team setting the home run record and last season he was bailed out playing the a weak national league schedule. He made the same exact mistakes the last two years as he has this year, the difference being that the lineup in 2019 was filled with players that could go big fly at anytime and Odo and Perez starting out absolutely on fire, last year by Maeda and basically a lock down bullpen.

 

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22 minutes ago, Dodecahedron said:

In any case, I am digressing.  Back to the point, yes, I agree that as fans there is a lesson to learn here, but the lesson is not necessarily that Baldelli is still good.  The lesson may be that he was never good, and that dingers were masking his problems.

THIS!

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2 hours ago, Seth Stohs said:

I think it's silly that this is even a conversation at this point. After the past two seasons, he is suddenly a lesser manager. Managers get too much credit when a team does well, and too much blame when things go wrong. He isn't a worse manager this year than the last two years. He didn't suddenly forget how to do things. 

He is first and foremost a players' manager, and that's especially true with pitchers. I think they've done a nice job of protecting starters, and trying to manage a bullpen after a lost 2020 season. He's got a mix of veterans and newbies (several that didn't pitch last year at all) and he can't and shouldn't treat them all different. 

He is as prepared for games as anyone. He knows all the numbers, and he makes decisions based on a number of reasons. The players have played bad. There have been injuries. Is it Rocco's fault that Sano can't hit a fastball, or Kepler doesn't hit the ball hard? Is it his fault that the bullpen arms didn't do what they've done in the past (in some cases)? Is it his fault that they've used 8 center fielders this year, including two who have never played CF?

I get it. People want a scapegoat. They want to place blame. When things are bad, there are a lot of reasons, and it's always fun to read about how he's "lost the clubhouse" or "needs to step up and be a man!" Whatever that means. Would a yeller and screamer help this team? Would Tony Larussa be a better choice? "He doesn't have players ready." These guys are professional athletes. They shouldn't need a manager or coach to get them to be ready to do what they've trained to do. 

And, Edgar Varela's name has come up... The Twins have offense, they just haven't hit with runners in scoring position all year. Is that his fault? Is that Rudy Hernandez's fault, who most of the hitters worked with in 2019? 

Is Wes Johnson to blame? He's doing all the same things that he did in his first two seasons? And, if he's not, it's directed through the organization to take care of arms and I'm sure they have a strategy for attempting to keep guys healthy throughout the year. What happened that caused Colome to be so bad in the first month after being really really good for almost a decade? Colome said that the Twins were really messing with him mechanically in spring training. He just made bad pitches. 

Tony Diaz? Tommy Watkins? Pete Maki? Bill Evers? If any of those guys are let go, that's truly scapegoating. 

Have the coaches/manager been great this year? No. I don't agree with every decision. I don't agree with every lineup decision or roster decision. I also think that things changed a month or more ago. While trying to win, they also now should be prioritizing development and improvement, and giving guys opportunities to see if they can or should be part of the future. 

This is a valid take and I can appreciate this point of view. Seems always to be our point of view in Minnesota. We'd love to win, and we'd love to be competitive every year, but we won't run a results orientated organization. An organization that is driven by the bottom line - meaning in this case, World Series championships. All in, always, how do we win now. We play poorly. We make bad decisions. We lose a lot. Why do we play the games? We play to win. Not us. Not Rocco. Probably not this front office. Definitely not Jim Pohlad. Winning is not the all encompassing agenda around here. I wish it were. Must not be a salary cap thing, Tampa is always there, A's are always there. Rocco fits us I guess.

 

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42 minutes ago, In My La Z boy said:

Why do we play the games? We play to win. Not us. Not Rocco. Probably not this front office. Definitely not Jim Pohlad. Winning is not the all encompassing agenda around here. I wish it were. Must not be a salary cap thing, Tampa is always there, A's are always there. Rocco fits us I guess.

 

You can make the argument that Pohlad is more concerned with the bottom line than winning games, but not the FO or Rocco. You can't fire an owner, but those three don't have the luxury of indefinite job security; they are absolutely playing to win every day. I'd guarantee they're not champing at the bit to be fired, especially since there is always the chance they won't coach or run a front office again. Tampa is the exception to the rule, if every team could be as savvy and ahead of the curve as the Rays seem to be they would do it in a heartbeat, it's not an easy task. 

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