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Sonny Gray not too happy with Rocco...


Doesn't seem like Sonny is too happy with the way he has been handled this year. I like that Rocco sent him out for the 7th last night. Not sure what this means going forward but by listening to this interview, I would say enjoy Sonny Gray for this year and next because this sounds like a guy that doesn't really care for how he is being used and won't resign. 

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I would expect free agents and their Agents know what the Twins philosophy is and IMO that would keep away the top free agents from signing here and why the Twins end up signing who they do. Got to assume Gray and Mahle have talked about this since he got here and based on the interview I agree with @Battle ur tail off that Gray won't be a Twin in 24 unless things change, and there is always the chance he demands to be traded this off season to a team he believes will allow him to the be the pitcher he thinks he is. )

IMO this could be one of the reasons Berrios isn't a Twin. I believe this front office does so well in trading for pitchers is because they see pitchers that they believe are being overexposed by other teams and think they can reduce their load and make them great 5 innings pitchers.

I also believe that is why they won't pay "big" money to starters, why pay a starter 20 million a year to average less than 6 innings, it just doesn't make sense and how to they sell their philosophy to the rest of the starting staff if they let one pitcher do things they don't let the others.

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I didn't hear anything about him not being unhappy with Baldelli. Where was that coming from?

I'm quite certain Gray knows it's an organizational decision to pull pitchers early, so he may not be happy with the team as a whole. Not sure why Baldelli is the one constantly being thrown under the bus for this though.

In any case, if you take out his shortened injury start, Gray is pitching the same amount of innings per start this year as he did the last two years in Cincinnati. The guy hasn't thrown 200 IP since 2015.

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14 minutes ago, nicksaviking said:

I didn't hear anything about him not being unhappy with Baldelli. Where was that coming from?

I'm quite certain Gray knows it's an organizational decision to pull pitchers early, so he may not be happy with the team as a whole. Not sure why Baldelli is the one constantly being thrown under the bus for this though.

In any case, if you take out his shortened injury start, Gray is pitching the same amount of innings per start this year as he did the last two years in Cincinnati. The guy hasn't thrown 200 IP since 2015.

Call it the organization then, that's fine and I would agree with you. Surely it seems this is the case.

Gray isn't some stud, it is just the first time we have heard a player speak out about being pulled early. That was the point of the post. 

 

 

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9 minutes ago, nicksaviking said:

I didn't hear anything about him not being unhappy with Baldelli. Where was that coming from?

I'm quite certain Gray knows it's an organizational decision to pull pitchers early, so he may not be happy with the team as a whole. Not sure why Baldelli is the one constantly being thrown under the bus for this though.

In any case, if you take out his shortened injury start, Gray is pitching the same amount of innings per start this year as he did the last two years in Cincinnati. The guy hasn't thrown 200 IP since 2015.

Listening between the words, I took that he wasn't saying the average innings was an issue (when he said change wasn't bad), I am thinking he was saying when he is on he can and should do more. (In the last few years that hasn't been something that has happened a lot)

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1 hour ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

I don't really want Sonny Gray in 2024 so that seems like a mutually beneficial arrangement.

Tyler Mahle, on the other hand...

I would agree with you here on both. That said, do we think Gray would be the type of guy to get a one-year deal after this one is done? If so, having him at the bottom of our rotation might work if he can stay healthy until then. If he was looking for another 3 year or more deal though, yep see ya.

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1 minute ago, Battle ur tail off said:

I would agree with you here on both. That said, do we think Gray would be the type of guy to get a one-year deal after this one is done? If so, having him at the bottom of our rotation might work if he can stay healthy until then. If he was looking for another 3 year or more deal though, yep see ya.

If we're still relying on 34 year old Sonny Gray in 2024 I think there's bigger problems and there should probably be a new FO in place. Winder, Ober, Ryan, Paddack all still under team control in 2024. With Balazovic, Sands, Enlow, Dobnak, Smeltzer, Henriquez already on the 40-man, and SWR, Prielipp, Raya, Canterino (I think he's in the pen, to be fair), and Varland types who should be debuting in the next 2 years. Not to mention way higher upside guys on the market than Gray the next 2 offseasons.

A guy like Mahle being extended and still around in 2024 would make sense, but if they haven't been able to turn at least 4 of the 15 guys I listed into major league starters for 2024, or brought in a better arm than Gray, the team is in far worse trouble than Sonny Gray being upset that he's averaging basically the exact same innings per start in 2022 as he did in 2021 and 2020.

Not to mention that he'd likely struggle greatly to find any other team in Major League Baseball that would be handling him drastically different than the Twins by 2024.

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1 hour ago, TwinsDr2021 said:

I would expect free agents and their Agents know what the Twins philosophy is and IMO that would keep away the top free agents from signing here

In another thread, we have people saying that Rice University overuses their pitchers and causes future arm injuries (Canterino). Here, we are saying that underusing pitchers will make them sign elsewhere. I believe players and agents will avoid places where they are overused like at Rice and I don't believe this philosophy will keep pitchers away from the Twins.

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1 minute ago, FlyingFinn said:

In another thread, we have people saying that Rice University overuses their pitchers and causes future arm injuries (Canterino). Here, we are saying that underusing pitchers will make them sign elsewhere. I believe players and agents will avoid places where they are overused like at Rice and I don't believe this philosophy will keep pitchers away from the Twins.

Basically every MLB team is handling their pitchers the same way. The elite guys get to go as deep as they can in a start. The middle tier guys get to go 2+ times through and then it depends on the game situation that determines if they're given more leash (like last night Gray may get a chance to go deeper in the 7th if the score weren't 3-0 at the time). The lower tier starters get almost no leash to go past 2 times through the order unless they have a big lead (Bundy in his 8 inning start earlier this year).

FAs chase the money almost exclusively, though. All this talk of "FAs won't want to come here cuz of X, Y, or Z" is mostly fans saying they don't like certain things about their team, or making themselves feel better about not getting big name FAs. If the Twins are the highest bidder there are very few guys who will turn them down. The Twins don't get a boost by being on the coast or by a guy's horse ranches (MadBum) if the money is the same so they have to have the highest bid. But they aren't losing FAs by pulling mid-tier pitchers at 90+ pitches in the 7th inning after giving up 2 straight hits and bringing the tying run to the plate.

Shoot, Joe Ryan had 3 of his first 4 starts this year be at least 6 innings. The Twins aren't blindly pulling everyone at the same time. If you're good the Twins let you pitch. Problem is their starters came back to earth after their great start.

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36 minutes ago, nicksaviking said:

 

In any case, if you take out his shortened injury start, Gray is pitching the same amount of innings per start this year as he did the last two years in Cincinnati. The guy hasn't thrown 200 IP since 2015.

I was all for Gray to start the 7th because was strong in the 6th, striking out the side. But the 7th he was getting into trouble and IMO taking him out was the right call. All pitchers especially the older ones have in their DNA to pitch a complete game, to pitch through any problem. So when they are taken out they aren't crazy about it. 

Todays mentality especially this FO isn't the quantity of innings but more the quality of the innings. I agree w/ Gray that it's not necessarily bad what going on but it's something that he still needs to adjust to. I also agree w/ this mentality of pulling a pitcher before he's totally spent so he can bounce back 100% for his next start. The team's record and the SPs health & being strong & refreshed for the post season trumps the SP's pride of going really deep. Gray is a professional, I wouldn't read anything else into it.

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Gray was pissed in that clip. Anyone watching it could see it. He was good to be careful with what he said but the exact words didn’t matter. Message: delivered.

Gray was absolutely pulled too soon against the Dodgers last Wednesday. Couple line drives in the fifth inning and it’s the fainting couch and smelling salts for Twins management, safer to bring in Pagan at that point. 
 

19 minutes ago, chpettit19 said:

If we're still relying on 34 year old Sonny Gray in 2024 I think there's bigger problems

You are right there are bigger problems :) 

Pitching is more than just a science or a numbers game with stockpiling prospects. It’s also scouting, art, politics, training, blind faith, and back room deals, played out 1-to-1 in private offices or on meetings at the pitching mounds for millions to see. What have you done for me now, vs. what can you do for me later. (Trying to channel Roger Angell this morning)

Pitching politics is also played in Twitter video clips. 

Gray wants to pitch deeper into games. What will happen in later September in a big series against Chicago or Cleveland, in the sixth inning of a close game, when Baldelli is considering whether to leave Gray in to pitch past the point where Baldelli and the Twins are comfortable? Hopefully we will find out. 
 

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2 hours ago, TwinsDr2021 said:

I would expect free agents and their Agents know what the Twins philosophy is and IMO that would keep away the top free agents from signing here and why the Twins end up signing who they do. Got to assume Gray and Mahle have talked about this since he got here and based on the interview I agree with @Battle ur tail off that Gray won't be a Twin in 24 unless things change, and there is always the chance he demands to be traded this off season to a team he believes will allow him to the be the pitcher he thinks he is. )

IMO this could be one of the reasons Berrios isn't a Twin. I believe this front office does so well in trading for pitchers is because they see pitchers that they believe are being overexposed by other teams and think they can reduce their load and make them great 5 innings pitchers.

I also believe that is why they won't pay "big" money to starters, why pay a starter 20 million a year to average less than 6 innings, it just doesn't make sense and how to they sell their philosophy to the rest of the starting staff if they let one pitcher do things they don't let the others.

A shorter leash isn't the reason top FA pitchers aren't signing here.

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A leadoff walk followed by a double is all it takes for Rocco to end it, especially since it is not in his DNA to send any starter out for the 7th inning to begin with. There was a short conversation between Gray and Rocco before the move was made. Evidently whatever Gray said wasn't convincing enough for him to stay in there. Could've Gray gotten out of the inning if he would have left him in there? Possible, but we'll never know. From what I can tell, Rocco doesn't value what a starter has done in the game once the 5th and 6th innings start. He only thinks they can't do it anymore, One thing is certain, Gray and every other starter should know by now, once the 5th inning starts, if they are still out there pitching they are treading on thin ice. And for those of you who think Rocco is following the advice from the FO to pull starters as early as he does, then maybe if he feels differently he should tell them to find a different puppet Manager. IMO I don't think the FO has anything to do with how Rocco manages his pitchers.

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1 hour ago, Battle ur tail off said:

I would agree with you here on both. That said, do we think Gray would be the type of guy to get a one-year deal after this one is done? If so, having him at the bottom of our rotation might work if he can stay healthy until then. If he was looking for another 3 year or more deal though, yep see ya.

I think he'll be looking for 2-3 years at minimum but it all depends how he looks in 2023. I don't see him getting more than three years if healthy but anything is possible, I suppose. If he's injured a bunch in 2023, a one year deal is likely.

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6 minutes ago, rv78 said:

A leadoff walk followed by a double is all it takes for Rocco to end it, especially since it is not in his DNA to send any starter out for the 7th inning to begin with. There was a short conversation between Gray and Rocco before the move was made. Evidently whatever Gray said wasn't convincing enough for him to stay in there. Could've Gray gotten out of the inning if he would have left him in there? Possible, but we'll never know. From what I can tell, Rocco doesn't value what a starter has done in the game once the 5th and 6th innings start. He only thinks they can't do it anymore, One thing is certain, Gray and every other starter should know by now, once the 5th inning starts, if they are still out there pitching they are treading on thin ice. And for those of you who think Rocco is following the advice from the FO to pull starters as early as he does, then maybe if he feels differently he should tell them to find a different puppet Manager. IMO I don't think the FO has anything to do with how Rocco manages his pitchers.

So you think Rocco's bosses disagree with how he does his job yet they've kept him around for 4 seasons and are watching him make decisions they disagree with while their team loses their lead in the division? I wish any bosses I've ever had would let me do whatever I wanted and not fire me when I was costing the business while making decisions they disagree with. Nice bosses.

He's not a "puppet manager." He believes in the same ideas as the FO. Sometimes the simplest answer is the right answer. The FO hired Rocco because his baseball strategies and philosophies match their strategies and philosophies. Not many FOs out there who would hire a manager who wants to do things drastically different than they do. Leads to a team being built by the FO to be used 1 way while the manager uses them another. Not good for winning. The Vikings wouldn't build an offense designed to throw the ball well and hire a coach who wants to run the ball all the time. And if they did they'd all get fired.

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48 minutes ago, chpettit19 said:

If we're still relying on 34 year old Sonny Gray in 2024 I think there's bigger problems and there should probably be a new FO in place. Winder, Ober, Ryan, Paddack all still under team control in 2024. With Balazovic, Sands, Enlow, Dobnak, Smeltzer, Henriquez already on the 40-man, and SWR, Prielipp, Raya, Canterino (I think he's in the pen, to be fair), and Varland types who should be debuting in the next 2 years. Not to mention way higher upside guys on the market than Gray the next 2 offseasons.

A guy like Mahle being extended and still around in 2024 would make sense, but if they haven't been able to turn at least 4 of the 15 guys I listed into major league starters for 2024, or brought in a better arm than Gray, the team is in far worse trouble than Sonny Gray being upset that he's averaging basically the exact same innings per start in 2022 as he did in 2021 and 2020.

Not to mention that he'd likely struggle greatly to find any other team in Major League Baseball that would be handling him drastically different than the Twins by 2024.

Worrying about resigning Gray is at the bottom of the "pitching problems," list. 

Production questions aside, unless Winder's shoulder issue suddenly solves itself or he undergoes some sort of procedure I don't think you can really count on him as a rotation staple. I really hope the FO isn't banking on Ober in any way either. Paddack was a bounce back candidate when they traded for him, and now we're adding a TJ recovery. It's literally Ryan and a bunch of massive question marks in this group that's reached the majors. 

Balazovic has been terrible at AAA. Sands, Enlow, Dobnak, Smeltzer, and Henriquez all look like AAAA/potential low end bullpen pieces at best. Maybe Sands breaks that ceiling, and I know Dobnak is beloved on this site but...

Agreed that Canterino seems destined for the pen, but he'll be back in A ball post TJ in 2024. SWR has been a mess...again. Prielipp is a total wildcard as far as both health and production are concerned and Raya is pitching well in low A. Each would have to take pretty massive steps to be contributing early or at all in 2024. No clue where/how/if Varland fits. 

Of everybody listed they probably have 7 guys (I'm already counting Ryan as a lock and I excluded Varland) with a shot to be starting pitchers. Two are in the low minors, two have struggled mightily in AA or AAA, two haven't been able to stay healthy either of the last few seasons, and the last one is a reclamation project coming off TJ. If the Twins are relying on this group + flier FAs to make up 4/5 or 3/5 of a rotation, or if they're still trading prospects for stop gap solutions for 2024 this FO should be gone anyway. I know you mentioned FA as well, but they've shown zero willingness to commit to pitching there so I didn't include that as a rotation option.  

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When a player comes out and says things critical of a management philosophy like this publicly, it's can signal a really bad atmosphere. These pitchers aren't stupid. They know their free agent contracts are going to be based on WAR and they don't generate any WAR when they're getting yanked after 4-5 innings. The Twins are hurting these player's careers.

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1 hour ago, chpettit19 said:

Basically every MLB team is handling their pitchers the same way. The elite guys get to go as deep as they can in a start. The middle tier guys get to go 2+ times through and then it depends on the game situation that determines if they're given more leash (like last night Gray may get a chance to go deeper in the 7th if the score weren't 3-0 at the time). The lower tier starters get almost no leash to go past 2 times through the order unless they have a big lead (Bundy in his 8 inning start earlier this year).

FAs chase the money almost exclusively, though. All this talk of "FAs won't want to come here cuz of X, Y, or Z" is mostly fans saying they don't like certain things about their team, or making themselves feel better about not getting big name FAs. If the Twins are the highest bidder there are very few guys who will turn them down. The Twins don't get a boost by being on the coast or by a guy's horse ranches (MadBum) if the money is the same so they have to have the highest bid. But they aren't losing FAs by pulling mid-tier pitchers at 90+ pitches in the 7th inning after giving up 2 straight hits and bringing the tying run to the plate.

Shoot, Joe Ryan had 3 of his first 4 starts this year be at least 6 innings. The Twins aren't blindly pulling everyone at the same time. If you're good the Twins let you pitch. Problem is their starters came back to earth after their great start.

What is you are saying is not completely true, not all teams handle their pitchers the same way as the Twins, that just isn't factual. OR there are way more elite pitchers than we all believe. And/or the Twins pitchers in general are not very good but that might say more about the FO then the pitchers?

All Twins starters average between 21 and 22 batters face (ALL of them minus Archer), yes depending on the game sometimes they go higher (NOT MUCH THOUGH and sometimes lower.  I stopped counting at 30 guys that average 24 over more batters per game and yes they have the same starts at going higher and some lower, that is significant number.

I am 100% agreement with you that players chase the money, but when the money is close to the same, many other things go into it and IMO how teams pitching philosophy players into that. 

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49 minutes ago, chpettit19 said:

So you think Rocco's bosses disagree with how he does his job yet they've kept him around for 4 seasons and are watching him make decisions they disagree with while their team loses their lead in the division? I wish any bosses I've ever had would let me do whatever I wanted and not fire me when I was costing the business while making decisions they disagree with. Nice bosses.

He's not a "puppet manager." He believes in the same ideas as the FO. Sometimes the simplest answer is the right answer. The FO hired Rocco because his baseball strategies and philosophies match their strategies and philosophies. Not many FOs out there who would hire a manager who wants to do things drastically different than they do. Leads to a team being built by the FO to be used 1 way while the manager uses them another. Not good for winning. The Vikings wouldn't build an offense designed to throw the ball well and hire a coach who wants to run the ball all the time. And if they did they'd all get fired.

I never said they didnt have the same philosophy. I just think it's ultimately up to him whether a pitcher goes 4 innings, 5  innings, 6 innings or more, and how he uses the bullpen.

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1 hour ago, KirbyDome89 said:

A shorter leash isn't the reason top FA pitchers aren't signing here.

Correct, it is about money and I don't see the Twins spending that kind of money and keeping to their philosophy and any pitcher that takes the Twins money instead of the money offered by a winning team who allows them to be who they think they are (assuming the money is close) I don't want anyway.

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3 minutes ago, bean5302 said:

When a player comes out and says things critical of a management philosophy like this publicly, it's can signal a really bad atmosphere. These pitchers aren't stupid. They know their free agent contracts are going to be based on WAR and they don't generate any WAR when they're getting yanked after 4-5 innings. The Twins are hurting these player's careers.

You have some data to back this up? It sure doesn't feel like pitcher compensation is going down. Alex Cobb threw 93.1 total innings last year (just over 5 innings a start) while having an ERA under 4 (3.76) for the first time since 2017 and just got a $20 million contract this offseason at the age of 34. Anthony DeSclafani averaged less than 5.5 innings a start last year while going sub-4 era for just the 2nd time since 2016 and got $36 million. Yusei Kikuchi has never had an ERA under 4.41 and averaged 5.4 innings per start last year and got $36 million. James Paxton has never made 30 starts in a season in his career and he got $10 million after pitching to just over 5.1 innings a start back in 2020 and missing basically all of last season. As has already been pointed out, Sonny Gray hasn't been significantly over 5 innings a start in 3 years and has made 30 starts in a season once since 2015. The Twins aren't hurting Sonny Gray's career, his inability to stay healthy and throw innings for 7 freaking years is hurting his career.

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59 minutes ago, chpettit19 said:

So you think Rocco's bosses disagree with how he does his job yet they've kept him around for 4 seasons and are watching him make decisions they disagree with while their team loses their lead in the division? I wish any bosses I've ever had would let me do whatever I wanted and not fire me when I was costing the business while making decisions they disagree with. Nice bosses.

He's not a "puppet manager." He believes in the same ideas as the FO. Sometimes the simplest answer is the right answer. The FO hired Rocco because his baseball strategies and philosophies match their strategies and philosophies. Not many FOs out there who would hire a manager who wants to do things drastically different than they do. Leads to a team being built by the FO to be used 1 way while the manager uses them another. Not good for winning. The Vikings wouldn't build an offense designed to throw the ball well and hire a coach who wants to run the ball all the time. And if they did they'd all get fired.

I seem to remember they did.  And they did.  :)  

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9 minutes ago, rv78 said:

I never said they didnt have the same philosophy. I just think it's ultimately up to him whether a pitcher goes 4 innings, 5  innings, 6 innings or more, and how he uses the bullpen.

In game, yes. The FO isn't calling down to the dugout and telling him what to do. But he meets with FO staff literally everyday. They have every opportunity in the world to tell him to leave guys in longer. Members of the FO are involved in the pitching usage planning. They provide the numbers and work on the general game plan day to day, week to week, month to month, and season to season. 

My biggest thing on the Rocco v FO blame for pitching usage is that if the idea is to fire Rocco so pitchers are used different people are going to be disappointed. The FO believes in this usage. They'd hire another manager who also believes in this strategy. Rocco gets to be the front man for things as he's the manager, but this is 100% a front office strategy and as long as they're there the general usage will be the same. Game to game decisions may be slightly different, but we're not going to start seeing guys throwing 7 innings every night if they fire Rocco.

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14 minutes ago, chpettit19 said:

In game, yes. The FO isn't calling down to the dugout and telling him what to do. But he meets with FO staff literally everyday. They have every opportunity in the world to tell him to leave guys in longer. Members of the FO are involved in the pitching usage planning. They provide the numbers and work on the general game plan day to day, week to week, month to month, and season to season. 

My biggest thing on the Rocco v FO blame for pitching usage is that if the idea is to fire Rocco so pitchers are used different people are going to be disappointed. The FO believes in this usage. They'd hire another manager who also believes in this strategy. Rocco gets to be the front man for things as he's the manager, but this is 100% a front office strategy and as long as they're there the general usage will be the same. Game to game decisions may be slightly different, but we're not going to start seeing guys throwing 7 innings every night if they fire Rocco.

You know, everything you just said is very likely true.  And, as such, it exemplifies the main problem we are all debating.  The FO very likely is giving input day to day, player to player, etc.  And they hire a manager who agrees with their philosophy to the point that it becomes group think, with no room for a change in direction as the situation(s) requires.  A belief in the overall direction of a team for the season as a whole is not necessarily a bad thing, but when it is so dogged it becomes written in stone there is no room for a change as the players come and go.  Their philosophy works for the Bundy's and Archer's, but not for the Gray's or Mahl's, who thrive on staying with their game.  And when you stay with that plan for 162 games, you are flirting with issues in overuse of the BP, which we have seen at times.  

Back in the day (yeah, I know there are some who hate it when some of us go there :) ), the ownership would hire a general manager.  The general manager would put together a 40 man roster, and a 25 (now 26) player roster.  They would hire a manager, and let the manager manage.  At times they would disagree on game to game strategy, but as long as the team seemed to be doing the best they could, they stayed with the system.  Our owner hired a front office team, who brought in one of their own and they group roster build up and group manage the roster.  It worked when we hit 307 home runs, but how has that plan worked the last two seasons?  The job of the FO is to get the best players they can, and the job of the manager is to put those players in positions they can excel at.  In this case, it might be letting some guys go farther than others, both in pitching and in games started in the field.  The round robin rotations may work for some players, but not for others, and the manager is supposed to figure out who is who and use them accordingly.  Have we seen that the last two seasons?  Hence the debate, and I don't think it is going away any time soon.  

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1 hour ago, bean5302 said:

When a player comes out and says things critical of a management philosophy like this publicly, it's can signal a really bad atmosphere. These pitchers aren't stupid. They know their free agent contracts are going to be based on WAR and they don't generate any WAR when they're getting yanked after 4-5 innings. The Twins are hurting these player's careers.

Nobody is signing anyone, or not signing anyone, based on WAR.

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2 hours ago, TwinsDr2021 said:

What is you are saying is not completely true, not all teams handle their pitchers the same way as the Twins, that just isn't factual. OR there are way more elite pitchers than we all believe. And/or the Twins pitchers in general are not very good but that might say more about the FO then the pitchers?

All Twins starters average between 21 and 22 batters face (ALL of them minus Archer), yes depending on the game sometimes they go higher (NOT MUCH THOUGH and sometimes lower.  I stopped counting at 30 guys that average 24 over more batters per game and yes they have the same starts at going higher and some lower, that is significant number.

I am 100% agreement with you that players chase the money, but when the money is close to the same, many other things go into it and IMO how teams pitching philosophy players into that. 

My argument would be that it's the "and/or" part of your description that is the problem. If the Twins were running out the Mets or Dodgers rotation you wouldn't be seeing so many 5 inning starts. But they aren't. They're running out a bunch of #3-5s and a 2 (Mahle). 

But, yes, all is probably too strong of a word. Vast majority is more accurate. And, to be fair to me, I said "basically every," which is basically true. The Mariners let their guys go. They have 5 guys averaging 24 or more batters faced (including newly acquired Luis Castillo). There are 33 pitchers who have thrown at least 100 innings and are averaging at least 24 batters faced. 3 of them have fewer than 21 starts. Max Scherzer, Luis Castillo, and Johnny Cueto. The Twins have no pitchers who have made 21 starts. Bundy and Archer are at 20 starts each, and I don't think there's many games that we could argue they should've been left in longer. Ryan at 19 starts is at 22.16 batters faced/start and he has an ERA of 3.92. Gray is at 18 starts and 20.4 batters faced with an ERA of 3.11. I think Gray has a few games where there's a legit complaint that he wasn't left in longer. He also has a few where his batters faced were low because he threw a ton of pitches. The Twins only have 1 other starter who has double digit starts on the year (Smeltzer with 12).

That means the Twins have had to go to a number of minor league guys and prospects. Not exactly "elite" guys who you want to just throw in there and treat like Max Scherzer. Of guys with 100 innings pitched and an ERA of 3.92 or higher (Ryan's ERA) there are 15 pitchers in baseball who average even 1 more hitter a game than Joe Ryan does. 4 guys average at least 2 more hitters a start than him and their ERAs are 4.18, 4.48, 4.82, and 5.08. Not exactly poster boys for letting guys go deeper.

And 22 to 24 batters per start is 2 batters. Not even 1 inning if they get both of them out. Are we really arguing that 2 hitters a game would make people happier with Rocco and this strategy? Gray's extra 2 hitters yesterday in the 7th weren't a great argument for him getting to face more guys.

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16 minutes ago, Mark G said:

You know, everything you just said is very likely true.  And, as such, it exemplifies the main problem we are all debating.  The FO very likely is giving input day to day, player to player, etc.  And they hire a manager who agrees with their philosophy to the point that it becomes group think, with no room for a change in direction as the situation(s) requires.  A belief in the overall direction of a team for the season as a whole is not necessarily a bad thing, but when it is so dogged it becomes written in stone there is no room for a change as the players come and go.  Their philosophy works for the Bundy's and Archer's, but not for the Gray's or Mahl's, who thrive on staying with their game.  And when you stay with that plan for 162 games, you are flirting with issues in overuse of the BP, which we have seen at times.  

Back in the day (yeah, I know there are some who hate it when some of us go there :) ), the ownership would hire a general manager.  The general manager would put together a 40 man roster, and a 25 (now 26) player roster.  They would hire a manager, and let the manager manage.  At times they would disagree on game to game strategy, but as long as the team seemed to be doing the best they could, they stayed with the system.  Our owner hired a front office team, who brought in one of their own and they group roster build up and group manage the roster.  It worked when we hit 307 home runs, but how has that plan worked the last two seasons?  The job of the FO is to get the best players they can, and the job of the manager is to put those players in positions they can excel at.  In this case, it might be letting some guys go farther than others, both in pitching and in games started in the field.  The round robin rotations may work for some players, but not for others, and the manager is supposed to figure out who is who and use them accordingly.  Have we seen that the last two seasons?  Hence the debate, and I don't think it is going away any time soon.  

I agree that there seems to be a real lack of ability to adjust the plan in season, and it's a real problem. Why are we using just the last 2 years as the frame of reference? The FO and Rocco have all been here for at least twice that time. I think the last 2 years have emphasized that they're more cautious than the average team with bringing pitchers back from the 2020 shortened season, but we shouldn't ignore previous seasons just because of these last 2. In 2019 those 307 homeruns came in the same season as the Twins starters throwing the 6th most innings of any staff in baseball. 6th most. Rocco and the FO clearly didn't mind letting pitchers go a little further back then. So what's changed?

As for Gray, he hasn't been going deeper than 5 innings per start for 3 years now. He uses a ton of pitches and is largely to blame for many of his short starts this year. He was basically right at 5 innings a start in 2020 and 2021 with the Reds and that's where he is now. And he goes on the IL every year. He's not some workhorse being used totally wrong this year.

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6 minutes ago, USAFChief said:

Nobody is signing anyone, or not signing anyone, based on WAR.

MLB owners tried to directly tie compensation to fWAR themselves this past CBA. Owners heavily value WAR because front offices heavily value WAR.

Article from 2019 with quotes from the GMs of the Twins, A's, Giants, Phillies, Blue Jays, D-Backs all affirming the use of WAR as their primary evaluation tool. 
https://www.mlb.com/news/war-embraced-by-mlb-front-offices-c303484670
 

Aside from that, if we go to an older value stat, what teams want to sign a starter who can't go 130+ innings, even these days? A starter is not getting top money averaging 4-5 innings per start and 120 innings per year.

Archer is on pace for 120 innings in 30 starts. I'll be honest, Archer's peripherals early in the season said trotting him out there again was playing with fire... but if he averaged 5 innings, at least he's at 150 on the season.

Bundy is on pace for 150 innings in 30 starts. If Bundy averaged 6 innings, he'd be on track for 180 innings. That's major value added.

Gray is on pace for 120 innings in 24 starts. If Gray averages 6 innings, now it's 144 innings, and he's certainly pitched well enough to get the opportunity to go later.

Even a mediocre pitcher who can eat innings will find themselves with an MLB contract.

 

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