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An Assessment


Pwjxr56
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The Twins lost to the White Sox last night and are on their way to losing to them again tonight. The players have not quit and continue to give it everything they’ve got in every game.    
But maybe it’s time to acknowledge that the Twins offense is not good enough and not good at all for long stretches.  The pitching staff, as built for this season, was never good enough to contend, even in the worst division in the American League.  The team has some good players but has no everyday players at catcher, first base, third base, right field, and left field. Kiriloff and Lewis may or may not be able to play or play well next year.  Shortstop may or may not become a problem, depending on what Correa does in the off season.  Byron Buxton has the heart of a champion but his body will never allow him to play for any extended period of time.  Thus, the need for someone who can start in center field for long periods of time.  It will take more than one season to adequately address these issues and put a team on the field capable of not only winning the division but competing in the post season.

The front office is, ultimately, responsible for the current state of the team..  Falvey and Levine were hired to improve the farm system in general and develop starting pitching in particular.  During the time they have been in charge the farm system has produced few, if any, everyday players and no front of the rotation starting pitching to speak of. Perhaps it’s time for a change in the front office?

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Many of us that read/post on Twins Daily are diehard Twins fans. Those of us that are older have watched some poor teams in stretches. I don't really like criticizing players or management if I do not know them personally and am aware of their habits. It has been difficult for me to get behind the current management group. I'm sure they have some skills and am aware that many, if not most, support Falvey, Baldelli, and crew. I don't think Jim Pohlad is a baseball fan. Carl was most definitely not, but his wife loved the game. This I do know. So change is unlikely unless attendance craters to an embarrassing level. The best we can hope for is that the players get healthy and take charge. The window for the Twins was 2022 based on all of the moves from 2019 to the trade deadline this year. I'm not sure the AL Central was ever weaker than the last four years. Hopefully the Twins can find something in New York City. 

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Although I've had some harsh things to say, for me the jury is still out and I came into 2022 as a "show me" year for the FO.  The season isn't over; I'm willing to accept a strong finishing kick as evidence of one sort or another.  I wasn't ready to offer them a contract extension during the recent win streak, and I feel it's too soon to do a caustic performance review during this emerging losing streak.  Maybe ownership has a different view, though.

Six years into their five-year initial plan when hired, though, I'm not too interested in a full five-year rebuild plan again.

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I'm not breaking new ground here, but the only way for the Twins to compete consistently with the big market teams is to develop young pitching. So I was on board with Falvey's original "pipeline" plan.  But the fact that he has traded for veteran pitchers (Gray, Mahle, Lopez) tells us what he thinks of his own prospects. 

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2 hours ago, UpstateNewYorker said:

I'm not breaking new ground here, but the only way for the Twins to compete consistently with the big market teams is to develop young pitching. So I was on board with Falvey's original "pipeline" plan.  But the fact that he has traded for veteran pitchers (Gray, Mahle, Lopez) tells us what he thinks of his own prospects. 

They traded because they have been unable to sign anyone of note. Or if they play the free-agent game, they overpayd for pitchers of the caliber mentioned above.

Injuries seem to be the problem this year. But, hey, Indians just put two rottion arms on their injured list, too. It happens. But, yes, 13 players from the 40-man on long-term injured list (and I loooked, here are 19 fulfilling stints in Hospital Ft. Myers from the minors, too).

That the Twins had minor league players they could trade is a plus. And quite a few "rookies" have come up this year - Ryan, Sands, Winder, Duran,Moran, Coulombe, Cano, Hamilton, Romero, Caleb Hamilton, Miranda, Lewis, Palacios, Contreras, Kirilloff, Larnach - and a good portion of them look to stay at least the three years you'd love to get out of new blood.

The majors, but most of all the minors, was hit with COVID and short season. Any minor league pitcher that pushes a full-season of work and breaks the 100 inning (or 40 game) threashhold is now back on track. The pain is, they are a year older, have a year less of organization protection, and are fighting it out with newer players in the prospects lot.

Did I expect the Twins to be better than they are this year? I sure didn't think they would be holding onto first place, albeit in a weak division, thru July. Expected Chicago and Cleveland to be much better. So that, alone is, a plus. The front office didn't want to sell us on a rebuild, and we probably shouldn't consider this a rebuild as much as a trying to keep the pieces nailed into place, which has been the failure of 2022. Injuries, playing undermanned, under-staffed.

SO, let's tear apart the front office, change the field staff, and start over. Sounds good? Replace with what and whom? Teams are still trying to figure out budgets going forth. A lockout, a couple of lost seasons, how to sell a team (the Twins haven't been selling tickets assuming wins sell tickets). Overall, I have enjoyed following how Falvey and Levine have remade the minor league system. I may totally disagree with how Baldalli puts togethre lineups and uses pitchers, not figuring out how and why, but he seems to get what is often needed by doing it his way. Batters have slumps. One inning can wreck it for a bullpen arm stat. Starters are getting a full seson of play as they build towards 150 innings this season across the team.

Ownershiup is not about to change. The Twins are still a profitable fit for the Pohlad empire, just because the franchise price keeps going up. They did take a splurge on Correa, mainly because no one else would take their money. Baseball 2022 has been competitive, entertaining, promising. I don't know what people expect could be done to change the direction in any way more positive.

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I was looking for a place to comment on the death knell for the 2022 Twins. I think this thread provides the proper content and context. 

2022 has provided truth positive that the AL Central is the weakest in MLB. With Chicago being perhaps the biggest disappointment in MLB, the division has been there for the taking. The Twins haven't been good enough to pull away despite Cleveland and Chicago hanging around .500 and Detroit and Kansas City only being 70-win teams. That the division is so weak is justification for trading for Lopez, Fulmer and Mahle. None of their acquisitions have lit it up for the Twins, which is surprising and disappointing. 

I expect the division to be better in 2023, but I think the Twins should be considered among the favorites. They added good pitchers who will be under team control in the coming season. The nucleus of the team is talented and pretty young. They may have a hole at shortstop, but they also will (hopefully) have a premium athlete ready to go by June (Lewis) or perhaps a return of Correa. If Correa opts out, there is salary room to add a front-line starter. The bullpen looks to be much better than the '22 version and there are prospects of a decent rotation. 

Back to 2022. First and foremost--injuries have really unraveled this club. Key position players like Polanco, Buxton, Kirilloff, Larnach and Jeffers have suffered injuries. Of course, this isn't new for Buxton and Kirilloff and the pitching staff has been nicked repeatedly and now the arm injuries are piling up. Every club can talk about injuries, so that doesn't excuse lack of productivity from the offense. The Twins haven't scored runs commensurate with their hitting statistics. Their base running has been terrible and they haven't produced as a club with the game on the line or with runners in scoring position. 

Is the front office culpable? Well they've gambled and lost on injuries. Paddack had elbow issues known when he was acquired, Mahle was coming off the IL with a shoulder issue and Buxton was given a long-term contract despite his injury history. The pitching pipeline hasn't produced much help in the rotation, although Jax and Duran have certainly added to the bullpen. Honestly, I think their decisions have made sense, but the results of the highest profile moves have been so-so at best. Things could change in '23, but patience only lasts so long. 

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On 9/3/2022 at 8:22 PM, Pwjxr56 said:

The Twins lost to the White Sox last night and are on their way to losing to them again tonight. The players have not quit and continue to give it everything they’ve got in every game.    
But maybe it’s time to acknowledge that the Twins offense is not good enough and not good at all for long stretches.  The pitching staff, as built for this season, was never good enough to contend, even in the worst division in the American League.  The team has some good players but has no everyday players at catcher, first base, third base, right field, and left field. Kiriloff and Lewis may or may not be able to play or play well next year.  Shortstop may or may not become a problem, depending on what Correa does in the off season.  Byron Buxton has the heart of a champion but his body will never allow him to play for any extended period of time.  Thus, the need for someone who can start in center field for long periods of time.  It will take more than one season to adequately address these issues and put a team on the field capable of not only winning the division but competing in the post season.

The front office is, ultimately, responsible for the current state of the team..  Falvey and Levine were hired to improve the farm system in general and develop starting pitching in particular.  During the time they have been in charge the farm system has produced few, if any, everyday players and no front of the rotation starting pitching to speak of. Perhaps it’s time for a change in the front office?

I feel like some among us forget how much the farm system has actually improved under the current regime.  For starters we seem to be overlooking the fact that the current big league roster has three (Ryan, Miranda & Duran) of  the top 20 rookies in MLB this season.  For the most part, in recent years when we've had to call up guys from the minors during the season we've at least had competent guys coming up.  Care to look back a half dozen years or so and think about names like Shane Robinson, Aaron Thompson, Andrew Albers, Chris Colabello, Yohan Pino (our # 5 starter in 2014) Sam Deduno, Lester Oliveros, P.J. Walters.  How about the year that Scott Diamond was the only guy on the team with more  than 22 starts?  Who could forget Luke Hughes and Lester Oliveros?  Perhaps we could go back to a FO that would produce those types of legendary talents...

 

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One consideration of evaluation concerning the current front office relates to the resources allocated toward players and infrastructure. It is totally unfair to compare the budgets of the last six years with previous six year segments. The Pohlad wallet loosened considerable under the current management. A 20% difference seems like a fair minimum guess and that is pretty big for the Twins. Does anyone actually believe that previous front offices had such largesse?

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19 minutes ago, tony&rodney said:

One consideration of evaluation concerning the current front office relates to the resources allocated toward players and infrastructure. It is totally unfair to compare the budgets of the last six years with previous six year segments. The Pohlad wallet loosened considerable under the current management. A 20% difference seems like a fair minimum guess and that is pretty big for the Twins. Does anyone actually believe that previous front offices had such largesse?

Interesting, but I have to admit with my "20% largesse" I'm getting me some bonafide starting pitching.

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7 hours ago, tony&rodney said:

One consideration of evaluation concerning the current front office relates to the resources allocated toward players and infrastructure. It is totally unfair to compare the budgets of the last six years with previous six year segments. The Pohlad wallet loosened considerable under the current management. A 20% difference seems like a fair minimum guess and that is pretty big for the Twins. Does anyone actually believe that previous front offices had such largesse?

I’d be curious to know, and I’m sure the info is easily figured out but I don’t feel like putting together a math research project, how much of an increase of spending  was there within other teams as a way to compare? And what were their allocations? I mean, if everyone increased spending by that much, then, well, so what. But if we increased spending by that much and everyone else 10-20%, then I’d be looking deeper at the numbers. Did we close that gap at all in our payroll to the top teams comparing the percentage of how much more they spent? And then figure into that, how much costs went up in that same time. And, on top of that, maybe it wasn’t Pohlad who just loosened things a bit, but the current FO made a better case as to why he should? Just saying they increased spending by this much tells me little.

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Trying to envision the future is a hopeless endeavor. It is imperative at this point of the 2022 season to stay in the present and only the present and deal with what is directly in front. That is that the Twins are in a first place tie with the Cleveland team in the AL Central and have a game with the New York Yankees at 1:10 this afternoon. Go out and win it. 30 games left. The Grapefruit season is longer. Try to win them all.

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