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  • Total Support: Why Jim Pohlad's Unsatisfying Comments May Be Wise


    dwade

    For the Twins to make a serious run at a division title in 2016 with the roster they had leaving Ft. Myers, a whole lot had to break right. Byron Buxton needed to take a big step forward at the plate, Joe Mauer needed to return to his old form, Phil Hughes needed to make 2016 look more like 2014 than 2015, Byung-Ho Park needed to hit the ground running, Glen Perkins needed to come back healthy, and about a half-dozen other things had to fall into place. Very little of it was outlandish in and of itself, but like predicting 10 flips of a coin, the sheer number of correct outcomes needed was what made the task so daunting.

    Some of them happened: Mauer had as good an April as he has had since 2010 and while Park was uneven in his first 10 games, he then hit .326/.375/.767 with eight of his 14 hits going for extra bases in the next 13. But far too few of the others did. Buxton looks lost, Perkins is still out injured, Hughes has been inconsistent at best, Eddie Rosario can’t stop swinging, and the list goes on. At a 10,000 ft. level, that’s how any team ends up 12 games under .500 fewer than 30 games into the season: The list of things that are going poorly is much, much longer than the list of things that are going well.

    Image courtesy of Brad Rempel, USA Today

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    Few who have watched this team so far would disagree with owner Jim Pohlad’s characterization of the team to the Star Tribune’s Chip Scoggins as a “total system failure.” The offense sits in the bottom third of the league, eight percent below league average; their defense has provided negative value. Their starters, expected to sit around league average, haven’t been close to that modest mark, and the bullpen has caved in, in the absence of Perkins. There are individual successes, but it’s hard to look at a unit on the field and say that they’re performing at or above expectations.

    What will raise more than a few eyebrows is that Pohlad then gave both general manager Terry Ryan and manager Paul Molitor an unequivocal vote of confidence and while it’s not always immediately clear, it didn’t seem to be the dreaded vote of confidence either. If there was any hope that the disastrous start to the season would result in a change in leadership, it’s gone for at least the rest of the season.

    To be frank, firing a GM midseason would be fairly out of step with how the Twins tend to conduct business, and that’s before taking into account Ryan’s years of service to the organization. One bad month, even one bad half season isn’t going to earn Ryan a midseason public dismissal. Short of a catastrophic error -- a rules violation during the draft/signing process resulting in a huge fine, releasing Buxton outright without cause, burning down Target Field -- it’s hard to imagine what Ryan would have to do to have his season end before the team’s did.

    If the goal is to keep the 2016 postseason in play, removing Ryan would do little good. There are no impact free agents available, no one in the draft is going to join the team and add seven wins from June 10 until the end of the year, major in-season trades are far more uncommon now than they used to be, and it’s hard to envision any other move designed to save 2016 that wouldn’t end up weakening the team substantially in the future. Yes, promoting and demoting players to their right levels is exceedingly important for the Twins in both the short- and long-term, but a new GM is actually less likely to make those calls correctly than Ryan is, simply because of his familiarity with the players up and down the system.

    Paradoxically, if the Twins were playing a little better, perhaps Ryan’s job would be more vulnerable because the marginal utility of changing GMs would be higher. Bringing in someone who had shown an aptitude for working the trade deadline in July and the waiver wire in August would be appealing since the AL looks like it will be decided by a razor-thin margin. (This presupposes that such a person is freely available at this point in the season, but that’s another column entirely.)

    Out of sheer proximity to the problem, the manager ought to be able to make the types of changes in-season that a GM can’t. But as the team has shown over the last few weeks, new blood isn’t enough to spark the team. Not counting pitchers, the team has had 15 players take the field with Brian Dozier, Eduardo Escobar, and Rosario about the only players who haven’t split a meaningful amount time at their respective positions, so it’s not as if the opening day lineup has been run out for 28 consecutive games and this is the result. Changes are being made, they’re just producing the same outcomes.

    Moving on from Molitor would certainly shake things up, and unlike Ryan, there are logical candidates available to take over. Gene Glynn, Mike Quade, and Doug Mientkiewicz are all within the organization and were either considered for the managerial vacancy left by Ron Gardenhire or have MLB managerial experience. So whereas Ryan is virtually locked in until the end of the season, Molitor could theoretically be moved.

    The downside is that it means burning a bridge with a legendary hitter who the players -- at least publicly -- seem to like and to whom they respond. There’s also no guarantee it will work. Glynn and Mientkiewicz have good minor league track records to buoy their candidacies, but there’s a huge difference between motivating a 19-year-old kid whose dreams are still ahead of him to work hard and getting the same response out of veterans like Eduardo Nunez or Kurt Suzuki. Quade did have some time working with the Cubs during their rebuilding phase, but they finished 20 games under .500 during his only full season at the helm, which is hardly a sterling reference.

    Molitor’s managerial ability is far from a known quantity. Last year’s team overperformed in his first full season by nearly as much as this year’s team is underperforming. He hasn’t shown an unhelpful fetishization of one particular type of player, nor has he proven incapable of handling a bullpen. The obvious warts aren’t there, but that doesn’t make him good, it just makes him not-bad-in-readily-apparent-ways. It may become clear what his deficiencies are as the season progresses, but losing him in service of a vague effort to spur a team that may well have put themselves in too deep a hole to recover from doesn’t seem like a good use of resources. Because, while he may prove himself to be a poor fit for a team that figures to be young and volatile for the next few years, it’s equally possible that he’ll prove to be a tremendous fit even if the team finishes 71-91. Plus, statistically speaking, firing a manager midseason doesn’t make your team appreciably better in the vast majority of cases. It’s a show of force, but if it doesn’t translate to more wins on the field, it can hardly be considered worth doing.

    Given that he’ll have just one more year on his contract after the die is cast on this season, it seems more than likely that the Twins will give Molitor the full value of his contract, then evaluate his performance from there. Assuming this year finishes in the same vein as it has started -- if not the exact same path -- that will put quite a bit of pressure on Molitor going into the 2017 season, as he’ll have one impressive season under his belt and one fairly poor one.

    While there is good reason to keep both Ryan and Molitor where they are for the rest of 2016 season, the takeaway here isn’t that Pohlad was right and that Ryan and Molitor are unquestionably the right people for their jobs. Ultimately, Ryan is the architect of a team that has been dire since 2011 (with a brief respite last year) and Molitor is the final authority on game-to-game matters for a team on pace to finish 47-115, the worst mark in franchise history and the Twins’ first 100+ loss team since 1982. And while 115 losses would be embarrassing even given how the season started, that 1982 mark is very much in play.

    The takeaway here is that, as with virtually everything in baseball, there is a rhythm and a seasonality to leadership changes, and that jumping out of that order doesn’t necessarily produce better outcomes. If the ownership group believes there is even a 1% chance they’ll want to move on from Ryan come the offseason, they should start making that determination now. Do the necessary due diligence and be ready to make a call at the right moment. Taking the time to do the requisite research, let Ryan know what to expect, and positioning to the public for either his return or his departure will go a long way to making sure the 2017 Twins aren’t fighting these same battles.

    Next week, I’ll take a deep dive into Ryan’s time with the Twins. The highs, lows, and how he stacks up against some of the league’s top architects right now.

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    Nice article.  I do feel you have to move on from Molitor.  Dougie will catch the attention of those who have dealt with him and will hold players accountable. 

    If we assume this year is lost, then how the rest of the year is handled will make a big difference on Ryan status. 

    At this time we need to move on from the vets(we still have over 3 months to do this and see what the youngsters can do, this is a setback, but unless we assume that the Twins talent evaluation is totally bogus, the end of year should bring some clarity of what we have in the minors.

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    One of the best I've ever read and I can't argue with your conclusions. It is times like these that the view far away from the action actually does provide a clearer picture. Well done and I look forward to the next installment.

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    Mauer   $23M
    Santana $13M
    Nolasco  $12M
    Hughes  $9M
    Plouffe  $7.2M
    Perkins $6.3M
    Suzuki  $6M
    Jepsen  $5M
    Milone  $4.5M
    Dozier  $3M
    Park $2.7M
    Fein  $2.2M

     

     

    Let’s take a step back.   These 12 players are making $94M, not a cherry picked list.  These are the Twins ranked by salary.   How many of these guys could we trade right now and have another team take on their full contract?  Park for sure.  Maybe Dozier. A slight chance on Plouffe but probably not. So we have $89M devoted to 10 players that have no value at all.  That is a huge indictment of the GM.

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    It cannot be total system failure if Ryan and Molitor have not failed, it can be partial.  Period.  Total includes those two.

     

    Now saying that he is ok with them, is totally not contradictory.  It is his MO.  He is saying he likes those guys so much that he is fine with failure.

     

    And he has not shown anything other than that.

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    I'd be ok if Molitor was gone but I think Ryan's fine.  The way Molitor treated Meyer and Buxton was nuts.  

     

    I agree Molitor deserves a lot of blame there, but I'm not so sure about absolving Ryan for the Buxton, Meyer, Polanco, Kepler treatment.

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    There is one single move the Twins could make to improve the most would be selling the team to a different owner.    That would trigger a lot of questions about strategy, payroll, vision that likely haven’t been had in a very long time.  Of course that would be the first in a cascade of moves.  But I just don't see Jim Pohlad being the guy to do what needs to be done.  A new, fresh approach from oustide the organization at the GM position.

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    The downside is that it means burning a bridge with a legendary hitter who the players -- at least publically -- seem to like and to whom they respond. There’s also no guarantee it will work. Glynn and Mientkiewicz have good minor league track records to buoy their candidacy, but there’s a huge difference between motivating a 19-year-old kid whose dreams are still ahead of him to work hard and getting the same response out of veterans like Eduardo Nunez or Kurt Suzuki. Quade did have some time working with the Cubs during their rebuilding phase, but they finished 20 games under .500 during his only full season at the helm, which is hardly a sterling reference.
     

     

    Great read and great effort, you must have stayed up pretty late writing that one.

     

    I think the bolded part is accurate, personally though, I don't see the importance of a hypothetical new manager getting the same responses from the vets as the kids. I really only care about developing the kids and getting as many of them as possible to reach their potential, I don't see any of the vets, save possibly Gibson, as important long-term pieces anyway. Most of the vets have been around the block, they've already had multiple managers and most have played for multiple teams, if they can't mesh with a manager who relates to young guys, the vets can take a hike.

     

    That's all strawman stuff I bring up though because Suzuki, Nunez and all the other vets appear to be committed and professional ballplayers. I think these guys would likely perform the same with any competent manager.

     

    Saying that, it also makes me resent Pohlad's comments laying all the blame on the players. These guys are working hard and it's evident, though it's not all clicking for some reason. I've been advocating for wholesale roster changes, but this 25-man and 40-man is made up of very likeable men.

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    IMO this sums it up:

    Aaron Gleeman
    ✔ ‎‎@AaronGleeman Here's my question: If we assume the Twins front office has *not* done a poor job, then what would it look like if they had done a poor job?

    Easy, the Padres.  Perpetually having top picks but never having even decent teams for much longer than the Twins have lacked decent teams.

    Edited by nytwinsfan
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    I agree with what was written, and I don't think we make a snap decision and hope firing the GM and/or Manager gets us to the playoffs.  But I am not hoping for the playoffs anymore.  I am hoping to see young guys grow and make strides.  I want Rosario to get consistent time at the plate to start making better decisions on when to swing.  I want Sano to play 3rd, as he will eventually have to be paid some serious cash and playing there will mean another solid hitter can play right, probably with better defense.  Berrios, Duffy, and Meyer all need to be starting by mid-season, with long leashes.  2-3 of the young Bull pen arms we hear so much about need to be up.  Arcia needs to play more regularly to see if he can be part of the future.  Mauer and Park need to learn a secondary position.  This list could go on and on.

     

    What scares me is how differently the Twins are treating this influx of youth and hope, than the Wolves are treating theirs.  It is crazy how similar all of this is.  The Wolves just a dumped hometown hero who just did a great job developing guys.  They did this, because they wanted the best possible Coach and they wanted more experience in the GM spot.  Taylor is obviously serious about making the best possible run in the next few years, and he didn't let sentimentality get in the way.  Look at the Cubs in the last few years.  They brought in a real GM and a real manager and said rebuild us into WS contenders.  And they are.  The Wolves made hard decisions, but I think they were right, time will tell.  The Twins on the other hand, didn't make any decisions.  There seems to be no plan.  And in reality the influx of talent that may be coming and is here for the Twins, should be even greater than what the Wolves have.

    My 2 cents.

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    Mauer   $23M
    Santana $13M
    Nolasco  $12M
    Hughes  $9M
    Plouffe  $7.2M
    Perkins $6.3M
    Suzuki  $6M
    Jepsen  $5M
    Milone  $4.5M
    Dozier  $3M
    Park $2.7M
    Fein  $2.2M

     

     

    Let’s take a step back.   These 12 players are making $94M, not a cherry picked list.  These are the Twins ranked by salary.   How many of these guys could we trade right now and have another team take on their full contract?  Park for sure.  Maybe Dozier. A slight chance on Plouffe but probably not. So we have $89M devoted to 10 players that have no value at all.  That is a huge indictment of the GM.

    I don't think you're right on that.  The main reason teams don't bring on salary are worries over longer contracts, not one year guys.  (Or injuries, of course).  So I do think the Twins could trade Jepsen or (healthy) Perkins, for instance.  And I suspect that Nolasco will get traded this year but we'll see if the Twins have to cover some of the money.  Obviously, Milone and Fein weren't good signings but their combined 6.7m is hardly a sticking point.  (It's also strange that you used a top 12 list).  

     

    Most teams top paid players have the same issue - look at the Cubs top paid players.  Whose trading for those players full salaries?  (And that's the best team -record wise - in baseball).  

     

    Lester - 25m 

    Heyward - 22m

    Lackey - 16m

    Montero - 14m

    Zorbrist - 10.5

     

    That's 87.5 right there. And you could probably find something close to that on nearly every team.  Now you could argue that some of those Cubs guys are earning their salary, of course.  But I would say that Mauer and Santana are both playing pretty well, too.  The real concern is the Nolasco signing and the Hughes extension.  I liked the Hughes extension. Wasn't a big fan of Nolasco although I understood it.  It looks like both will be pretty bad.

     

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    I agree with what was written, and I don't think we make a snap decision and hope firing the GM and/or Manager gets us to the playoffs.  But I am not hoping for the playoffs anymore.  I am hoping to see young guys grow and make strides.  I want Rosario to get consistent time at the plate to start making better decisions on when to swing.  I want Sano to play 3rd, as he will eventually have to be paid some serious cash and playing there will mean another solid hitter can play right, probably with better defense.  Berrios, Duffy, and Meyer all need to be starting by mid-season, with long leashes.  2-3 of the young Bull pen arms we hear so much about need to be up.  Arcia needs to play more regularly to see if he can be part of the future.  Mauer and Park need to learn a secondary position.  This list could go on and on.

     

    What scares me is how differently the Twins are treating this influx of youth and hope, than the Wolves are treating theirs.  It is crazy how similar all of this is.  The Wolves just a dumped hometown hero who just did a great job developing guys.  They did this, because they wanted the best possible Coach and they wanted more experience in the GM spot.  Taylor is obviously serious about making the best possible run in the next few years, and he didn't let sentimentality get in the way.  Look at the Cubs in the last few years.  They brought in a real GM and a real manager and said rebuild us into WS contenders.  And they are.  The Wolves made hard decisions, but I think they were right, time will tell.  The Twins on the other hand, didn't make any decisions.  There seems to be no plan.  And in reality the influx of talent that may be coming and is here for the Twins, should be even greater than what the Wolves have.

    My 2 cents.

     

    Great analogy with the Wolves. 

     

    They hired the best coach available. The Twins didn't even call Maddon. 

     

    The Wolves hired a young GM from about the best run franchise in the league over the last 15 years.  The Twins kept the status quo.

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    I agree Molitor deserves a lot of blame there, but I'm not so sure about absolving Ryan for the Buxton, Meyer, Polanco, Kepler treatment.

    I'll give him a pass on Kepler and Polanco.  Kepler was up b/c the 40 man didn't have a dead weight guy like Shane Robinson on it.  So he had to come up.  Polanco has been the Twins emergency call-up guy the last few years and that's ok. I wish Molitor had played him a bit more but with Santana and Plouffe on the DL, he was the obvious call-up.

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    Easy, the Padres.  Perpetually having top picks but never having even decent teams for much longer than the Twins have lacked decent teams.

     

    They've won a playoff game more recently than the Twins. They've also changed Management because they weren't satisfied with terrible results. 

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    I'll give him a pass on Kepler and Polanco.  Kepler was up b/c the 40 man didn't have a dead weight guy like Shane Robinson on it.  So he had to come up.  Polanco has been the Twins emergency call-up guy the last few years and that's ok. I wish Molitor had played him a bit more but with Santana and Plouffe on the DL, he was the obvious call-up.

     

    Give which one a pass, Molitor or Ryan? Ryan is the one who sets that 40 man roster, so.... Also, they cut a catcher from the 40 man to try and promote a guy who would rather retire, so I don't buy into the fact they couldn't have found a way to keep Kepler in Rochester getting at bats.  

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    There are things that Molitor does that drive me a little crazy.

     

    I didn't understand his statement that Sano won't play 3B at all (I know he changed his mind).

     

    I don't understand what took him so long to play other players while the squad was losing 9 games to start the season.

     

    I don't understand why Nunez is seemingly the guy with the short end of the infield stick when his bat has been clearly productive while others who are not productive are getting the preferred playing time.

     

    I don't understand why Dozier continues to bat at the top of the lineup instead of in the middle.

     

    I don't understand how Park can sit 4 games in a row in Milwaukee and DC

     

    and I don't understand the use of Kepler, Polanco and Meyer.

     

    However... I'm not going to call for his head because he doesn't do what I want him to do. Honestly... most of you fine folks wouldn't do what I wanted you to do and even my idolized Joe Maddon wouldn't do everything I wanted him to do and eventually you just run out of managers that you are happy with until they give me the job.

     

    As Seth Said... Molitor's results were an over performance last year and an equal under performance so far this year. So what does he get credit/blame for?

     

    Now... As For Terry Ryan... This is where the buck stops in my opinion.

     

    He had an over achieving team that came close last year. The Twins surprised everyone... It was a young team in comparison to most but it came close and there is talent on the roster. So what did he do this off season?

     

    Here are my list of grievances:

     

    1. He made the team even younger!!! This is what you do when you are rebuilding... you get younger. We got Younger in CF and Younger at Backup Catcher and much younger in RF and based on MLB Experience... We got younger at DH as well since Park is brand spanking new in this league. We took a young team and made it younger and said go win us a pennant.

     

    2. He didn't learn from his past CF Mistakes... Perhaps the most puzzling thing to me is this. Why would he willingly make Buxton the opening day starter after he clearly struggled in 2015? And why would he do this when he made the same mistake with Hicks and made the same mistake with Hicks again? And each time he didn't provide an adequate safety net.

     

    3. He didn't address the bullpen... The bullpen had serious issues in 2015 in my opinion and those issues were at the key positions. We didn't know what Perkins had left in him at the end of 2015... Jepsen was great filling in for Perkins but he was a vet with a pretty clear track record of a guy who was on the fringe of a set up position and if any of you were wondering why May wasn't really considered for a starting position... in my opinion... you can look right here. The bullpen needed help when May was moved to the bullpen in 2015 and that's why he was moved there and the bullpen still needed that help going into 2016. Ryan needed to add two quality bullpen arms that could provide insurance for Perkins and push everyone down a notch in the pecking order and by doing so... strengthening the bullpen.

     

    4. He watched the entire American League improve around him... Everybody got better and we got younger... The American League was going to be a fight every single night and he decided that younger and the mistakes that come with younger players was going to help us win those fights.

     

    5. He doesn't seem to be on the same page as his Manager and Rash changes on Cinco De Mayo suggest that he didn't see this coming.

     

    BTW... He gets credit for the Park signing. So the off season wasn't totally bad.

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    I don't think you're right on that.  The main reason teams don't bring on salary are worries over longer contracts, not one year guys.  (Or injuries, of course).  So I do think the Twins could trade Jepsen or (healthy) Perkins, for instance.  And I suspect that Nolasco will get traded this year but we'll see if the Twins have to cover some of the money.  Obviously, Milone and Fein weren't good signings but their combined 6.7m is hardly a sticking point.  (It's also strange that you used a top 12 list).  

     

    Most teams top paid players have the same issue - look at the Cubs top paid players.  Whose trading for those players full salaries?  (And that's the best team -record wise - in baseball).  

     

    Lester - 25m 

    Heyward - 22m

    Lackey - 16m

    Montero - 14m

    Zorbrist - 10.5

     

    That's 87.5 right there. And you could probably find something close to that on nearly every team.  Now you could argue that some of those Cubs guys are earning their salary, of course.  But I would say that Mauer and Santana are both playing pretty well, too.  The real concern is the Nolasco signing and the Hughes extension.  I liked the Hughes extension. Wasn't a big fan of Nolasco although I understood it.  It looks like both will be pretty bad.

     

    You missed a few on the Cubs roster though making money.  Arrietta at $10M would be about the most sought after guy in the league.  Fowler has an OPS over 1.  Anthony Rizzo would get plenty of takers.  Lester is a very good pither.  Overpaid, maybe, maybe not.  But they knew that the day they signed him. Big difference between him and Ricky Nolasco and Ervin Santana.  Heck, I would rather have Lester than the both of them which is the same salary.    

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    IMO this sums it up:Aaron Gleeman✔ ‎‎@AaronGleeman Here's my question: If we assume the Twins front office has *not* done a poor job, then what would it look like if they had done a poor job?

    Well put, and in fewer words than I could have. Sadly I still think nothing will truly happen, players will eventually change, the culture will not.
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    IMO this sums it up:

    Aaron Gleeman
    ✔ ‎‎@AaronGleeman Here's my question: If we assume the Twins front office has *not* done a poor job, then what would it look like if they had done a poor job?

    Maybe trading off young talent for quick fixes and not understanding where you are in the rebuild process?  Maybe signing 100m deals for bad FA?

     

    Looking at the Twins 40 man roster, there does seem to be some pretty nice talent there.  They have 6 OFers 25 or younger (Sano, Arcia, Rosario, Buxton, Kepler and Walker).  The 1b/3b/RF/DH plan of Mauer/Plouffe/Sano/Park worked out pretty well so far.  The current team is getting very little from C/2b/ss/lf/cf.  The two OF spots and second base are basically set and just have to get better with the talent within the org.  Catcher sucks but that's a league wide problem.  The Twins should try to upgrade short stop.  (I'd love it if they could pry Profar away from Texas but that's probably a pipe dream, even though the Rangers could use some OFers).  But really, the offense will improve when Dozier and two more of those young OFers start playing well.

     

    The pitching staff still needs to improve but they have some nice pieces in the system.  I expect that Burdi, Chargois and Melotakis will make the bullpen better and get call up this season.  I want Meyer to get another (real) shot at starting in the majors but a final rotation of (healthy) Santana, Berrios, Gibson, Meyer and Hughes (or May if Hughes can't start), could be good enough by the end of the year.

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    Give which one a pass, Molitor or Ryan? Ryan is the one who sets that 40 man roster, so.... Also, they cut a catcher from the 40 man to try and promote a guy who would rather retire, so I don't buy into the fact they couldn't have found a way to keep Kepler in Rochester getting at bats.  

    Well, sure.  But when Kepler was called up, the 40 man was full.  I, and I think most of us, were fine with the Twins not putting a vet like Robinson (or Murphy) on the 40 man.  Santana got hurt, the Twins needed another body.  It happens.  They could have cut Hicks on April 7th (or whenever) and put Maestro on the 40 man so Kepler stayed down but I'm not overly concerned with them not doing it.  That doesn't bother me nearly as much as Molitor starting/not starting Buxton or how he treated Meyer.  

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    Well written piece.  Even though I'd prefer both Molitor and Ryan be replaced, mid-season is not the time to do it.  I just don't think it would help anything especially at the GM level.  

     

    I just worry that the mismanagement of players will continue.  That's my big concern. 

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    Mauer   $23M
    Santana $13M
    Nolasco  $12M
    Hughes  $9M
    Plouffe  $7.2M
    Perkins $6.3M
    Suzuki  $6M
    Jepsen  $5M
    Milone  $4.5M
    Dozier  $3M
    Park $2.7M
    Fein  $2.2M

     

     

    Let’s take a step back.   These 12 players are making $94M, not a cherry picked list.  These are the Twins ranked by salary.   How many of these guys could we trade right now and have another team take on their full contract?  Park for sure.  Maybe Dozier. A slight chance on Plouffe but probably not. So we have $89M devoted to 10 players that have no value at all.  That is a huge indictment of the GM.

    I'd say, everyone on this list, with the exceptions of Mauer, Park, and maybe Dozier, is a placeholder. I believe that the team is committed to the rebuild in process via the farm system and prospect development. So, somebody has to play the games while we wait for the youngsters. Everyone on the list, with the exceptions of Nolasco and Park, contributed to last season's push for the playoffs. From the point of view that they are placeholders, it would've been a remarkable achievement of management had they made the playoffs (where anything can happen, even the Royals winning the world series). When they were in the midst of the push, it was tormenting for me, a bystander with no responsibility in the matter, to decide what I thought Ryan should do- should he make deals to improve the team and increase chances for the playoff push, or should he hold steady on the rebuild front? If he had gone for it, and the team had made the playoffs, we would be sitting here now in the same situation, but with a far less stoked farm system. In my opinion, it would have only been worth it in exchange for a real shot at the world series. Losing Hu to gain Jepsen might not have been worth it. 

     

    I've only ever had one general significant criticism of Ryan. In the seasons when the Twins were making the playoffs and getting eliminated in the first round, I don't think he did enough (anything) to make the team into a playoff competitor. He didn't do it mid season, and he didn't do it in the off season. The starting rotations of those teams were built to get through the season, but didn't have the talent to compete in the playoffs when everybody steps it up a notch. 

     

    Ryan has done an excellent job building the current farm system. I am very excited about more players than the MLB team has room for. I am hoping that Ryan has learned something from the failures of the playoff teams of the 2000s, and that when the team is good again with the talent he's amassed, he doesn't make the same mistakes. I'm willing to wait and see. It doesn't make any sense to have someone build something and then dismiss them right before their efforts come to fruition, especially with the risk of their replacement ruining everything. 

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    You missed a few on the Cubs roster though making money.  Arrietta at $10M would be about the most sought after guy in the league.  Fowler has an OPS over 1.  Anthony Rizzo would get plenty of takers.  Lester is a very good pither.  Overpaid, maybe, maybe not.  But they knew that the day they signed him. Big difference between him and Ricky Nolasco and Ervin Santana.  Heck, I would rather have Lester than the both of them which is the same salary.    

    It's not really the same salary.  Santana and Nolasco combined for just under 100m.  Lester signed for 155m.  While Santana and Nolasco will be paid 25m this year, the Twins won't be paying 25m to them in 2021, which is the real problem with those long term contracts.  

     

    And I agree that there are some good contracts, too.  Arrieta is a steal.  But Mauer and Santana might also be overpaid (actually, Santana probably isn't) but they are good players.  

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    I don't think you're right on that.  The main reason teams don't bring on salary are worries over longer contracts, not one year guys.  (Or injuries, of course).  So I do think the Twins could trade Jepsen or (healthy) Perkins, for instance.  And I suspect that Nolasco will get traded this year but we'll see if the Twins have to cover some of the money.  Obviously, Milone and Fein weren't good signings but their combined 6.7m is hardly a sticking point.  (It's also strange that you used a top 12 list).  

     

    Most teams top paid players have the same issue - look at the Cubs top paid players.  Whose trading for those players full salaries?  (And that's the best team -record wise - in baseball).  

     

    Lester - 25m 

    Heyward - 22m

    Lackey - 16m

    Montero - 14m

    Zorbrist - 10.5

     

    That's 87.5 right there. And you could probably find something close to that on nearly every team.  Now you could argue that some of those Cubs guys are earning their salary, of course.  But I would say that Mauer and Santana are both playing pretty well, too.  The real concern is the Nolasco signing and the Hughes extension.  I liked the Hughes extension. Wasn't a big fan of Nolasco although I understood it.  It looks like both will be pretty bad.

     

     

    I'm much more concerned about the Hughes extension than Nolasco.  Ricky is gone after this year.  Twins will either cut him lose or match 50% of his salary in a dump & trade to a team desperate for a starter.  Hughes on the other hand we are stuck with until 2019.  Yikes!  And I fully admit I was supportive of the extension.   At least with Santana there's a team option for 2019.  

    Edited by laloesch
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    The only possibility of change is that Ryan would announce his retirement after 20 very successful years in Twins management. The team will have a huge promo next May, and give him the keys to a new Road Glide! As for an in public dismissal, Catholic priests will be getting married before that happens. Molitor? First off he still has 4 90 loss seasons to pile up before the ax swings. But in reality, if he was Jims guy, he isn't going anywhere, and if he is Ryans guy, Pohlad has not seemed the type to force that issue. And all to what gain? Anthony for Ryan? Ugh. Molitor for interim Gardy, with the surprise announcement in Oct, that due to the remarkable turn around, Gardy gets a new 3 year extension! :) Change here is minute. Even the blockbuster announcement of the Fien and Milone thing will really still have little impact.

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    I see no benefit to firing Molitor and Ryan during the season.

     

    I see no benefit to keeping Molitor and Ryan around next season.

     

    This organization just seems like it operating in the past, and has a complete lack of urgency.  Everyone comfortable, and no one wants to hurt anyone in the "families" feelings.  This will be a huge reason why the Twins will be hesitant to look outside the organization for a GM or manager, and why an outside candidate will be hesitant to take the job.

     

    I just can't understand an organization which chooses to hold onto the past rather than evolve with the game.

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