Jump to content
Twins Daily
  • Create Account


Provisional Member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Reputation Activity

  1. Like
    mrkarbo reacted to weinshie for a blog entry, Good reasons why Red-Cross Rocco should be let go   
    By David Weinshilboum
    In 2013, the Golden State Warriors basketball team seemed on the verge. A franchise that had been a laughingstock for decades had been to the playoffs two years in a row. Led by coach Mark Jackson and a young injury-prone sharpshooter by the name of Stephen Curry, the steam had suddenly thrust itself into relevancy.
    Yet, just three days after a playoff loss in 2013, the Warriors fired Jackson (who had a year left on his contract). He was a good coach who had many positive attributes. The team was headed in the right direction. Why fire him?
    The Warriors hired Steve Kerr who implemented a new offense that maximized Curry’s long-range shooting abilities. The team went on to win Championships in three of the next four seasons. As the tired sports cliché goes, the rest is history.
    The Minnesota Twins – until this train-wreck of a year—were a team and organization on the rise. Then rookie manager Rocco Baldelli led the Twins to a 100-win season in 2019 and another division championship in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
    Today the Twins are mired in a disaster season that simply isn’t going to get better. Their best player is injured and half a dozen others are playing well below expectations (Sano, Maeda, Kepler, Polanco and, sorry to put this in print, Colome). When the Twins 2021 season comes to a close, they will be a failure: no playoffs and well below expectations of 90-plus wins.
    In October, the Twins will have to ask themselves an important question: is Baldelli the leader who can take this team and franchise to the next level? I would argue that, for some very rational, logical reasons, the answer is no.
    The Twins Twitterverse wants Rocco’s head now, and a few days ago, during a television broadcast, a fan wandered behind home plate and held a sign calling for a managerial change. There’s a lot of emotion going into the Fire Rocco movement. Baldelli has NEVER been a good in-game manager, oftentimes making fans scratch their heads or, at times, yank tufts of hair from scalp. His choice of defensive substitutions, pinch hitters and pinch runners feels arbitrary at best. The most obvious example was a couple weeks ago in Oakland when, in extra innings, Baldelli pinch ran Travis Blankenhorn for Josh Donaldson. The move compromised defense in a big way. And Baldelli made matters worse when he put second-baseman Luis Arraez at third and Blankenhorn at second – eroding the leather at TWO positions instead of just one. The game ended when Blankenhorn booted one grounder and Arraez air-mailed a routine throw to first.
    Another reason fans might dislike him is his press conference demeanor: he is dullard diplomat who makes former Vikings Coach/statue Bud Grant look emotional. Worse, he never calls out terrible plays – both physical or mental – and seems to dismiss garbage baseball as “part of the game.”
    Neither of these negative attributes are fireable offenses, though.
    Baldelli is a good manager. Players love him. They want to play for him. He is flexible and allows them to select preparation that fits their needs. He maximized player abilities in 2019, getting the most out of Miguel Sano, Mitch Garver and Max Kepler.
    All good things must come to an end, though. And Baldelli’s millennial approach to players might not be as conducive to good baseball as it once was. This year, many players aren’t properly prepared for games. Too often, players seem to be using their first at-bat to “learn” about a pitcher’s repertoire instead of reviewing the scouting reports. Players appear ok with early-inning strikeouts since they’ve seen the stuff. It’s not a stretch to assume many Twins are taking advantage of Rocco’s laissez faire approach to being game ready.
    Also, Rocco’s concern for injured players seems incredibly detrimental to the team, particularly given how the roster has been assembled. The Front Office has routinely preferred more pitchers and a short bench. But Red-Cross Rocco sits players if they report a hangnail. Worse, he won’t even consider them for pinch hitting or late-inning defense. There have been over a dozen instances this season when Baldelli has chosen to pinch hit a weaker bat instead of a resting star who is at 90 percent. All for the sake of future health. In a year where rosters are 26 players deep, the Twins have been playing with 22 or 23 players.
    Is Baldelli having a bad year? Absolutely. When the leader of the team forgets how many mound visits have been made, it’s a bad, bad look. The Twins in many ways have played the way Baldelli has managed this year: haphazardly, unevenly and obliviously. Baldelli certainly has the ability to manage better than he has. But when his contract ends, the Twins must decide whether he is the best fit for the club. Their decision will be huge because this team is on the precipice of irrelevancy.
    David Weinshilboum lives in California and bemoans this year’s Twins ineptitude from afar. Follow @weinshie on Twitter.
  2. Like
    mrkarbo reacted to stringer bell for a blog entry, Ch-ch-changes?   
    The Twins play their 30th game this afternoon and are currently 11-18. They've been beset by bad luck, bad play and have taken a beating with two rule changes (extra-inning runner on second, 7-inning games for doubleheaders). How do they get out of this funk? I'm sure many in the organization will preach patience and they may be right, but that isn't any fun. Here are some possibilities for change that might help the team:
    Role change. We've already seen one role change. At least temporarily Alexander Columé is not going to see high-leverage innings. Columé has been a huge disappointment and even when he has worked scoreless innings, he's been shaky. The problem is that taking Columé out of high leverage situations leaves the Twins with few good options, particularly when going 6 or more innings for a starter is a rarity. I think one pitching role change that should be made is to use Taylor Rogers in non-save high leverage situations as happened early in 2019 and sometimes use him for multiple innings. Rogers shouldn't be used in back-to-back days. Moving Alcala to high leverage situations seems to be gradually happening. If things continue to go bad, it makes sense to have him give a shot as a closer. Position players--it seems to me that both Polanco and Kepler should have their roles diminished from full-time regular to something different. Kepler can play a corner and center and Polanco has played short and second, maybe Max should be slotted as the fourth OF or at least platooned with Garlick. I think giving Polanco the role of three-position infielder wouldn't be a stretch. He could get some at-bats as a platoon partner for my choice of regular second baseman (Arraez) and left-handed at-bats in place of Simmons and when Donaldson takes a day off (or is injured).
    Promotions/demotions. Assuming that Alex Kirilloff is in the big leagues to stay, when healthy the Twins have one extra position player and someone will have to be sent to the minor leagues or released. Discussion has centered on Jake Cave. Several others could be sent down and that doesn't begin to discuss the pitching staff. Many pitchers'performances could merit their demotion.
    Trades. It is unlikely that anyone will make a significant trade this early in the year. However, the Twins would be a good candidate for a major trade nearer the trade deadline. They have some redundancy (left handed hitting corner outfielders) and holes that need patching (bullpen, perhaps catching) and many candidates to trade. They also have a lot of players who would be free agents after this season. I do wonder if someone who was considered a cornerstone (Polanco, Kepler, Sanó) could be traded. None of these guys have performed remotely well so far but an uptick could make them more marketable. I have to believe that the Twins will bring in new pitchers either in the bullpen or the rotation. What they have at this time in the bullpen just hasn't worked.
    Personally, I think the Twins will need to do a little bit of everything to turn the corner. I am a proponent of changing roles. I think Kepler and Polanco could be candidates to have limited roles. The Twins need to add at least one strong arm in the bullpen, most likely by trade and Trevor Larnach is reputed to be nearly as much a sure thing as a hitter as Alex Kirilloff, plus he is a better outfielder. There is too much talent for the club to continue to play sub.400 baseball, but I think they need to make changes immediately.
  3. Like
    mrkarbo reacted to Sherry Cerny for a blog entry, Hit Hard, Run Fast, and Start Bunting! (Tonight's Game and Why it's a Must Win)   
    The Twins have had a tough go since leaving Detroit. With only two wins in the past eleven games, going into tonight this is a MUST WIN GAME. Yes, it’s the National league, YES, they are not playing in our division, but we are needing a win right now. The central league play and teams are messy at best and we can put ourselves in a spot where we can begin to come back and fight for the number one spot. Tonight we need to pull things together to get that W and be prepared for the Indians early next week, but we have a few things we need to fix if we are going to do that.
    JA Happ is going to be pitching tonight and over his past two games, he certainly hasn’t sucked, but he hasn’t been stupendous. He came out in the fourth against Detroit and against Boston, showing that once again the arms that are starting the games are built for longevity to get us through at least the 6th. The bullpen seems to be getting more of a workout again than necessary and the starters need to have a more solid performance or we will continue to exhaust our bullpen.
    We need to be more pragmatic about our hitting. Not every single hit needs to be a Bomba...it’s fun, don’t get me wrong. I am not a Bomba hater, that being said, our defense is saving us at times and our offense is lagging. We need to be hitting into the shifts and the gaps to get on base. One of our biggest downfalls is getting guys on base, and the big hitters coming in and trying for homers and leaving us stranded. We aren’t going to win games by striking out because we want to be heroes, just put the ball in play. {oh, and BUNT IN EXTRA INNINGS!}
    The defense is one of the better treasures of this team, even with the management making stupid decisions like pulling Donaldson who was doing just fine at third against the A’s. As much as I love having good utility players, it pains me to see such horrible decisions made by management in critical situations. That’s what spring training is for, not middle of the tenth, up by two with big hitters from the other team coming up. Buxton, while healthy, has made some incredible plays that would be great to be backed up with hits and runs. Simmons should be coming off the IL soon, but with Kep and Sano going onto the IL, we circle back to our training site and the need for calling up kids like Nick Gordon for the first time.
    I am curious to see what tonight brings for the guys. It’s pivotal in this early part of the season that we dig in, find our swing and make better managerial decisions if we intend to pull out of this slump and start contending for our place in the Division and American League standings.
  4. Like
    mrkarbo reacted to Mill1634 for a blog entry, Early Trade Candidates - Infielders   
    The Twins 2021 season has gotten off to a slow start to say the least. Between early injuries to Josh Donaldson and Byron Buxton, COVID-19 IL stinks from Andrelton Simmons and Max Kepler, among others, and slow starts from Miguel Sano, Jake Cave, and Jorge Polanco. However, the hot stove is always on, even if we are only in April. I fully expect the Twins to turn it around at some point and to be buyers at the deadline like we thought they would be. We will see names emerge, and I'm going to identify some early names to keep an eye on, in part 1 of a 3 part blog post.
    Eduardo Escobar - Arizona Diamondbacks - 1yr/7M
    (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
    I've seen old friend Eduardo Escobar brought up a few times by Twins fans on Twitter, and it makes a lot of sense. He is beloved by Twins fans everywhere, and had the best farewell post I've ever seen. That said, he is a great fit on the diamond as well. The DBacks are going to struggle in 2021, and Escobar has an expiring deal and will be traded prior to the deadline. His days of playing shortstop are over, but thats okay. He's been a league average second basemen in 2021, and has filled in at 3rd sparingly, but hasn't done so well. Eduardo already has 6 homers and 4 doubles for Arizona, and is crushing left handed pitching -- something the Twins have struggled at thus far. Escobar would start at 2nd base against LHP, and can fill in at 2nd or 3rd if injuries happen (hint: they will).
    Miguel Andújar - New York Yankees - Arb Eligible 2022
    There were a fair amount of baseball fans who were in Andjuar's corner for the AL ROY voting in 2018. Andújar put up a solid slash line of .297/.328/.527. He hit 27 home runs and drove in 97 runs, but things have gone downhill for Miguel since. He has only played 33 games since finishing second in the 2018 ROY voting, and has only homered once. He's yet to appear in a 2021 game as he is sidelined with an injury, and the defense is limited. He's a poor thir basemen, and has appeared in a handful of innings in left field, also not going well. One could assume he could also play first, but thats it. The Yankees' seem to have spoiled on the thought of giving him everyday playing time, but he could fill a role for the Twins as someone who hits lefties.
    Wilmer Flores - San Fransisco Giants - 1yr/3M, 2022 option for 3.5M
    Flores is best known among baseball fans for his on-field crying moment when everyone was certain he was being traded from the Mets. However, a deal never came to fruition. Flores is another infielder who would be brought in to crush left handed pitching. Flores has a career OPS of .813 against left handed arms, including 40 homers. Flores has been a rollercoaster in the field, but at best is nothing more than an average second basemen. He does have experience playing first base, as well as third, but is best fit at 2nd. Much like Eduardo Escobar, he would fill in as the everyday 2B against LHP, and can fill in around the infield when an injury happens.
    Who are your favorite targets in the early going?
  5. Like
    mrkarbo reacted to mike8791 for a blog entry, When Is it Time to be Concerned?   
    Spring training is slightly more than half over. While most of us tend to dismiss results, both from the Twins W/L record and individual performances, I admit to a growing concern about last year's greatest weakness - the offense. Looking at team stats the Twins rank 23rd(out of 30) in BA, 27th in Runs, 29th in OBP, and 25th in Slugging. These figures are even more depressing if we subtract the very robust stats from guys like Lin, Astudillo, Broxton, and Garlick, none of whom are given much of a shot to make the 26 man roster(more on that later).
    Among the almost certain starters, Sano, Buxton, Simmons(very SSS) are all hitting below the Mendoza line and Kepler is below .100. Even our two most heralded rookies, Kirillof and Larnach fall below .200BA and Jeffers is near the line. Is this a continuation of 2020's offensive malais? Well, we obviously won't know much until the season starts, but after 2+ weeks of ST, one has to wonder what offense can we expect from these designated starters in 2021?
    On paper, this looks like a solid lineup. Barring injuries, it could be one of the more productive ones in the majors. Guys like Cruz and Donaldson should be expected to produce and others like Buxton and Arraez have exhibited enough offensive prowess to supplement the big two. Simmon's defensive chops at SS earns him a pass on offensive production. But there are still holes in this lineup. namely Sano, Kepler, LF, Garver. The streakiness of this lineup, so apparent in the playoffs, could loom large over a full season. All we have to fall back on in forecasting is past performance, which among these last group named, is, to say the least, highly erratic.
    Suffice it to say that despite rosy predictions for the 2021 Twins, the FO cannot afford to wait all season for some of these hitters to perform. The Cubs have made the mistake of waiting too long for guys like Bryant, Baez, Rizzo, Schwarber, and Contreras to live up to their earlier potential, with the result they have steadily declined since their 2016WC and now border on irrelevance. Patience should not be endless. If Sano, Kepler, et. al., don't pick up in April and May, then guys like Astudillo, Broxton, Garlick, and any of our high minor league prospects should be given the opportunity. This is not pushing the panic button. It's part of good managment to separate the wheat from the chaff. The window is wide open for this team to advance deep into the playoffs so long as complacency does not remain the org's managing philosophy.
  • Create New...