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  1. The question is – should we sign Cruz or just let a number of players DH? I thought I would look back at the Twins DH history. I ignore any DWAR since I am only interested in the DH. Tony Oliva was the first DH. In 1973 he was in 146 games. He hit 291/345/410 and his WAR was 0.7. The next year he was in 127 games with a line of 285/326/414 and 0.4 WAR. 1975 he played 131 games with a line of 270/344/378 and WAR of 0.5. 1976 saw Craig Kusick as the DH – 259/344/432 – 1.5 WAR. In 77 his line was 254/370/433 0.9 WAR. Glen Adams became the DH in 1978 with a line of 258/297/390 and a WAR of -0.3. In 1979 Jose Morales became the DH - 267/319/335 – WAR -0.9 and despite this negative WAR he was still DH in 1980, 303/361/490 and positive 1 WAR. Then in 1981 Glen Adams was once again the primary DH with a line of 209/273/282 and a -1.6 WAR which was the worst on the team. Randy (who?) Johnson became the main DH in 1982 248/325/419 and a WAR of zero. After a few questionable years of – anybody can DH we came to Randy Bush in 1983. His line was 249/.323/.418 with 0.4 WAR. In 1984 he was still the main DH .222/.292/.389 and WAR -0.3. We have good memories of Randy, but maybe he is not as good as we remember. In 1985 Roy Smalley took over DH. .258 /.357/.402 WAR 1.2. For the first time since 1976 we had a DH with a WAR over 1.In 1986 Roy was still DH .246/.342/.438 and a WAR of 1.0. 1987 Roy had a line of .275/.352/.411 and WAR OF ONLY 0.5. After tying Oliva with three years as DH he was replaced. Gene Larkin was 1988 DH .267/.368/.382 and 1.8 WAR. Despite that outstanding year Jim Dwyer was the primary DH in 1989 with .316/.390/.404 and 0.8 WAR. In 1990 Larkin was the main DH again with a line of .269/.343/.392 and a WAR of 1.1. In 1991 Chili Davis became the first DH with a slugging PCT over 500 and a line of .277/.385/.507. His 3.3 WAR also set a new high for the team. In 1992 he was not quite as good with a line of .288/.386/.439 and WAR of 2.1. That was the end of Chili. Dave Winfield was DH in 1993 with .271/.325/.442 and WAR of 0.9. In 1994 he hit .252/.321/.425 with 0.2 WAR. In 1995 Winfield was retired and Pedro Munoz took over with an outstanding year .301/.338/.489 and still only a 0.9WAR. The next hometown HOF batter came in 1996 when Paul Molitor became the principal DH and hit .341/.390/.468. It would be the top BA for any Twins DH. His WAR was 3.5 which was the best WAR so far. In 1997 Molitor his .305/.351/.435 for a WAR of 1.5. In 1998 Paul hit .281/.335/.382 and a WAR of 0.2. Having tied Oliva and Smalley for the most years at DH – 3, he was replaced. In 1999 Marty Cordova was the primary DH. He hit 285/365/464 with a WAR of 1.2. David Ortiz was our primary DH in 2000. No I do not want to speculate on what it could have meant if Tom (overrated) Kelly had not had his head up his… Ortiz was .282/.364/.446 with a WAR of 0.8. In 2001 Kelly had messed with Ortiz so much that he hit .234/.324/.475 and WAR fell to 0.3. His third year as DH he hit .272/.339/.500 which made him only the second Twin DH with a 500 slugging his WAR was 1.5. Having tied the longest DH service with three years we replaced him with Matt LeCroy. Yes, that is the truth and it still hurts and still stinks. Matt LeCroy had a good 2003 season - .287.342/.490 with 1.3 WAR. Then 35-year-old Jose Offerman took over in 2004 with .256/.363/.395 and -0.2 WAR. Matt LeCroy came back in 2005 .260/.354/.444. 0.9 WAR. Then it was 34-year-old Rondell White, .246/.276/.365 and -0.9 WAR, the worst on the team. This led to Jason Tyner .286/.331/.355. Are you paying attention to these slugging percentages? 0.2 WAR. Which led to Jason Kubel, .272/.335/.471 in 2008 with a 1.8 WAR. Kubel came back with one of the all-time DH lines in 2009 - .300/.369/.539, 3.3 WAR. Kubel then moved to the field and Jim Thome came to Minnesota. Thome in 2010 had a line of .283/.412/.627 giving the team their first 400 OPS and first 600 slugging DH! 3.6 WAR. 2011 did not reach the heights of 2010, .243/.351/.476 and 1 WAR. Then we turned to another veteran – Ryan Doumit for 2012 - .275/.320/.461, 2.3 WAR. Doumit in 2013 hit .247/.314/.396, 1.4 WAR. After two years he was done Then rookie Kennys Vargas, 23 years old, took over DH .274/.316/.456, 0.7 WAR. Miguel Sano replaced him the next year (2015) and in 80 games had a line of .269/.385/.530 bringing back the 500 slugging and he had a WAR OF 2.4 (why isn’t he replacing Cruz?). 2016 we went international and Byung Ho Park hit .191/.275/.409, -0.1. That international experiment ended quickly and in 2017 Robbie Grossman was primary DH, .246/.361/.380, 1.1 WAR. And, yes, for some reason many on TD want to bring him back?????? In 2018 he was also the primary DH, 273/.367/.384 moderately good OBP, but is that what you want in the DH? 1.8 WAR IN 2018. Then in 2019 Nelson Cruz arrived. .311/.392/.639 – a record 41 DH Hrs, our second 600+ slugging. 4.2 WAR – our highest for a DH. In 2020 Cruz was still DH and hit .303/.397/ .595 with a 1.6 WAR in an abbreviated (1/3) season. Who was the best – Cruz, who was mismanaged – Ortiz, who was a star at DH for us? Molitor, Thome. We have had some very good and some real duds – Rondell White. And some real question marks like what happened to Vargas? Three years seems to be the lifespan of the DH on the Twins. So would I resign Cruz? For one year – yes. Beyond that no – what you pay for year two needs to be added to year one because you are probably only getting one year of real production.
  2. Brian Raabe dug into the batter’s box on a Sunday afternoon in September at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. And while the 1995 Twins were out of playoff contention the moment couldn’t have been more significant for Raabe. The 5’9 New Ulm, Minnesota native was making his Major League debut for his home state team. Raabe had been preparing for this moment his entire life. A scrappy and consistent hitter, the second baseman had been an All-American for the Minnesota Golden Gophers with talent that earned him a 41st round pick from the Minnesota Twins in the 1990 MLB draft. After consecutive years of batting north of the .300 mark in the minors, Raabe received the late season call-up that every boy dreams of. Perhaps the most special essence of the moment? The catcher squatting behind Raabe was fellow Gophers standout and New Ulm native Terry Steinbach. "How the heck does that happen?" Raabe popped out and the Oakland Athletics went on to defeat the Twins 4-1. But for the small town Minnesota kid, a lifelong goal shaped by hard work, mentors, and a dream had come to fruition. The Mecca of Minnesota Baseball Like most small town kids, Brian Raabe grew up playing a variety of sports. And while he was talented at many, baseball stuck. “Most kids could hit a ball off a tee when they were a few years old. My dad was able to flip it to me and I could hit it,” Brian recalled. Brian wasn’t the only baseball player on the block in New Ulm. Despite being a town of roughly 10,000, the south-central Minnesota community has groomed some of the finest baseball players in the state’s history, many of whom were Raabe’s role models growing up. Players like Tim, Tom, and Terry Steinbach, Doug Palmer, and Jeff Schugel influenced Raabe’s love of the game from a young age. “Those guys were older than me but young enough where I would get to know them and watch them play,” Raabe said. “They played at Johnson Park for years and years and I ended up getting to be bat boys for them a few times." In a small community of baseball excellence with unique talent, the game wasn’t just a hobby for Raabe, it was a way of life. “There weren’t many lakes in the area so if it was a nice night you’d go and watch a baseball game,” Raabe said. “Instead of playing on the hill I was one of those kids who watched the game, asked my dad questions, and was mesmerized by it.” Raabe’s growing love of the game was rooted in the strong baseball culture that New Ulm had cultivated. Talented players like the Steinbach’s and legendary high school coach Jim Senske paved a mindset for Brian that ‘making it’ wasn’t a million dollar dream, it was a reality. “I was able to say, ‘if they can do it, why can’t I?,’” Raabe said. A Jack of all Trades Now 53, Raabe serves as the baseball coach at Bethel University in Arden Hills, Minnesota. Despite putting up incredible minor league numbers, his career in the MLB was limited to three seasons and a total of 33 at bats between time in Minnesota, Seattle and Colorado. Don’t let that fool you on how Raabe reflects on his career. “I have no hard feelings at all, I’m a coach, I understand it,” Raabe said. “That’s life.” Yet instead of bitterness and remorse Raabe is filled with emotions of thankfulness, joy, and gratitude. Through his nine years in professional baseball Raabe got to check a wealth of opportunities off the board that most players only dream of, a list that speaks for itself. Played with Paul Molitor when he got his 3,000th hit Was on the team when Kirby Puckett played his final baseball game Was Derek Jeter’s double play partner in the Arizona Fall League Played against (and almost homered over) Michael Jordan Was on the 1997 Mariners with Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, and MVP Ken Griffey Jr. Played alongside 2020 Hall of Famers Larry Walker and Derek Jeter A pretty damn impressive list. After the 1999 season with the Yankees’ AAA affiliate Columbus Clippers, Raabe had a decision to make. The Bronx Bombers had offered Raabe a healthy contract to continue in the organization following the season. Brian had a more important contract on his mind back at home, one that was worth more than money; his daughter Brianna and son Zachary, both young kids. “I had a son and daughter that were playing sports and were young and I wanted to be around them,” Raabe said. “I decided that I wanted to be a dad and if I had to do it 100 times again I’d do it the same way.” Brian’s decision to leave professional baseball wasn’t easy, but it was far from a goodbye to the sport that had gifted him some of his greatest memories. As his kids began to grow so did Brian’s coaching background, coaching both Zach and Brianna in their respective sports. Similar to his dad, Zach took a love of America’s Pastime at a young age. As Zach grew in knowledge and skill, Brian helped mentor his son by coaching the game that he loved; something that benefited Brian as a parent and coach. “ (After professional baseball) I went in a different direction, still in baseball, but coaching youth, then high school and now college baseball. It was well worth it,” Brian said. Dream Weaver Brian Raabe’s son Zach is now the starting second baseman for the Gophers and one of the most talented collegiate players in the country, following in his dad’s footsteps. Dad Brian is just across the Mississippi, a short drive away from Siebert Field to watch Zach play. In the meantime he’s turned Bethel into a Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) powerhouse, propelling the Royals to a 2018 MIAC title. And while Raabe's time in professional baseball is in the rearview mirror, he will never forget the memories that evolved from a childhood dream. “My goal was to play college baseball at the University of Minnesota and my dream was to get drafted by the Minnesota Twins and that came true,” Raabe said. “I got to play with some great players, the best part to me? It all started in New Ulm, Minnesota.”
  3. Reliability Machine During parts of the 2017 and 2018 seasons, Hildenberger was one of Minnesota’s most reliable relievers. Paul Molitor relied on him heavily during the team’s run to the 2017 AL Wild Card Game. He didn’t debut until the end of June and he went on to post a 3.21 ERA with a 1.05 WHIP including eight games finished and a save. He seemed like he could be a vital part of a Twins team looking to rebound after multiple rough seasons in a row. Hildenberger continued to be reliable to start the 2018 campaign as he compiled a 3.33 ERA with a 1.13 ERA in the first half. His month of May was terrific as he limited opponents to three earned runs in 14 innings (1.93 ERA) with 12 strikeouts and two walks. He was continuing to be used in late inning situations while racking up holds on a team trying to get back to the playoffs. From there, something changed with Mr. Hildenberger. Reliable No More There were some bumps in the road during the second half including a four-game stretch during the beginning of August where he allowed nine earned runs. Overall in the second half, he allowed 27 earned runs across 27 innings with a 1.82 WHIP. There were blown leads and blown saves, but Molitor continued to use Hildenberger in late inning situations. Even with the late-season struggles, Hildenberger was expected to be a bullpen option under new manager Rocco Baldelli. He struggled through the early months of the season as he posted an 8.36 ERA across 19 games (14 innings). Eventually, he ended up being demoted and then spent a couple months on the IL with a flexor mass strain. The injury might have been the result of working through some mechanical changes. For a pitcher trying to get back to the big leagues, his injury might have been a blessing in disguise. Journey Back Hildenberger worked with Rochester’s pitching coach Mike McCarthy to tweak his delivery, because he was flying open too early and the results, as described above, were not great. With his unique side-armed delivery, Hildenberger provides two versions of himself, a very good pitcher with control and deception or a pitcher struggling with command and location. To return to his role as a very good pitcher, his journey back started in the GCL with a couple appearances against lower level competition as he tried to get a feel back for his pitches. He pitched four innings over three games and allowed one earned run on four hits. From there, he headed back to Rochester where he started to look more like the player he was in 2017. Since coming off the injured list on August 20, albeit in a small sample size, he didn’t allow any runs and he pitched more than one inning in five of six appearances. He added six strikeouts and issued only one walk. Hildenberger earned a save, a win, and pitched in the late innings of all, but one of his appearances. Manager Rocco Baldelli told the Pioneer Press, Hildenberger has “been a good major league reliever in the past. It’s in there and we know it’s in there. We just have to find a way to bring it out.” Minnesota might find a way to bring it out of Hildenberger in September and this could make him a potential wild card for Minnesota’s postseason bullpen.
  4. There’s been no larger point of contention for the Minnesota Twins in 2019 than the bullpen. While the starting rotation has dealt with ebbs and flows, it was the relief corps that constantly faced criticism. After acquiring Sergio Romo and Sam Dyson at the deadline, the group improved. Brusdar Graterol has now debuted, and both Trevor May and Tyler Duffey have stepped up. It’s a September call up that could be among the most beneficial though. Midway through the summer of 2018 Paul Molitor’s best and most trusted relief arm was Trevor Hildenberger. The side-armer owned a 2.80 ERA and .661 OPS against through his first 42 appearances a season ago. Unfortunately, those came in the Twins first 79 games. By all measures, Molitor had run him into the ground, and things went drastically off the tracks from there. Hildenberger blew his first save on July 15 last year. He made 31 appearances from that point forward totaling a 9.64 ERA and 9.95 OPS against. Opposing batters teed off on his pitches and it carried over to the 2019 season. Starting the year in Rocco Baldelli’s pen, Trevor owned an 8.36 ERA through 14.0 IP before being optioned to Triple-A Rochester. The ineffectiveness continued there, and he was eventually put on the shelf. Fast forward a few months and back to full health, Minnesota’s former high leverage on was on the track back to the bigs. Across eight post IL appearances (12.1 IP), Hildenberger owned a 0.73 ERA and .315 OPS against. He struck out ten batters and walked one while giving up just a single run on six hits. That’s obviously an incredibly small sample size, and almost half of that work came in the Gulf Coast League, but if we want encouraging signs then this is it. There’s a lot we don’t yet know, and Baldelli doesn’t have much runway to figure things out. We can assume that Hildenberger will get something less than 15 innings the rest of the way to prove his value. What we do know is that this is a guy who has gotten it done for the Twins in the biggest of spots previously. Adding that type of arm to a Postseason run could be something substantial, and completely out of the question even a month ago. With a lineup as good as Minnesota has, they’ll never find themselves out of a game. Now having significant options on the mound, they also find themselves in a much better position to make a run into October that had some serious uncertainties prior to the trade deadline. Adding pieces from outside of the organization was always going to happen. Arms emerging from within, and especially those who have previously shown a strong ability, is a testament to hard work and internal development. If Hildenberger is truly back for Minnesota, that’s something everyone can get on board with. For more from . Follow @tlschwerz
  5. With the announcement that Marwin Gonzalez signed with the Minnesota Twins, there was optimism in the Twin Cities. Optimism that he could be the missing piece. Hope that he would fill in the gaps on the roster. But he failed. No, I’m not talking his fielding or his hitting. I’m not talking about a need to improve the pitching staff. Heck, I’m not talking about baseball performance at all. I am talking about numbers. No one is wearing the number 4. Gonzalez selected to wear the #9 that he has worn his whole career, bumping bench coach Derek Shelton into a numberless purgatory according to the team's official roster online. In the MLB, #4 is prime real estate. Not counting Jackie Robinson's #42, only two numbers have been retired more often than #4 which has been retired by eight different teams. The #20 has been retired 11 times (thanks largely to Frank Robinson being honored by three different teams), and the #14 has been retired nine times. So the #4 has plenty of legitimate baseball history attached to it in the form of Lou Gehrig, Luke Appling, Duke Snider, Mel Ott, Earl Weaver, and—likely the reason why the number is vacant—Paul Molitor. Molitor reclaimed his old number during his four years as Twins manager which came to an end last October. He also wore #4 throughout his three-year stint with Minnesota as a player from 1996 until his retirement in 1998. In the 20 years since 1998, the #4 has only been worn by one Twins player. Augie Ojeda, a glove-first utility infielder, donned #4 in 2004 during his 30-game stint with the club. He was often a defensive replacement or pinch hitter/runner, but he hit for a Molitorian .339 batting average with a .429 on-base percentage as he amassed an unfathomable 1.2 WAR over just 72 plate appearance for Minnesota. Not too shabby for a career .234 hitter in his age-29 season. But that was it. Before Molitor took the number in 1996, a Twins player had worn it in every of the previous 15 seasons. It was first worn in Minnesota by Bob Allison in 1961 after the team relocated from Washington, D.C. It is said that Allison was the motivation for Molitor (who grew up the Twin Cities) to take #4 in the first place since he emulated Allison in his youth. After Allison, the #4 was worn by Steve Braun (1971-1975), Steve Lombardozzi (1985-1988), Chip Hale (1990-1995) and four others before Molitor bumped Hale to #12 when he joined the club. Surely there was some decorum following Molitor’s retirement in 1998, similar to what we're seeing with Freddy Galvis and Jose Bautista's #19, and we’re probably seeing the same thing with Molitor now following his managerial stint. That said, the man played just three season for the Twins and managed for four uneventful years. If someone were to, say, write a book about the 50 most important men and moments in Twins history, Molitor may not even make the list (you'll have to buy it to find out)! Surely Molitor’s #4 won't be placed in the prestigious position below the Budweiser Roof Deck in the future. Who should take this number? Let's start with everyone who's wearing a terrible number. Jake Cave is wearing #60. Lay your claim to #4, young man! Tyler Austin, you’re not on the Yankees anymore, there are single-digit numbers in Minnesota that aren't retired yet! Willians Astudillo you can … actually #64 is a perfect number for you, keep on doing what you’re doing. And while it’s very unusual for pitchers to wear single-digit numbers—admittedly it looks a little weird—Matt Magill (#68) or Trevor May (#65), as well as any other reliever, should absolutely take the plunge. Think about how badass it would look for Rocco Baldelli to go to the mound, pat the pitcher on the keister, and hold up four fingers to the bullpen to call in his reliever (as long as they don’t get confused and walk the next batter). Perhaps as this season gives way to the inevitable cycle of major leaguers through the clubhouse, someone will squat on this valuable piece of numerical property. Or maybe a year-long, Molitor-honoring grace period will leave the number vacant for 2019. Either way, by this time next year, someone better be wearing #4 for the Minnesota Twins again.
  6. Who are our managers and who was the best? I have to say that I have a lot of questions about how to judge managers. They are given a roster to work with, they do not sign players or create the roster, they work with the GM and the GM is not judged like the manager. Right now we play in a lousy division which gives us 19 games a year versus the Royals, White Sox and Tigers plus the best team in the division is far below what the other division leaders do. What would our records be if we were in the East? Our Managers began with Cookie Lavagetto, but he was replaced within the 1961 year in Minnesota so I cannot consider him to top this list. Sam Mele 1961 – 1967. He had a world series and lost to Sandy Koufax in game seven. The record during his reign was 522 – 431 .546 Cal Ermer 1967 – 1968 145 – 129 .529 Billy Martin 1969 97 – 65 .599, playoffs and lost in three straight. Self-destructed off the field with players, marshmallow salesmen… Bill Rigney 1970-72 208-184 .531, one playoff and lost in three straight. Frank Quilici 1972 – 1975 280 – 287 .494 Gene Mauch 1976-1980 378-394 .490 Johnny Goryl 34 – 38 .472 Billy Gardner 1981-1985 268-353 .278 Ray Miller 1985-1986 109-130 .456 Tom Kelly 1986 – 2001 1140-1244 .478 2 World Series 16 – 8 playoff record Ron Gardenhire 1068 – 1039 507 playoff record 6 – 21 Paul Molitor 2015 – 2018 305-343 471 TOP FIVE IN WINS 1. Tom Kelly 1140 2. Ron Gardenhire 1039 3. Sam Mele 522 4. Gene Mauch 378 5. Paul Molitor 305 TOP FIVE IN PCT 1. Billy Martin 599 2. Sam Mele 546 3. Cal Ermer 529 4. Bill Rigney 531 5. Ron Gardenhire 507 Best Average finish during their career span – I will eliminate the one year managers (Martin). The average comes from Baseball Reference: 1. Ron Gardenhire 2.7 2. Molitor 2.8 3. Rigney 3.0 4. Mele 3.2 5. Quilici 3.3 6. Mauch 3.6 7. Kelly 3.8 World Series has only Mele and Kelly Most playoffs – Gardenhire (there were none around for Mele - he only had the WS and went to it.) So who was the best? What a challenge. In recent times Tom Kelly has been sainted despite an overall .478 winning percentage. I wish I could say who got the most out of their talent level, but I do not have that data. I know the current Molitor haters would not like it that in the future, Molitor might look quire good in these rankings. Of Course Ray Miller and Billy Gardner are easy to rank the worst. Certainly, for one year I would take Billy Martin, then Sam Mele, and then you can duke it out – was Kelly that good or was Gardenhire the guy that Twins fans got tired or over rated and the stats don’t count? Player reports for Twins History https://twinsdaily.com/blogs/entry/11397-best-relief-pitcher-in-twins-history/ https://twinsdaily.com/blogs/entry/11393-best-starting-pitchers-twins/ https://twinsdaily.com/blogs/entry/11390-%7B%3F%7D/ https://twinsdaily.com/blogs/entry/11392-%7B%3F%7D/ https://twinsdaily.com/blogs/entry/11388-%7B%3F%7D/ https://twinsdaily.com/blogs/entry/11386-the-twins-best-left-fielder-in-history/ https://twinsdaily.com/blogs/entry/11380-the-best-third-baseman-in-minnesota-twins-history/ https://twinsdaily.com/blogs/entry/11367-the-best-first-baseman-in-twins-history/ https://twinsdaily.com/blogs/entry/11377-the-best-ss-in-twins-history/ https://twinsdaily.com/blogs/entry/11371-%7B%3F%7D/ https://twinsdaily.com/blogs/entry/11365-the-best-catcher-in-twins-history/
  7. The DH began in AL only in 1973 and Tony Oliva with terrible knees was the first to take advantage of the new position. He was DH in 142 games, Mike Adams 16, Danny Walton 13 and 10 others appeared in various games. 1974 had Oliva 112, Killebrew 57, Terrell 20 and 5 others. Oliva continued with 120 games in 1975, Darwin 19, Hisle 15, Luis Gomez 10 and 15 others got appearances. In `976 Tony O got just 32 appearances, Steve Braun 71, Craig Kusick 79, Butch Wynegar 15 and 8 others. Tony Oliva 15 seasons, 4 seasons DH .304/.353/.476/.830 43.1 WAR, 0.6 WAR for DH Kusick had 85 games in 1977 Chiles 62, Adams 46 and 14 others. In 1978 Glenn Adams had 100 games, Jose Morales 77, Craig Kusick 34 and seven others. 1979 Jose Morales 77 games, Danny Goodwin 51, Mike Cubbage 22, Willie Norwood 17 NS 10 more players. This same crew had Morales 85 games, Glen Adams 81, Danny Goodwin 38, and 12 others. Craig Kusick 7 years, .235/.342/.392/.733. 3.6 WAR 214 of 250 games at DH Glenn Adams 5 years, .281/.325/.399/.725. minus -0.1 370/661 games at DH In 1981 Adams had 62 games, Roy Smally 15 and 16 more. Then in 1982 Randy Johnson 66, Jesus Vega 39, Mickey Hatcher 29, Randy Bush 26, Dave Engle 20 and six more. Other than Tony Oliva there was no real DH at this point. Randy Bush whose only real position was batter was DH in 1983 104 games, Hatcher 39, Engle 29, and 11 others. 1984 Bush 88, Hatcher 37, Engle 22, Darrell Brown 15 and nine more. Roy Smalley was at DH 56 games in 1985, Engle 38, Randy Bush 28, Mike Stenhouse 27, Mark Funderburk 15, and eight more. In 1986 Smalley was DH 114 games, Hatcher 28, Ron Washington 15 and nine more. In 1987 Smalley was at DH 73 times, Larkin 40, Brunansky 17, Don Baylor 17 and 11 more. Roy Smalley 10 years, .262/.350/.401/.750 20.9 WAR, 2.1 as a DH, 272/1653 games at DH. Randy Bush 251/.334/.413/.747 1.4 WAR 349/1219 games at DH Larkin had 86 games in 1988 and Hrbek 37, Bush 17 and 11 more players. 1989 it is hard to say anyone is the DH. John Moses 33 games, Carmelo Castillo 31, Jim Dwyer 27, Randy Bush 25, and 16 more. Same kind of scrum in 1990 – Larkin 43, Carmelo Castillo 35, Randy Bush 27, Sorrento 23, Dwyer 22, Hrbek 20 and 10 more. Gene Larkin 7 years, 266/.348/.374/.723. 1.6 WAR 221 games DH out of 468. In 1991 we had a real DH – Chili Davis 150 games and 10 others. 1992 Chili had 125, Bush 24 and 14 more. 1993 DH was turned over to Winfield and 9 others. Chili Davis .282/ .385/.476/.862. 5.2 WAR 1160/2436 games at DH Winfield had 76 games in 1994, Puckett 13 and 9 others. In 1995 Pedro Munoz, 77, then Puckett and Hale and 11 others. Dave Winfield 2 years, .264/.324/.436/.760. 0.3 WAR. 419/2973 DH, 181 DH for MN Paul Molitor took over for the ST Paul native in 1996 with 143 games at DH and 10 others have games there. Molitor held the position in 1997 too with Roberto Kelley 12, and Greg Myers 10 and 11 more. In 1998 Molitor held DH with Coomer and Ortiz next and 9 others. Paul Molitor 3 years .312/.362/.432/.794. 5.2 WAR as DH, 1174/2683 games at DH, all DH for MN. Hard to believe, but David Ortiz was our primary DH in 2000 with 88 games, Butch Huskey 39, Midre Cummings 15 and 12 more. Ortiz 80, Allen 23, Buchanan 19 and 13 more. Ortiz 95, LeCroy 41 and 11 more in 2002. David Ortiz 6 years, .266/.348/.461/.809 . 2.6 WAR 2029/2408 DH games. 279 DH MN.. From Ortiz to LeCroy 63 games DH, Kielty 32, Jones 29, Morneau 23, and 13 more in 2003. 2004 was a year without a main DH – Jose Offerman got 39, LeCroy 30, Lew Ford 26, Shannon Steward 21 and 14 more. LeCroy got the most DH games again in 2005 and Lew Ford 44, Joe Mauer and Mike Ryan 13 each and 12 more. Matt LeCroy 7 years - .261/.324/.444/.768. 0.4 WAR for 7 years. DH 212/476 games. In 2007 Kubel was the leader with only 36 games, Jason Tyner 27, Jeff Cirillo 24, Mauer 19 and 11 others. Kubel got 85 in 2008, Craig Monroe 36, Randy Ruiz 17 and 15 others in 2008. 2009 had Kubel with 82, Mauer 28, Morneau 12 and 10 others. Kubel had 42 games in 2010, but Jim Thome was the DH – 79 games with Mauer at 23 and 13 others. Jason Kubel 8 years .269/.334/.449/.783. 3.7 WAR. 333/1036 games at DH for MN. Thome 59 games in 2011 and Kubel 37 in 2011. Jim Thome 2 years with MN. .265/.391/.542/.933. 4.5 WAR 818/2543 games at DH. 138 DH for MN In 2012 DH was a free for all – Doumit 48, Mauer 42, Morneau 34, Willingham 25, Mastroianni 10 and 7 more. The same mess in 2013. Then in 2014 look at this list – Vargas, Morales, Pinto, Mauer, Colabello, Willingham, Plouffe, Nunez, Suzuki, Fryaer, Santant, Arcia, Florimon (really?) Hicks, Barlett, Bernier, Escobar, Kubel 1, and Parmelee! Sano was the leader with 69 in 2015, Vargas 29, Mauer 20 and then six more. In 2016 ByungHo Park and Sano and Mauer split DH – enough said. That is a difficult group to sort out since their time at DH is usually fairly short. We all remember Thome, but he was in 138 games in two years. Not even a full season worth of games. Tony Oliva was our first and one of the best, but he is also our Right fielder in the lists of Bests. 1. Paul Molitor 3 years .312/.362/.432/.794. 5.2 WAR as DH, 1174/2683 games at DH, all DH for MN. 2. Jim Thome 2 years with MN. .265/.391/.542/.933. 4.5 WAR 818/2543 games at DH. 138 DH for MN 3. Jason Kubel 8 years .269/.334/.449/.783. 3.7 WAR. 333/1036 games at DH for MN. 4. Craig Kusick 7 years, .235/.342/.392/.733. 3.6 WAR 214 of 250 games at DH 5. David Ortiz 6 years, .266/.348/.461/.809 . 2.6 WAR 2029/2408 DH games. 279 DH MN.. 6. Roy Smalley 10 years, .262/.350/.401/.750 20.9 WAR, 2.1 as a DH, 272/1653 games at DH. 7. Gene Larkin 7 years, 266/.348/.374/.723. 1.6 WAR 221 games DH out of 468. 8. Randy Bush 251/.334/.413/.747 1.4 WAR 349/1219 games at DH 9. Tony Oliva 15 seasons, 4 seasons DH .304/.353/.476/.830 43.1 WAR, 0.6 WAR for DH 10. Dave Winfield 2 years, .264/.324/.436/.760. 0.3 WAR. 419/2973 DH, 181 DH for MN 11. Matt LeCroy 7 years - .261/.324/.444/.768. 0.4 WAR for 7 years. DH 212/476 games. 12. Chili Davis .282/ .385/.476/.862. 5.2 WAR 1160/2436 games at DH 13. Glenn Adams 5 years, .281/.325/.399/.725. minus -0.1 370/661 games at DH The other posts in this series: https://twinsdaily.com/blogs/entry/11390-%7B%3F%7D/ https://twinsdaily.com/blogs/entry/11388-%7B%3F%7D/ https://twinsdaily.com/blogs/entry/11386-the-twins-best-left-fielder-in-history/ https://twinsdaily.com/blogs/entry/11380-the-best-third-baseman-in-minnesota-twins-history/ https://twinsdaily.com/blogs/entry/11367-the-best-first-baseman-in-twins-history/ https://twinsdaily.com/blogs/entry/11377-the-best-ss-in-twins-history/ https://twinsdaily.com/blogs/entry/11365-the-best-catcher-in-twins-history/ https://twinsdaily.com/blogs/entry/11371-%7B%3F%7D/
  8. On the field, Byron Buxton’s emergence might be the most important key to the Twins winning next season. While Buxton is key on the field, new manager Rocco Baldelli has a lot to prove to the front office and to Twins Territory. Right now, he is saying all of the right things but winning and losing go a long way to prove, or not, a manager’s worth. Can Rocco bring the Twins into the modern managerial world? It could be crucial if the Twins want to win back the AL Central.Twins owner Jim Pohlad said Paul Molitor would continue to manage the club when Derek Falvey and Thad Levine took over the Twins front office. Molitor would win the AL Manager of the Year Award in 2017 as the Twins surprisingly qualified for the final Wild Card spot. It was hard to dump him at that point so Falvey and Levine stuck with him for one more season. Even with the Twins finishing second in the AL Central, the writing on the wall was clear: The new front office wanted a more forward-thinking manager to steer the Twins back into contention. Molitor was removed from his managerial duties and the Twins went on the hunt for a modern manager. Enter Rocco Baldelli. Baldelli’s once promising playing career was cut short by illness and injuries. He joined the Tampa Bay Rays as an assistant and then was a coach in the years since he was forced to retire. Last season, he was given the title of major league field coordinator. This allowed him to work with the manager on in-game strategy while continuing to work to develop the team’s younger players. Now the 37-year old is tasked with turning around a core of young Twins players that need their own development. Players like Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano underachieved throughout 2018. So far this off-season, Baldelli has visited both of these players at their homes. Just one of the first signs of his abilities to connect with players. Baldelli should also bring some new ideas to the Twins managerial position. Tampa Bay has long been considered a hotbed for forward-thinking coaches. Baldelli played almost his entire career in the Tampa Bay organization and even played under Joe Maddon, who is considered one of the game’s best managers. One of the new things Baldelli could bring to the Twins is a comfort with a concept like the opener. This was originated with the Rays last season and Minnesota has some in-house options that could slide nicely into an opener role. Minnesota started using openers throughout their system last season but Baldelli might make this a regular occurrence for big league pitchers. He’s also mentioned that he wants players to be more mentally prepared for the game. Baldelli even mentioned that the players might not always be ready physically, but he needs them to have their heads in the right place for this team to find success. As a player, he fought through plenty of injuries, so this seems a likely focal point for the new manager. Baldelli will need to establish his culture in spring training and the early months of the season. He’s been saying all the right things but winning isn’t going to happen overnight. Minnesota’s window of opportunity is just starting to open and the club needs Baldelli to take them to the next level. What can Baldelli do for the club in 2019? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. Click here to view the article
  9. Twins owner Jim Pohlad said Paul Molitor would continue to manage the club when Derek Falvey and Thad Levine took over the Twins front office. Molitor would win the AL Manager of the Year Award in 2017 as the Twins surprisingly qualified for the final Wild Card spot. It was hard to dump him at that point so Falvey and Levine stuck with him for one more season. Even with the Twins finishing second in the AL Central, the writing on the wall was clear: The new front office wanted a more forward-thinking manager to steer the Twins back into contention. Molitor was removed from his managerial duties and the Twins went on the hunt for a modern manager. Enter Rocco Baldelli. Baldelli’s once promising playing career was cut short by illness and injuries. He joined the Tampa Bay Rays as an assistant and then was a coach in the years since he was forced to retire. Last season, he was given the title of major league field coordinator. This allowed him to work with the manager on in-game strategy while continuing to work to develop the team’s younger players. Now the 37-year old is tasked with turning around a core of young Twins players that need their own development. Players like Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano underachieved throughout 2018. So far this off-season, Baldelli has visited both of these players at their homes. Just one of the first signs of his abilities to connect with players. Baldelli should also bring some new ideas to the Twins managerial position. Tampa Bay has long been considered a hotbed for forward-thinking coaches. Baldelli played almost his entire career in the Tampa Bay organization and even played under Joe Maddon, who is considered one of the game’s best managers. One of the new things Baldelli could bring to the Twins is a comfort with a concept like the opener. This was originated with the Rays last season and Minnesota has some in-house options that could slide nicely into an opener role. Minnesota started using openers throughout their system last season but Baldelli might make this a regular occurrence for big league pitchers. He’s also mentioned that he wants players to be more mentally prepared for the game. Baldelli even mentioned that the players might not always be ready physically, but he needs them to have their heads in the right place for this team to find success. As a player, he fought through plenty of injuries, so this seems a likely focal point for the new manager. Baldelli will need to establish his culture in spring training and the early months of the season. He’s been saying all the right things but winning isn’t going to happen overnight. Minnesota’s window of opportunity is just starting to open and the club needs Baldelli to take them to the next level. What can Baldelli do for the club in 2019? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  10. Who were the Twins managers and were they any good? There is something strange about the manager position in baseball. It is not like we grow up hoping to be a manager. There seems to be no particular qualification, it is at the whim of the team. "In his essay "From Little Napoleons to Tall Tacticians", Thomas Boswell identifies four main personality types among baseball managers, corresponding to archetypes based on the nicknames of their earliest representatives in Major League Baseball, all of whom are in the Hall of Fame: The Little Napoleons, modeled on John McGraw, intense, emotional and competitive, embodying passionate leadership. The Peerless Leaders, modeled on Frank Chance, disciplined, courageous and dignified, embodying leadership by character. The Tall Tacticians, after Connie Mack, savvy, intelligent and trusting in their judgment, embodying intellectual leadership; and The Uncle Robbies, after Wilbert Robinson, compassionate, humorous and understanding, embodying leadership by wisdom." https://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Manager Did they deserve to be in the Hall of Fame? Does any manager belong in the Hall of Fame? Casey Stengel led the Yankees to 10 World series wins in 12 years - surely he deserves his HOF plaque, right? He managed the Braves and Dodgers for nine years before that and had a high finish in nine years of 5th place. He managed the Mets for 4 years after the Yankees and finished 10th four times. So if we put all 25 years together is in a HOF manager for the Boston Bees/Braves or the Mets or the Dodgers? Probably not. Joe Torre managed 30 years and became HOF because of the years he had the Yankees 12 years and his worst finish was 2! But what about the other 18 years? Five years with the Mets and he average a finish below 5th place. Three years with the Braves and an average finish of second place. Six years with the Cardinals and an average finish of 3.5 and finally three years with the Dodgers, two first, one fourth. So was he HOF with the Mets, Braves, and Cardinals? Sometimes managers are brought in when the team dumps talent and then dumps the manager when the talent arrives. How do you judge his performance? Even the worse managers do well when their team is loaded with all-stars. So who are the worst managers and how are they judged? Ted Williams was a bust in four years with the Senator/Rangers according to baseball historians, but he was MOY in his first year - just like our HOF manager - Paul Molitor, but Ted was just irascible and irritating everyone because he wanted perfection. Ned Yost is often sited as one of the worst managers, but his KC Royals won a series and changed the way MLB looked at the bullpen. And finally the manager that Bleacher Reports puts number one on the all time worst manager list is Buddy Bell who had been a really fine player. Just to note that ball clubs can't really judge managers any better than the rest of us - Bell was hired three times by three different clubs, the Tigers, Rockies and Royals. He had a 418 percent for his nine years. Ace Wilson actually had a worse percentage - 401 with the Cubs and Phillies in nine seasons. Note how these terrible managers get nine seasons to show how bad they are? in 2016 Fangraphs tried to evaluate managers https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/how-should-we-evaluate-a-manager/ and Paul Molitor was rated below average. Eno Sarris wrote this article and based his scores on four areas of managing - 1.When he uses his best relievers. 2.How rigid his approach to the bullpen is. 3. Where he puts his best hitters in the lineup. 4.How often he bunts with non-pitchers. Those four items seem too arbitrary to me. How about Morale, responding to injuries, use of young players and old players... In 2009 Hardball times ranked the 25 HOF managers and made a case that Billy Martin - one of our managers actually belongs for his managing ability. https://www.fangraphs.com/tht/evaluating-managers/ I would agree. Billy Martin burned out his pitchers, but if you wanted to win - Billy won. Billy might beat up his best player and the teams press secretary, but he won. His record was better than his predecessor and the next in line. He managed to win, but could not manage himself. How do you evaluate that? He was 240 wins above 500 in his managing career. So who have the Twins had? The first manager was Cookie Lavagetto who had managed the Washington Senators to 8,8,8,5 out of 8 and then came with the Twins to Minnesota where he was fired half way through the year and replaced with Sam Mele. We finished 7 of 10 in 1961. He had a 414 winning percentage. He was a third baseman when he played 10 years with four years in the service and is best known for the Cookie game when he broke up Bill Bevan's no-hitter with a pinch hit double. He played for Pittsburgh and Brooklyn. He was replaced by Sam Mele, a former RF who played 10 years for six teams including the Senators twice. He managed the Twins for seven years and took the Twins to the 1965 World Series with perhaps the best roster in team history. After the World Series he finished second the following years, but no playoffs in those days. He finished with a career 546 percentage. During his term, his coach Billy Martin had a fight with his pitching coach Johnny Sain giving a preview of coming attractions. He was fired in 1967 after 50 games because the team was 500 and replaced - not with Martin as expected - but with Calvin Coolidge Ermer. Cal finished that year and managed one more. His record was 589 for the remainder of his first year and then only 488 his first full year. His playing career was one game for the 1947 Senators. He was with the organization 60 years and was minor league manager of the year in 1958. In 1969 Billy Martin got his chance and we were first in the west division but lost 3 - 0 in the ALCS. Alfred Manuel Martin, Jr (Billy) was the Twins second baseman in 1961, he then became our scout, managed the Denver Bears and became our manager. He was fired after winning. As a scout he tried to get Griffith to sign pitcher Jim Palmer but skinflint Griffith refused, of course. In 1966 Martin got into a fight with traveling secretary Howard Fox on a charter flight ruining his chance for that years managerial promotion. Fox had demanded that Martin get his former Yankee teammates to quiet down on the flight and he refused. Fox then refused to give Martin his key, eventually throwing it at Martin. Martin hit Fox in the face! Martin ended up with the Denver Bears, where he took a poor team and made it a winner. Craig Nettles from the team said Martin made them afraid to lose. Martin was then given the Twins job and Griffith said, "I feel like I am sitting on a powder keg." Griffith insisted on a daily meeting with Martin, so Martin showed up when it was time for Griffith's daily nap. Then when Dave Boswell (20 game winner) got in a fight with Bob Allison Martin joined in and punched Boswell. Griffith wanted to fire Martin but he was winning and so was Boswell. His relationship with the Twins was also damaged when he kicked Hubert Humphrey out of the locker room. Fox and others prevailed and Martin was fired, the fans were angry. Bill Rigney, a big name at the time, replaced Martin. They had to have a famous name to try to calm fandom. Bill Rigney had an 8 year career as an infielder with the Giants. Then he went on to be the manager of the Minneapolis Millers and 18 years as a mlb manager starting with the Giants. Then three years with the Twins where his team finished 1, 5, 3 in the AL west. Rigney was fired during his third year and replaced by Frank Quilici. Quilici, who passed away last year, played for the Twins for five years as a second baseman. Including the partial first year he managed for four years with a 494 winning pct. finishing 3,3,3,4 in the AL west. He was beloved and went into the radio booth after his career. He was replaced by legendary Gene Mauch another former 2B who was a manager for 27 years. As I said, how do you judge a manager. He was beloved by management and got a job for 27 years despite being the manager for the Philadelphia Phillies in one of the most famous collapses of all time. His team was ahead by 6 1/2 games with 12 to go. He decided to pitch Jim Bunning and Chris Short in 7 of the last 10 games - burning them out (maybe) and the lead disappeared. The team 'pholded' and yet Mauch kept managing. In 1985 with the Angels his team lost in the last game of season and finished second to the Royals. In 1961 his Angels team established the record for a losing streak - 23 games. In 1969 his Expos team lost 20 in a row. From 1976 - 1980 he managed the Twins and his nephew Roy Smalley. His teams finished 3,4,4,4,3. 378 - 394 490. With all the luck they had with 2B they chose Johnny Goryl in 1981. After going 11 - 25 he was replaced by Billy Gardner another 2B, infielder who had 10 years in the majors. He managed six years with the Twins and one with KC. His Twins had a 432 pct. and he was fired in 1985 and replaced by Ray Miller. Miller finished the season and was fired half way through the next season. He is in the Orioles HOF as a pitching coach, but his magic did not extend to Minnesota. Johnny Podres our pitching coach quit in protest of the Miller hire. Miller was universally disliked in twinkie land. The man who replaced him is Minnesota legend Tom Kelly who lasted 16 years. Kelly had two world series teams and three second place finishes in 16 years with an overall pct of 478 which leads me back to the beginning of this blog - great because of two WS or lousy because he had less than 500 record? MN thinks of him as our greatest manager, but there is no quantifiable way to determine or prove this. Ron Gardenhire another 2B player - we really do hire a lot of second basemen to manage - was next in line. He managed us for 13 years with a 507 pct which surpasses Kelly by a lot. He had six first place finishes, one second and two thirds. Then the Twins players stunk and we tired of our old friend and decided he was no longer a good manager. I hope he succeeds in Detroit. Paul Molitor continued our love affair with second base managers and after a HOF career became manager for four years and became the target for criticism that I believe is erroneous and unfair. He finished 2,2,5,2 in his four years. Those are misleading finishes since we are in the worst division, but he was also MOY so good for him. Why was he bad? I know - BP - which was filled with such great arms as Matt Belisle... And now Rocco Baldelli a seven year pro who was damaged by injury and is supposed to lead us to the promised land like all the other managers. I hope he does.
  11. In Part 1 today, find out which articles ranked 21 - 30 in terms of most viewed articles of 2018. 30. Twins to Hire Rocco Baldelli as Manager - October 24 Late on the night of October 24th, reports started trickling out that the Twins had made their decision. Derek Shelton had been informed that he would not be the next Twins manager, and Rocco Baldelli would be named manager. The next morning, the Twins made it official. It is interesting to me that a managerial hire would fall this far down the list, but generally speaking, articles on players or strategies, etc., get more discussion. 29. Twins Select Trevor Larnach in First Round - June 4 Drafting 20th overall is a little different than having the first overall pick. It’s much more difficult to know who the Twins might have available to them, much less who they will take. When their pick came, they selected outfielder Trevor Larnach out of the Oregon State. Following the draft, he played hero in his team’s march toward the College World Series championship. After signing, he played briefly in Elizabethton before joining the Cedar Rapids Kernels to end the season. https://twitter.com/TwinsHighlights/status/1003827872627294209 28. 2018 MLB Draft Day 3 Thread - June 6 At Twins Daily, we take a lot of pride in the draft coverage that we have provided in recent years. It started with Jeremy Nygaard’s hard work and great sources. In 2018, Andrew Thares took over the draft coverage and did a great job. The draft is clearly a major event for Twins Daily readers as even our Day 3 of the draft article made the Top 30. Maybe it is because we update the article after each of the Twins 30 Day 3 selections (Rounds 11-40). You never know when you’ll find a late-round sleeper. 27. The Wall of Ground Ball Prevention - February 15 While most articles in this Top 30 are Twins-related, this Parker Hageman feature doesn’t mention the Twins. What it is a a very interesting article on how teams (professional and college) are working to help hitters increase launch angle. 26. Why I believe the Twins are going to sign Yu Darvish - January 8 A year ago at this time the Twins had made some bullpen moves (Zack Duke, Fernando Rodney). But most Twins fans coveted Yu Darvish, the ace-right-hander who finished the 2017 season with the Dodgers after five-and-a-half with the Texas Rangers. That was a big part of why Twins fans were hopeful that Darvish might sign with the Twins, the Rangers connection between Darvish and Thad Levine. Nick Nelson wrote an article pointing out several reasons that he felt the Twins were the favorites to sign Yu Darvish. Of course, one year into his six year, $126 million with the Cubs, Twins fans are thankful that the Twins did not acquire him. 25. Ryan LaMarre just might make the Twins opening day roster - March 24 Ryan LaMarre was one of the best stories of spring training. He was coming off of an injury and the Twins signed him to a minor league contract. He had made several adjustments to his swing, and he hit well all spring. His speed and defense made him the choice for the team’s fourth/fifth outfielder on Opening Day. In spring training, I had the chance to chat with him for a while about why the Twins were the right choice for him last offseason. 24. Twins Daily 2018 Top Prospects: #2 Fernando Romero - February 19 Each year, Twins Daily provides our choice for the Twins top 20 prospects before spring training. Romero has been a top prospect for several years, even through his two missed years of development time due to Tommy John surgery. That didn’t change coming into the 2018 season. Just a few months later, Romero made his major league debut with a strong showing. 23. Twins Sign Anibal Sanchez No Really - February 16 Just as spring training was about to start, the Twins announced the signing of Anibal Sanchez. It was a non-guaranteed deal that could have been worth $2.5 million. Admittedly, most - if not all - Twins fans hated (or at least didn’t understand) the signing and specifically why it needed to be a MLB deal. Maybe that’s why this was a Top 25 article in 2018. Over his final three seasons of a six-year deal with the Tigers, Sanchez went 20-30 with a 5.67 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP. As we now know, Sanchez didn’t stick around long. The Twins soon signed Lance Lynn to a one-year contract. We were all excited, and Sanchez was released. Atlanta claimed him and he went 7-6 with a 2.83 ERA this year. He turned that into a two-year, $19 million deal (with a third-year option) with the Nationals. 22. 5 Things the Twins absolutely must accomplish this offseason - September 20 As the disappointing 2018 Twins season came to an end, Nick Nelson wrote up a set of five Must-Do’s for the Twins front office in this offseason. To this point, none of the five have happened, but to be fair, a couple of those things have not yet needed to be done. For me, if #3 is completed this offseason, I will call the offseason a success. 21. Is Paul Molitor the right man to lead the Twins? - June 18 While Paul Molitor was the easy choice or AL Manager of the Year in 2017, 2018 started out badly, and by mid-June, Nick Nelson penned this article wondering aloud if Molitor was the right choice for the Twins. There is no doubting Molitor’s intelligence and baseball IQ, along with his willingness to use new analytics and new thinking. Well, as we now know, soon after the completion of the season, the Twins announced that Paul Molitor had been fired. It was very interesting to me to see that the article announcing the Molitor dismissal barely made the Top 50 articles of the year at Twins Daily. Not sure I can really explain that. In the coming days, we’ll continue to count down the Top 30 most viewed Twins Daily articles of 2018. They are fun to look back at, to read what we wrote, and to read the comments of what people thought at that time. Hopefully you will enjoy this look back as we now look forward to 2019.
  12. Happy New Year!! As we transition from 2018 to 2019, let’s take a quick look back. Over the next couple of days, we will go through the 30 Most-Viewed Twins Daily articles of 2018. I personally find this very interesting. It is interesting to see which articles captured our attention at the time and think about why. Some are obvious, and some might surprise you.In Part 1 today, find out which articles ranked 21 - 30 in terms of most viewed articles of 2018. 30. Twins to Hire Rocco Baldelli as Manager - October 24 Late on the night of October 24th, reports started trickling out that the Twins had made their decision. Derek Shelton had been informed that he would not be the next Twins manager, and Rocco Baldelli would be named manager. The next morning, the Twins made it official. It is interesting to me that a managerial hire would fall this far down the list, but generally speaking, articles on players or strategies, etc., get more discussion. 29. Twins Select Trevor Larnach in First Round - June 4 Drafting 20th overall is a little different than having the first overall pick. It’s much more difficult to know who the Twins might have available to them, much less who they will take. When their pick came, they selected outfielder Trevor Larnach out of the Oregon State. Following the draft, he played hero in his team’s march toward the College World Series championship. After signing, he played briefly in Elizabethton before joining the Cedar Rapids Kernels to end the season. 28. 2018 MLB Draft Day 3 Thread - June 6 At Twins Daily, we take a lot of pride in the draft coverage that we have provided in recent years. It started with Jeremy Nygaard’s hard work and great sources. In 2018, Andrew Thares took over the draft coverage and did a great job. The draft is clearly a major event for Twins Daily readers as even our Day 3 of the draft article made the Top 30. Maybe it is because we update the article after each of the Twins 30 Day 3 selections (Rounds 11-40). You never know when you’ll find a late-round sleeper. 27. The Wall of Ground Ball Prevention - February 15 While most articles in this Top 30 are Twins-related, this Parker Hageman feature doesn’t mention the Twins. What it is a a very interesting article on how teams (professional and college) are working to help hitters increase launch angle. 26. Why I believe the Twins are going to sign Yu Darvish - January 8 A year ago at this time the Twins had made some bullpen moves (Zack Duke, Fernando Rodney). But most Twins fans coveted Yu Darvish, the ace-right-hander who finished the 2017 season with the Dodgers after five-and-a-half with the Texas Rangers. That was a big part of why Twins fans were hopeful that Darvish might sign with the Twins, the Rangers connection between Darvish and Thad Levine. Nick Nelson wrote an article pointing out several reasons that he felt the Twins were the favorites to sign Yu Darvish. Of course, one year into his six year, $126 million with the Cubs, Twins fans are thankful that the Twins did not acquire him. 25. Ryan LaMarre just might make the Twins opening day roster - March 24 Ryan LaMarre was one of the best stories of spring training. He was coming off of an injury and the Twins signed him to a minor league contract. He had made several adjustments to his swing, and he hit well all spring. His speed and defense made him the choice for the team’s fourth/fifth outfielder on Opening Day. In spring training, I had the chance to chat with him for a while about why the Twins were the right choice for him last offseason. 24. Twins Daily 2018 Top Prospects: #2 Fernando Romero - February 19 Each year, Twins Daily provides our choice for the Twins top 20 prospects before spring training. Romero has been a top prospect for several years, even through his two missed years of development time due to Tommy John surgery. That didn’t change coming into the 2018 season. Just a few months later, Romero made his major league debut with a strong showing. 23. Twins Sign Anibal Sanchez No Really - February 16 Just as spring training was about to start, the Twins announced the signing of Anibal Sanchez. It was a non-guaranteed deal that could have been worth $2.5 million. Admittedly, most - if not all - Twins fans hated (or at least didn’t understand) the signing and specifically why it needed to be a MLB deal. Maybe that’s why this was a Top 25 article in 2018. Over his final three seasons of a six-year deal with the Tigers, Sanchez went 20-30 with a 5.67 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP. As we now know, Sanchez didn’t stick around long. The Twins soon signed Lance Lynn to a one-year contract. We were all excited, and Sanchez was released. Atlanta claimed him and he went 7-6 with a 2.83 ERA this year. He turned that into a two-year, $19 million deal (with a third-year option) with the Nationals. 22. 5 Things the Twins absolutely must accomplish this offseason - September 20 As the disappointing 2018 Twins season came to an end, Nick Nelson wrote up a set of five Must-Do’s for the Twins front office in this offseason. To this point, none of the five have happened, but to be fair, a couple of those things have not yet needed to be done. For me, if #3 is completed this offseason, I will call the offseason a success. 21. Is Paul Molitor the right man to lead the Twins? - June 18 While Paul Molitor was the easy choice or AL Manager of the Year in 2017, 2018 started out badly, and by mid-June, Nick Nelson penned this article wondering aloud if Molitor was the right choice for the Twins. There is no doubting Molitor’s intelligence and baseball IQ, along with his willingness to use new analytics and new thinking. Well, as we now know, soon after the completion of the season, the Twins announced that Paul Molitor had been fired. It was very interesting to me to see that the article announcing the Molitor dismissal barely made the Top 50 articles of the year at Twins Daily. Not sure I can really explain that. In the coming days, we’ll continue to count down the Top 30 most viewed Twins Daily articles of 2018. They are fun to look back at, to read what we wrote, and to read the comments of what people thought at that time. Hopefully you will enjoy this look back as we now look forward to 2019. Click here to view the article
  13. As the 2018 World Series is set to start tonight in Boston, indications would seem to be the the Twins are down to just a couple of final candidates for the next team manager. Twins bench coach Derek Shelton, Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde, and Rays Major League Field Coordinator Rocco Baldelli appear to be the favorites, though it is entirely possible that there are other candidates that we just aren’t hearing as much about. So instead of dissecting each candidate, let’s take a moment to consider what we, as fans, would want to see from the next Twins manager. What traits do you think are important, and why?Instead of regurgitating old, tired discussions about why the Twins needed to fire Paul Molitor (or Ron Gardenhire before him), let’s be a little more productive. Let’s not jump to hyperbole and automatically bash everything about the Twins brass. Like all of us, there is good and not-so-good in everybody. People have strengths and areas for improvement. What are the areas of strength that you find most important for a manager? So, for the sake of important, meaningful discussion, let’s limit this discussion to the manager role. Today, I’m going to post several qualifications that I think are either important for an MLB manager or that come up often in discussions. Feel free to discuss the qualifications in the comments, but mostly, use this article to start thinking about who you would like to see replace Paul Molitor. MANAGERIAL EXPERIENCE (BACKGROUND) Do the Twins need to hire someone with experience as a big league manager? If so, does it need to be a manager who has put together World Series championships, or could you consider a candidate who wasn’t good in his first manager job but meets many other requirements? (Note that none of the three men generally presumed to be the Twins finalists have any major league managerial experience.) How about minor league managerial experience, and if so, how much? Do you prefer a candidate who has been second-in-command in a winning organization, for instance, a respected bench coach? Can the candidate be a former player, or would the negate him as a possibility for you? While they probably couldn’t officially ask, does age factor into the decision? ANALYTICS This is one that people think that the Twins are so far behind on, but with Derek Falvey on board, it’s now known as an organization that embraces analytics. So what level of analytical skill or curiosity is enough, or maybe even too much? And how do you evaluate that? A manager may not always go by the analytic book. A manager has to go by the gut sometimes, based on factors that we as fans may not see or ever know about. Players need rest. Players may have other things going on. COMMUNICATION Which leads to a pretty important topic; how does the manager communicate? How should the manager communicate with the front office? How much voice should he have in the conversations about any number of topics? How should the manager communicate with his coaching staff? How should the manager communicate with the players? We often hear the term “lose the clubhouse.” That didn’t happen with Paul Molitor, but it is always a topic when a team loses. How much screaming and yelling do you want from a manager? Or do you prefer a manager be more laid back and professional in his communication? In other words, do you want someone with "fire in his belly" like Ron Gardenhire, or someone generally more calm and collected like Paul Molitor? While less important than the above, what would your expectations be for a manager with the media? Ron Gardenhire was great, gave good, fun answers, and often didn’t say much. Paul Molitor was terrific with the media as well, very smart and thoughtful in his responses. As fans, we want to know everything and we want to know the real reasons for whatever situation, but that’s not always best for the team. So, what would you want? PLAYER DEVELOPMENT How much input should the major league manager have in the development of philosophies on the minor leagues and player development? How can the manager be helpful in the transition from minor league baseball to the big leagues? How much of this is delegated to the coaching staff? How can a manager help players continue to develop once getting to the big leagues, and how do you evaluate that? Player development is rarely linear. For example. Miguel Sano came up in July of 2015 and played so well that he was named the Twins MVP. In 2016, he took a step backward. But then in 2017, he played well in the first half and was an All Star. And then he got hurt, and 2018 was a mess. How much of that is on the manager? Every manager (and hitting coach, and pitching coach) will have his successes and failures, so how should it be evaluated? BULLPEN USAGE Bullpen usage has been a topic as it relates to Ron Gardenhire and Paul Molitor. Both were often accused of not being very good at it. How do you expect bullpen arms to be used? How much usage is too much usage? How much negativity would come up when a top reliever is given an extra day off and a secondary reliever comes in instead and gives up a lead? But over the long haul, was it the right thing? How is it evaluated when there are only three or four reliable options in the bullpen? How do the manager and the pitching coach share responsibility in this? WINS AND LOSSES At the end of a day, Wins are what any manager will be evaluated by, right or wrong? What are the expectations for Win total in 2019, and how does that change if the Twins front office makes more July deadline deals, or if a couple of major contributors get hurt? How long are you giving a manager to ‘Win”? Two years? And does that mean winning an AL Central title, or are you talking about a playoff series, or even a game? Or, a World Series title? MISCELLANEOUS How do you define “Success” with the next manager? What should the clubhouse atmosphere be like under a new manager? What should the atmosphere between the manager and the front office personnel be? How does the managerial candidate feel about building from within? How does that manager candidate create a culture of accountability with his players, coaches and himself? Which current major league and minor league coaches would be let go, and who would you bring back? WHAT DO YOU THINK? All right, now it’s your turn? What are the most important qualities that a Manager can bring to an organization? I brought up a lot of topics, and how do you go about acquiring those kinds of players? Put yourself in the shoes of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine. You need to decide which manager will lead your vision. What does that look like, and how embodies that? Again, I appreciate this thread not turning into yet another negative, bashing thread, but instead, let’s be productive and each of us jot down our thoughts on what makes a good manager, and what type of candidate we would support for the Twins. Click here to view the article
  14. Instead of regurgitating old, tired discussions about why the Twins needed to fire Paul Molitor (or Ron Gardenhire before him), let’s be a little more productive. Let’s not jump to hyperbole and automatically bash everything about the Twins brass. Like all of us, there is good and not-so-good in everybody. People have strengths and areas for improvement. What are the areas of strength that you find most important for a manager? So, for the sake of important, meaningful discussion, let’s limit this discussion to the manager role. Today, I’m going to post several qualifications that I think are either important for an MLB manager or that come up often in discussions. Feel free to discuss the qualifications in the comments, but mostly, use this article to start thinking about who you would like to see replace Paul Molitor. MANAGERIAL EXPERIENCE (BACKGROUND) Do the Twins need to hire someone with experience as a big league manager? If so, does it need to be a manager who has put together World Series championships, or could you consider a candidate who wasn’t good in his first manager job but meets many other requirements? (Note that none of the three men generally presumed to be the Twins finalists have any major league managerial experience.) How about minor league managerial experience, and if so, how much? Do you prefer a candidate who has been second-in-command in a winning organization, for instance, a respected bench coach? Can the candidate be a former player, or would the negate him as a possibility for you? While they probably couldn’t officially ask, does age factor into the decision? ANALYTICS This is one that people think that the Twins are so far behind on, but with Derek Falvey on board, it’s now known as an organization that embraces analytics. So what level of analytical skill or curiosity is enough, or maybe even too much? And how do you evaluate that? A manager may not always go by the analytic book. A manager has to go by the gut sometimes, based on factors that we as fans may not see or ever know about. Players need rest. Players may have other things going on. COMMUNICATION Which leads to a pretty important topic; how does the manager communicate? How should the manager communicate with the front office? How much voice should he have in the conversations about any number of topics? How should the manager communicate with his coaching staff? How should the manager communicate with the players? We often hear the term “lose the clubhouse.” That didn’t happen with Paul Molitor, but it is always a topic when a team loses. How much screaming and yelling do you want from a manager? Or do you prefer a manager be more laid back and professional in his communication? In other words, do you want someone with "fire in his belly" like Ron Gardenhire, or someone generally more calm and collected like Paul Molitor? While less important than the above, what would your expectations be for a manager with the media? Ron Gardenhire was great, gave good, fun answers, and often didn’t say much. Paul Molitor was terrific with the media as well, very smart and thoughtful in his responses. As fans, we want to know everything and we want to know the real reasons for whatever situation, but that’s not always best for the team. So, what would you want? PLAYER DEVELOPMENT How much input should the major league manager have in the development of philosophies on the minor leagues and player development? How can the manager be helpful in the transition from minor league baseball to the big leagues? How much of this is delegated to the coaching staff? How can a manager help players continue to develop once getting to the big leagues, and how do you evaluate that? Player development is rarely linear. For example. Miguel Sano came up in July of 2015 and played so well that he was named the Twins MVP. In 2016, he took a step backward. But then in 2017, he played well in the first half and was an All Star. And then he got hurt, and 2018 was a mess. How much of that is on the manager? Every manager (and hitting coach, and pitching coach) will have his successes and failures, so how should it be evaluated? BULLPEN USAGE Bullpen usage has been a topic as it relates to Ron Gardenhire and Paul Molitor. Both were often accused of not being very good at it. How do you expect bullpen arms to be used? How much usage is too much usage? How much negativity would come up when a top reliever is given an extra day off and a secondary reliever comes in instead and gives up a lead? But over the long haul, was it the right thing? How is it evaluated when there are only three or four reliable options in the bullpen? How do the manager and the pitching coach share responsibility in this? WINS AND LOSSES At the end of a day, Wins are what any manager will be evaluated by, right or wrong? What are the expectations for Win total in 2019, and how does that change if the Twins front office makes more July deadline deals, or if a couple of major contributors get hurt? How long are you giving a manager to ‘Win”? Two years? And does that mean winning an AL Central title, or are you talking about a playoff series, or even a game? Or, a World Series title? MISCELLANEOUS How do you define “Success” with the next manager? What should the clubhouse atmosphere be like under a new manager? What should the atmosphere between the manager and the front office personnel be? How does the managerial candidate feel about building from within? How does that manager candidate create a culture of accountability with his players, coaches and himself? Which current major league and minor league coaches would be let go, and who would you bring back? WHAT DO YOU THINK? All right, now it’s your turn? What are the most important qualities that a Manager can bring to an organization? I brought up a lot of topics, and how do you go about acquiring those kinds of players? Put yourself in the shoes of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine. You need to decide which manager will lead your vision. What does that look like, and how embodies that? Again, I appreciate this thread not turning into yet another negative, bashing thread, but instead, let’s be productive and each of us jot down our thoughts on what makes a good manager, and what type of candidate we would support for the Twins.
  15. USA Today's Bob Nightengale is reporting that Minnesota Twins manager Paul Molitor has been fired and a press conference this afternoon has been scheduled to announce it. Molitor managed the Twins for four seasons, two of which they exceeded expectations and two of which they did not. They finished this year 78-84, a disappointment after making it to the postseason last year with an 85-77 record.The team's 2017 season earned Paul Molitor Manager Of The Year Award honors, and a winner for this last season has not yet been announced, meaning he is still the reigning Manager of the Year. But his position as the Twins manager has been in doubt each of the last three seasons. In 2016, the Twins dismal start led to the dismissal of General Manager Terry Ryan, which would often mean a change in manager as well. But Twins ownership announced that any new GM would need to retain Molitor as manager. Which, of course, meant that questions emerged during the 2017 season as to whether new CBO Derek Falvey and GM Thad Levine would retain Molitor after their inaugural season was over, especially since Molitor's contract would also conclude after the 2017 season. A strong finish in 2017 and the resulting Manager of the Year award convinced both sides to extend the contract through 2020, though the amount of the contract was not announced. This year's disappointing start led to a trade deadline selloff when the Twins were out of the race by mid-summer, but there had been very little speculation that a coaching change was imminent. Comments from the Twins: “I would like to thank Paul for his tremendous dedication to the Minnesota Twins over his last four years as manager of this club,” said Twins Executive Vice President, Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey. “Paul’s roots here run deep and his commitment to the organization, his staff, and the players is special. I have every hope and desire that he remains a part of this club for many years to come.” “The importance and contribution of Paul Molitor to the Twins, our community and Major League Baseball cannot be diminished,” said Twins Owner Jim Pohlad. “On behalf of our family, I offer thanks to Paul for his four years as Twins manager and look forward to the continuation of our relationship with him.” Comments from Paul Molitor: “I was informed today that the Twins will seek a new manager for the 2019 season and I fully respect that decision. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity they gave me to serve in the role as manager for these past four years. I’m going to consider their genuine offer to serve in a different capacity to positively impact the Twins from a different role. Special thanks to my coaches and players I have had a chance to manage and I certainly appreciate the tremendous support I received from all of Twins Territory.” Click here to view the article
  16. The team's 2017 season earned Paul Molitor Manager Of The Year Award honors, and a winner for this last season has not yet been announced, meaning he is still the reigning Manager of the Year. But his position as the Twins manager has been in doubt each of the last three seasons. In 2016, the Twins dismal start led to the dismissal of General Manager Terry Ryan, which would often mean a change in manager as well. But Twins ownership announced that any new GM would need to retain Molitor as manager. Which, of course, meant that questions emerged during the 2017 season as to whether new CBO Derek Falvey and GM Thad Levine would retain Molitor after their inaugural season was over, especially since Molitor's contract would also conclude after the 2017 season. A strong finish in 2017 and the resulting Manager of the Year award convinced both sides to extend the contract through 2020, though the amount of the contract was not announced. This year's disappointing start led to a trade deadline selloff when the Twins were out of the race by mid-summer, but there had been very little speculation that a coaching change was imminent. Comments from the Twins: “I would like to thank Paul for his tremendous dedication to the Minnesota Twins over his last four years as manager of this club,” said Twins Executive Vice President, Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey. “Paul’s roots here run deep and his commitment to the organization, his staff, and the players is special. I have every hope and desire that he remains a part of this club for many years to come.” “The importance and contribution of Paul Molitor to the Twins, our community and Major League Baseball cannot be diminished,” said Twins Owner Jim Pohlad. “On behalf of our family, I offer thanks to Paul for his four years as Twins manager and look forward to the continuation of our relationship with him.” Comments from Paul Molitor: “I was informed today that the Twins will seek a new manager for the 2019 season and I fully respect that decision. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity they gave me to serve in the role as manager for these past four years. I’m going to consider their genuine offer to serve in a different capacity to positively impact the Twins from a different role. Special thanks to my coaches and players I have had a chance to manage and I certainly appreciate the tremendous support I received from all of Twins Territory.”
  17. Today the Minnesota Twins announced that Paul Molitor will not be brought back as Manager in 2019. With two years remaining on his freshly signed three year deal, it may come as a surprise to some, but it really shouldn't. While it hasn't been a certainty that the Twins front office would make a change, the signs have been there for some time. Now with the opportunity to hire their guy, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine prepare for a pivotal offseason. Molitor was offered a three-year extension following the 2017 season. Despite looking like he would be let go last season, Molitor's Twins got into the playoffs and he earned a Manager of the Year award because of it. With the Manager of the Year award being loosely tied to surprise performances, it's not a huge shock he was the one voters selected. Had he missed the postseason however, the award likely lands elsewhere, and the three-year deal never gets done. Being brought back this season, it appeared that Minnesota's front office thought long and hard about the decision. He was not immediately re-upped last winter, and there was never any glowing indications of support from the top during the 2018 slate. While he was offered a three-year contract, a two-year deal after such a close decision for change likely would've looked like little more than a placeholder. Certainly there will be some Twins fans that can't wrap their head around guys like Brian Dozier and Eduardo Escobar being gone in the same season. Adding St. Paul native Paul Molitor to that list isn't going to do management any favors with that crowd. However, give the front office credit for not concerning themselves with those opinions. Making baseball decisions based on feelings or how an individual relates to an organization is a good way to quickly venture down a wrong road. At the end of the day, fans clamor for winning more than anything else, and being solely focused on that purpose is of the utmost importance. Embarking upon one of the most important offseasons in recent memory, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine will now begin with a managerial search. They are able to bring in someone of their choosing, and internal candidates such as Derek Shelton and Jeff Pickler could be waiting in the wings. The ties to Texas and Cleveland still reside in both, so Sandy Alomar or Jeff Bannister may be of some intrigue as well. I'm not sure where they turn, but I'm of the opinion that it will be a good source regardless. While there's been some in-season roster decisions I've found myself in disagreement with the front office, the vast majority of trades, acquisitions, and moves have been well executed. Although it's easy to mock a process that seems new or uncertain, it's also hard to really dig in and not see positive ripples reflecting throughout the system. Managers don't make an incredible impact during a Major League Baseball season, but Paul Molitor generally did less with more during games. He left opportunity on the table, and neither Byron Buxton or Miguel Sano truly developed under his tutelage. The organization wanting to get someone on staff that can take the big league club to new heights is a worthy ask. Now that Molitor is out, Falvine is in and it's on them to find who's next in charge. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  18. Paul Molitor grew up in St. Paul. He put in a great career at the University of Minnesota, because a high draft pick and had a Hall of Fame career. Joe Mauer grew up in St. Paul. He was the number one overall pick out of Cretin-Derham Hall in 2001, soared through the minor leagues and has had a career that should receive strong Hall of Fame consideration. There is speculation that Sunday could be the final game of Joe Mauer's career. Before the game Molitor was asked about managing Mauer and Mauer was asked about how Molitor has been a mentor to him.Joe Mauer still would not tip his hand, too much, on whether or not he will return for a 16th season with the Twins in 2019. While we have seen on-field celebrations this season for Victor Martinez and David Wright, Mauer says that he's going to take a little time for other things before making such a big decision. "I’m doing nothing for the first week, besides just hanging out with the girls. I made it a point not to do anything for at least the first week, and then go from there." His wife Maddie is due in mid-November with the couple's third child. (No, they aren't going to find out the gender ahead of time) And that's probably wise. Making that decision after a long career can't be easy. And making that decision at the end of a long 162-game season (plus spring training) when he likely is experiencing plenty of aches and pains isn't necessarily fair to himself either. Certainly he doesn't want to regret whatever decision he makes, so taking some time to do so is smart. Paul Molitor retired from baseball twenty years ago (on Friday), and he acknowledged that he went back and forth in his mind a few times on when the right time to retire was. In fact, he contemplated that decision before joining the Twins for the final three seasons of his career. Asked if he would provide Mauer with any advice as he contemplates his future, Molitor said, "He knows that I’m an available resource; I don’t know where on his list that will land. So, we have had some of those discussions about -- not where you get down to maybe actually listing pros and cons -- but I do think we’re all kind of guessing about the order of priority. You think about physical condition, the work to prepare to play. Family considerations. How much does he believe this team has a chance to win?" And Mauer says that he believes that the players in the Twins clubhouse have a lot of talent and can win. "We had meetings, and I was telling the guys that this is a good team, there’s a lot of talent in this room, so it’s been fun to see guys step up. Guys you probably wouldn’t think would get an opportunity in spring training, and they’ve responded." Mauer continues, "You can go up and down the lineup, there are guys who got an opportunity and have taken advantage." Mauer specifically mentioned Willians Astudillo and Jake Cave as guys who have taken advantage of their opportunities this year. Molitor spoke also of how Joe Mauer has been a leader in the clubhouse, a resource for teammates and hard working in the community. He said, "In doing this job, the rewarding part is being around the people and relationships, somewhat true to when you were a player. But Joe, you know, you think about who he was coming off the sandlots in St. Paul, and what he’s done at this level, and being the same guy -- the consistency, the humility -- sometimes people don’t understand just how competitive he is, his desire to win. There’s a lot of things that make managing him pleasurable." Such as? Molitor continued, "I think just the way he goes about his job, the way he handles his relationships with his teammates, the way he gives back to the community, you just couldn’t ask for a more complete package of integrity." The admiration certainly goes both ways. With some question on whether or not Paul Molitor will return as Twins manager, Mauer talked about playing for the 2017 Manager of the Year. "l have the utmost respect for Paul. I really enjoy playing for him and just being around him. I hope he’s here for a long time, as long as he wants to be here. he’s great. It’s hard to describe my feelings toward him. He’s a great baseball guy, a great person, and I really enjoy playing for him." However, when asked if his return could be tied to Molitor's return, Mauer said that he hadn't heard of that possibility. "That’s the first I’ve thought about it, I haven’t even processed that. Hopefully he’ll be back if he wants to be." If one thing is known, it's that there will be a lot of emotion on Sunday at Target Field. According to Molitor, "Don’t know where it’s going to go, but I do know there’s been a lot of emotion around this week, and rightfully so -- no matter what the future holds. Today will be a great day. I think that whoever comes out are going to be very observant and aware of the potential here, as well as the guys in the clubhouse.I told the players yesterday, ‘We’ve all learned something from Joe Mauer.’ It might be different person to person, player to player, but he teaches life lessons well by the way he lives." For Mauer, it's been a great week on the field but also with his teammates and more. "Yeah, the last couple of days have been a little emotional, but it’s been fun. Just the interactions I’ve had with people here. Just having conversations on personal levels, with people inside, fans, teammates, all sorts of people." There has been a lot of emotion on the field and in the Twins clubhouse this week, but this has also been emotional for a lot of Twins fans, especially those whose baseball fandom began around the mid-'00s when Mauer was beginning his career. He's got a lot of family and friends in attendance, for just in case it is his final game. Mauer said that he is planning on playing nine innings on Sunday, but one would think that if he gets on base in the later innings, there is a chance that he will be removed for a pinch runner. Or, since he is playing at first base today, he could run out to his position only to be removed before the beginning of an inning. That will be a special moment for everyone at Target Field and any Twins fan able to watch the game today. Click here to view the article
  19. Joe Mauer still would not tip his hand, too much, on whether or not he will return for a 16th season with the Twins in 2019. While we have seen on-field celebrations this season for Victor Martinez and David Wright, Mauer says that he's going to take a little time for other things before making such a big decision. "I’m doing nothing for the first week, besides just hanging out with the girls. I made it a point not to do anything for at least the first week, and then go from there." His wife Maddie is due in mid-November with the couple's third child. (No, they aren't going to find out the gender ahead of time) And that's probably wise. Making that decision after a long career can't be easy. And making that decision at the end of a long 162-game season (plus spring training) when he likely is experiencing plenty of aches and pains isn't necessarily fair to himself either. Certainly he doesn't want to regret whatever decision he makes, so taking some time to do so is smart. Paul Molitor retired from baseball twenty years ago (on Friday), and he acknowledged that he went back and forth in his mind a few times on when the right time to retire was. In fact, he contemplated that decision before joining the Twins for the final three seasons of his career. Asked if he would provide Mauer with any advice as he contemplates his future, Molitor said, "He knows that I’m an available resource; I don’t know where on his list that will land. So, we have had some of those discussions about -- not where you get down to maybe actually listing pros and cons -- but I do think we’re all kind of guessing about the order of priority. You think about physical condition, the work to prepare to play. Family considerations. How much does he believe this team has a chance to win?" And Mauer says that he believes that the players in the Twins clubhouse have a lot of talent and can win. "We had meetings, and I was telling the guys that this is a good team, there’s a lot of talent in this room, so it’s been fun to see guys step up. Guys you probably wouldn’t think would get an opportunity in spring training, and they’ve responded." Mauer continues, "You can go up and down the lineup, there are guys who got an opportunity and have taken advantage." Mauer specifically mentioned Willians Astudillo and Jake Cave as guys who have taken advantage of their opportunities this year. Molitor spoke also of how Joe Mauer has been a leader in the clubhouse, a resource for teammates and hard working in the community. He said, "In doing this job, the rewarding part is being around the people and relationships, somewhat true to when you were a player. But Joe, you know, you think about who he was coming off the sandlots in St. Paul, and what he’s done at this level, and being the same guy -- the consistency, the humility -- sometimes people don’t understand just how competitive he is, his desire to win. There’s a lot of things that make managing him pleasurable." Such as? Molitor continued, "I think just the way he goes about his job, the way he handles his relationships with his teammates, the way he gives back to the community, you just couldn’t ask for a more complete package of integrity." The admiration certainly goes both ways. With some question on whether or not Paul Molitor will return as Twins manager, Mauer talked about playing for the 2017 Manager of the Year. "l have the utmost respect for Paul. I really enjoy playing for him and just being around him. I hope he’s here for a long time, as long as he wants to be here. he’s great. It’s hard to describe my feelings toward him. He’s a great baseball guy, a great person, and I really enjoy playing for him." However, when asked if his return could be tied to Molitor's return, Mauer said that he hadn't heard of that possibility. "That’s the first I’ve thought about it, I haven’t even processed that. Hopefully he’ll be back if he wants to be." If one thing is known, it's that there will be a lot of emotion on Sunday at Target Field. According to Molitor, "Don’t know where it’s going to go, but I do know there’s been a lot of emotion around this week, and rightfully so -- no matter what the future holds. Today will be a great day. I think that whoever comes out are going to be very observant and aware of the potential here, as well as the guys in the clubhouse.I told the players yesterday, ‘We’ve all learned something from Joe Mauer.’ It might be different person to person, player to player, but he teaches life lessons well by the way he lives." For Mauer, it's been a great week on the field but also with his teammates and more. "Yeah, the last couple of days have been a little emotional, but it’s been fun. Just the interactions I’ve had with people here. Just having conversations on personal levels, with people inside, fans, teammates, all sorts of people." There has been a lot of emotion on the field and in the Twins clubhouse this week, but this has also been emotional for a lot of Twins fans, especially those whose baseball fandom began around the mid-'00s when Mauer was beginning his career. He's got a lot of family and friends in attendance, for just in case it is his final game. Mauer said that he is planning on playing nine innings on Sunday, but one would think that if he gets on base in the later innings, there is a chance that he will be removed for a pinch runner. Or, since he is playing at first base today, he could run out to his position only to be removed before the beginning of an inning. That will be a special moment for everyone at Target Field and any Twins fan able to watch the game today.
  20. Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) De Jong: 33 Game Score, 3.1 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 66.2% strikes (49 of 74 pitches) Home Runs: None Multi-Hit Games: Forsythe (2-for-5), Astudillo (2-for-4) WPA of 0.1 or higher: None WPA of -0.1 or lower: De Jong -.241 This pretty much sums it all up: https://twitter.com/BaseballByTom/status/1041157457744146433 Both Paul Molitor and third base coach Gene Gylnn were ejected after that play. Word came through later that they were both arguing the pitch should have been called a strike, that the batter didn’t pull back the bunt attempt soon enough. I've never seen Molitor more angry. He ended the confrontation by yelling "stupid, stupid, stupid" at the umpire. I'm sure he's been called worse, but it's pretty out of character for Molly to get so upset. Maybe he's feeling the heat ... There were other embarrassing moments in this one. Jake Cave lost a ball in the lights. Willians Astudillo made a boneheaded baserunning blunder, apparently forgetting how many outs there were. Chase De Jong made his second start for the Twins. It did not go well. He only lasted 3 1/3 innings and gave up five runs (three earned) on eight hits. The bullpen was brutal, as well. Zack Littell gave up four earned runs in his 2 2/3 innings, and was removed from this game due to an apparent injury. The Twins lineup tallied 11 hits and drew a couple walks, but could only come away with three runs. A big reason behind that was the only extra-base hit they got was a Joe Mauer double. The Twins will hope to avoid the four-game sweep at Kauffman Stadium tomorrow afternoon. Next Three Games Sun at KC, 1:15 pm CT: Kyle Gibson vs. Jakob Junis Mon at DET, 6:10 pm CT: TBD Tue at DET, 6:10 pm CT: Jake Odorizzi vs. TBD Last Three Games KC 8, MIN 4: OH THE HUMANITY!!! KC 6, MIN 4: Coming Down is the Hardest Thing MIN 3, NYY 1: Odorizzi Carries No-No Into 8th Inning
  21. The road woes continued for the Twins Saturday night as they stumbled through a sloppy game and took a beating from the Royals. The Twins are 43-31 in home games this season, but this loss dropped their road record to 24-50. They’re also now 4-10 so far in September.Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) De Jong: 33 Game Score, 3.1 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 66.2% strikes (49 of 74 pitches) Home Runs: None Multi-Hit Games: Forsythe (2-for-5), Astudillo (2-for-4) WPA of 0.1 or higher: None WPA of -0.1 or lower: De Jong -.241 Download attachment: WinChart915.png This pretty much sums it all up: Both Paul Molitor and third base coach Gene Gylnn were ejected after that play. Word came through later that they were both arguing the pitch should have been called a strike, that the batter didn’t pull back the bunt attempt soon enough. I've never seen Molitor more angry. He ended the confrontation by yelling "stupid, stupid, stupid" at the umpire. I'm sure he's been called worse, but it's pretty out of character for Molly to get so upset. Maybe he's feeling the heat ... There were other embarrassing moments in this one. Jake Cave lost a ball in the lights. Willians Astudillo made a boneheaded baserunning blunder, apparently forgetting how many outs there were. Chase De Jong made his second start for the Twins. It did not go well. He only lasted 3 1/3 innings and gave up five runs (three earned) on eight hits. The bullpen was brutal, as well. Zack Littell gave up four earned runs in his 2 2/3 innings, and was removed from this game due to an apparent injury. The Twins lineup tallied 11 hits and drew a couple walks, but could only come away with three runs. A big reason behind that was the only extra-base hit they got was a Joe Mauer double. The Twins will hope to avoid the four-game sweep at Kauffman Stadium tomorrow afternoon. Next Three Games Sun at KC, 1:15 pm CT: Kyle Gibson vs. Jakob Junis Mon at DET, 6:10 pm CT: TBD Tue at DET, 6:10 pm CT: Jake Odorizzi vs. TBD Last Three Games KC 8, MIN 4: OH THE HUMANITY!!! KC 6, MIN 4: Coming Down is the Hardest Thing MIN 3, NYY 1: Odorizzi Carries No-No Into 8th Inning Click here to view the article
  22. Seth Stohs I think he's doing fine. A manager's role in wins and losses is vastly overstated (wins or losses). As for the lineup, I'd say he does just fine. He mixes it up pretty well and isn't married to certain hitters in certain spots. Bullpen usage is where most find fault. I definitely think he has a tendency to overwork the reliable relievers which, practically, is understandable. But he will need to find a way to trust others to try to keep those top guys from wearing down. He's obviously well respected in the clubhouse, but I don't know what we can really comment on his role in there. We just don't know. A manager can't be at all places. In terms of analytics, he certainly has the people around him that will encourage it. This is an impossible question to answer with any certainty. Managers usually get too much credit when the team wins, and they get too much of the blame when things go bad. Tom Froemming I'd give him a D. We're not at the point where I'm demanding he be fired, but I definitely think the team would be better off with someone else running the show. I'm happy to see the Twins are bunting much less frequently this year, but I'm still depressed at how inefficiently the bullpen has been managed. There's also no shortage of strange lineup decisions. He seems to have no interest in providing opportunities for younger players and caters to the veterans far too often. I have a lot of respect for Paul Molitor. He's certainly knows more about baseball than I do, but expertise doesn't always translate to management. Cody Christie Expectations were high for the Twins heading into the 2018 season and things haven’t exactly gone as planned. Falvey and Levine seemed to have put together some strong pieces to build off of last season’s playoff run. However, no one could have predicted the lack of production from Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, and Brian Dozier. There’s little a manager can do if the team’s best players aren’t performing or aren’t even on the roster. I honestly think the front office will decided to go in a different direction this off-season. I believe Falvey and Levine are going to want to bring in someone younger that fits the mold of “being their guy.” They could give Molitor one more chance to see what he does with the club next year but Minnesota won’t have the likes of Sano and Buxton around forever. If the time isn’t now, when will it be? Overall grade, C- but he moves to a C+ with extra credit for AL Manager of the Year. Ted Schwerzler Molitor was put in a difficult position, but he also hasn’t done himself any favors. This front office likely would’ve hired their own guy had they not been mandated to do otherwise. He saved his skin by winning Manager of the Year in 2017, but he’s continued many of his poor habits this season. Bullpen usage has been questionable, in-game strategy leaves something to be desired, and lineup configuration has been head-scratching at times. Nothing he’s done has been egregious, but the sum of all parts seems average at best. It’s hard to gauge his relatability to this roster without being in the clubhouse, but I tend to believe there’re better options in that department. On a grading scale, I’d tag him with a C-. Regardless of his three-year deal, which did seem odd, I don’t know that Falvey and Levine won’t move on this winter anyways. Steve Lein I'll begin this one by pointing out the cliche that managers get too much of the credit for winning and too much of the blame for losing. The players hit, pitch, and play defense while managers really can only make personnel decisions and have situational influence. But that is where good managers can make their mark. As far as personnel decisions go, Molitor doesn’t get a passing grade from me. Overuse of bullpen pitchers has quite clearly affected their performance. Platoon advantages have not been utilized enough. At times I've thought it was like he's spinning a roulette wheel with players names on it to figure out the lineup order he'd throw out. The up and down records of his his teams during his tenure also tells me he may not have that special sauce that extracts the best out of most of his players consistently. That's one idea I do think the great managers accomplish. When it comes to the situational side during a game, outside of his use of the bullpen, I do think Molitor does well. He's embraced shifting on defense, I don't think they've done much bunting, and based on his Hall Of Fame playing career I know he’s seen it all. I trust him to make the correct decisions in that sense. Overall, I’d rank him around the middle of MLB managers, but his time is running out. SD Buhr This is really a tough question. Obviously, you can’t say Paul Molitor has been an incredibly good manager at this point, based on the results on the field, even though last season’s second half was certainly encouraging. But I’m not really sure you can lay the lack of success this season purely at his feet, either. While most of us were looking for a strong year as they prepared for spring training, I think if you’d have told us then that Polanco and Santana would each miss the entire first half of the season and Sano and Buxton would spend so little time on the active roster, our expectations might have been more muted. I’m not sure you can blame the manager for not winning more games when those major pieces were absent. Personally, I’d probably give him an overall grade of C+ and, based on that, I won’t really have any objection whether the front office decides to keep him around or bring in someone new. If you missed any of the most recent roundtable discussions, here are the links: Closing Time Prospect Promotions Hall of Fame Impact Baseball in 2028 Floundered
  23. There are a lot of similarities between Jim Thome and Joe Mauer, though they may not be obvious at first glance. Sure, Mauer has been mostly a singles and doubles hitter, batting for high average while Thome knocked over 600 home runs in his career. Mauer is long and lean while Thome is power-packed and burly. Hey, there’s a reason that the Paul Bunyan comparisons (and bobbleheads) have been made. But as Paul Molitor discussed the impact that Thome made in his brief time in Minnesota, it was natural for the conversation to swing toward Mauer and his accomplishments on and off the field. Jim Thome spent the 2010 season with the Twins and hit 25 home runs. In 2011, he played with the Twins until an August 25th trade sent him back to Cleveland. According to Molitor, Thome certainly made an impact. “He did. I think it’s to his credit that, although the time wasn’t very long, there was a bigger impact that maybe didn’t match up with the time.” Molitor continued, “What he did on the field was obviously impressive, added to his Hall of Fame credentials, but the influence he had on our group of young players. I remember in spring training, he’d go over to to the minor league fields to get extra at bats. Just the way he responded to those young kids and the example he set (provided an impact). He never took himself too seriously. It was always about enjoying the game and trying to make people around him better. It’s nice that we have the chance to honor him tonight.” But both Jim Thome and Joe Mauer are such nice people, caring people. Generally, they are quiet people as well. But don’t doubt their drive. Players don’t achieve as much as Thome and Mauer have in their careers without being extremely competitive and driven. Molitor noted. “I don’t think that you should be misled by the external demeanor or the fire of both of those guys. For a long time, I’d be asked ‘What’s Joe like in the clubhouse?’ He’s top shelf. You may not see it. He handles the ups and downs without the heavy outbursts. But even last night, in talking to his teammates, it was about staying in the moment and looking forward to come out today and trying to win a baseball game.” He noted that Mauer and Thome are strong leaders. “People define vocal. Vocal doesn’t mean volume.” Jim Thome’s career began in 1991 in Cleveland. At that time, Molitor’s Milwaukee Brewers were still in the American League. Then Molitor moved to the Blue Jays and ended his career with three years for the Twins. So, he saw a lot of Thome through the 1998 season when Molitor retired. Molitor noted that it’s been a long time, but he remembers Thome’s early years. “I remember him coming up as a third baseman. I’m not sure if I bunted on him somewhere along the way. You could tell early on. A guy who was exuberant on the field and played with passion and his power stuck out back then as a young player, maybe a little smaller version of the current Jim Thome. His run in Cleveland. Transition to first baseman. DH. Turned into one of the better power hitters of his generation.” In the same way that Thome had an impact on the field and in the clubhouse, Mauer still is having an impact. One way that he does that is providing a game ball after each Twins win. The ball doesn’t always go to the obvious choice. According to Molitor, “I think his biggest intent in getting up there is to make sure he recognizes all the little contributions. It’s not always about the two-run homer or the 7-inning shutout. It can be about a guy making a play or advancing a runner or battling with two strikes.” After the Friday night game when Mauer passed Rod Carew on the Twins all-time hit list, Molitor addressed the team following the game. “We took a moment. Talked about the history of the organization, how far back it goes, and over that span of time, Joe has more hits than anyone wearing this uniform than anyone else except one guy. It speaks a lot.” The Twins have stated publicly that they have not approached Mauer about a contract extension, and the Mauer side hasn’t reached out to them about his plans beyond 2018 when his contract ends and he can become a free agent. Mauer continues to do so much around the community. You may hear often about the work he and his wife Maddie do with the Gillette’s Childrens Hospital, but we have probably all heard stories of things that Mauer has done in the community which have never been made public. Mauer has been making an impact in the Twin Cities for a couple of decades. Jim Thome impacted this community for a couple of seasons. Both are Hall of Famers on and off the field.
  24. Joe Mauer had been given Wednesday afternoon off in Chicago. On Thursday night, the Twins returned home to Target Field and Mauer was back in the lineup, Mauer singled to tie Rod Carew for second on the Twins all-time hits list. On Friday, he executed a perfect hit-and-run for a single and hit #2,086, passing the great Carew. On Saturday night, the Minnesota Twins honored Hall of Famer Jim Thome in a pregame ceremony. Joe Mauer caught the ceremonial first pitch from his former teammate and then went out and added two more base knocks on his quest toward catching Kirby Puckett atop the Twins all-time hit list. Or just to end his season strong.There are a lot of similarities between Jim Thome and Joe Mauer, though they may not be obvious at first glance. Sure, Mauer has been mostly a singles and doubles hitter, batting for high average while Thome knocked over 600 home runs in his career. Mauer is long and lean while Thome is power-packed and burly. Hey, there’s a reason that the Paul Bunyan comparisons (and bobbleheads) have been made. But as Paul Molitor discussed the impact that Thome made in his brief time in Minnesota, it was natural for the conversation to swing toward Mauer and his accomplishments on and off the field. Jim Thome spent the 2010 season with the Twins and hit 25 home runs. In 2011, he played with the Twins until an August 25th trade sent him back to Cleveland. According to Molitor, Thome certainly made an impact. “He did. I think it’s to his credit that, although the time wasn’t very long, there was a bigger impact that maybe didn’t match up with the time.” Molitor continued, “What he did on the field was obviously impressive, added to his Hall of Fame credentials, but the influence he had on our group of young players. I remember in spring training, he’d go over to to the minor league fields to get extra at bats. Just the way he responded to those young kids and the example he set (provided an impact). He never took himself too seriously. It was always about enjoying the game and trying to make people around him better. It’s nice that we have the chance to honor him tonight.” But both Jim Thome and Joe Mauer are such nice people, caring people. Generally, they are quiet people as well. But don’t doubt their drive. Players don’t achieve as much as Thome and Mauer have in their careers without being extremely competitive and driven. Molitor noted. “I don’t think that you should be misled by the external demeanor or the fire of both of those guys. For a long time, I’d be asked ‘What’s Joe like in the clubhouse?’ He’s top shelf. You may not see it. He handles the ups and downs without the heavy outbursts. But even last night, in talking to his teammates, it was about staying in the moment and looking forward to come out today and trying to win a baseball game.” He noted that Mauer and Thome are strong leaders. “People define vocal. Vocal doesn’t mean volume.” Jim Thome’s career began in 1991 in Cleveland. At that time, Molitor’s Milwaukee Brewers were still in the American League. Then Molitor moved to the Blue Jays and ended his career with three years for the Twins. So, he saw a lot of Thome through the 1998 season when Molitor retired. Molitor noted that it’s been a long time, but he remembers Thome’s early years. “I remember him coming up as a third baseman. I’m not sure if I bunted on him somewhere along the way. You could tell early on. A guy who was exuberant on the field and played with passion and his power stuck out back then as a young player, maybe a little smaller version of the current Jim Thome. His run in Cleveland. Transition to first baseman. DH. Turned into one of the better power hitters of his generation.” In the same way that Thome had an impact on the field and in the clubhouse, Mauer still is having an impact. One way that he does that is providing a game ball after each Twins win. The ball doesn’t always go to the obvious choice. According to Molitor, “I think his biggest intent in getting up there is to make sure he recognizes all the little contributions. It’s not always about the two-run homer or the 7-inning shutout. It can be about a guy making a play or advancing a runner or battling with two strikes.” After the Friday night game when Mauer passed Rod Carew on the Twins all-time hit list, Molitor addressed the team following the game. “We took a moment. Talked about the history of the organization, how far back it goes, and over that span of time, Joe has more hits than anyone wearing this uniform than anyone else except one guy. It speaks a lot.” The Twins have stated publicly that they have not approached Mauer about a contract extension, and the Mauer side hasn’t reached out to them about his plans beyond 2018 when his contract ends and he can become a free agent. Mauer continues to do so much around the community. You may hear often about the work he and his wife Maddie do with the Gillette’s Childrens Hospital, but we have probably all heard stories of things that Mauer has done in the community which have never been made public. Mauer has been making an impact in the Twin Cities for a couple of decades. Jim Thome impacted this community for a couple of seasons. Both are Hall of Famers on and off the field. Click here to view the article
  25. The Minnesota Twins have seen some significant turnover in the past few years. From a new front office, to a handful of new faces in the dugout and on the field, the organization has assumed a significantly different shape. Over the course of all the changes, there's been lots of good momentum with regards to the direction of the franchise. In fact, it could be suggested that the front office has been near flawless in their personnel decisions. Near flawless comes with a caveat however, and that's the final phase. Heading into the offseason prior to the 2018 Major League Baseball season, Minnesota had plenty of opportunity. Coming off of a postseason berth, the arrow for the ballclub appeared to be pointing straight up. Given how much young talent filled the 25 man roster, spending to supplement that group finally made sense for the front office. With the opportunity in front of them, Derek Falvey and thad Levine performed admirably. Although Minnesota didn't and Yu Darvish, they were heavily involved on arguably the premiere player available. Pivoting to other assets, Falvey and Levine bolstered the bullpen and rotation, while also tacking on some help for an already imposing lineup. When the dust settle on the open market, there was no other conclusion to draw aside from the reality that the Twins hit a home run. In the offseason, Minnesota dominated. Fast forward to where we are today, and the Twins can look back on a season that lay in ruins. From top contributors falling flat, injuries coming at inopportune times, and key free agents giving the club little, the front office was pushed into sell mode. Making five separate deals, Falvey and Levine flipped four players who are set to be free agents at season's end. Two of those players were signed on one-year deals, making them either assets to a competitive team here, or beneficial trade chips to an organization in position to go for it. Knowing full well that those five players would head out of town leaving Minnesota nothing to show for them, the front office generated 12 new assets in exchange. Much like the offseason, the trade deadline was another effort that highlighted the ability of Minnesota's front office. This duo maximized opportunity, and continued to be a forward thinking collective that best positions the on-field product for future success. That leaves just one key area to examine, and it's part of where it all went wrong. What took place during the season itself? From an outsider's perspective it's hard to fully attribute what level of control each party has in roster decisions. While Derek Falvey and Thad Levine likely have ultimate rule, they've coined collaboration as their calling card since joining the club. With Paul Molitor in tow, there's little argument to be made that his voice doesn't carry some weight as well. It's in the way moves have been handled as a whole that leaves me scratching my head. It's hard to quantify what impact each decision has had on a wins and losses level, but there's no doubt in my mind that the bottom line has been impacted. Ryan LaMarre was given significantly more run than he should have been, Alan Busenitz hasn't been handled properly, Mitch Garver has experienced terrible playing time issues, and Matt Belisle remains among the worst signings across all of baseball this season. Although the more egregious examples, there's been plenty of other questionable hiccups along the way. You'd be hard pressed to argue that Paul Molitor's job wasn't entirely spared by winning Manager of the Year a season ago. He was never the choice of this front office, and has often looked inept when it comes to in game strategy. There's no evidence to suggest front office decisions have been made forcing Molitor to play with half of a deck, but the skipper seems insistent upon doing that to himself at times. As a collective, the front office and manager have done less with more on the field during 2018 and that's an issue needing to be addressed. Going into the offseason, it's a possibility that Molitor could find himself relieved of his duties. Whether or not that takes place, and it probably doesn't need to, the focus for 2019 needs to be upon executing the final phase of comeptition. While stacking the roster in your favor through free agency and development is ideal, promotion, selection, and delegation of playing time dictates how effective those efforts are. Getting the most out of the assets available to you is an area Minnesota must take a step forward in for the year ahead. There's plenty of blame to go around for the final phase, but it's also one that collaboration has a very real ability to address. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
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