• Bloodbath

    After approaching 100 losses in back-to-back seasons, the Twins clearly needed to make some changes. As we put it when introducing our Offseason Handbook yesterday, complacency was not going to be an option this winter.

    They wasted little time shaking things up, parting with their entire coaching staff save for pitching coach Rick Anderson and manager Ron Gardenhire in the very first day after the season came to an end.

    Bullpen coach Rick Stelmaszek, third base coach Steve Liddle and first base coach Jerry White were all told that their expiring contracts will not be renewed. Head trainer Rick McWane also is gone, which comes as no surprise given the iffy handling of injuries over the past couple years. Hitting coach Joe Vavra and bench coach Scott Ullger will be reassigned within the organization.

    For a team that has maintained remarkable field staff stability over the past decade, this is an enormous development. It's also warranted, because while I doubt that each departing coach was blatantly incompetent at his job, a change in clubhouse culture and a message that all this losing is not acceptable both were necessary.

    Some fans are already voicing frustration that Anderson and Gardenhire were left alone for the time being, given that the pitching staff was clearly the leading issue this year and ultimately the manager should assume responsibility for a team failure as miserable as we've seen.

    Yet, there have undeniably been challenging circumstances beyond the control of those two, and I think it's fair to say that they are on thin ice at this point. Gardenhire will almost certainly enter the next season as a "lame duck manager," with only one year left on his contract. The writing is on the wall that if things don't turn around, Gardy and his right-hand man are probably going to follow the rest of the coaching staff out the door.

    Personally, I'm OK with giving them both another chance, considering their strong track records prior to 2011. But it's refreshing to see the organization sending a strong message, and I'll be interested to see how the the vacant spots are filled (or the spots that open up in Rochester, assuming that Gene Glynn, Bobby Cuellar and Tom Brunansky are brought up as expected).
    This article was originally published in blog: Bloodbath started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 50 Comments
    1. IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
      IdahoPilgrim -
      I haven't bothered to sit down and look this up, but I have to wonder how many managers in the past have had consecutive 90-loss seasons and not been replaced.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Well, Tom Kelly, for one. Went through four straight 90-plus loss seasons from '97 to 2000 before turning things around in 2001 and then retiring.
    1. spideyo's Avatar
      spideyo -
      I think Bobby Valentine demonstrates exactly why they didn't fire Gardy and Anderson.

      All of our non-pitchers are under contract next year, and you have a core of pitchers they hope to build around. Replacing EVERYONE could easily create the kind of culture clash that caused toxicity in the Boston clubhouse.

      Not only that, but now Boston is going to be paying Bobby V 2.5 mill to NOT manage them next year. Do you really think TR wants to be on the hook for two managers salaries next year?

      Far better to send a strong message and then simply let the contract expire and have only a few new pieces to add.



      Also, is Mickey Hatcher still looking for a coaching job?
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by sbknudson View Post
      I haven't bothered to sit down and look this up, but I have to wonder how many managers in the past have had consecutive 90-loss seasons and not been replaced.
      I asked this on another thread. I do know of one for sure, and it illustrates the current problem. Tom Kelly. 97,98,99,00 (with loss totals of 97,92,97,93).
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by spideyo View Post
      I think Bobby Valentine demonstrates exactly why they didn't fire Gardy and Anderson.

      All of our non-pitchers are under contract next year, and you have a core of pitchers they hope to build around. Replacing EVERYONE could easily create the kind of culture clash that caused toxicity in the Boston clubhouse.

      Not only that, but now Boston is going to be paying Bobby V 2.5 mill to NOT manage them next year. Do you really think TR wants to be on the hook for two managers salaries next year?

      Far better to send a strong message and then simply let the contract expire and have only a few new pieces to add.



      Also, is Mickey Hatcher still looking for a coaching job?
      I was typing while you were posting. The example of Bobby Valentine is a poor one. He would not fit here, would never have been considered by ownership or management, and besides that, he would never have wanted to come here. How about Ron Washington or Mike Scoscia? Much better fits, who may both soon be looking for another job. With all the Latin players here or on the fast track to the majors, how about contacting Ivan Rodriguez for a coaching job? I bet Omar Vizquel would jump at a major league coaching job offer. There certainly have to be potential pitching coaches out there available that could give the Twins the fresh approach they so desperately need with all the young arms in the organization. Sign two FA pitchers that don't need a lot of hands-on attention and you've got yourself a change in the right direction back towards AL relevancy.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Justin Morneau is NOT happy at all with the decision to fire Joe Vavra, and I agree with him! Vavra has done the job. 2 MVPs. Mauer's batting titles. Willingham and Doumit's best seasons. Plouffe's emergence.

      Shipley article in the Pioneer Press:
      http://www.twincities.com/twins/ci_2...-joe-vavra-out

      "I had some good seasons in the minor leagues, obviously, but when my career really turned around was when he kind of took over," Morneau said. "It's one of those things you're disappointed to see."
      "I think he's one of the only coaches in the big leagues with multiple MVPs, batting titles, and we won team batting titles under him. We've had some great offensive teams, and he's meant a lot to me -- second to none."
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Vavra was not at all the problem. Anderson and Gardenhire are. Gardy's sticking around is one thing given his contract, but Anderson REALLY needs to go away.
    1. beckmt's Avatar
      beckmt -
      I think TR was admitting part of the issue was the amount of money to spend on draft picks under the old system and the fact the Twins had late first round picks and then had to watch the money for signability issues before the last couple of CBA's. Anderson seems to have gotten a pass due to starting rotation injuries and ineffectiveness(Blackburn, Marquis) from pitchers who have a lack of talent. I do not remember a modern era major league club that did not finish the year with a least one member of the starting rotation from spring training left, and I do not think those issues were all Anderson. I hope this is not a statement that the Twins do not intend to sign any FA starters from at least the middle group. That would set Gardy and Andy both up for failure, along with the front office, plus send the Twins into a downward attendence spiral that would be hard to reverse. I believe that TR had to find major league openings for Cuellar and Brunansky or probably lose both of them this winter. These moves will not mean a lot if not followed with some signings that will give hope to Twins fans for the next year. Due to BIll Smith the pitching cuboard is bare for another year or two at least, that needs to be fixed by trades or FA signings. I believe TR will explore both, but trades risky as they can be will be the way to fix the club. I only hope TR is as good as Billy Beane in talent evaluation.
    1. SarasotaBill's Avatar
      SarasotaBill -
      Off the subject - from ESPN's Keith Law

      What kind of numbers could Chris Parmelee put up in a full season? He seems to be a different player over the last year and a half. Make sense to trade Morneau and give him a shot?
      Klaw (2:09 PM)


      I am not a big believer in Parmelee or Plouffe, sorry. I don't think either guy is an average everyday player.
    1. Ex-Iowegian's Avatar
      Ex-Iowegian -
      I am curious about the Vavra (infield) and Ullger (outfield) pedigrees for their new positions. It lends itself to having one full time and one part time hitting coach if Vavra stays at the major league level, which is kind of unclear at this point. Probably too soon to tell.
      I agree that keeping Cuellar and Bruno may have had more to do with this than many will give credit. It will be fun to see who, if anyone, comes up from within the organization.
    1. SweetOne69's Avatar
      SweetOne69 -
      Quote Originally Posted by beckmt View Post
      I do not remember a modern era major league club that did not finish the year with a least one member of the starting rotation from spring training left, and I do not think those issues were all Anderson.
      Technically 1 starter from the opening day roster was still in the rotation at the end of the season. Liam Hendricks came North with the Twins because Marquis stayed behind due to his daughter's accident.
    1. SarasotaBill's Avatar
      SarasotaBill -
      Twins web site indicates Vavra and Ullger will be minor league instructors.
    1. Willihammer's Avatar
      Willihammer -
      edit: wasn't aware of the update
    1. Winston Smith's Avatar
      Winston Smith -
      Isn't this a little like going to the Dr and he says I have bad news you have brain cancer. But the good news is we can cure it by cutting off your arms and legs.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      I think Andy should have been let go. The re-assignment thing is really ridiculous. Get the guys out of the clubhouse. Vavra and Gardy would be the only 2 coaches I'd keep.
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      Pretty much the way it is in every war.

      The Generals and the Colonels (Gardenhire & Anderson) are pretty darn safe.

      The captains (Ullger & Vavra) are reassigned to positions further away from the battlefield.

      The lieutenants, corporals and privates (Stelly, White, Liddle, McWane) are dead.

      It is a ridiculous way to effect change in an organization.
    1. nokomismod's Avatar
      nokomismod -
      How much do you think the decisions on which coaches stay vs go had to do with TR talking with players to get their opinions? Would he take someone like Pavano or Mauer's opinions on the matter?
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Where are all the people complaining about how the medical staff is the problem and that nothing will be done about it?
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Just looked up a few but managers that have had back to back 90+ loses that weren't fired included Kelly, Torre, Mauch, Cox, Mack, Maddon, Pinella, Trembley, Hargrove, Torborg, Trammel, Houck, McNamara, etc
    1. J-Dog Dungan's Avatar
      J-Dog Dungan -
      Any bets about what Morneau's future will be with the team now that he has expressed disappointment with the team for getting rid of Vavra? Now accepting bets that Mornie will now be traded this offseason (although that might send the wrong message).
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