• Character vs. Production

    In their blockbuster trade with the Blue Jays earlier this week, the Marlins acquired a player who has been discussed in some circles as a potential target for the Twins: Yunel Escobar.

    The 30-year-old shortstop is coming off a rather tumultuous year in Toronto, but there's no denying that he's got some legitimate talent, which has been in short supply at the shortstop position here in Minnesota.

    Interestingly, the Marlins won't be using Escobar at short; instead they'll plug in young Adeiny Hechavarria, also acquired in the deal. The plan for now is to shift Escobar over to third, but Miami is reportedly open to flipping him and his $5 million salary.

    If he's available at a reasonable price, the Twins would have to at least consider. With a .282/.353/.390 career hitting line and very solid defense, he would represent a clear upgrade at a very problematic position, and he's under team control at a reasonable price through 2015. However, acquiring him also might require the Twins to go against their long-standing philosophy of focusing on character and clubhouse chemistry. I haven't met Yunel Escobar personally so I can't say with certainty that he's a bad dude, but he has a reputation as a malcontent and it didn't help that this season he was suspended for having hateful, homophobic language painted on his face during a game.

    Perhaps the Twins should welcome an opportunity to shake up their standards. By all accounts, the teams of the last two seasons have been filled with nice guys, but nevertheless the results were lousy. Maybe it's time for this front office to start focusing solely on production and on-field value, while dealing with auxiliary issues as they come up.

    Does Escobar provide enough on-field value to make pursuing him worthwhile? That's a very fair question in light of his performance this year. But as Terry Ryan and Co. make their evaluations, I hope they won't rule him out simply because of attitude problems. It's time to start prioritizing the quality of the product on the field over the climate in the locker room.
    This article was originally published in blog: Character vs. Production started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 61 Comments
    1. Ultima Ratio's Avatar
      Ultima Ratio -
      Quote Originally Posted by snepp View Post
      The Twins already possess an abundance of chemistry, it would be swell to balance that out with a little more talent.
      Post of the day! Good on you!
    1. OldManWinter's Avatar
      OldManWinter -
      Snepp, you can have both!
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by snepp View Post
      Talent does matter.
      More than anything else. Winning teams tend to form "chemistry" by, you know, winning.
      Exactly...the As in the early-mid 70s were a bunch of jerks...they were always at each other's throats...
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      Quote Originally Posted by OldManWinter View Post
      Snepp, you can have both!

      In a perfect world, yes. But as Brock pointed out, talented teams have the tendency to build chemistry through winning. Talent isn't something that's going to grow on its own no matter how much chemistry you have.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      I would think that if good guys lead to better teams, you would see that in their production...otherwise, how is the team better with them there?
    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      Quote Originally Posted by OldManWinter View Post
      Snepp, you can have both!
      But it starts with talent.
    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      Quote Originally Posted by TK10 View Post
      These guys have to live together for 220 days a year. Attitude matters and someone who's a terrible human being will kill your team. Also, acquiring an avowed homophobe, in a market that just rejected adding homophobia to its state constitution, would really help the Twins acquire and keep the vital 20something demographic.

      I posted this during a different discussion on Yunel, it 's a worthwhile read on cultural differences and being a product of your environment.

      It's also from a perspective entirely outside of baseball , which is why it's void of the usual rhetoric on such matters.

      http://www.theglobeandmail.com/comme...rticle4582951/
    1. OldManWinter's Avatar
      OldManWinter -
      Every player in MLB has a wealth of talent. The intangibles separate them. I stand by finding good character
    1. Ultima Ratio's Avatar
      Ultima Ratio -
      Quote Originally Posted by OldManWinter View Post
      Every player in MLB has a wealth of talent. The intangibles separate them. I stand by finding good character
      Ridiculous.
    1. notoriousgod71's Avatar
      notoriousgod71 -
      Quote Originally Posted by OldManWinter View Post
      Snepp, you can have both!
      Quote Originally Posted by OldManWinter View Post
      Every player in MLB has a wealth of talent. The intangibles separate them. I stand by finding good character
      Nick Punto > Ty Cobb
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      Drew Butera > Barry Bonds
    1. twinswon1991's Avatar
      twinswon1991 -
      The Twins actually won something back when their leader was an absolute SCUM of a human being. We would all take 25 losers like Kirby Puckett with HOF talent over Gardy's collection of yes-men.

      Bring in more Puckett's please!!!!!!!!!!!
    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      Quote Originally Posted by OldManWinter View Post
      Every player in MLB has a wealth of talent. The intangibles separate them. I stand by finding good character
      Some have more talent than others, they're the ones at the top of the stat line. Where do you find the character stats? What are the metrics?
    1. OldManWinter's Avatar
      OldManWinter -
      You want Bonds snepp? In the first place I never expected we load up with players who can't play. My opinion was and is that untrustworthy players will let you down when you need them. Sabremetrics for character ??? Probably a good place to start is a police blotter
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by OldManWinter View Post
      You want Bonds snepp? In the first place I never expected we load up with players who can't play. My opinion was and is that untrustworthy players will let you down when you need them. Sabremetrics for character ??? Probably a good place to start is a police blotter
      Police blotters don't necessarily pick up on clubhouse cancers or bad attitudes. It's certainly fine to take character into consideration as a red flag, the problem is when you make pristine character a necessity that trumps talent as the Twins seem to do.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      The discussion doesn't have to be about extreme examples... I'm not advocating a team full of choir boys who spend their days helping old ladies cross busy intersections nor am I dismissing a player who shoots meth into his eyeball and spits on girls scouts. Yunel Escobar could paint kill puppies under his eyes and I wouldn't care. He could paint riverbrian sucks in flashing neon and I wouldn't care.

      I care about what kind of player he is... Does he compete? From what I understand... He doesn't!!!

      Yunel Escobar has talent and he has been run off two teams and the SS position is a position of need for a bunch of MLB teams. He doesn't produce enough to be worth it. Here's a blog to check out.

      http://blogs.ajc.com/mark-bradley-bl...-yunel-escoba/

      I don't know if this Mark Bradley is an idiot... He might be... I might be... But there are more articles like this from others... I watched Braves games and heard the announcers make comments about his lack of hustle.


      You can't find as many on Drew but you had an owner calling him out this summer for not being a team player and that freaks me a little. Yes the owner could be an idiot.

      In a nutshell... No more Delmon Young type players please... We all remember Delmon don't we? And spend the flipping money on pitching.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      One more thing for full disclosure... I have no idea what kind of Twins we have on our current roster... The Beloved Joe Mauer could be the very player I'm describing... I don't know... I could eyeball it with Delmon and I could eyeball it with Valencia...

      It is my belief that we won't know what kind of Twins team we truly have until the pitching gets closer to league average. When the pitching matches up with opposing pitchers and the games become battles... That when we will find out what we are made of,

      Teams generally don't make public comments about the players because I assume it makes it hard to unload them and if they can't unload them it makes their attitudes worse.

      So when you hear a team publicly slap a player... Like Drew and Escobar... It's pretty rare and speaks to a high frustration level. You can also be certain that it wasn't a first time offense.
    1. Jim H's Avatar
      Jim H -
      One of the problems here is that the term "character issues" covers a wide variety of problems. It can be A J type problems where an abrasive personality is the underlining issue. Or the problems can center around achohol or drugs. Or it could be dedication issues such as being on time, doing the necessary work, etc. Or various combinations of other things. Unless the character issues appear on a police blotter, it is seldom in the club's best interests to make any of this too public.

      That is the problem here, nobody here is likely to have a very good handle on exactly what the character issues surrounding Escobar or Drew, are. My guess is that the Twins, if they were interested in either one, would do their due diligence. I certainly would not like to make a guess on whether it would be a good move to try to acquire either one.

      One other thought on this talent vs character debate. Some players perform much more consistently closer to their ultimate talent level than others. I don't know how much that has to do with character, but if you consistently perform at certain level, that can be much more useful than someone who sometimes produces at a very high level but at times doesn't accomplish much.

      Tom Kelly uses to say that all players "gave away at bats" during the course of a season. I want to be careful in interpretting what he meant by that, but I assume it was important to him that his players did not give away at bats very often. Again, I don't know that character directly enters in here, but people who prepare well, do their work professionally, take their profession seriously, probably have a better chance of performing to their skill level on a regular basis.
    1. OldManWinter's Avatar
      OldManWinter -
      JimH, yes character issues are indeed a slippery slope causing so much hair splitting.

      Suffice to say I much prefer talented players with the grit needed to do well and become part of the team.

      I do not prefer Twins load up on Mannys-being-Manny types who may not care to contribute that day.

      Saying I do not like those players to build with I will grudgingly admit that ... with two out in the 9th, men on, win or go home that a team is a whole lot better off with Manny next up than Butera or Punto.

      The right intangibles make a big difference.
    1. Teddy's Avatar
      Teddy -
      Sal Butera > Drew Butera
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