Minnesota Twins News & Rumors Forum
  • Twins Season Takes Another Dismal Turn

    Scott Diamond was going to be the carryover success from a 2012 rotation that completely imploded around him. Aaron Hicks was going to be the rookie phenom who served as the harbinger of the bright future ahead. The Twins, configured with a mixture of productive vets and talented youngsters, were going to be an improved club that alleviated the doubts formed by two straight years of utterly awful performance.

    The best laid plansÖ

    On Thursday, Twins Territory received perhaps its biggest gut punch of the season when Diamond and Hicks were both sent to Triple-A in the wake of an ugly sweep at the hands of the Royals.

    The general sentiment is that these demotions were long overdue. And who could argue? Diamond has barely resembled the pitcher he was last year, when he was a strike-throwing ground ball machine with a potent curveball. The distilled version we've seen in 2013 is not major-league caliber.

    And Hicks, while flashing promising power at times, generally seemed overmatched, and never found sustained traction. After raising his average to a season-high .205 with a 4-for-4 effort on July 8th, he sunk back into oblivion with a .152 average and 19-to-4 K/BB ratio in 75 plate appearances since.

    If you look in the right places, you can find points of positivity in these developments. Hicks is still only 23 and has plenty of time to mature into a quality hitter. The demotion will almost surely delay his service clock, giving the Twins an extra year of control. With a good month against Triple-A pitching he should be back in September, and he'll likely remain a strong bet to open up in the 2014 Twins outfield.

    It's a little tougher to see the bright side with Diamond. He walked a fine line last year as one of baseball's lowest strikeout pitchers, leaning on elite BB and GB rates to suppress opposing lineups. This year he has deteriorated in basically every way imaginable. His walks are up, his grounders are way down, and his already anemic K-rate has plummeted to an absurd depth. At 3.8 K/9IP, he is averaging a full strikeout per game less than the next lowest qualified big-league starter (Bartolo Colon is at 4.8).

    At 27, Diamond is hardly over the hill. He showed the skills last year to be a solid rotation piece -- albeit not a front man -- and it's hard to believe his drastic regression is not related to lingering elbow issues. Can he rebound and return to form? It's the same question being asked of his once-again teammate, Vance Worley, and unfortunately the answers are now as unclear as ever.

    To be sure, the Twins have had plenty of reaffirming successes in the minor leagues this year. Oswaldo Arcia, who will now get another animated hack at the majors after unleashing a merciless onslaught on International League pitching for a couple weeks, is one that stands out. Andrew Albers, whose expected promotion is well deserved after a thoroughly impressive season in Rochester, is another nice story with potential dividends.

    But until we see some of these favorable outcomes play out in the majors, it's tough to feel any measure of satisfaction. As things stand, the Twins appear headed toward a third straight 90-loss season and the signs of progress on the field have been painfully few.
    This article was originally published in blog: Twins Season Takes Another Dismal Turn started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 109 Comments
    1. tjsyam921's Avatar
      tjsyam921 -
      I cant believe Hicks made it this far into the season hitting under .200 before being demoted. I just hope he comes around. Defense is good, base stealing could improve, power is good if he gets more contact, but he needs the average to climb for sure.
    1. Bark's Lounge's Avatar
      Bark's Lounge -
      To me the biggest gut punch of the season was demoting Arcia and Parmelee. After being swept by the Royals - it is not surprising some changes were made.

      Many, including myself, have championed Hicks this season, but at this point, sending him down for a month to retain his services for an extra year sounds like a great plan to me. In a perfect world, Hicks would have won ROY and the Twins would have finished at around .500.

      Diamond on the other hand, might be a poor man's Allan Anderson. I appreciate the season he gave us last year, but at this point, I do not expect anything more from him from this point forward. If he returns and is a success - Great! If he never returns again, and this is the last we hear from him - It will not uproot my peace of mind.

      I am glad Arcia is back. We really need his bat in the line-up. Hell, he will probably strike out a lot. It's not like everyone else who plays consistently hasn't been doing that.

      Hopefully Parmelee is a soon to follow call up.
    1. troyhobbs's Avatar
      troyhobbs -
      Even w/ the low expectations the Twins have managed to disappoint. They need to sign some big free agents this off season. Hoping everything works out in 2016 is not a good strategy and sucks for Twins fans that want to follow baseball past June
    1. Badsmerf's Avatar
      Badsmerf -
      Gut punch? More like exhaling after being gut punch for the whole season by these two. Hicks would have the 6th lowest OPS in all of qualified starters in baseball (if he qualified) and Diamond is one of the worst 5 starters in baseball. These guys just have no business being on an MLB roster right now.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Badsmerf View Post
      Gut punch? More like exhaling after being gut punch for the whole season by these two. Hicks would have the 6th lowest OPS in all of qualified starters in baseball (if he qualified) and Diamond is one of the worst 5 starters in baseball. These guys just have no business being on an MLB roster right now.
      Correct. I said as much, did I not? The fact that these demotions were warranted doesn't make them any more pleasant. It's a crappy situation.
    1. Major Leauge Ready's Avatar
      Major Leauge Ready -
      Quote Originally Posted by troyhobbs View Post
      Even w/ the low expectations the Twins have managed to disappoint. They need to sign some big free agents this off season. Hoping everything works out in 2016 is not a good strategy and sucks for Twins fans that want to follow baseball past June
      With the exceptionof Houston, the three teams with the lowest payrolls in baseball are the best teams in the MLs. Houston is going to be very good but they will have to go through the rebuilding process which takes time, just like the twins.

      The answer is not overpriced FAs, especially for a team in the middle of the pack revenue wise. The model for the Twins is not the Yankees, Red Sox or Angels. It is a version of the Rays and As where they are able to hold on to some of thier stars instead of trading them away before they hit free agency.
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      I didn't have high expectations for this season so I'm not sure anything would feel like a gut punch but I don't find Hicks and Diamond to be the biggest disappointments of the season.

      Hicks was making the jump from AA -- we knew that it would be difficult. While Diamond's struggles are disappointing, they are not totally surprising -- there were plenty of people who cautioned over the winter that he might not repeat last year's performance.

      For me, its much more disheartening to see a coaching staff that doesn't change (and parrots the same old, same old all the time); a front office that doesn't change (and misled the fans last winter about this team's expectations -- and, more scary than that, may have mislead THEMSELVES over the team's expectations); a Josh Willingham who is MIA; a Justin Morneau whose power is MIA; a Ryan Doumit whose performance is in the doldrums; a Trevor Plouffe who hasn't shown any offensive improvement from last year; a starting pitching staff that is generally as bad as we expected, etc., etc., etc.

      At this point, I feel a kind of resigned acceptance of how bad the Twins are. The problem is that although I see the talent in the minor leagues, I'm not sure that they will be able to make the transition and more than that, I don't have any faith that the Twins will handle them appropriately as they make that transition. And despite the wealth of talent, I still don't see where good to excellent major league pitching will come from.

      It's not a gut punch, I'm just discouraged.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Just a couple of thoughts:

      1.) Another example of why jobs should really not be up for grabs in spring training, at least not when still-young players are involved. Hicks had a great spring, and did everything to earn the job... in spring. But the regular season is different.

      2.) Thought removal of bone chips is generally considered pretty minor, and it is, Diamond, Worley and Hendriks all had trouble in their returns from that surgery. Diamond's down-and-in-on-righties slider just wasn't as sharp this year as it was last year. Maybe they needed to allow more time for recovery...???

      Second guessing sure is easy, isn't it?
    1. troyhobbs's Avatar
      troyhobbs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Major Leauge Ready View Post
      With the exceptionof Houston, the three teams with the lowest payrolls in baseball are the best teams in the MLs. Houston is going to be very good but they will have to go through the rebuilding process which takes time, just like the twins.

      The answer is not overpriced FAs, especially for a team in the middle of the pack revenue wise. The model for the Twins is not the Yankees, Red Sox or Angels. It is a version of the Rays and As where they are able to hold on to some of thier stars instead of trading them away before they hit free agency.
      They don't need over priced players per say, but ones that are good at baseball would certainly help
    1. Pitz's Avatar
      Pitz -
      Quote Originally Posted by Bark's Lounge View Post
      In a perfect world, Hicks would have won ROY and the Twins would have finished at around .500.
      In a perfect world, the Twins finish around .500. What else can be said?
    1. Ghost of Sid Hartman's Avatar
      Ghost of Sid Hartman -
      Quote Originally Posted by Major Leauge Ready View Post
      With the exceptionof Houston, the three teams with the lowest payrolls in baseball are the best teams in the MLs. Houston is going to be very good but they will have to go through the rebuilding process which takes time, just like the twins.

      The answer is not overpriced FAs, especially for a team in the middle of the pack revenue wise. The model for the Twins is not the Yankees, Red Sox or Angels. It is a version of the Rays and As where they are able to hold on to some of thier stars instead of trading them away before they hit free agency.
      Actually, a better model for the Twins would probably be the Cardinals - midsize market (StL is actually smaller I believe), payroll in the middle of the pack, built mainly through the farm system...one large difference is the ability/willingness of St. Louis to sign the FA they acquire on a rental basis after parting with highly thought of prospects/young MLB ready players (Holliday and Rasmus come to mind as recent examples, although obviously not part of the same transaction). While I can understand the lack of the this type of activity from the front office currently, as they are obviously at a trough in the cycle the last transaction I can recall that would fit this mold was the Shannon Stewart trade/signing. Perhaps Luis Castillo. *sigh*
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      Every organization should strive to emulate the Cardinals. They have maintained a very good farm system for many years without high picks. Some of the credit for their player development success goes to Jeffrey Luhnow who joined the Astros before 2012. With the help of two high picks and trades he has turned the dismal Astros farm system into one of the best in baseball. It will be interesting to see how important he was to the Cardinals success.

      The Twins have a good farm system. They need to develop those assets and keep adding to the talent. They need to have patience as those players struggle as they move up to the majors.
    1. LastOnePicked's Avatar
      LastOnePicked -
      Quote Originally Posted by JB_Iowa View Post
      For me, its much more disheartening to see a coaching staff that doesn't change (and parrots the same old, same old all the time); a front office that doesn't change (and misled the fans last winter about this team's expectations -- and, more scary than that, may have mislead THEMSELVES over the team's expectations)
      This is as good as it can be said. While a few of the faces may have changed, the team's culture seems exactly the same. I don't harbor much hope for our highly-touted prospects if they're entering an organization that cannot develop talent.

      There will be no free agent signings, and there's no reason to think that Ryan, Gardenhire or any of the staff will be changing going forward. Jim Pohlad has the personnel he wants, and seems to have very little interest in the team overall (I'm still puzzled that, during the height of the trade deadline, Pohlad admitted that he hadn't talked to his GM for nearly two weeks!).

      I think 2013 is going to look an awful lot like the foreseeable future for this club. I hope I'm wrong, but I think the Twins will be the AL version of the 2000-2010s Pittsburgh Pirates. Stagnant, mismanaged, and hardly worth watching.
    1. Winston Smith's Avatar
      Winston Smith -
      We are now 20 years into the Ryan/Smith era and 12 years with gardy and we have one playoff series win and working on a 174-255 record the last 3 yrs. Maybe just maybe it's time for some new blood.
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      The problem is letting players walk...even those down the line like a Joe Benson. Evaluating your own talent and doing something, anything with them before they implode or say "screw it, I'm taking a paycheck elsewhere" is what is hurting the Twins. They are often good at evaluating discards, but still...this season they signed dozens of minor league free agents. How many truly stuck. Same as last year, which was -- I admit -- a bonanza for guys that did stick beyond a year. You make and keep the core of a team from season to season. You supplement it by signing a free agent or two. You bring in heatfelt reserves to fill out minor league rosters with guys that could contribute short-term due to injury. You work with as little as 1-3 guys a season who actually will break the major league roster, not necessarily that first year but in subsequent years. You don't suddenly bring up prospects that make a team overnite. And if you have guys that may walk (Cuddyer, Kubel, Nathan) you start dealing. When guys have a career year (Young, Willingham) you look at the deal. That is the success of organizations like the Rays and the A's. Seriously, how many guys on the 40-man will be on the 40-man in two years. How many hot commodities do the Twins have in the system that will break in and shine in 2014, or is it 2015, or will it be 2016 before a half-dozen guys actually hold a place on the current team roster. You can throw money at free agents, but no one wants to play for a rebuilding team unless the money is huge...and there's always some other team on the cusp that can dole out huge dollars for the same services.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by Winston Smith View Post
      We are now 20 years into the Ryan/Smith era and 12 years with gardy and we have one playoff series win and working on a 174-255 record the last 3 yrs. Maybe just maybe it's time for some new blood.
      It's all Smith's fault :-)
    1. roger's Avatar
      roger -
      Yesterday's game was ugly and it was uglier in person!

      I expect Hicks would have been sent down earlier had either Mastroianni or Ramirez been available. Both are rehabbing in games now and expect one will be back in a week or so.

      I agree with Seth regarding the elbow surgery. Not certain that 'minor cleanups' for Diamond, Worley and Hendriks isn't having a major effect on their seasons. Can we expect better from one or two of the three next year?

      But the disappointment this year has to be the play of Doumit, Willingham, Morneau and Plouffe. I know a lot of you will be critical of anyone who defends Mr. Ryan, but no way could he have foreseen that all four of these would be huge disappointments this year. Maybe not quite as good as last year...but all four this bad? As Jim Souhan wrote today, they were at the trading deadline and 'nobody' wanted their players. Ugggh!
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by roger View Post
      But the disappointment this year has to be the play of Doumit, Willingham, Morneau and Plouffe. I know a lot of you will be critical of anyone who defends Mr. Ryan, but no way could he have foreseen that all four of these would be huge disappointments this year. Maybe not quite as good as last year...but all four this bad?
      When it comes to position players, I think that's fair. Completely fair. What I will point out though is that Dayton Moore also couldn't expect almost all of his position players to take a dump this year on offense as well, but he has gotten slammed on here for making moves on the pitching front to go for it this year. Apparently he had to envision 6, 7 of his up and comers all would take steps back as they have done instead of taking steps forward (or at least sideways). Many of the people criticizing him, staunchly defend Ryan. So it's interesting, since, in three-five years, we'll likely be in KCs same shoes they were in this offseason.

      What could be predicted though, was how bad our starting pitching would be.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by roger View Post
      But the disappointment this year has to be the play of Doumit, Willingham, Morneau and Plouffe.
      They have been disappointing, to be sure, but with the possible exception of Plouffe none were expected to be integral parts of the team's ongoing rebuild so I don't find their performances quite as worrisome.
    1. Brandon's Avatar
      Brandon -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      Just a couple of thoughts:

      1.) Another example of why jobs should really not be up for grabs in spring training, at least not when still-young players are involved. Hicks had a great spring, and did everything to earn the job... in spring. But the regular season is different.

      Second guessing sure is easy, isn't it?
      Seth, I have to disagree with this quote. Jobs should be up for grabs in spring training. A smart team will have another option in case the player can't sustain success but the offseason is a great way to plan and ensure there is a plan B in these scenarios. In this instance our plan B "Mastroianni has been hurt all season.
©2014 TwinsCentric, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Interested in advertising with Twins Daily? Click here.