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  • Pros and Cons: Picking the Twins Clubhouse Leader

    With Justin Morneau's exit from the club in the last week, the Twins are searching for someone to take over his leadership role in the clubhouse. This seems to be a recurring theme for the Twins in recent years as the club shifts away from veteran leadership to a more youthful roster.

    A couple years ago Michael Cuddyer and Joe Nathan were considered among the team's strong voices and both players left in free agency. Morneau filled the void left by Cuddyer and it seemed like a smooth transition from the outside looking in.

    There probably won't be a breaking news story to say who takes on more leadership behind the closed doors of the Twins clubhouse. For fans, it might be more of a talking point in a season that seems to be heading for another 90 losses.

    Here are just a few of the names that will be asked to take on more leadership this season and next. There are pros and cons with each player so it will be interesting to see who becomes the new voice of the Twins.

    Joe Mauer, Catcher
    Pros: He is the highest paid player and the face of the franchise so it makes sense for him to be the leader of the clubhouse. Mauer is a quiet but he has been known to approach younger players when something doesn't go right on the field. In the past, he has been a leader because of his strong play on the field. He leads by example and this can be very beneficial to future Twins players.

    Cons: Since Mauer is a catcher, he can be very busy with his catching related duties. There are extra meetings for him to confer with the pitching staff and he spends time studying video to learn more about opposing hitters. This is all time where he is not in the clubhouse with the other players. Injuries have also forced him to miss time and he can't be a leader if he isn't traveling with the team.

    Glen Perkins, Closer
    Pros: Much like Joe Nathan before him, Perkins can become a leader because of his importance to the bullpen. The Twins have him signed for multiple years and beyond Mauer, he is the longest tenured Twins player. He came up through the Twins organization with a few bumps and bruises but he found a way to be successful at the big league level. His involvement in the community continues to grow and this is an example for other players to follow.

    Cons: Since Perkins is a relief arm, he spends time during the game out in the bullpen. This keeps him from being able to speak to non-pitchers on the bench for different parts of the game. Also, he isn't an everyday player so his impact on a daily basis might not always be seen on the field. He has only been a full-time closer for the current season so he might not have built up the respect he needs.

    Brian Dozier, Second Baseman
    Pros: He is in the midst of a breakout season and this has helped him become a leader on the field. Media members have cited him as always being available after tough losses as well as wins. tough. During his minor league career he showed some leadership skills and this seems to be translating to his big league career. Dozier has been performing with his bat and his glove and this can help him continue to gain respect in the locker room.

    Cons: While Mauer and Perkins have been with the club for multiple seasons, Dozier is still relatively new to the scene. He has less experience and less of a track record than the two names mentioned above. There are also some questions about how long he will be with the team. Eddie Rosario is slowly working his way to the big leagues and he plays the same position as Dozier. Right now, it looks like Dozier could stay at second for multiple years but it is hard to know what the future will bring.

    Josh Willingham, Outfielder
    Pros: Throughout his career, Willingham has played with multiple organizations and he has seen what leadership means to different teams. He is the oldest player on the team and his experience is well-respected by the younger players around him. His monster season last year gave him respect on the field and he has tried to play through some tough injuries this season. Younger players can approach him for advice on a multitude of topics since he has spent time playing in both leagues.

    Cons: There is only one year remaining on his contract with the Twins and the team could trade him at some point in the coming year. Much like Mauer, he is a quiet leader so sometimes it is tough to notice the work he is doing for the clubhouse. His play has fallen off this year and he has missed time because of injuries. If a player isn't on the field or even with the club, it can be tough to build rapport in the locker-room.
    This article was originally published in blog: Pros and Cons: Picking the Twins Clubhouse Leader started by Cody Christie
    Comments 10 Comments
    1. 70charger's Avatar
      70charger -
      I think Mauer is the clear choice here, despite his quieter style. I wonder if you expanded it to include some of the up and comers who would emerge? It seems like Miguel Sano wouldn't be shy about speaking his mind, for example.
    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      Funny, this topic crossed my mind watching the game last night. I believe Mauer's absence represents a great opportunity for Dozier to develop a leadership role with the team and I get a sense he's doing that. His play in the field and at the plate has been very good and he appears very disciplined and focused the last couple of months.

      I think that's a great indication that he knows what is required to succeed and is willing to put in the work on a consistent basis, particularly at a time it must be very difficult to stay motivated. I think those things are strong signs of emerging leadership.
    1. Badsmerf's Avatar
      Badsmerf -
      I thought Cuddy was the clubhouse guy? He's my vote.
    1. Winston Smith's Avatar
      Winston Smith -
      I don't think this is something you can pick. I think it happens over time that a player or two will become leaders.
    1. IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
      IdahoPilgrim -
      My comment on Mauer is that leading by example and by on-field performance, while being a necessary component, is not what ultimately makes a good clubhouse leader (or a good leader in any organization that relies on overall team performance).

      It has to involve picking guys up who are down, challenging guys who are getting out of line, setting an even keel and atmosphere whatever may be happening, and a bunch of other stuff that actually takes interaction with other players. That's something that just comes more naturally to some players rather than others - it's a personality thing and not just a game ability thing.

      Mauer may indeed be able to do that, and may indeed step up to fill that role with Morneau's absence. But it will take more than just playing well on the field.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Joe Mauer was one the best QBs coming out of high school and had a "lifetime" scholarship offer from bobby Bowden, I have a feeling he is just fine as a "leader". That fact that you don't hear about a lot of clubhouse discontent etc shows the twins don't have an issue
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Leaders don't get picked or selected or elected. They emerge themselves....
      We shall see who will emerge.
    1. Twins Fan From Afar's Avatar
      Twins Fan From Afar -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
      Leaders don't get picked or selected or elected. They emerge themselves....
      We shall see who will emerge.
      I disagree, Thry. I think it should start off with a middle school-esque "Do you like me? Check YES or NO" folded piece of paper that is circulated from, say, Mauer, to a few select players to determine interest.

      Obviously it will culminate with white smoke coming from Target Field -- be careful not to confuse it with smoke coming from the adjacent Hennepin County Recovery Center as they burn trash.

    1. jm3319's Avatar
      jm3319 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
      Leaders don't get picked or selected or elected. They emerge themselves....
      We shall see who will emerge.
      Agreed, unless the Twins actually choose a "Captain." In that case they are elected, but usually they are the guys that just emerge by themselves anyway.
    1. notoriousgod71's Avatar
      notoriousgod71 -
      There are no leaders on this team. That's one of the reasons this team is so miserable. It's pretty difficult to be a great leader when you're a bad baseball player on a bad team.
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