• Right Man for the Job

    Just for fun, letís imagine that you have worked for a company for more than 25 years. Imagine you have been in a very important position within that company for a dozen years. Youíve given your heart and soul, worked hard and dedicated your energies to that company. You may not be the perfect employee. Frankly, for your job, there is no such thing as perfect. However, itís not an easy job, dealing with personalities and performances of others.

    Imagine now that the last three or four projects that you were in charge of had not gone as planned. Though the expectations of some were that the projects would be simple, each had unforeseen challenges. You did your job in the right ways, continued to work hard, continued to work with your teams. You performed your job and did all the necessary work, but the projects were not seen as successes.

    How would you want your boss and his or her superiors to respond?

    Well, there are two options, arenít there?

    Option 1 Ė They could decide to terminate your employment or push you to a different area of the company. Thatís probably the easier choice.

    Option 2 Ė Despite the loud voices to the contrary, your boss can stand up for you and talk about how the whole team, the whole organization is responsible and accountable. The boss can ask you to work on certain things, and maybe look in the mirror at areas you can improve, in an attempt to improve the overall performance. The boss can stand behind you to his or her superiors because there have been many successes along the way, big and small.

    With Mondayís decision to retain the services of Manager Ron Gardenhire for the next two seasons, GM Terry Ryan chose for Option #2, and my personal opinion is that it is the right decision.

    Ron Gardenhire is not without faults. There are times I may question some in-game decisions, or why he chooses to call out a young player through the media, but overall, Gardenhire has proven himself on the field. He and his coaching staff also put in their work and their time, all in the effort of making players better every day. There have been several successes, and like all walks of life, there are plenty of mistakes.

    The Twins lost 96 games in 2013, the third straight season they have lost at least that many games. The number of managers who have kept their job after three straight 90-loss seasons is very low. However, one such example of this is the Twins, and it was Tom Kelly. It should surprise no one that the organization wants to remain loyal and wants to build from within. In early September, the Twins found themselves with a 61-77 record. They proceeded to lose 14 of their final 19 games to end the year at 66-96. Of course, Justin Morneau had been traded and Joe Mauer missed the final six weeks with his concussion.

    ďThe players want Gardy to come back.Ē To nobody's surprise, players were quoted over the weekend that they wanted Ron Gardenhire to return and spoke glowingly about his managerial style and how hard he worked. Listening to the quotes of players who are loyal to their manager is definitely not something the GM should base his decision on.

    However, the only thing worse than making a move to appease the players is to make a move to appease the fans. Fans want wins, and thatís what everybody wants. Thereís nothing wrong with that. The GM's job is to find ways to win as quickly as possible while also looking out for the long-term future of the product on the field.

    The idea of making a change just to make a change is obviously not smart. Consider this. A year ago, fans were screaming for Joe Vavra to lose the hitting coach duties so Tom Brunansky could take over. How well did that turn out for the Twins in 2013, a Twins team that struck out the third most times by a team in baseball history?

    Many will choose to look at the last three seasons. Itís also hard to ignore his first nine seasons. In that time, he had six division titles, and a second place finish (after losing a Game 163). Just once in his first nine seasons did the Twins have a sub-.500 record.

    Some choose to look at the Twins playoff record, and I understand that. However, what happens over a 162 game sample size is a more reliable indicator than a five game sample any day.

    Manager of the Year voting is always an interesting endeavor. However, he won the award in 2010 after finishing second in voting five times previously. The respect that Gardenhire has in the baseball industry is great.

    So, how much credit and how much blame should a manager get? The Cleveland Indians won more than 20 games more in 2013 than in 2012. Terry Francona took over for Manny Acta. The difference, however, was that Francona inherited a rotation in which four starters were able to strike out over eight batters per nine innings. They had a lineup of veterans that was supplemented with free agents Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn. Ron Gardenhire worked with a starting staff that seemed allergic to missing bats.

    Remember: Ron Gardenhire could have been a free agent manager on Monday. He could have had his choice of open jobs in the coming weeks. I appreciate that he wants to stay here. As he said, he wants to be part of the answer for turning this around. He is going to need help from the front office to make that happen.

    Despite being 102 games below over the last three years, Gardenhire is still 51 games over .500 for his 12-year career. He has not forgotten how to manage, and he has the respect of his players.

    Brian Dozier and several bullpen arms took strides forward, and Joe Mauer and Glen Perkins played at their All-Star levels. Kyle Gibson, Oswaldo Arcia, Aaron Hicks, Josmil Pinto, Caleb Thielbar, Ryan Pressly and Michael Tonkin came up, took some lumps, gained some experience, and should be better for it. In 2014, Twins fans should see the debuts of Miguel Sano, Eddie Rosario, Alex Meyer, Trevor May, likely Byron Buxton, and maybe Danny Santana. Those guys will also likely take some lumps, so 2014 should again be a rebuilding year.

    The front office and the scouting staff have put together some great minor league talent that will be another year closer in 2014, but for the team to take a major step forward, starting in 2014, the front office will have to acquire some veterans that can be counted on. Also, Josh Willingham and Ryan Doumit, if around, will have to be better.

    It's going to be 2015 before we see just how good this team can be. The youth and hopefully some complementary veterans will help. And Ron Gardenhire is the right guy to get this team back to contention.

    I can see Gardenhire doing just like his predecessor, Tom Kelly. After Kelly led the Twins to four straight 90+ loss seasons, he went with a youthful group that, in 2001, competed into the second half of the season. Thatís what I can see happening in 2015. Should that happen, I can see Gardenhire saying, "OK, this team is back to where it should be" and turning it over to the next manager who will lead the way for the next decade or more.
    This article was originally published in blog: Right Man for the Job started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 85 Comments
    1. howieramone's Avatar
      howieramone -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
      Count me in the Ruesse camp.
      Gardy has created, or at least allowed, a culture of "i'll play when I want to play" to take over the clubhouse.
      Say what you want about Ruesse, but there is NOBODY in this market who has more baseball sources than him, and if he says that part of the reason Cuddyer wanted out was because of the culture of "entitlement" that has been created, I believe him.
      Far too often guys miss far too many games with extremely minor injuries.

      And on another sub topic that has been brought up in this thread, I really don't understand the statement, "...the worst thing they could do is cave into fan pressure..."
      LOL, what?
      Aren't the fans the customers?
      As a business owner, I have to say that placing such minimal value on customer satisfaction is pretty laughable.
      I'm trying to picture myself telling a disgruntled customer that I can't really go around appeasing my customers, I'm not sure I'd keep much business if I did so.
      What he means is just becomes some fans panic doesn't mean you have to. Nothing some fans like more than firing people or signing free agents to 6 year, 147M contracts. The Twins have millions of loyal and knowledgeable fans, you don't cave in to a vocal minority. If millions decide to vote with their feet, then that's a different deal.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by howieramone View Post
      What he means is just becomes some fans panic doesn't mean you have to. Nothing a fan board likes more than firing people or signing free agents to 6 year, 147M contracts. The Twins have millions of loyal and knowledgeable fans, you don't cave in to a vocal minority. If millions decide to vote with their feet, then that's a different deal.
      This is the second time in the last two or three days that you've said the Twins have millions of loyal and knowledgeable fans, then right after say something that seemingly classifies others are not. Are there people on here you're referring to that you don't think meet this criteria because they disagree with your point of view or Ryan's point of view/plan of action?

      Oh, and BTW, show all of us the poster(s) who said they want to sign free agents to 6 year 147M contracts.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      This is the second time in the last two or three days that you've said the Twins have millions of loyal and knowledgeable fans, then right after say something that seemingly classifies others are not. Are there people on here you're referring to that you don't think meet this criteria because they disagree with your point of view or Ryan's point of view/plan of action?

      Oh, and BTW, show all of us the poster(s) who said they want to sign free agents to 6 year 147M contracts.
      Puck And Howie... I'm gonna step in and ask for niceness. More accurately... Warn...

      Niceness will prevent slippage from the rails.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Roughly a half million voted with their feet in 2013 compared to 2011. Does anyone know what FSNs baseball ratings were this year compared to 2 yrs ago?
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      Roughly a half million voted with their feet in 2013 compared to 2011. Does anyone know what FSNs baseball ratings were this year compared to 2 yrs ago?
      Well, even if you can find that number you'll have to also find out how many of them were busy preparing the parade route.

      I think we'll start seeing that backlash coming soon if this offseason is underwhelming. Target Field, in all it's brilliant glory, is masking some larger issues.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      Well, even if you can find that number you'll have to also find out how many of them were busy preparing the parade route.
      Or how many people actually attended as opposed to sold tickets
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      Or how many people actually attended as opposed to sold tickets
      I think that's important too. They sold a lot of season tickets (part of my theory about the hold the all-star game has had) but the park is almost never as full as the attendance states. I wish we could get our hands on season ticket figures.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      I think that's important too. They sold a lot of season tickets (part of my theory about the hold the all-star game has had) but the park is almost never as full as the attendance states. I wish we could get our hands on season ticket figures.
      I don't have the link, but a few weeks ago Rob Antony was quoted as saying the Twins sold 19000 season tickets this year, down significantly by about 24% year-over-year from 2012, repeating a similar percentage decline for 2012 versus 2011.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      Well, even if you can find that number you'll have to also find out how many of them were busy preparing the parade route.

      I think we'll start seeing that backlash coming soon if this offseason is underwhelming. Target Field, in all it's brilliant glory, is masking some larger issues.
      The Pohlad's, of course, know that the "the new stadium" effect bought them time in having to realistically address the larger issues, as well as the 2014 All Star game (and the Pohlad's got a significant bump in their net worth while they wait in having to deal with this mess). Until the IRS/Carl Pohlad estate issues are made more clear, they probably are going to continue to limit significant payroll bumps.
    1. beckmt's Avatar
      beckmt -
      Talent wins games, both Casey Stengel and Connie Mack had multiple very bad losing seasons. At the end of the year many of the players on the team are not going to be here in the future, Diamond, Albers, De Vires, Pedro Hernandez, Bernier, Mastro, Fryer to name a few. Several others should be traded or roles redefined (Duensing, Parmelle, Collobella, Plouffe, Escobar, Pressley, Hendriks). Others should be traded for new parts during the next season (Willingham, Doumit). That is 40% of the current 40 man roster, with many of these being gone over the winter. No manager could win with this group, now if after next year players do not develop as expected at the major league level, that is a whole new issue, that could get a manager fired. I do not like calling out players(which I feel Gardy does too often, even if the need it). You will not get the best performance out of your players if they feel tension from making mistakes. That was the reason I would not have been disappointed to see him go, but I hope the Twins have talked to him about improvement in this area.
    1. howieramone's Avatar
      howieramone -
      I agree players should not be called out, but I certainly understand Gardy's frustration. This is an organization that is not used to losing and quite frankly not used to being questioned the way they are. But that's life in the big city.
    1. wagwan's Avatar
      wagwan -
      What I don't understand is why the players are supporting Gardy while he is quickly pointing the finger right at them. He says they are the problem, not him. Do they not get that they will be replaced according to Gardy and Ryan? Or is it only the "safe" players who support him? And if that's the case, what value does that support have?
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Quote Originally Posted by wagwan View Post
      What I don't understand is why the players are supporting Gardy while he is quickly pointing the finger right at them. He says they are the problem, not him. Do they not get that they will be replaced according to Gardy and Ryan? Or is it only the "safe" players who support him? And if that's the case, what value does that support have?
      That would certainly be dysfunctional.

      Pohlad: So... Gardenhire?

      Ryan: (Gives the Thumbs Up Sign) Let's Keep him

      Pohlad: Really? Why?

      Ryan: Jim... I'm responsible for giving him the bad baseball players that he had to work with... All in All... I'm very impressed by the job Ron did... Through it all... He hasn't lost the clubhouse. Those players want to play for him.

      Pohlad: So... You are saying... The players performed better this year because they want to play for Ron.

      Ryan: Yes... Yes I am... Except... Well... No... No I'm not... (Coughs) What I'm saying is... that if the players played better this year. They would be happy to do so under Gardenhire's direction.

      Pohlad: Are we keeping those players?

      Ryan: No we are not... Ok... Let me rephrase that... We will not keep those players IF we can find better players. If we can't... If we can't find better players... We will have to keep them.

      Pohlad: If we bring in new players... Will they want to play for Ron? Will they come to Minnesota to play for Ron?

      Ryan: Yes they will... Except... Well... No they won't... Because Ron has lost a lot of baseball games the past 3 years. But I want to be clear that if we hadn't lost this many games... That these players we are trying to bring in... They would love to play for Ron.

      Pohlad: If we were winning games the past three years... would we be looking for new players?

      Ryan: No... We wouldn't be.

      Pohlad: Ok... the recommendation is stay with Ron for another year because he hasn't lost the clubhouse.

      Ryan: Two Years.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
      That would certainly be dysfunctional.

      Pohlad: So... Gardenhire?

      Ryan: (Gives the Thumbs Up Sign) Let's Keep him

      Pohlad: Really? Why?

      Ryan: Jim... I'm responsible for giving him the bad baseball players that he had to work with... All in All... I'm very impressed by the job Ron did... Through it all... He hasn't lost the clubhouse. Those players want to play for him.

      Pohlad: So... You are saying... The players performed better this year because they want to play for Ron.

      Ryan: Yes... Yes I am... Except... Well... No... No I'm not... (Coughs) What I'm saying is... that if the players played better this year. They would be happy to do so under Gardenhire's direction.

      Pohlad: Are we keeping those players?

      Ryan: No we are not... Ok... Let me rephrase that... We will not keep those players IF we can find better players. If we can't... If we can't find better players... We will have to keep them.

      Pohlad: If we bring in new players... Will they want to play for Ron? Will they come to Minnesota to play for Ron?

      Ryan: Yes they will... Except... Well... No they won't... Because Ron has lost a lot of baseball games the past 3 years. But I want to be clear that if we hadn't lost this many games... That these players we are trying to bring in... They would love to play for Ron.

      Pohlad: If we were winning games the past three years... would we be looking for new players?

      Ryan: No... We wouldn't be.

      Pohlad: Ok... the recommendation is stay with Ron for another year because he hasn't lost the clubhouse.

      Ryan: Two Years.
      That is fantastic!
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      That is fantastic!
      Gotta love that super sleuth technology that let RB bug Ryan's office.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by JB_Iowa View Post
      Gotta love that super sleuth technology that let RB bug Ryan's office.
      He got Ryan's double-talk down pat! :-)
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      It's kind of like Butch Cassidy and Sundance looking over the Cliff and Sundance not wanting to jump because he can't swim.

      We can't replace Gardy as Manager because the locker room will be upset.

      It's the Players that are gonna kill you.
    1. howieramone's Avatar
      howieramone -
      Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
      It's kind of like Butch Cassidy and Sundance looking over the Cliff and Sundance not wanting to jump because he can't swim.

      We can't replace Gardy as Manager because the locker room will be upset.

      It's the Players that are gonna kill you.
      It's like when the coach was asked about his team's execution. He replied, it's not a bad idea.
    1. Teflon's Avatar
      Teflon -
      First of all, in a business scenario Gardy isn't merely an important employee, he's an executive in the company.

      Secondly, companies don't choose termination because they are too lazy or unwilling to shoulder their part of the responsibility. They choose termination because there is an immediacy in business to respond to customers, shareholders and the stock price. Show me a board of directors that says to their execs, "Our stock has sunk 50% over the last three years, here's a two-year extension for you and your staff" and I'll show you a business that will quickly have no capital to operate.

      If the Twins' level of season ticket income, TV revenue, licensing money, share of opponent's gates, and portion of other MLB revenue sources actually mirrored their decline in wins, don't kid yourself, this team would be under new management in a heartbeat. That's why this is a bad analogy.
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