• Message to Twins: Accountability Means Change

    When it came down to it, the folks running the Twins couldn't find it in themselves to make Ron Gardenhire a scapegoat by sending him packing after another 96-loss season that wasn't influenced much by the field manager. Sure, you can argue that Gardenhire isn't a great skipper, and you can argue that the team would benefit from a fresh voice, but at the end of the day there wasn't much Gardy could have done to get significantly better results out of the substandard roster supplied to him this season.

    Personally, although I wouldn't have been appalled to see the club go a different direction, I had no particular desire to see Gardenhire leave. Similarly, you won't see me advocating for the dismissal of Terry Ryan. For the most part, I tend to think that calls for coaches and execs to get fired are reactionary and uninformed, failing to account for the many circumstances that play into any outcome.

    When a player's return from injury takes too long or recovery timetables are repeatedly extended, we see people calling for firings in the medical staff, ignoring the reality that medicine is an inexact science and quite often players are more responsible than trainers for setbacks. When the offense struggles and the hitters strike out at an unprecedented rate, we see people calling for the firing of the new hitting coach, ignoring the presence of inexperienced young players taking their (not unexpected) lumps. If the team fails to acquire legitimate free agents that can help, we see people calling for the firing of the general manager, ignoring the possibilities that maybe ownership vetoed certain spending initiatives or maybe the guys Ryan wanted simply wouldn't sign here.

    Crying out for people to lose their jobs is easy, but it's not necessarily rational. I myself have no desire for anyone to get the axe unless it becomes blatantly clear that they're not up to the task, and I haven't reached that point with Gardenhire, nor his coaches, nor Ryan. However, there's no avoiding the fact that the Twins have descended into a horrible, horrible state and people need to step up and take responsibility. I don't care to see people fired, but I do need them to show accountability and convince me that they recognize what's gone wrong -- that they're ready to do what it takes to right the ship, even if that means moving outside of comfort zones.

    We haven't seen that, and to me that's far more disheartening than the fact that Gardenhire and his staff were extended in the wake of another losing season.


    During a conference call with season ticket holders earlier this week, Ryan was asked about a recent column from Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN, in which the radio host and scribe suggested that the Twins need to infuse some innovation into their outdated set of philosophies.

    It's a good article that makes some extremely valid -- and perhaps obvious -- points. As Mackey puts it: "The Twins aren't masters of anything right now. They don't do one thing better than the other 29 teams in baseball. They used to. But they don't anymore."

    When asked about the editorial, Ryan said he was aware of it and downplayed it by saying, "Sometimes I think he (Mackey) wants a job over here. That's OK."

    Come on Terry. You're better than that, and you owe the fans a better answer than that. A writer puts together a thoughtful piece suggesting that perhaps the Twins need to uncover new strategies and approaches, considering that what they've been doing clearly isn't working, and Ryan responds by essentially saying, "Nah, we're doing fine, thanks."

    That's the opposite of accountability. And we're seeing too many similar sentiments expressed lately. Ryan admirably is willing to take the blame for the current product, saying that it's his fault and not the manager's that the Twins continue to stumble in the wrong direction; what he's not doing is specifying just exactly what he's doing wrong or providing assurance that he's working to correct the misguided ideas that have plagued the organization.

    It starts with rhetoric. Nobody wants to hear the same quotes about how free agency isn't a viable method of improving your club. Nobody wants to hear about how a team with one of the worst offenses in the league is still opposed to the simple and proven concept of platooning hitters. Nobody wants to hear about how the mediocre performances of low-upside veterans Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey were among the team's biggest positive takeaways this year.

    Taking accountability doesn't necessarily mean changing personnel. It means looking inward, accepting that some things simply aren't working, and proving -- through both words and actions -- that you're flexible and receptive to changes in those ways.

    And if that can't happen, then maybe it is time for some changes in personnel.
    This article was originally published in blog: Message to Twins: Accountability Means Change started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 97 Comments
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      A shortcut gets you to your destination faster.......how is that bad?
      Come visit me out here in the mountain West. I'll show you some shortcuts that do not get you to your destination faster.
    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      I'd call being dismissive and borderline condescending towards thoughtful, legitimate questions of your organization arrogant, it's as if TR is somehow above reproach.

      We all deserve more than flippant answers from the man most responsible for expecting us to keep supporting this mess. The "I'm committed to righting this ship" rhetoric is getting a bit old, especially after 291 losses the past 3 years, details TR, some details please?
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinsnorth49 View Post
      I'd call being dismissive and borderline condescending towards thoughtful, legitimate questions of your organization arrogant, it's as if TR is somehow above reproach.

      We all deserve more than flippant answers from the man most responsible for expecting us to keep supporting this mess. The "I'm committed to righting this ship" rhetoric is getting a bit old, especially after 291 losses the past 3 years, details TR, some details please?
      It's the same way Gardy is with the media on those few occasions when a reporter has the stones to question his in-game strategy...
    1. Zarathustra's Avatar
      Zarathustra -
      This thread is about accountability. There are phases being thrown around, as has been the norm these last three painful seasons, such as 'steady hand', 'short-cut', 'panic', et al, and while they certainly relate directly to the debate about how best to remedy the downward spiral on the field, they don't necessarily address a key aspect of accountability away from it.

      What has challenged the endurance of my fandom most during this stretch (and I was a 162+ game watcher/listener consistently from '02 - '10, good and bad) relates to an accountability not being addressed here directly. It seems the collective memory has grown very short when it comes to our favorite team's new home.

      This team was right there in '06, right on the cusp of a real run in the playoffs after a series of progressing seasons, more or less. What we were told was that, until the tax payers of MN approved a stadium, the team was doomed to failure. In other words the OWNERSHIP wasn't in a position to succeed without a stadium. This wasn't implicit - these were the drums beat time and time again. BUILD IT AND THE TWINS WILL COMPETE!

      So, let's recap what happened:

      Target Field (which I love, BTW) Cost: $522M; Ownership Share = $125M; MN Share = $397M

      Player Payroll 2006: $63.3M...2010: $97.6M 2011: $113.2M 2012: $100.4M 2013: $82M (Prospectus)

      Revenue 2006: $114M...2010: $162M 2011: $213M (Forbes)

      Franchise Value 2006: $216M 2011: $490M (Forbes)

      As far as I'm concerned, the ownership made a public contract when they entered into the stadium agreement with the taxpayers of Minnesota. They explicitly stated they would increase payroll (which they did, albeit at an alarmingly decreasing rate) and they expressed repeatedly that the stadium would give them the flexibility to push the franchise forward. Where is the evidence? They were already winning division titles, batting titles and Cy Youngs before Target Field. They breached the contract and need to be held accountable.

      How do we hold those off the field accountable for what HASN'T happened on the field?
    1. notoriousgod71's Avatar
      notoriousgod71 -
      Quote Originally Posted by ashburyjohn View Post
      Baker managing the Twins is an interesting thought. I'll start a separate thread about that.
      Just to be clear I do not want this to happen. I think he is pretty similar to Gardy in that he loves his crappy veterans, seems to have a "set" lineup by position (CF leadoff, MI bat second), and his postseason "success" is nearly as awful as Gardy. Also I am pretty sure I would have called for his firing the moment he announced Salomon Torres was starting Game 162.
    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Zarathustra View Post
      This thread is about accountability. There are phases being thrown around, as has been the norm these last three painful seasons, such as 'steady hand', 'short-cut', 'panic', et al, and while they certainly relate directly to the debate about how best to remedy the downward spiral on the field, they don't necessarily address a key aspect of accountability away from it.

      What has challenged the endurance of my fandom most during this stretch (and I was a 162+ game watcher/listener consistently from '02 - '10, good and bad) relates to an accountability not being addressed here directly. It seems the collective memory has grown very short when it comes to our favorite team's new home.

      This team was right there in '06, right on the cusp of a real run in the playoffs after a series of progressing seasons, more or less. What we were told was that, until the tax payers of MN approved a stadium, the team was doomed to failure. In other words the OWNERSHIP wasn't in a position to succeed without a stadium. This wasn't implicit - these were the drums beat time and time again. BUILD IT AND THE TWINS WILL COMPETE!

      So, let's recap what happened:

      Target Field (which I love, BTW) Cost: $522M; Ownership Share = $125M; MN Share = $397M

      Player Payroll 2006: $63.3M...2010: $97.6M 2011: $113.2M 2012: $100.4M 2013: $82M (Prospectus)

      Revenue 2006: $114M...2010: $162M 2011: $213M (Forbes)

      Franchise Value 2006: $216M 2011: $490M (Forbes)

      As far as I'm concerned, the ownership made a public contract when they entered into the stadium agreement with the taxpayers of Minnesota. They explicitly stated they would increase payroll (which they did, albeit at an alarmingly decreasing rate) and they expressed repeatedly that the stadium would give them the flexibility to push the franchise forward. Where is the evidence? They were already winning division titles, batting titles and Cy Youngs before Target Field. They breached the contract and need to be held accountable.

      How do we hold those off the field accountable for what HASN'T happened on the field?
      What a great first post, welcome.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinsnorth49 View Post
      What a great first post, welcome.
      Almost as awesome as the name.
    1. drivlikejehu's Avatar
      drivlikejehu -
      His points are undeniable, as is the fact that, legally, what the Twins are doing constitutes fraud (receiving goods in exchange for false promises).
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      OK folks, let's not go nuts. The Twins did hand out one of the largest contracts in MLB history just before opening the new stadium, and it's not like this year's $82M mark was absurdly low. But if the number drops again, it's going to be very tough to stomach.
    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      Almost as awesome as the name.
      He does speak the truth...
    1. Fatt Crapps's Avatar
      Fatt Crapps -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Still waiting for someone to explain how signing a legit FA this year is a bad idea......

      Well, signing Ellsbury would certainly be a bad idea.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      OK folks, let's not go nuts. The Twins did hand out one of the largest contracts in MLB history just before opening the new stadium, and it's not like this year's $82M mark was absurdly low. But if the number drops again, it's going to be very tough to stomach.
      Team didn't have much of a choice but to sign him...not really...not with the story they sold to the public to get the new ballpark. Not sign the local boy done great? No way that signing doesn't happen. It was a good business decision for many reasons...between the PR, the on-field production, ticket sales (and everything that comes with it), etc...

      On top of that, it wasn't Ryan who signed him. Ryan told us the Willingham signing was a big money signing...doing the Mauer contract might have killed him...or given him a better perspective on what quality FA (or pending FA) players truly cost.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      the issue isn't the total payroll.....but that only $49MM was spent on 24+ players....
    1. Zarathustra's Avatar
      Zarathustra -
      The original post was already too long, so I stopped short on a few things. Now that it has some daylight in between posts, I hope you'll humor my adding a bit more:

      1) I mentioned watching/listening to 162+ games each season during the 02-10 run. I'm not fair weather. Heading into the 2010 playoffs (homefield against the Yanks remember?), I made a commitment that if the Twins didn't make it past the first round THIS time, I would significantly reduce my investment in this team until they gave me reason to do otherwise. My participation has declined, in kind, since.

      And why shouldn't it for all of us? I support the institution, win or lose, not the ownership and the flagging performance of the product they disingenuously trot out.

      2) The argument of the breached public contract holds outside of the vacuum of team performance. In other words, if the economic return to the tax payers could be demonstrated to be a net profit on their stadium investment (an impossible to prove metric either way), it doesn't matter. If the Pohlads had ended up losing money after the stadium was built (a distinct impossibility), it doesn't matter. The entire exercise of stadium building was predicated on the idea that the it would bring added revenue, spending, and results - a change on the field come October from what we had been experiencing.

      Have we all forgotten this? That was the mantra when Torii walked, when Santana leaving was a foregone conclusion, and when all the inside and outside free agents came and went unsigned since. Money doesn't buy championships, but better (read: often costlier) players could have benefited this team throughout.

      3) When money was spent ('10 and '11), it wasn't spent wisely. Accountability is, again, the thread. Bill Smith is out, but we've been told that TR was instrumental in many moves/non-moves while not GM. Also, Gardy had no influence on the composition of these teams? The reason these non-diamond-nine individuals are also well compensated is because they should have high standards of performance. How have they performed relative to the public contract?

      Thanks for hearing me out. From a ND native, MN resident through those fat years, now a DC resident, I can't wait for things to turn around for our team. But to do so will take some measure of real accountability. Seriously, Go Twins.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by Zarathustra View Post
      This thread is about accountability. There are phases being thrown around, as has been the norm these last three painful seasons, such as 'steady hand', 'short-cut', 'panic', et al, and while they certainly relate directly to the debate about how best to remedy the downward spiral on the field, they don't necessarily address a key aspect of accountability away from it.
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      Almost as awesome as the name.


      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      By the way, I think I should change my avatar. Having it makes me more and more surly.

      Also, for the record, I am not a Big Ten college professor. I did teach at Purdue as a grad student, but I am now employed at the community college in town. Servicing the poor and whatnot. Teaching Nietzsche to poor people . . .
      Don't think we're not on to you Shane. Did you change your avatar AND name? Or have you now recruited your poor, anarchist, Nietzche-loving students to the site! Twins Daily is Dead!
    1. drivlikejehu's Avatar
      drivlikejehu -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      OK folks, let's not go nuts. The Twins did hand out one of the largest contracts in MLB history just before opening the new stadium, and it's not like this year's $82M mark was absurdly low. But if the number drops again, it's going to be very tough to stomach.
      In fairness, Ryan has flat-out said that the Twins aren't going to be major players in free agency, and acquiring expensive player(s) via trade is even more unlikely.

      For 2015, the Twins are committed to $26.95 million. They have a $3.6MM option on Burton but the buyout is only $200,000. Some players could be arbitration-eligible but none project to get much (and may well not even be with the organization). So payroll is indeed set to drop, and probably by quite a bit. The Twins were already down to 23rd this year and could easily be 28th in 2015.

      Even the current level is an obvious breach of the Twins' part of the Target Field deal- but the cutting has only just begun.
    1. Zarathustra's Avatar
      Zarathustra -
      Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
      Don't think we're not on to you Shane. Did you change your avatar AND name? Or have you now recruited your poor, anarchist, Nietzche-loving students to the site! Twins Daily is Dead!
      I'm a different dude and, sorry to disappoint, am not even a real student of Nietzsche. I thought it would make for a fun, appropriate handle since forums, at least excellent ones like TD, should be about the pursuit of Truth.

      And calling Mauer soft.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      OK folks, let's not go nuts. The Twins did hand out one of the largest contracts in MLB history just before opening the new stadium, and it's not like this year's $82M mark was absurdly low. But if the number drops again, it's going to be very tough to stomach.
      Well, you had better get to the drug store and buy something for your stomache! That payroll is going to fall. We have already been prompted about what to expect on the free-agent market: Pelfrey, some over-the-hill position player who has played on winning teams--think Jamie Carroll clone who hails from winning teams (Omar Vizquel?) or dare I say it: Nick Punto, and maybe a Correira-clone. The price for those three (remember to deduct the $4MM paid this season to Pelfrey from your total) will be less than Morneau's 2013 salary.

      Expected 2014 payroll $65-$70MM. I didn't include for the possibility that Burton or Doumit get traded--which would further reduce the payroll.
    1. twinsfan34's Avatar
      twinsfan34 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
      We did see Part I of what happens: The people responsible for 99+96+96 were rewarded with 2 year contracts. Of course Ryan is accountable "only" for the 96+96, but that should have been enough for an owner who cared to hold him accountable.
      I wouldn't hold Ryan accountable for the 96 and 96. At least not wholly. Just like Billy Beane was not responsible for those Oakland A's teams that experience a great deal of success from 1999 to 2004. Jason Giambi, Eric Chavez, Ramon Hernandez, Tim Hudson, Miguel Tejada, Matt Stairs, Ben Grieve, et al were already there and locked into contracts. His only contributions during that time were Mark Mulder and Barry Zito. A solid FA signing in 1999 of John Jaha.

      So that to say, not much of the 2012 roster is Terry Ryan's doing. You'd have to go back to 2007 (draft, signings, etc) to find who's on the roster as his doing. 2011 and 2012 were very solid drafts. He didn't sign much of anyone, but our payroll was over $100M...and we all know that had to be reduced.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by Zarathustra View Post
      I'm a different dude and, sorry to disappoint, am not even a real student of Nietzsche. I thought it would make for a fun, appropriate handle since forums, at least excellent ones like TD, should be about the pursuit of Truth.

      And calling Mauer soft.
      Ha we'll my post was just in fun, I just found it funny we got two Nietzsche references in two days. Besides, your post was much more positive than anything the other guy would write.
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