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Calling Out (some) Twins Fans

Rating: 7 votes, 4.71 average.
So whatís a surefire way to make sure no one ever reads your new blog again? Well, why not call out some of the fan base for what I feel has been questionable, if not irrational behavior.

I was just as frustrated as every other fan with this past Twins season, but I still do not think it justifies the amount of vitriol I have read in various comment sections, newspapers, discussed with friends, and listened to on the radio. The two biggest issues everyone seems to have are the misconceptions that the Twins are cheap and that Joe Mauer is nothing more than a bad contract and a lazy, characterless disappointment.

First, I'll tackle the claim that the Twins are cheap.

It is a fact the Twins have "slashed" payroll all the way down to a mere pedestrian 100 million dollars. It seems like just a few years ago everyone was begging for the Twins to stretch the payroll too the 100 million plateau and now that they are doing that itís not good enough. How much would they have to spend for the Twins to no longer be considered cheap? 115m? 130m? Do they have to outspend the Yankees? or the Red Sox? I'll admit when I first heard they may be cutting back payroll, I didnít agree with it. Then I started doing my research, trying to look at the big picture for the upcoming season, and the next season or two down the road. After that, I came to the conclusion that it did not make any sense for the Twins to spend another 15m right now for a few reasons.

First off, as Seth Stohs pointed out here, the Twins just have way too many "if's" to justify extending themselves further at this time. If Mauer, Morneau, Span, Valencia, Revere, Casilla, Baker, Liriano, Capps and the rest of the Bullpen, and Blackburn (who No Dak Twins Fan covered here) don't all rebound, improve, and/or stay healthy the Twins have zero chance of competing no matter how much more payroll the team adds. I think Seth nailed it, if the Twins have a first solid couple of months and some of those "ifs" fall the right way the Twins have the payroll flexibility to make a move or two at the deadline. If those "ifs" donít fall their way then they have not compromised their flexibility for next year when they are possibly replacing 4/5th of their starting rotation.

Secondly, in the first two + seasons at Target Field the Twins have given out a $184 million dollar contract which at the time was the 4th largest in MLB history. They gave out the largest free agent contract in team history to Josh Willingham this offseason, which I think has been under praised as they got the best hitter between Kubel, Cuddyer, and Willingham for the lowest average annual salary. That's not cheap, that's a savvy baseball move and a move they should be praised for. They addressed the SS position in a bad market for the position with a solid, unspectacular move, but also didnít turn it over to an unproven AAA player. These are the type of moves the team never would have made in the Metrodome and a sign they are becoming more of a player in free agency.

Finally, I think the Twins realized that the free agent market this offseason and their needs did not match up all that strongly. Only one impact middle infielder was on the market and I am glad the Twins stayed away from Jose Reyes. I didnít consider any of the SP's available this year to be tremendous upgrades, and with money already committed to 4 starters this year it didn't make sense in the long run to overpay number #3 types to be our ace. I do believe the Twins should have added another right handed reliever and in that regards, maybe they were being cheap. Though itís not like any of those cheap veteran relievers available for 1 million or so are lock down set up men, and are guaranteed to be better than what is already in camp. Itís because of these reasons that I think calling the Twins cheap just sounds like a lazy excuse to be bitter about the disaster of a year the team had 2011.

As far as the Joe Mauer bashing, I am starting to be embarrassed to associate my fandom with some fans and "experts" with the amount of bizarre hatred Mauer has received. Mauer has had his injury problems, but since his first full season in the league Mauer has caught the 6th most innings of any catcher in the majors. He has been arguable the best offensive catcher over that time period and has won 3 batting titles, 2 Silver Sluggers, and a MVP award. Last year, he had an off season surgery, rushed himself to be ready for opening day, obviously wasn't ready, made it worse, and the injury communication was poorly handled by the team and Mauer. He is not without blame and has made strides to be accountable this offseason, but does any of that really deserve him the treatment he has been receiving? I hardly think so and have yet to receive a solid explanation from anyone other than general hearsay and gossip which apparently is reliable enough material to publish these days. (I'm looking at you Souhan.) So I am calling out Twins fans to forget 2011, it happened there is nothing we can do about it now. Let's move on to 2012, where hopefully the Twins make a return to respectability and Mauer shuts up all of his critics with his sweet left handed swing.

I'm selling hope, now whose buying?

The Twins Armchair GM

This was origanally posted at http://thetwinsarmchairgm.blogspot.com/


  1. righty8383's Avatar
    I don't mind criticism as long as its construnctive. The Twins are often accused of things that just aren't true. You mentioned being cheap as one of them. The one that I find proposterous is when people suggest that the Twins suppress power both hitting and pitching. I remember last year, a star tribune article about the great season Sano and Rosario were having with the Etwins. One commenter said something like "just wait till Vavra gets a hold of them and turns them into slap hitting singles hitters". Some people really beleive this is happening. The same people probably think they intend to turn Hudson Boyd into a soft tossing control pitcher.
  2. PeanutsFromHeaven's Avatar
    I'll definitely buy the hope. I have to believe that an organization that made savvy, intelligent moves that kept them at/near the top of a division for a decade did not suddenly become idiots in 2011. Bad luck is far more logical than mammoth (and previously unseen) ineptitude.

    That said, I think there's enough entitlement among some in the fan base (particularly the Mauer-bashers) to make me consider buying "Mauersucks.com" and copyright phrases like "We paid 184 million dollars and all we got was a pair of sideburns and this lousy t-shirt"--perhaps the profits could be donated to the roster fund.
  3. jorgie5150's Avatar
    Good entry. The overreactions have bothered me too.

    I think in a couple months most people will either be calling the team cheap for not signing an extra bullpen arm, or calling them geniuses because Zumaya is throwing gas and his signing worked out perfectly. I'm hoping for the latter.
  4. Ricola's Avatar
    I'm with you. As a business owner, I've learned that spending is rarely what leads to success. Many things went wrong last season, but i don't think the team budget was one of them.
  5. denarded's Avatar
    Here, here. I don't know if we're division winners, but I doubt we're cellar dwellers, injuries or not
  6. TwinsGuy55422's Avatar
    I think this is a great posting and consistent with the frustrations I have been having with a lot of Twins fans I know. So many casual fans don't seem to realize that just because we have a lot more revenue with Target Field we cannot and should not just blindly spend money. It seems that I hear three catch phrases over and over: 1) How can they reduce payroll when they have a nice new ballpark and all this revenue?, 2) They told us if we build them a new ballpark they would have the money to prevent their free agents from walking, and 3) How can they not spend the money to keep a guy like Cuddy since he was the best thing they had going last year. I think people fail to realize that when the payroll was at about $115 million it was actually more than what was promised when Target Field was built, so as Twinsarmchairgm already stated, it makes sense not to make a lot of significant financial commitments going into a year where there are so many question marks. I think a lot of people forget that there is the possibility to make in-season moves if the season is going well. As far as people complaining about letting Nathan, Cuddyer, and Kubel walk, that does not mean the Twins are cheap. Would anyone have seriously wanted us to outbid the Rangers to keep a 37 year old reliever coming off TJ surgery who hasn't shown that he is going to regain his old form? People complaining about not signing Cuddyer probably frustrate me the most. People have gotten so endeared with him over small stretches of success that they overlook how extremely average he is. The offer the Twins made to him was extremely fair and maybe on the edge of over paying, so if he didn't want to take it then you just wish him well. You just don't over pay a fan-favorite who is an extremely average player when you are trying to recover from some of the stupid decisions that have been made in recent years.

    As far as the Mauer bashing goes, I am mainly frustrated with Jim Souhan. In at least two separate articles (one this past summer and one more recently) he has made bold accusations that there are a large number of anonymous teammates and employees within the organization that roll their eyes behind Mauer's back and cannot stand him. To me, that is just classless reporting. He is either exaggerating or if the claims are true but the people giving Souhan this information want to remain anonymous then you just don't report it. If you are going to attack a guy's character to that degree, then you better be able to name some names.

    I know this is kind of a long rant. I just get frustrated with people that want to throw an organization under the bus that has been successful for so long. Don't get me wrong, I think true fans will often criticize their team but it needs to be done intelligently, constructively, and without blindly accepting as fact assumptions that are thrown out in the media.
  7. Fanatic Jack's Avatar
    Not me get ready for another 90 loss season. Worst starting rotation and bullpen in MLB.
  8. sln477's Avatar
    I am the eternal optimist when it comes to the Twins, therefore I am buying into the hope. We, as armchair GM's, are always quick to point out the obvious after it happens; & are quick to judge how we would shape our roster. It must be remembered that it just isn't that easy. The club has to make decisions that are based on contractual obligations to every player on the roster. The decisions that need to be made are difficult at best. The Twins, for years, used a stop gap method of filling their roster with role players to surround the few stars the team had with good success. The Twins molded these players to play the "Twins way" & the moderate success we had prior to Target Field worked fairly well. I feel 2012 is similar to those "Dome" years, as we had to find pieces to fill the voids to try & put a competitive team on the field. Mr. Ryan has done a decent job in filling those needs & is shaping the team for a bright future (perhaps not this year). We have so many question marks to contend with; SP, health, fundamentals, etc; it is hard to fathom how well we will do this year. I look at it as starting out fresh, sit back & look at long term obligations while shaping the roster to open up salary room, develop players in the minors, & position the Twins for future success. GO TWINS!!
  9. coddlenomore's Avatar
    Only in Minnesota can your 184 million dollar player take nine weeks off and never have to explain why and then have fans like ths defend it....simply priceless! Oh yah, I forgot you just know Terry Ryan is going to run out and make that big trade to upgrade this team if we contend!...lol Really??? The reality of a 70 win season will allow him to escape his usual line of he couldnt find anyone....
  10. twinsarmchairgm's Avatar
    Example #23,322 of my point is stated above. In Minnesota, how can a player be arguably the best at his position for 5 straight years, lose one season rushing back from knee surgery, and still need to be defended. Mauer is a player of historic proportions at a position that is very tough on the body. Those are the facts. This level of delusion is scary.
    As for your Ryan accusation, in '01 he traded for Todd Jones when the team needed a later inning reliever, in 03' he traded for Shannon Stewart when the team was desperate for a leadoff hitter, and before '05 he traded for Luis Castillo when they really needed to solidify the MI. I understand if you want to argue he's never traded for a superstar, but Ryan has never operated a team with a budget over – maybe – 75 million. This year is his first offseason where he has had a decent budget. He aggressively addressed some large needs by spending money to get Carrol, Willingham, and Doumit. Again, read Seth's post here, and try to overcome your "coddle no more" rhetoric you probably picked up by reading too many Souhan columns.
  11. coddlenomore's Avatar
    You are going to actually state Todd Jones and the same Luis Castillo who he later traded not because of the money but because Alexi was ready as examples of a GM upgrading a play off ready team???....Shannon Stewart I will give you, but thats it. Every move has has made and every move he is going to make is purely about the money. Ryan spent money on Carrol, Willingham and Doumit? No, he got low budget deals for an often injured outfielder, a 38 year old short stop with the range of a tree and a back up catcher who wont play first. How in the world can this make you happy? Keep on drinking that koolaid, my goodness!! " I think the Twins realized that the free agent market this off season and their needs did not match up all that strongly".....How many times has Mr. Ryan stated that type of crap over the years? Unless said free agent is 40 or coming off 15 surgeries, they will never match up strongly with the Twins plans. Mr. Ryan deserves credit for drafting and molding young talent. He deserves no credit for anything regarding the free agent market.
  12. twinsarmchairgm's Avatar
    How is Ryan acquiring Castillo not an example of him improving the team? I'll concede that Ryan was bs-ing when he said Casilla was ready, but what was he going to come out and say, that Luis Castillo's career was over? If you looked up the stats you would see that Casilla & Castillo have been pretty much the same player since the trade. Dont believe me look at the numbers? If you like paying 10x for similar production that’s your right, but I respect smart, savvy baseball moves.

    08-11 G Triple Slash wOBA wRC+ UZR WAR $
    Luis Castillo 315 .270/.366/.315 .318 94 -13.0 3.2 $24,750,000
    Alexi Casilla 344 .257/.318/.351 .304 85 -4.2 2.7 $2,157,500

    I wouldn’t call the Willingham signing low budget. He was appropriate market value for a guy who out-hit both Kubel and Cuddyer last year. Carrol’s signing was an overpay, if anything, and what other MI would you have preferred they sign? Do you think they should have paid $106M for Reyes? Ryan Doumit’s signing has been widely praised as one of the best signings of the off season. I am going to give Ryan credit for his free agency signings this year as this is the only year he has had 100m payroll to sign players with. If you think I am drinking koolaid that’s fine, but these are my conclusions that I came to after reading, researching, and calculating everything I could get my hands on. As a season ticket holder myself, I understand your frustration. I just think there a more positives to be excited about then to keep harping on negatives everyone has already heard and are tired of hearing about.
  13. coddlenomore's Avatar
    Ill concede the well researched point to you. You pegged me with the frustration part....I cant get over everyone being content with the lowering of the payroll. We are no longer a small market team, but I believe Ryan will execute all of our moves with that logic. Free agaency was weak this year, but I would love to have seen a few trades the could have upgraded this team. Would we still contend this year? Probably not, hate to say this, but were are owed as vested tax payers and season ticket holders, a legitimate attempt. It is not as if he said were are rebuilding (maybe we should be), and with that being said, he surely could have done much more to upgrade this team.
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