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Fire Dan Gladden

Why you won't see the Twins make any major moves in the near future

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There is an awful lot of noise being written about how the Twins should blow up their team for prospects, fire the entire staff or administration for some new direction, or call up everybody with a pulse to see how they perform in the "big show". I don't believe you will see any of that happen. I actually believe the Twins won't make any major moves at all. Here's why:

The Twins looked at 2011 and basically chalked it up to a mulligan. With all of the injuries, and poor decision making, they thought the ship could be stabilized basically by letting everybody come back. So, they more or less stood pat and waited to see what happened. Let's look at the three main components: position players, the bullpen, and the starting rotation.

Position Players - During the off-season the Twins lost primarily 2 players: Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel. They went out and replaced them with Willingham and Doumit. They brought in a cheap Carroll to provide some stability to the infield, otherwise they just sat back and let everybody get healthy. This has essentially worked. Span and Mauer are back to their old form. Morneau's average is down, but is still showing power and playing almost every day. The Revere is showing improvement. Third base has also shown improvement, though we were expecting Valencia, not Plouffe. It is hard to argue against the philosophy here. Other than replacing what they lost, they let everything work itself out and it has. The offense has improved.

Bullpen - Again, they basically stood pat. To replace Nathan and Mijares, the essentially held open tryouts in spring training. Gray and Burton have both pitched well. Otherwise the bullpen looks surprisingly similar to last years team. Considering the accolades the bullpen has received all year, it's hard to argue that the philosophy didn't work here either.

Starting Pitching - Here things have fallen apart at essentially every level. Right off the bat you lose Baker for the season and Waldrop for the first half due to injuries. Blackburn failed to show improvement and has probably pitched himself off the team. Pavano has regressed, not held form. Liriano has been fairly poor overall, though has recently shown improvement. Factor in the Marquis disaster,and you have accounted for the entirety of the starting pitching staff. Not one of these decisions went the Twins way. Predictably, as a result, the Twins starters are making a run at having the worst starters ERA in baseball history. Standing pat did not work here.

The standing past theory worked in two of the three areas. If it had worked with the starters, where would the Twins be now? Hypothetically, say Baker didn't get hurt; Liriano, Blackburn, Pavano, Marquis give you something resembling league average pitching, with Waldrop waiting in the wings, how many more wins would the Twins have? 5? 8? As they are currently 11 games back, an 8 game gain in the current standings puts them right in the thick of the weak AL Central.

Here is why they won't make any drastic roster changes in the near future:

1) All 9 starters (including DH) are under contract for 2013. Their are currently no offensive holes to fill.
2) The bullpen is also under team control for next year as well. Capps has the team option, they hold the cards with him.
3) Doing nothing else, the starting pitching will improve with time. Gibson and Waldrop will be pitching at full strength by next spring. Diamond will fill one of the starter roles.

The only realistic move the team will make is to move Liriano before the deadline. They have no intention of resigning him, and his dog and pony show is getting old. They may move Capps or Pavano, but I would not call that drastic, as neither of them are in the team's future anyways. Willingham, Span, Morneau... all of them are staying put. They will be in the opening day lineup next year.

Shocked? Disappointed? Don't be. Ryan's methodical nature has worked for this team in the past, and will work again. They are usually fairly inactive at the deadline (minor moves, nothing ever major), and maintain trust in what they have (like it or not). As they won't be trading any offensive players or their prospects (the Capps/Ramos deal reminded them why not to move top prospects) for starting pitching. They will go out and sign a starter or two in the $3-5 mil range, short term, because that is what they do. Also because this has given them some success in the past.

Since Mid-May this team has played close to .500 ball. If they are .500 team next year, they may be in the hunt. 2014 puts us in the Sano, Rosario range. Being this close, they will not make any moves that could set them back. In 2007 the Twins traded Luis Castillo at the deadline. At the time the Twins were 54-51, 6 games out. There was considerable clubhouse and PR backlash with that move at that time, with everybody thinking the team had given up on the season. The team never recovered. The Twins finished 79-83, 17 games back, going 25-32 after the trade. They will not move a player like that now, especially if the team is less than 8 games back at the deadline.

All of this being said, could the Twins get overwhelmed in a trade for a Span or Willingham? It's possible, just not very likely.

Sorry to disappoint everybody, but Terry Ryan's methodical nature will be on full display over the next 12-18 months. I suggest you just sit back and enjoy the ride.
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  1. Highabove's Avatar
    There is 30 million dollars coming off the books next year. Where is most of that money going, into the pockets of the Pohlad's?
    The Twins have the resources to seriously upgrade there starting pitching. Unfortunately, Ryan will probably stick to his old habit of bargain basement shopping. The fans may also revert to their old habit of showing up as empty seats. It works both ways.
    Updated 07-09-2012 at 02:08 AM by Highabove
  2. LastOnePicked's Avatar
    I follow your reasoning, but I'm leery of lines like this: "Ryan's methodical nature has worked for this team in the past, and will work again." This perspective depends upon your conception of "working." The new Gardenhire/Ryan/Smith way is leading to the franchise's longest World Series berth drought in its history. I also cringe a bit at your acceptance of standing pat because Sano, Arcia and others are coming in 2014. Yes, they're coming as ROOKIES. None of our prospects project to be a Bryce Harper-style rookie, and goodness knows that if even one of them did, he wouldn't stand a chance of playing under Gardy's abject disdain for bravado, energy and competitiveness.
  3. Fire Dan Gladden's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by High above
    There is 30 million dollars coming off the books next year. Where is most of that money going, into the pockets of the Pohlad's?
    The Twins have the resources to seriously upgrade there starting pitching. Unfortunately, Ryan will probably stick to his old habit of bargain basement shopping. The fans may also revert to their old habit of showing up as empty seats. It works both ways.
    Some of that money will go towards a few free agents, the rest will be reinvested into the team via in-system players, and non-personnel areas. This is one big myth about the Pohlads, that they pocket any dollar they can. It is simply not true. They give Ryan a budget, a % of overall revenue, and he sticks to it. If the budget goes up, so do salaries (like 2010). If the budget goes down, so do salaries. Ryan himself has said that he can go over budget if the player will better the team, and the situation is right.

    I agree that they need to upgrade their pitching, but dropping big contracts on pitchers is not the answer. Who would you rather have right now? Tim Lincecum or Chris Sale? Do you see Tampa Bay dropping $18-$20m for a starting pitcher? They are doing exactly what the Twins did for 15 years, but they are on the back end of a high cycle right now. The Twins will continue to look to make bargain purchases in their pitching, keep their core, and invest in their prospects. Simple as that.
  4. Fire Dan Gladden's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by LastOnePicked
    I follow your reasoning, but I'm leery of lines like this: "Ryan's methodical nature has worked for this team in the past, and will work again." This perspective depends upon your conception of "working." The new Gardenhire/Ryan/Smith way is leading to the franchise's longest World Series berth drought in its history. I also cringe a bit at your acceptance of standing pat because Sano, Arcia and others are coming in 2014. Yes, they're coming as ROOKIES. None of our prospects project to be a Bryce Harper-style rookie, and goodness knows that if even one of them did, he wouldn't stand a chance of playing under Gardy's abject disdain for bravado, energy and competitiveness.
    I guess we could be the Royals or Pirates. Frankly I will take being a playoff team 70% of the time vs. being a powerhouse one year and floundering for five. It depends if you are in it for the Glory or the Ride (I wrote about this earlier in the year).

    The methodical/conservative approach allowed the Twins to be competitive for a decade. Bill Smith destroyed that in a matter of a few years. Ryan will build it back up again. No reason to believe otherwise.

    BTW - The Bryce Harper (or Mike Trout for that matter) comparison is not entirely fair. For one, his type of skill set does not come around very often. Second, for all of his brovado, he has been the model player since coming to the bigs. Many articles have been written about his turnaround. Third, the Twins but up with Delmon Young's BS, the would work with the right player.
  5. mike wants wins's Avatar
    Bill Smith was not the gm when the draft failed to produce players the last few years, in terms of adding to the MLB team. Bill Smith did not quit, rather than handle the Santana situation. Ryan is not free from being part of the problem. And, this offense was 11th in the AL last I checked, in terms if runs scored, so I don't get why people think it is fine and dandy. They did not spend money to get better, they filled New holes with cheaper guys, but rather than invest those savings, they pocketed them.
  6. old nurse's Avatar
    The GM relies on scouts. Ryan and Smith are only as good as the scouts they employ. I would foresee Ryan trading for someone else's minor league pitcher looking for another hit like Joe Mays as there is not much starting pitching at the higher levels that are not currently on the dl. I wouldn't look for the Twins to sign any pitcher as a free agent for more than a couple of years. That limits the talent they can sign.
  7. stringer bell's Avatar
    Waldrop is a reliever so he won't figure in any rebuilding of the rotation. I think Ryan will be pretty aggressive going after pitching, starting with the trading deadline and continuing through free agency. It would help their cause considerably if another arm emerged as Diamond has.
  8. Mchans24's Avatar
    I think this article has a good premise and the fire Terry Ryan people need to chill. I do think that Ryan. Feels we are close and that he may spend a little more to get one really good sp this winter. You add that to Gibson coming up, Dozier and Plouffe another year advanced and the emergence of our outfield prospects in AA I see no reason we can't be competitive in 2013/2014, he'll we aren't that far back right now!! I know the central is terrible but the Cardinals won 80 or 81 games a couple years ago and went on to win the world series.
  9. stringer bell's Avatar
    Your comparison of starting position players and the starting rotation kind of fails. The starting rotation has been bad for two years and a return to health won't do anything for 4/5s of this year's proposed rotation. Baker has an option that won't be picked up. Pavano's contract is up, as is Liriano's and Marquis is already out of the Twins' organization. Blackburn has struggled mightily and can't be counted to fill a rotation sport either. What we are seeing this year is the second five starting rotation and Ryan has to know that this group needs to be augmented from outside the organization.
  10. Fire Dan Gladden's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by stringer bell
    Your comparison of starting position players and the starting rotation kind of fails. The starting rotation has been bad for two years and a return to health won't do anything for 4/5s of this year's proposed rotation. Baker has an option that won't be picked up. Pavano's contract is up, as is Liriano's and Marquis is already out of the Twins' organization. Blackburn has struggled mightily and can't be counted to fill a rotation sport either. What we are seeing this year is the second five starting rotation and Ryan has to know that this group needs to be augmented from outside the organization.
    The Twins have a long and splendid history of having 4/5's be the foundation of their starting pitching staff. Even when they had "good" pitching, it was Radke and everybody else, or Santana and everybody else. While I agree that they should look outside the organization for pitching help, I do not believe you will see any major upgrades there. Unless something falls in their lap, or there is another major injury, here is your starting rotation for 2013:

    1) $5 mil FA
    2) Diamond
    3) Gibson
    4) Blackburn
    5) Hendricks

    I never said it was pretty, just that this is what you will see.
  11. Rube's Avatar
    I like your analysis and its been proven to be pretty accurate so far as the trade deadline is concerned. It also shows that TR is not the teetering old idiot that needs to be put out to pasture that many commenters portray him to be. He does have a plan and he will work the plan and see it thru.
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