So with that in mind, I'd be curious to hear your response to Psuedo's question a few posts back.
To say we didn't sign a particular pitcher because we don't do any advanced analysis is a little short-sighted. there may be medical reasons. Maybe the makeup information we have on a player isn't good. Another team may have offered more money. He may have family issues and pitching closer to home for the next three or four years will be better for his family. It isn't always about stats or money when it comes to free agency. Ultimately the player decides where they want to play.
As a fan, we have no idea what moves the Twins (or any team) did not make. All we can do is analyze the moves that were made. We can't cite examples of where Jack's group provides some analysis that kept the Twins from making a trade or signing a free agent. Sometimes the best trades are the ones you don't make! Sometimes the best free agent signings are the ones you don't make. The statistical analysis is vital in those cases too.
Along with those other factors that Jack mentions, making deals is not as easy as we want to believe. We have the benefit of saying, "Oh, I thought they should sign player X and player Y and player Z." And if one of them hits and does well, we brag it up. The ones that we missed on, we can conveniently forget.
My guess is there are some pretty interesting discussions in the Twins front office regarding all (or at least most) moves. Like any good team, everyone's voice should be heard, then a decision made, and then consensus.
Jack, thanks for putting yourself out there a bit with the Twins Daily forums!! It's appreciated!! Things can get tough in here sometimes!! I get beat up all the time! :)
Well, the front office of the Twins can't do that. We see their successes and failures on a daily basis.
For example, almost everyone here was wrong about Correia, myself included. He was a league average pitcher at something close to a league average price. He was a good value. Most of us despised the move and, well, we were wrong (at least for the first year of the deal).
On the other hand, I was cautiously optimistic about Pelfrey. That, uh, didn't turn out so well as a one-year deal.
I still have issues with the fact that Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey were the only significant MLB pick-ups last offseason but on the other hand, I couldn't have been more wrong about which would succeed and which would fail. It's something I wish more posters would keep in mind before hollering about how "right" they were about a single player... Because most of the time, they're flat-out ignoring the three players they were horribly, completely wrong about.
Oh, and thanks Jack for taking the time to visit our forums! It takes some courage to step into the middle of a bunch of disgruntled fans coming off a third consecutive losing season...
I suspect that most of us did not like the fact that Correia was the big free agent signing on the way of fixing the Twins' pitching. For the record, I had an open mind about Correia and even thought that he might be successful.
Correia is a good number four or five guy in a competing team. If he is your best pitcher, you will not compete. And if you are not going to complete, why bother signing people like Correia? So you can lose 96 instead of 106? This is what most of us disliked.
Now if the Twins' Front Office thought that they will be a competitive team with Correia, Diamond and Worley anchoring the rotation, there is a problem.
Mistakes happen, learn and move on. I am just not convinced that this team knows how to do this. Ryan is already talking about Deduno being penciled in for a spot in the 2014 rotation. I despise that thought :)
Thanks to Jack for coming on here. I know he can't answer specifcs, and don't expect it.
Brock, I didn't like the KC signing, but mostly because it was THE signing (and the 2nd year, frankly). And, only 18 qualified pitchers had a worse ERA-....so I'm not sure he was league average. As your 4th or 5th best pitcher, fine. But that's not what he was.
Jack, I won't speak for all "stats lovers, Ryan doubters", but here is where I come from, if anyone cares......
1. On the field, very little is done that looks modern, or driven by statistical analysis. No shifts, horrible pinch running decisions, lots of things that look like they don't make sense mathematically. Sure, going with your gut matters, but playing the odds is playing the odds for a reason.
2. I don't expect you all to tell us your secrets. But, Gardy mocks "cybermetrics" every chance he gets. The appearance Ryan gives is that he trusts scouts more than math and science. I'm not sure how you expect fans to react to that, frankly. Add in how the on field decisions are done....
3. The outcomes delivered by your organization have been awful for three years now, and don't look a ton better next year (without spending money, since there are no pitchers that look ready to come up day one, other than maybe Meyer, maybe, and you have no 1B or CF and your LF can't field and your DH situation is terrible). How would you expect fans to react, other than wanting to see evidence that your leadership is changing how they work? Why should anyone believe any outcome is going to change, if on the surface it appears the processes are not changing? Why should we pay money for baseball tickets, given what appears to be the near future, and given that it appears this leadership is more interested in cutting payroll than adding legit MLB talent? There are plenty of resources to use, choosing not to use them might be a good decision, but it says to us that you have decided to save money, instead of rolling the dice on being good. In other words, you could be making good decisions not to sign a pitcher, but not signing riskier players or more expensive players just about guarantees you get mediocrity in return. And that tells the fans, imo, that it is about money, not about winning (even if the odds are long).
4. I love that you came here. I love that Ryan is granting TD an interview. It shows how hard you are all trying to relate to the fans and involve them in the Twins. thanks.
I go back and forth on Deduno. If Ryan is planning to pencil him in at #5, Correia at #3, and Gibson at #4 with the intent of picking up two more (good) pitchers, I'm pretty okay with it.
But, like you said, I'm not so okay with counting on Worley, Diamond, and Deduno to field a competent rotation out of Spring Training.
Would it be possible, without giving anything away, to explain how you yourself may or may not be involved in certain parts of baseball operations? For example, last year we saw several good prospects jump levels - Buxton, Sano, Rosario, Stewart to name a few - do the stat guys get involved in suggesting someone be promoted or stay?
Secondly, on the FA signings, when you were talking about mistakes, are you suggesting that you may say something like "signing player A for 5 years is a mistake b/c (according to our stat model), he's probably going to break down well before those 5 years are up"?
Is there anything you can point to that has happened since you or your department has taken on a more prominent role that might elucidate how the organization is changing things? It doesn't have to be certain stats you used or even player names, but something that might provide insight for how you/your department are making an impact that is different than, say, 10 years ago? (I feel safe saying what you do didn't exist then, but feel free to correct me)
Pretty much what TheLeviathan says.....from where fans sit, it looks like the same outcomes / decisions and same processes.
I don't agree that anti-Correia posters were wrong. He was better than expected but still mediocre, and the team lost 96 games.
The discontent with Twins' management isn't about one move or even a group of moves/non-moves. Most commentors recognize the information assymetry that exists and are more interested in the 'type' of moves and how they fit with where the organization is situated.
Why would a rebuilding team hold onto Willingham when his value was peaking? Why sign back-of-rotation starters? And if Ryan didn't want a full rebuild, why come in under budget? It's the lack of clear direction that even fans can fully discern from the information we have, and it's a problem that justifies concern.
As for the Willingham comment, this is the easiest rebuttal that so many fans seem to ignore:
Why would a contending team trade significant prospects for Willingham when his value was peaking?
It's a two-way street. If you can recognize that a 34 year old OF is having a career year, a guy that was available to every team for $21m just five months earlier, a guy that has 2 1/2 years left on his contract, why would you give up significant value to acquire him?
Ryan rolled the dice in hopes that Willingham would cement himself as a plus-bat in 2013, at which point general managers would be more willing to trade for him. He'd have a longer track record, less time remaining on his contract, and might actually return a player that would rate somewhere (anywhere) in the top 15 Twins prospects.
I know that if I was a GM in 2012, there's no way I'd give up value for Willingham at the deadline. Why do fans assume they're so much smarter than general managers, guys who actually do this for a living? If you won't give up value for a guy because you think he's smoke and mirrors, it's more than a little presumptuous to expect a professional to do the same.
Willingham is an aging veteran - 2013 wasn't going to "cement" him as anything better than he was in 2012, in fact, the exact opposite was true. And many Twins fans stated as much at the time, so there is no hindsight bias in effect here.
There is no reason to think your speculation about other GMs has any credibility whatsoever. The contract was reasonable, the player was doing well, and various clubs could have used a right-handed corner OF bat. Rumors certainly abounded that the interest was real. No one expected top talent in return.
But it goes to the same issue as Correia - what good do those guys do a terrible team? Going from 100 losses to 96? Once a team is that bad it doesn't really matter. Spend the money on something that actually might pay dividends in the future.
Also let's not forget the Revere trade. Still too early to call that either way, but if there's any meaning to the fact that Vance Worley was given the first start of the year, they may have been wrong about a player or two also.
Next season will be his age 26 season so is about to enter his prime. Some food for thought: He is the same age as Kyle Gibson. Gibson's MLB 2013 was very similar to Worley's 2013 (actually Gibson's xFIP and SIERA were higher). If one is not willing to give up on Gibson based on that, he/she should not give up on Worley.
He has to work his rear end out during the off-season though.
thrylos raises a good point, and my fear is that Ryan agrees. Deduno, Worley, Gibson, KC....leaving room for 1 new guy. Does anyone think changing one piece of the worst starting staff in baseball is a good idea? Do "we" really think they'll just improve on their own that much?