10-16-2013, 02:44 PM #41
Speaking for myself... It's important to point out that Punto is still here and in a major league uniform. Guys like Punto are supposed to be pushed out by now... It's been 4 years of prospects piling into the majors since Punto has left the Twins. It isn't just Gardenhire that was keeping Punto on the roster because of some sort of unique to Gardy Punto love. He is still here and getting a major league paycheck.
Tony LaRussa, Bobby Valentine, Don Mattingly also see the value of Nick Punto because he is still here. Apart from the half a year spent in Boston... The teams that Nick Punto is playing on have been winners. Punto ain't hurting them... He may actually be helping. Punto clearly brings something of value because he is still here and it ain't his stats.
What is it? I don't know... But I wonder if the discussion in this thread has something to do with it.
As for Joe... I don't care if he is a leader or not... Let Joe be Joe... But if nobody in the locker room steps up to fill that void. Then you have a problem in my mind.
I have no idea what it's like in the Twins clubhouse and I won't pretend. I'll just say that watching them is like watching a bunch of librarians.
I'm not a "Act like you've been there before" guy. I like watching Sam Deduno fist pump after someone makes a play or he gets a key out. Why do I have to wait for the playoffs to watch players pump their fists in happiness over an out in the 6th inning. I loved watching Torii flip over the wall in Boston the other night. I loved watching Torii plow full speed into catchers. I loved the Dan Gladded hard nose style. I loved watching the Juan Berenguer celebration even if he scared the hell out of me each time he took the mound. I loved watching Nick Punto dive head first into first. It's stupid and I'd tell him he could get hurt if he kept doing it but I love it the message it sends to the rest of the squad and would never dream of stopping it.
Deduno pitches like it's game 7 of the World Series when the team is 15 games back in June.
I don't see that type of urgency from anyone else on the roster. Who tells Plouffe that he should have got to that ball? Who tells Mauer that he could have tripled on that Double? Someone like A.J. would surely say something even it pissed them off and maybe it needs to be said.
Maybe it is said... I don't know... Maybe Doumit or Willingham is that guy... I don't know... but I keep seeing the same stuff over and over again.
I started this thread not to bash Mauer or support Punto... I'm simply saying... Is it possible that we have a leadership void in the Twins clubhouse. I don't know and the responses have been interesting thus far.
Last edited by Riverbrian; 10-16-2013 at 02:48 PM.A Skeleton walks into a bar and says... "Give me a beer... And a mop".
10-16-2013, 03:07 PM #42
10-16-2013, 10:47 PM #43
- Liked 3,302 Times in 1,753 Posts
- Blog Entries
Looks like the thread was inadvertently closed. I'm re-opening it for the time being.
10-17-2013, 09:27 AM #44
Haven't followed this thread, but I think the Twins-Gardy related complaints about Punto stemmed from playing time and role, not that he was simply on the roster. (You'd have to look at Butera for the latter complaint)
Punto got a lot of playing time with the Dodgers this season, largely due to the Hanley Ramirez injury, but he still has 5 Twins seasons with more PA (sometimes a lot more) than 2013. He was in our opening day lineup 3 times, was a playoff starter in both of his healthy Twins postseasons, and when healthy, was basically an everyday player (either as a starter or supersub) for 6 full seasons with the Twins, during which time he posted a 74 OPS+ overall. Oh, and the Twins also gave him his top 4 single season salaries, several by a very large margin. He's actually performed better the past 3 years since leaving the Twins (90 OPS+) when he's been getting less playing time at a much lower salary.
Don't get me wrong: an MLB team can do worse than Nick Punto, and I think we've seen a few worse guys on Twins rosters the last few years. But him seeing so much regular duty from 2005-2010 was seemingly another symptom of the Twins passive nature in improving their teams.
Not sure what any of this has to do with libraries, but there you go.
10-17-2013, 09:38 AM #45
I'd like to copyright the phrase "The Time of Regular Punto" I came up with it... It's mine. Maybe T-Shirts could be made?A Skeleton walks into a bar and says... "Give me a beer... And a mop".
10-17-2013, 09:46 AM #46
- Liked 378 Times in 232 Posts
10-17-2013, 09:53 AM #47
- Liked 53 Times in 21 Posts
Quite frankly I don't think many make it to the big leagues on talent alone. These guys are driven and don't like to lose. In my limited experience, playing on a losing team for a long period of time creates a sort of angered silence. Increase talent, and that silence changes...and all the articles tend to trend with how great it is in the clubhouse.
My two cents.I will one day successfully sneak onto the Sportive Podcast, and have nothing intelligent to say or add to the conversation.
10-17-2013, 10:00 AM #48
- Liked 504 Times in 195 Posts
- Blog Entries
10-17-2013, 10:03 AM #49
Brian McCann! When he blocked the plate on the goofy Go Go's homerun rant I thought I want that guy on my team. He'll cost a little more than we've been paying Morneau but he'd be a middle of the order bat, a leader and a guy that would keep Mauer at 1B. Win, win, imo.This comment brought to you from the Rosedale Mall studio by Hamm's Beer, brewed in the land of sky blue waters.
10-17-2013, 10:03 AM #50
10-17-2013, 10:06 AM #51
10-17-2013, 10:15 AM #52
The comment on the Red Sox was interesting to me because it was a clear acknowledgment of trying to change team chemistry. But I also believe that there were a few other lessons to be learned from the Red Sox' last off-season (including grinding out at bats).
In the case of the Twins, though, I do wonder about the ideas in RB's original post. I would guess that even Joe Mauer would classify himself as a bit of an introvert.
Quiet types can be leaders (and as I expressed above, I do think that he provides leadership by example with his professionalism) but I do have to wonder if a quiet clubhouse is the best atmosphere in which young players can thrive.
Let's face it, the rookies and 1st and 2nd years players are generally young, at a different stage in both their baseball careers and lives than are the older players and are often of a different cultural background.
Going to work each day should be exciting for them -- even if the team is losing because they have a lot to prove personally. But, as Gardenhire and others often say, it is still a GAME and games should be fun.
I miss someone like Mike Redmond or Michael Cuddyer or Torii Hunter who seemed to understand that (and who could bring a bit of that to others).
10-17-2013, 10:36 AM #53
I know of a perfect candidate to take on the role of team leader. This player is primed to come out of retirement and reassert his role as one of the top utility players in the league. His leadership and incredible athletic talents helped drive the Twins to the play-offs in 2002, he is better prepared to deal with the dangers of team pile-ups, and he is looking for something to do besides posting on Twins message boards.
10-17-2013, 11:13 AM #54
"The Time of Regular Butera" doesn't have quite the same ring to it, however.
10-17-2013, 11:16 AM #55
10-17-2013, 11:20 AM #56
10-17-2013, 01:17 PM #57
Hocking is actually an interesting comparison for Punto.
Age 27-32, both posted a 74 OPS+ with exactly 709 games played for the Twins (weird).
But Punto averaged 100 more PA per season than Hocking. And that's not even factoring that Punto missed significant time to injury. Additionally, Hocking piled up most of his PA on those dismal 1999-2000 clubs -- otherwise, he was clearly a bench player.
Punto was almost certainly a better player than Hocking, but the 2005-2010 Twins clubs would have benefitted from having Punto in Hocking's role. It would have meant that the team had starters better than that, and it would have improved our bench.
Sorry I keep detouring from the discussion about libraries...
10-17-2013, 02:55 PM #58
But isn't it a bit of a chicken and the egg argument? Is it talent alone that you are adding or are you also infusing new personalities and dynamics in that clubhouse?
- Liked 53 Times in 21 Posts
My take is against the media's portrayal of the problem. I don't necessarily buy it. From all I've read, it sounds like these guys are quality human beings, and I just don't buy that the fire isn't there. But I do believe it's pretty hard to be "rah rah" when your starting pitcher can't get you out of the second on a routine basis. That's pretty demoralizing. It takes its toll over a period of time.
But I do see the validity in your points, and don't want to take anything away from that. Boston did a nice job of retooling their team. I would welcome (and, God willing, expect) new players with personalities to bring fire to the table. Some of the current youth may fit that role. But as a sub-par player myself, I've always enjoyed the scrappy, fired-up guys (and no I'm not Ron Gardenhire in disguise).
Let me end with a question of polar opposites. Let's say Sano wasn't around and Buxton was ready. Buxton comes up and is what we expect with his (reported) soft spoken nature and humbleness. If they became a credible team based on that alone, would this be a talking point of the media?I will one day successfully sneak onto the Sportive Podcast, and have nothing intelligent to say or add to the conversation.
10-17-2013, 04:27 PM #59
Also, to make clear, I see this as an imbalance problem club-wide not necessarily a Mauer problem. Mauer is a symbol but it is more of a question of there not being any other veteran leaders of a more outgoing nature to complement him.
I also wonder if both injuries and knowing virtually everyone is "on the trading block" had an impact on Morneau, Doumit and Willingham. I just don't know enough about Doumit & Willingham's personalities to know. (And I tend to put the pitching staff in an entirely different category.)
Early on, someone commented that it takes "all kinds of leaders." And I think that's true. It's the GM's job to make sure that there are some different personality types on the team -- not everything has to be homogenized.