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Thread: Twins and GroupThink vs Accountability

  1. #21
    Twins Moderator MVP USAFChief's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
    The White Sox have one of the worst farm systems in baseball and the MLB team had the third-worst record in MLB. There's no hope for them any time soon. They're old (minus a few arms), they have no MiLB depth, and Abreu, while a nice pickup, is not going to change that. They're going to be bad for quite some time and two September series against the also-bad Twins doesn't make their future look any better.

    Rebuilding an MLB franchise isn't a two-season affair. Yeah, the Twins are seriously lacking in starting pitching depth in the upper minors... But we've all known that for ages, which is why most of us are clamoring for a high-upside FA signing, whether that be a Ubaldo or a Hughes. That helps bridge the next few years until guys like Berrios, Stewart, and Thorpe (hopefully) mature into quality MLB pitchers.

    But if things go well for the Twins, they don't need an ace pitcher to succeed (to an extent, anyway). Some people seem to be banking on November ticker-tape parades in 2015 but that's more than a little optimistic. If Meyer turns into a good #2, some of the rest of the group (Mays, Gibson) turn into quality #3s, and then a couple more (Eades, Wimmers, Deduno, Hendriks) turn into #4s, that's the foundation of a decent, though unspectacular, staff. Couple it with a good bullpen and a solid offense and you're looking at a fringe contender.

    Will it happen? I have no idea. Would Phil Hughes or Ubaldo Jimenez or Josh Johnson help? Almost certainly.

    But to write off this team as hopeless is more than a little short-sighted. They have two of best five prospects in all of baseball, two guys that will be on the MLB squad in no more than 18 months from now.
    I could be wrong, but it seems you're defending Ryan (and his apparent belief that signing free agents is somehow wrong...a "quick fix"-- and/or demotivating to internal assets) while at the same time admitting the Twins can't succeed without signing free agents.
    Every post is not every other post. - a wise man

  2. #22
    Senior Member All-Star
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
    Interesting comment. Smith was a suit; a guy who should have excelled at managing an organization of this size. That it was one of his biggest faults is pretty damning of his tenure.
    I find it damning that the organization tries to fix the entire blame on Bill Smith. The Twins, an organization that professes group-think, yet when things went South, it is one guy that gets all of the blame. Recently I read a claim that the problems of today were caused by the bad trades Smith made! Not only does this ignore the group-think of the Twins but also those responsible for new player drafting and developing. I'm not trying to defend Smith, but it is clear to me that there is considerable animosity toward him (or is it just plain-old scapegoating?--blame he who isn't here) as if he challenged "the established order".

    Another comment that disturbs me is the animosity toward a free agent because he "is blocking somebody". This smacks of favoring longevity over performance--"it's not how well you have performed, but how long you have been here". That attitude will doom an organization.

  3. #23
    Senior Member All-Star Winston Smith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
    First, you're not really bringing anything to the conversation with trite quotations.

    Second, one could make the argument that the Twins are doing exactly the same thing that brought them a decade of sustained success in the 2000s. Focus on the draft, focus on the international market, and bring players slowly but steadily through the system.

    I think they should be doing more by exploring the free agent market but it's pretty hard to call them insane when you look at their farm system.
    To your point nobody is calling anyone insane and that's not what he said.

    Life and business evolve and grow over time. If you live in a bubble and don't expand your thinking you will be left behind. Doing what you did 10 years ago likely doesn't work any more. That's why every top MBA school has lines of businesses recruiting the grads as they walk out the door. They want that young energy and fresh look at things.
    John said: "the Twins are too enamored with GroupThink, too inbred, limit their promotions to internal people and are resistant to external ideas/people." IMO that quote agrees with with what John said.

    This comment brought to you from the Rosedale Mall studio by Hamm's Beer, brewed in the land of sky blue waters.

  4. #24
    Owner MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
    I could be wrong, but it seems you're defending Ryan (and his apparent belief that signing free agents is somehow wrong...a "quick fix"-- and/or demotivating to internal assets) while at the same time admitting the Twins can't succeed without signing free agents.
    No, I'm simply arguing that Ryan does many things right and that "sweeping changes" may not be necessary to achieve success.

    Ryan isn't perfect, far from it. His apparent refusal to pay market price for free agents is maddening.

    But if you're going to give me a guy who can corral and build a powerful farm system but is averse to free agent signings, I'll take him all day over the guy who does the opposite. I don't have to like everything Ryan does to believe he's a better GM than most in the game and if you fire everybody in the organization (which many here seem to advocate on a daily basis), there's a damned good chance you're going to fill those vacancies with people worse at their job, not better.

  5. #25
    Owner MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kwak View Post
    I find it damning that the organization tries to fix the entire blame on Bill Smith.
    I've never heard anyone in the organization publicly say anything negative about Smith.

    Hell, the guy still works for the organization. Obviously, they don't hate him that much.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
    You don't punish the person for going beyond his Peter Principle position. You put him back into a role where he can succeed and ownership gets the blame for promoting him in the first place.
    That makes the situation even worse in my opinion. That would imply that Ryan stepped aside and Smith didn't even apply for the job, St. Peter just told Smith, "Ready or not, you've been promoted, good luck."

    Why wasn't there a search for a new GM? When Smith failed and got relieved of his duties, why wasn't there ANOTHER search for a new GM? This is like a Monarchy, inbred heirs take the throne regardless of skill, there is no search for a new candidate, there is no voting commitee, everything stays within the family regardless if new blood could oversee the kingdom with better results.

    There aren't many functional monarchies left in the world, and for good reason. I always said the Twins were stuck with '80's baseball ideologies. Maybe I meant 1680's.

  7. #27
    The King In The North All-Star Nick Nelson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winston Smith View Post
    Life and business evolve and grow over time. If you live in a bubble and don't expand your thinking you will be left behind. Doing what you did 10 years ago likely doesn't work any more.
    I think this is what bothers me most. The Twins continue to say things like "We were a model organization during the last decade, we need to get back to doing the things we were doing then." Well, the game has changed since then. The Twins no longer have a steady pipeline of pitching talent (it's tough to see them having a truly strong rotation any time before 2016 if they don't sign or trade for at least one high-end talent). The division is no longer the cream puff it once was. And there is (or at least there should be) more money to spend.

    One of the most baffling statements in the TR interview was toward the end when he said he doesn't operate any differently now than he did in the Dome days, with the exception of not needing to unload players. The availability of extra cash doesn't mean you should start making stupid decisions, but you should certainly be more willing to take some financial risks. Ryan pointed multiple times at Cleveland as an example of a team that turned it around quickly, but Cleveland has proven willing to take bold risks -- trading for Jimenez, trading for Bauer, signing major free agents. The Twins continue to give no indication that they're willing to do so, because those would apparently be defined as "shortcuts."

  8. #28
    Senior Member All-Star Boom Boom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
    Why wasn't there a search for a new GM? When Smith failed and got relieved of his duties, why wasn't there ANOTHER search for a new GM? This is like a Monarchy, inbred heirs take the throne regardless of skill, there is no search for a new candidate, there is no voting commitee, everything stays within the family regardless if new blood could oversee the kingdom with better results.
    This is a solid point. When TR stepped down, the organization was so focused internally that it promoted one of "their guys" to a position he couldn't handle rather than taking a look outside to find someone more qualified. I suppose it's possible they could have done worse than Smith, but I doubt it. Who was in the room when that decision was made? And why was Smith the only one to take a fall?

  9. #29
    Senior Member All-Star JB_Iowa's Avatar
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    To me it comes down to blending in new personalities -- whether it be players through trades and free agency or front-office staff through new hires from outside the organization. Not wholesale changes but a willingness to blend in new talent and ideas.

    I'm dealing with the same issues in another part of my life right now. A governmental body where its members have become long-term and entrenched. They have developed an arrogance about what they are doing that causes them to no longer discuss anything publicly, to have votes that are always 5-0, to bully anyone in the public who dares to question any behavior. And you know what, the public has just basically shut down because fighting it gets so difficult.

    To me it appears that the Twins' group think is so deeply entrenched that it would take a series of new hires for any of their ideas or philosophies to begin to percolate. Of course people should feel like they have the chance to move up in an organization -- but there should also be some among them who desire to grow enough to be hired elsewhere as well. We don't see that. We don't see new hires in. But we also don't see much of people leaving for better positions elsewhere. This has gone beyond stability into a slow death.

  10. #30
    Owner MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
    Who was in the room when that decision was made? And why was Smith the only one to take a fall?
    My guess to that question is "you can't fire ownership".

  11. #31
    Senior Member All-Star Boom Boom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
    My guess to that is that the answer is "you can't fire ownership".
    I get that the Pohlads are ultimately where the buck stops, but I don't believe that they just blindly promoted Smith without consulting with their own people to find TR's replacement.

  12. #32
    Owner MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB_Iowa View Post
    To me it comes down to blending in new personalities -- whether it be players through trades and free agency or front-office staff through new hires from outside the organization. Not wholesale changes but a willingness to blend in new talent and ideas.

    I'm dealing with the same issues in another part of my life right now. A governmental body where its members have become long-term and entrenched. They have developed an arrogance about what they are doing that causes them to no longer discuss anything publicly, to have votes that are always 5-0, to bully anyone in the public who dares to question any behavior. And you know what, the public has just basically shut down because fighting it gets so difficult.

    To me it appears that the Twins' group think is so deeply entrenched that it would take a series of new hires for any of their ideas or philosophies to begin to percolate. Of course people should feel like they have the chance to move up in an organization -- but there should also be some among them who desire to grow enough to be hired elsewhere as well. We don't see that. We don't see new hires in. But we also don't see much of people leaving for better positions elsewhere. This has gone beyond stability into a slow death.
    I can't disagree with this post. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle... Stability is good but fresh eyes and influence are good, too.

  13. #33
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    How is trading for a guy different than signing a free agent? Buehler? Buehler?
    Lighten up Francis....

  14. #34
    Senior Member All-Star Willihammer's Avatar
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    By all means, give me the shortcuts.

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
    That makes the situation even worse in my opinion. That would imply that Ryan stepped aside and Smith didn't even apply for the job, St. Peter just told Smith, "Ready or not, you've been promoted, good luck."

    Why wasn't there a search for a new GM? When Smith failed and got relieved of his duties, why wasn't there ANOTHER search for a new GM? This is like a Monarchy, inbred heirs take the throne regardless of skill, there is no search for a new candidate, there is no voting commitee, everything stays within the family regardless if new blood could oversee the kingdom with better results.

    There aren't many functional monarchies left in the world, and for good reason. I always said the Twins were stuck with '80's baseball ideologies. Maybe I meant 1680's.
    Addressing the new GM/search issue:

    I don't know (do you?) that there wasn't a "search". For example maybe one or two people were "approached" and their response might have been along a similar line to Smith's--spend a lot of money. Or, "perform major surgery on the organization". Or "...if I'm in charge, I must have complete control..."; or other unacceptable answers according to the owner. The type of close-knit, group-think organization did not happen by accident and change would be considered anathma, outright heresy. Quite likely everything originates from the top, and then change can only happen when initiated from the top. Continued healthy profits would likely prevent any sea change in organization.

  16. #36
    Senior Member Triple-A
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
    I have no issues with Smith being in the org. He proved himself to be a capable employee at his position, enough for ownership to promote him to General Manager.

    You don't punish the person for going beyond his Peter Principle position. You put him back into a role where he can succeed and ownership gets the blame for promoting him in the first place.
    I have to disagree with you, Brock. Once someone within your organization has been the boss he very rarely should stay within the organization as it often causes dissention. I am sure Bill Smith had things that he was very good at and could still have been avaluable piece within the organization, but he would have followers that believed in him and may not have bought into Terry Ryan the same way had he been around still.

    Terry Ryan stayed in the organization, but his move out was like a retiring CEO. He stays on as a consultant, but it is clear to everyone else that there is a NEW boss. Ryan definitely got out of the way for Smith.

    For Smith to go back to his old gig or something really close to that would not be a good thing for the organization.

  17. #37
    Owner MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Siehbiscuit View Post
    I have to disagree with you, Brock. Once someone within your organization has been the boss he very rarely should stay within the organization as it often causes dissention. I am sure Bill Smith had things that he was very good at and could still have been avaluable piece within the organization, but he would have followers that believed in him and may not have bought into Terry Ryan the same way had he been around still.

    Terry Ryan stayed in the organization, but his move out was like a retiring CEO. He stays on as a consultant, but it is clear to everyone else that there is a NEW boss. Ryan definitely got out of the way for Smith.

    For Smith to go back to his old gig or something really close to that would not be a good thing for the organization.
    But if Ryan can bow out and get out of Smith's way, why can't Smith do the same for Ryan?

  18. #38
    Senior Member Triple-A
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    I have very little issues with the core philosophy of the Twins. Even doing them the way they were done in the "Dome Days" isn't too mind-blowing. The core phiosophy is who you are. The Cardinals do things the same way that they have for years and its proven to be a successful model. The Twins had a way of doing things and it worked for nearly a decade.

    The problem started when the lack of new young talent stopped coming. There was a dry spell in the organizations ability to bring in talent that produced at the MLB level from 2007 till now. The starting pitchers that were dominant in the minors and were supposed to be rotation guys for years (Blackburn, Slowey and Perkins) were not good as MLBers. Add in the fact that Gibson and Wimmers were drafted high as guys that were close to MLB-ready pitchers coming out and they both blew out there arms right away and it has absolutely crushed this organizations pitching depth. What was being fostered and appeared to be looking good in the mid and late 2000's took a comlete nose dive. Some of this is bad luck, some is poor development and maybe some is on our favorite pitching coach. Regardless, this turnaround will take time and the core philosophy will not change. Parts may, like pursuing more high velocity arms vs. the soft-tossers of yesteryear, but overall, the Pohlads apparently agree with the FO core philosophy and that building this team from the bottom up is the best way to go. Doing it this way will take time.

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
    But if Ryan can bow out and get out of Smith's way, why can't Smith do the same for Ryan?
    Because Ryan was the hero and had done well. Smith had fallen from grace and wasn't seen as good at his job. At the time of their respective exits, they were in two very different places with the organizations/ownership.

  20. #40
    Owner MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Siehbiscuit View Post
    Because Ryan was the hero and had done well. Smith had fallen from grace and wasn't seen as good at his job. At the time of their respective exits, they were in two very different places with the organizations/ownership.
    Fair enough. I don't know enough about the situation to say for certain but I could see either situation being the case (Smith being a problem versus Smith returning to his previous role and thriving).

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