Archived Story

The Twins; I’m Concerned

Published 2:03pm Thursday, December 1, 2011

I know it’s early and maybe too early to be concerned, but I am a little worried about the Twins and the direction they might go. I know I have been accused of being a little negative about things at times but that seems to be in my nature.

 

Baseball’s winter meetings will take place next week and that is usually when a lot of deals go down and others are discussed for later deals. I’m not sure where the Twins will be after next week and if history holds true, especially under Terry Ryan, nothing much if anything will happen at the meetings.

 

We have mentioned that the Twins have numerous holes to fill in their lineup if they are to contend next season. They are also going into next season with some big question marks about some players they do have especially in the injury department. The two big names are Mauer and Morneau. Personally I think Mauer rebounds after a very sub par year in 2011. I think for the first time in his life he got negative press and he was shocked about it and didn’t like it. I truly believe he will work very hard this winter to get in shape to have a good year. Morneau on the other hand I worry about. This concussion thing is a worrisome one and is a problem now in most sports. Even when he was supposedly healthy last year he didn’t hit much so with his typical bat out of the lineup in any way will really hurt this team.

 

Speaking of concussions, Denard Span missed most of the second half of the season due to one. He did come back but was a shell of his former self and I still think the Twins made a mistake by not trading him at the July deadline last summer to the Nationals. In the starting rotation Baker andBlackburnare also coming off injuries and with the loss of Nathan and some waste in the bullpen, it sounds like Duensing is leaving the rotation to help out the pen. Where does this leave the starting rotation?

 

Like I said, and have said before, the Twins have a lot of holes to fill. What concerns me is how these holes will be filled. As a fan I don’t care much for the team budget, I just want a winning team on the field and damn the cost, but I know that is a dream unless you are a Yankee or Red Sox fan. What concerns me is that there seems to be two conflicting budgets out there. The Pohlad budget seems to be a little higher than the Ryan budget so hopefully the budget goes the Pohlad way. If it goes Ryan’s way I fear the Twins will fall into another mid to late 90’s era baseball and if you remember that then you should be concerned too.

 

For all of the great deals that Ryan has made over the years he has also made as many bad ones. Do Mike Lamb and Tony Batista ring a bell with anyone? At the time we went along with the deals mainly because we knew that was all we were going to get so we prayed that they would work out, but they didn’t. This is Ryan’s way of doing things, by the cheap. Of course during those years he had too as the Twins didn’t have much revenue but now with Target Field they do have the revenue so it will be interesting to see if he no longer operates as Mr. Cheap. This is not to criticize someone for being frugal as I am pretty dang frugal myself, but if I had money at my disposal I would do things differently, hopefully Ryan will too.

 

So far though, I haven’t seen the change and this is where maybe it is too early to be concerned. The signing of Jamie Carroll though is one that reminds me of the old Ryan. Granted I think Carroll will be better than what was there last year but I think will a little bit more money they could have had something younger and better, Carroll will be 38 years old when the season starts. The Doumit signing may be ok but something inside me keeps reminding me of Mike Lamb and Jeff Cirillo. Hopefully Doumit is not that.

 

As the off season unfolds and Ryan tries to fill all of these holes that he does so with the Pohlad budget in mind and not his own. Without knowing the guy personally, he appears to be a guy who does it his way and not that that is all bad, but it hasn’t always been all that good either.

 

-One more little tidbit before I close. The other day I was looking at Mickey Mantle’s career statistics and something kind of jumped out at me. Mantle was regarded as one of baseball’s All Time Greats, and he is, but there was one area that surprised me. You can look at all the stats you want but driving in runs is a big one. The 100 RBI season seems to be the mark a hitter wants to achieve in order to be called a run producer. Mantle did this only three times in his career which for a man considered to be a power hitter isn’t all that many times. Let’s compare some other hitters knowing there are variables in eras, teams, and teammates.

 

Tony Perez was voted into the Hall of Fame because he was noted as a run producer. He is not remembered in the same breath as Mantle but he drove in 100 runs 7 times and has more career rbi’s than Mantle. Here are other players and how many times they drove in 100 runs. Stan Musial 10, Ted Williams 9, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig 13 each, Hal Greenberg 7, Willie Mays 10, Harmon Killebrew 9, Duke Snider 6, Hank Aaron 11.

 

Now for some modern time players: Ken Griffey Jr. 8, Barry Bonds 12, Vlad Guerrero 10, Alex Rodriguez 14, Jim Thome 9, Frank Thomas 11 in 19 years of playing and how about Albert Pujols with 10 in 11 years with 99 last year. There are also a couple of other players playing today who I am sure we don’t rank real high as some of the above, but Mark Texiera has 8 in 9 years and so does Miguel Cabrerra.

 

I’m not sure what to make of this, but I found it interesting.

 

 

 

 

  • Tracy Mitchell

    Difficult times and big challenges for Terry Ryan, and he’ll be open to criticism no matter what he does. The GM’s job this year is not just a matter of filling holes. The uncertainties with Capps, Span, Blackburn, Valencia, Slowey, and Morneau considerably cloud the question of what the Twins need.

    The budget talk from both the ownership group and Ryan is that there’s about $15 million to work with. And that is without resigning Cuddyer and Kubel. That is largely the consequence of the big contracts for Mauer and Morneau, which no one criticized at the time. The budget can probably be pushed higher if the thought is that this is the year to make the big run. I don’t see anyone talking that way.

    Ideally, we’d like a lock-down bullpen, a lights-out closer, a waterproof outfield, Cy Young heading a rotation of all stars, a Whitaker/Trammel middle infield, and a batting order that treats opposing pitchers like baby seals. And oh yeah, a solid bench and a triple A team bursting at the seams with blue chip prospects. Maybe $15 million could accomplish one of those, but at the cost of doing nothing else.

    The GM’s options in each area of need are to go high side, do nothing, or some sort of partial fix. The cost of going high side on one area is to do nothing in every other area. The Twins maybe could have signed Reyes for SS. That would have meant a bullpen of Hooey, James, Dummitrait, etc, another year of Butera, etc. Resigning both Kubel and Cuddyer takes care of the OF and firms up a batting order, but nothing else. And so on.

    I expect Ryan to do something in each area, considered and measured moves that carry some risk and some reasonable upside, without burning all of the available resources. We saw that in the Carroll and Dummit signings. Without looking at the big picture, its easy to call him Mr. Cheap. Some of the moves will not work out. Armed with hindsight, it will be easy to bash him. We can look back on the Cirillo, Castro, Bastista, Lamm, and RonDL moves and scoff. But I recall the modest excitement that accompanied those signings, and the bashing that happened only after they went sour. At the time, the Lamm signing was the only one I hated. So, really, that’s the only one I have a right to whine about now.

    The one thing you can count on from Ryan is his high regard the long term viability of the franchise. He will not saddle the club with huge, crippling long term contracts for aging veterans and over-priced free agents. But you know he’s going to improve the minor league feeder system, and he’s going to do a lot of low-risk tinkering.

    The fact of the matter, though, is that if Mauer and Morneau return to full productive performances this year the Twins can contend, and if not, then they might as well start the rebuilding process. It doesn’t matter who’s hand is on the tiller if the main sails shear asunder. But the captain will be expected to go down with the ship.

  • Randy Larson

    We’ll see about the winter meetings but it looks like to me so far that they are standing pat mostly. They just signed Capps again, they want to sign Cuddyer or Kubell, and I don’t see any big upgrade coming. I hope I’m wrong. The new shortstop and catcher will help somewhat but it looks like we are expecting good health to return to everyone and maybe it will. I’d like to see an infusion of athletic young players with some upside to be major league hitters rather than older retreads. It would bring alittle excitement to the Twins.

  • Tracy Mitchell

    I think everyone wants young, athletic players with upside. That’s why the retreads are so reasonably priced. I’m not happy with Capps being signed as the presumptive closer, but there really wasn’t much for alternatives. I REALLY hope the Twins are right that he will have a bounce-back season. If so, then maybe his competency will be up to John Rousch level. Otherwise, I suppose Perkins is Plan B.

Editor's Picks

‘It’s a major historical asset’: State Historical Society director tours Kirkbride [UPDATED]

Director and CEO of the Minnesota Historical Society Stephen Elliot toured the Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center, also known as the Kirkbride, Tuesday morning. It ... Read more

FF jobless rate hits 9-year low

County’s level lowest in more than a decade The Fergus Falls jobless rate continued its trend down last month, tying last year’s level for the ... Read more

Task force: New school needed in Perham

A Community Task Force report published Oct. 15 on the Perham School District recommended some drastic changes, which included a new high school facility. “Task ... Read more

Building skills for the future [UPDATED]

Welding class prepares local students for high demand jobs With a heavy demand for jobs in the local manufacturing industry, employers are literally lining up ... Read more