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  1. Let us get it over with: So it is safe to say the Twin’s are not the best team in baseball?

    We all know this is going to dominate the comments right?

    Comment by DavidCEisen — May 17, 2011 @ 11:27 am

  2. ib4 #6org

    Comment by Baron Samedi — May 17, 2011 @ 11:32 am

  3. Is unheard of for a player to come back off the DL and after a while go back to catching?

    Comment by Ryan — May 17, 2011 @ 11:32 am

  4. Twins fan here. I’d settle for being better than the Astros at this point.

    Comment by B — May 17, 2011 @ 11:33 am

  5. Short answer to your question Mr. Cameron: Contraction

    Comment by Alan Selig — May 17, 2011 @ 11:55 am

  6. What to do now? In situations like this I like to use swearing.

    Comment by Yinka Double Dare — May 17, 2011 @ 12:20 pm

  7. Bautista’s explanation for his success in Minneapolis: “…they throw me a lot of strikes.”

    Comment by EdwardM — May 17, 2011 @ 12:22 pm

  8. Never underestimate the ability of the Cardinals to overvalue the effect a veteran closer might have on a pennant race. The Twins may get something back for Capps or Nathan after all.

    Comment by chuckb — May 17, 2011 @ 12:32 pm

  9. Fire Bill Smith.

    Comment by mgraves — May 17, 2011 @ 12:53 pm

  10. I’d settle for being better than the Red Wings.

    Comment by Small Sample Goodness — May 17, 2011 @ 12:53 pm

  11. Pitching to contact baby!

    Comment by Small Sample Goodness — May 17, 2011 @ 12:53 pm

  12. Why would you have Capps or Nathan when the Padres will be dealing Bell?

    Comment by B — May 17, 2011 @ 1:03 pm

  13. If the Twins were to eat part of Matt Capps’ salary, then how has Capps’ trade value decreased since last year. They control him for a year less, sure, but he was going to be a non-asset after the 2010 season anyway due to his arbitration payday, so how has his trade value declined?

    And we all know relievers get overpaid for at the trade deadline all the time and teams aren’t getting smarter with not overpaying for bullpen help.

    Comment by BX — May 17, 2011 @ 1:05 pm

  14. The Twins need to re-evaluate their whole scouting and drafting philosophy. No quick fixes. They’ve drafted too many toolsy HS position players who have taken too long to pan out. Too many contact, low K pitchers with very limited ceilings.

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — May 17, 2011 @ 1:06 pm

  15. I laughed.

    Comment by slamcactus — May 17, 2011 @ 1:19 pm

  16. For one, replace Brian Duensing with Kevin Slowey.

    Comment by slamcactus — May 17, 2011 @ 1:23 pm

  17. Whups, that wasn’t meant to be a reply.

    Although since I already replied, I’m not sure the twins’ drafting/scouting philosophy is the problem. They’ve been hit by something of a perfect storm of bad conditions – one star injured, one star who looked on the verge of major breakout a year ago now trying to battle back from concussion, a third star who’s inexplicably lost his command and his velocity, and an aging DH who was one of their best hitters last year has been limited to 20-ish games. Each one of these misfortunes could be absorbed, but taken together (along with the injury to Nishioka and the complete and total collapse of Delmon Young) they’re pretty catastrophic.

    “The process” has worked pretty well for the Twins in the past. This year they’ve had absolutely crap luck. I don’t think it’s fair to blame the FO for this. Sure it’d be nice if the squad had a couple more fireballers, but Duensing, Baker, and Blackburn have xFIPs of 4.22, 3.64, and 4.10 respectively. Francisco Liriano’s 5.51 and Carl Pavano’s 4.88 at the top of the rotation hurt the team far more.

    Comment by slamcactus — May 17, 2011 @ 1:29 pm

  18. As a Cards’ fan, I don’t want to trade for any of them…but we will anyway.

    Comment by chuckb — May 17, 2011 @ 1:32 pm

  19. Duensing’s been pretty decent so far. His FIP and xFIP haven’t backed up his career ERA so far, but with the exception of his last start, he’s done pretty well as a starter.

    If it wasn’t for Pavano’s contract and veteran status and Francisco Liriano having almost no value as a reliever, either one of them would probably be swapped for Slowey.

    Comment by Bryz — May 17, 2011 @ 1:37 pm

  20. Oops, meant to say “but with the exception of his last start, he’s done pretty well as a starter this year.”

    Comment by Bryz — May 17, 2011 @ 1:37 pm

  21. Someone’s going to miss out or won’t want to pay the price in the Bell sweepstakes, right? Capps will have some takers.

    Comment by Bryz — May 17, 2011 @ 1:38 pm

  22. New Britain?

    Comment by TFINY — May 17, 2011 @ 1:47 pm

  23. I’ll jump on this bandwagon.

    Comment by TFINY — May 17, 2011 @ 1:48 pm

  24. Because 1) the Twins greatly overpaid for him anyway, and 2) part of his value was in his “cheap” price last year, which he will no longer have.

    Comment by TFINY — May 17, 2011 @ 1:49 pm

  25. I disagree. Last season, the Twins had a terrible bench that consisted of Drew Butera, Jason Repko, Alexi Casilla/Nick Punto, and Matt Tolbert after Morneau’s concussion. Thome’s resurgence at the plate and good seasons by Delmon Young and Danny Valencia masked the lack of bats off the bench.

    This season, the rash of injuries have put the lack of bench depth on display. The Twins put their faith in Joe Nathan, and he showed that he wasn’t fully ready. Behind Nathan and Capps, they went cheap (and in some cases, misguided) with their relievers, such as Dusty Hughes and Jim Hoey. Glen Perkins was even a gamble and lucky for them, it’s paid off so far.

    At catcher, they committed to Drew Butera so much that they dumped every other decent catcher. Wilson Ramos for Capps and Jose Morales for minor leaguer Paul Bargas (who is now fighting for his life against brain cancer, unfortunately), and now with Mauer out they’ve had to turn to Butera, STEVE HOLM!, and Rene Rivera. None of them have hit this year.

    The infield (except for Morneau) has been a revolving door as they’ve never found long-term solutions for any of the positions. Michael Cuddyer continues to play every day and bat in the middle of the lineup. They just seem to ignore areas of need or attempt to fix them with gambles and/or short-term fixes.

    In the past, winning and relative health of the starters masked the lack of depth within the system. But now with everyone hurt and/or playing poorly, it’s shown that the entire organization is lacking in several areas.

    The only thing I can really say is out of their control is that the whole pitching staff has basically lost their ability to limit walks, and practically the entire offense is struggling. It’s absolutely baffling.

    Comment by Bryz — May 17, 2011 @ 1:50 pm

  26. I would like to submit the possibility that the #6 ranking is cursed. Any team team that gets it will be relagated to their respective division’s cellar the following season.

    Comment by TJ — May 17, 2011 @ 1:56 pm

  27. Over the past 10 years, the Twins have made the playoffs 6 times. They haven’t had a losing season once during that (denard) span as well. I’d say their approach seems to be working, this year obviously notwithstanding. I trust the 10 years of success over 1 bad season.

    Though Dave is absolutely right that there isn’t much the Twins can do, except hope a big-market team overvalues a middle reliever or the impact of a big bat off the bench.

    Comment by Sean — May 17, 2011 @ 1:57 pm

  28. I think that concussed player already had a breakout when he won an MVP.

    Comment by Dustin — May 17, 2011 @ 1:58 pm

  29. Nothing lasts forever. Margins are tight for small market teams; a few off years of drafting and developing, or a couple unlucky big league moves can end a run like that pretty quickly.

    Comment by JR — May 17, 2011 @ 2:08 pm

  30. Relievers generally get hilariously overpaid for at the deadline anyway.

    If the Twins ate enough salary to make Capps cheap money-wise, they should be able to get decent value back. Maybe buy-low on a struggling prospect (e.g. James McDonald and Wilson Ramos from 2010 deadline).

    Comment by BX — May 17, 2011 @ 2:12 pm

  31. The Twins aren’t a small market team anymore. Sorry, you can’t have a payroll above 100MM and be considered “small market.”

    Comment by BX — May 17, 2011 @ 2:14 pm

  32. Kind of makes the Ramos trade look even worse now doesn’t it?

    Comment by Schu — May 17, 2011 @ 2:31 pm

  33. Jim Thome to the Yankees? If Jorge doesn’t pull it together soon, they may need to fill the DH spot externally. I really want Big Jim to get 600 HR’s, but more importantly I want to see him get a ring. The Yankees aren’t doing so well this year, but what other playoff contender needs a DH? BoSox, Tigers, Rangers, Angels all have DH on lockdown. Maybe the Rays? Sam Fuld has kind of lost his magic, and Johnny Damon can still play a passable LF

    Comment by j6takish — May 17, 2011 @ 2:33 pm

  34. Detroit Tigers, I’m looking in your direction! *cough, cough* Benoit *cough*

    Comment by Trotter76 — May 17, 2011 @ 2:38 pm

  35. Agreed.

    Comment by mike wants wins — May 17, 2011 @ 2:45 pm

  36. I bet Sam Fuld keeps playing, because of his defense, not his bat.

    I doubt they want anything to do with putting Damon in the field regularly

    Comment by Jim Lahey — May 17, 2011 @ 2:50 pm

  37. I think their “scouting and drafting philosophy” is phenomenal. That’s the one thing that’s kept them near the top for most of the past decade. It’s their development and coaching philosophies, and their acquisition (and disposal) of players already at the MLB level, that needs a ton of work.

    Comment by BILL@TPA — May 17, 2011 @ 2:50 pm

  38. 1. Stop overvaluing “closers”.
    2. Use methods developed after 1960 to evaluate players.
    3. Hold underperformers (like coaches and players) accountable and fire them, don’t keep moving them around.
    4. Don’t trade from positions of scarcity for fungible assets.
    5. Don’t assume your backups will never have to play, and the defense matters more than hitting like my mom does.
    6. Look at their scouting and development programs. They are not bringing up players at a sufficient rate with high or even medium ceilings. The also don’t do the little things well anymore (like throw to the right base, or not get picked off). Even their most ardent supporters (like Sinker and Seth Stohs) have been saying that for a couple of years.
    7. Trade any veteran over 30 for whatever you can get. Eat most/all of the salary to get better players back.
    8. Stop marginalizing players with “attitude” like Garza and somehow Slowey.
    9. I guess I should go back to working…..

    Comment by mike wants wins — May 17, 2011 @ 2:53 pm

  39. Not really…. it looked really bad at the time… The ‘fading prospect’ tag got tossed on him way too quickly when his batting suffered after the jump to AAA. Plus there were people even back then wondering how long Mauer would be a full time catcher…. the only thing in my view that has possibly changed is the timeline on that.

    Ramos still strikes out too much, but that trade looked really bad at the time and it still looks really bad now….

    Comment by fred — May 17, 2011 @ 3:14 pm

  40. I disagree with the premise of this post. Last year, when the Twins faced Seattle, I noticed that only Kubel was batting lower than 0.270, and that Seattle had only one batter over 0.270.

    Basically, people were saying that there were a lot of “ifs” for the Twins this year, and all of them turned out “nope.”

    * Jim Thome is on the DL
    * Mauer is on the DL
    * Morneau is still struggling from his injury (batting like a shortstop)
    * Nishioka is on the DL, so we don’t know how he will pan out at second
    * Liriano fell apart
    * Pavano is having a career bad year. I don’t think that he has had this many poor starts in a row since ever
    * Valencia, who batted like a corner infielder and had a good UZR last Fall, is batting poorly and fielding poorly
    * Only two players are batting over 0.250
    * Bill Smith traded every shortstop but the second backup (okay, that one wasn’t luck)

    In addition, two things went well. Span is having a great year fielding in center and Kubel is earning his DH contract.

    BTW, where was Span in all this? He is the highest UZR center fielder in the AL last I checked, and he is doing okay with the bat.

    All this bad luck can’t stick–that is what mean reversion is all about. I’m not saying this team is going to the ALDS this year, but there is no reason to sell off the parts yet.

    Comment by Barkey Walker — May 17, 2011 @ 3:19 pm

  41. Duensing is their best starter. Replace Liriano with Slowey.

    Comment by Barkey Walker — May 17, 2011 @ 3:20 pm

  42. Jim Thome is 40, and won’t be back next year.
    Pavano is pitching like he did with the Yankees and the Cleveland team. He has certainly been this bad before, and he’s not a spring chicken*
    Valencia was mediocre in the minors. Maybe last year was the aberration.
    Delmon Young is an awful fielder, and has one average year in his career (though he is young)
    Nathan is in year 1 back from Tommy John.
    Cuddeyer has 2 mediocre to bad years, 1 good year, and this year in his last four years, and he’s not getting younger.

    *I was ok with the two year deal he got.

    What part of the premise do you disagree with? You think it is realistic for them to contend this year? You think they should re-sign Thome, Cuddeyer, Capps, and Nathan?

    The post was about what should they do to prep for next year? Why would he mention Span as someone to get rid of?

    Comment by mike wants wins — May 17, 2011 @ 3:27 pm

  43. I’m not suggesting that Gardenhire be canned, but I’m thinking that the Twins must be the organization that’s gone the longest since firing a manager (Sep 13 1986 – victim = Ray Miller). Is this true?

    Comment by reillocity — May 17, 2011 @ 3:28 pm

  44. The Twins have, I think, done pretty well at signing and developing young players, under the circumstances – after all, they’re a small-market team and usually aren’t picking at the top of the draft. But shouldn’t a weak bench raise some questions? To succeed (keep succeeding, in this case) as a lower-payroll organization, putting together an effective low-cost bench (and bullpen) would seem to be key. This year the few stars are hurt, and it’s clear they weren’t surrounded by much.

    Comment by Mr Punch — May 17, 2011 @ 3:30 pm

  45. I’m sure they would gladly take the #1 draft pick in 2012 if you folks don’t want it.

    Comment by reillocity — May 17, 2011 @ 3:30 pm

  46. @JR

    true. see Oakland Athletics

    Comment by Tim_the_Beaver — May 17, 2011 @ 3:32 pm

  47. Justin Morneau’s wOBA the year he won his bogus MVP (also known as the year he was the 2nd-most valuable bat on his own team): .388 Justin Morneau’s wOBA pre-concussion last year: .447.

    It’s possible for guys who are already good to break out. If a .59 point uptick in wOBA isn’t a breakout, I don’t know what is. It’s approximately the same gap between the current offensive performances of Ryan Theriot and Mark Teixiera.

    Comment by slamcactus — May 17, 2011 @ 3:39 pm

  48. “This season, the rash of injuries have put the lack of bench depth on display.”

    How exactly that the fault of the team’s scouting/drafting philosophy?

    Yes, Bill Smith could have done a better job filling out the roster. Nobody disputes that. I’m just saying it’s unfair to blame the team’s scouting philosophy for an injury-fueled team-wide collapse at the big-league level.

    Comment by slamcactus — May 17, 2011 @ 3:41 pm

  49. Sounds good to me.

    Comment by Small Sample Goodness — May 17, 2011 @ 3:49 pm

  50. I always a little perplexed when people expect Joe Mauer to be able to just shift to 3B. Mauer presumably has the arm to play third, and the Twins should undoubtedly try it as a first option if they’re moving him out from behind the plate, but I’m skeptical a transition there will work. A corner OF spot or 1B, I can see, but 3B is not an easy defensive position to play, as a number of prospects who pass through 3B on their way to the OF or 1B can attest to.

    It just highlights the hard spot the Twins are in as they try to plan for the future: is Mauer a C, a 3B, an OF, a 1B, or a DH?

    Comment by robdeer — May 17, 2011 @ 3:51 pm

  51. And it is a key question to answer. But I’m not sure they ahve the courage to stand up to Mauer on this. I hope they do.

    Comment by mike wants wins — May 17, 2011 @ 4:04 pm

  52. Heh, I wasn’t sure if that was about 1-8, or #9!

    Comment by mike wants wins — May 17, 2011 @ 4:05 pm

  53. How many wins do you think the Twins will end up with this year?

    My overly-optimistic, extremely-biased guess: 86 wins.

    Comment by Dave — May 17, 2011 @ 4:33 pm

  54. If they get to 86, Gardy should be manager of the year again. I started at 88-92, but now I’m down to 79 or so.

    Comment by mike wants wins — May 17, 2011 @ 4:47 pm

  55. And I think that is optimistic.

    Comment by mike wants wins — May 17, 2011 @ 4:47 pm

  56. I would still be willing to bet that the Twins finish better than the Tigers. They find a way to screw us every year.

    Comment by Cecil Fielder Jr. — May 17, 2011 @ 4:51 pm

  57. Fire Bill Smith

    Comment by Visnovsky — May 17, 2011 @ 5:27 pm

  58. #9 may be the only one I disagree with.

    Comment by Small Sample Goodness — May 17, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

  59. Curses don’t exist. They’re just instances where you’re predisposed to notice coincidences. *boom*

    Comment by Spinal Tap Drummer — May 17, 2011 @ 5:54 pm

  60. The Twins are currently on a pace to win about 50 games. To win anything more than 70 games this year would require everything to go right the rest of the year (b/c they are not a good team, even if everyone comes back healthy).

    Comment by mgraves — May 17, 2011 @ 9:31 pm

  61. not gonna happen. not with a brand new stadium. taxpayers would lynch those that made the stadium happen (politically).

    Comment by Cidron — May 17, 2011 @ 9:37 pm

  62. Check out the starting lineup tonight in Seattle. It is truly pathetic.

    Comment by bill G — May 17, 2011 @ 9:38 pm

  63. if his legs are semi near shot from catching, imo, i would not be in a hurry to put him in the OF, any slot. 3B or DH is about it, assuming that Morneau is still with team. If HE is gone, then Mauer might be good at 1B.

    Comment by Cidron — May 17, 2011 @ 9:43 pm

  64. It’s easy to write an article like this when a team is struggling DUE TO INJURIES. Take 5 starters out of ANY team’s starting lineup and see how it fares. I guarantee you, not well.

    Sure the team has a lack of depth in the minors, but that is a-typical for this franchise over the past decade. Bill Smith is one of the key culprits. The Ramos trade was terrible, the Delmon trade was questionable, and they got ZILCH for Johan (despite intense negotiations with the Red Sox that included names like: Ellsbury, Masterson, Lowrie, and Lester — wouldn’t any of them be nice on this team right now!)

    Also, IMO, Gardenhire is a terrible manager. It is my opinion, after watching nearly every game under his watch, that this team has won in the past despite him. No self-respecting big league manager should commit so heavily to the likes of Nick Punto, Drew Butera, Alexi Casilla, Nick Blackburn, etc. over the years.

    BUT, having said all that, the reason this team is 12-27 is due to injuries. Even Morneau, who is playing, is not back at full speed. I think this team has a nice run or two in it once it gets healthy — IF it gets healthy.

    Comment by CptSpandex — May 17, 2011 @ 9:45 pm

  65. Bullshit, they’re not.

    Comment by CptSpandex — May 17, 2011 @ 9:46 pm

  66. And while I am at it, the Twins’ season is, “essentially over”? Dave, have you been paying attention to the AL Central the past 4-5 years?

    Good lord!

    Comment by CptSpandex — May 17, 2011 @ 9:48 pm

  67. OK. What is good with Minn.

    In general, their scouting is ok to above. It is what has kept them competitive for the last decade or more. Their manager is good as well. Cant fault him for the lack of tools to work with. He has run a small market team for some time, successfully, on the field. I wouldn’t can the manager, or remake the scouting dept, (well, maybe a few more dollars for more results, but…).

    Minnesota is still transitioning from a small market to a midmarket. They just now got a nice, new, stadium that should put people in the seats if the team puts even a modest team on the field.

    IMO, they should try to keep M&M, but, the rest, send them packing, even if it means eating alot of salary. In the offseason, sign some “placeholder” free agents, to let what prospects you have (or will get in trades/drafts) grow. It will take a while and with some luck, Minn will be competitive again down the road, oh, in 5-7 yrs. Houston is finding out this reality as well. Their team got old and brittle in a hurry, and all of a sudden, fell out of competition. Like Minn, they suddenly couldnt hit, field, run, pitch, as well as win.

    Minnesota’s luck, skill, whatever you want to call it that kept them competitive this last decade or so, has been running on fumes for the last two years.. now, its GASSED!

    Comment by Cidron — May 17, 2011 @ 9:51 pm

  68. It’s funny that you mention Seattle in your post, because what is happening with the Twins this season is almost exactly like what happened with the Mariners last year. Everything that could have possibly gone wrong, did go wrong. Furthermore, near the beginning of the season, there were a lot of expectation that Seattle’s underperforming players would regress to their career norms, but for the most part they didn’t.

    Bottom line, the Twins are out of the race already, and there is no guarantee that their players will regress.

    Comment by Fat Spiderman — May 17, 2011 @ 10:00 pm

  69. Yeah, I’m gonna go with 75. Which is just a tad over .500 from here on out, which even seems a little optimistic but do-able with some better health, better breaks, better pitching, better hitting…basically better everything.

    Comment by Jason B — May 17, 2011 @ 10:10 pm

  70. 12 x 4 = 48, so somewhere around 50

    Comment by eric — May 17, 2011 @ 10:16 pm

  71. Theeee Siiiiimpsooooooooooooons~

    Comment by eric — May 17, 2011 @ 10:17 pm

  72. Whats good with Min: Their division.

    Comment by eric — May 17, 2011 @ 10:18 pm

  73. Regression is towards the mean (as in the mean of all players) not towards some true average, that is just called the law of large numbers.

    Comment by Barkey Walker — May 17, 2011 @ 10:27 pm

  74. The team is 12-27 because it is not a very good team. The pitching is the worst in baseball–only five of the 12 belong on a major league roster right now.

    The defense is poor.

    Even if Mauer and Nishioka were healthy, someone would have to man short and Butera would still be “hitting” every fourth day. Young is having his worst Major League season. Morneau is not yet healthy. Valencia is having a sophomore slump. Cuddyer is in the downward phase of his career. Casilla should be sent through waivers to AAA.

    Comment by mgraves — May 17, 2011 @ 10:56 pm

  75. The Twins should avoid the NFL mentality where they have to “do something” in response to a bunch of bad luck with injuries.

    As we saw with the Rays earlier, only a few select teams can compensate for key injuries. Everyone else has to struggle through it without losing their head.

    Liriano was due some regression the wrong way, but he’s also due some current regression the right way. Veteran players aren’t typically that bad for a whole season.

    Mauer’s future health is a real concern just due to the unknown element. But there may be good news coming on that front.

    Just get through 2011 without losing your mind and abandoning ship. Their big issues have been injuries. It happens.

    Not sure how they all rate in terms of MLB potential, but they have some real burners in the OF in the minors. They could move toward a more run prevention philosophy in target field.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — May 17, 2011 @ 11:14 pm

  76. The Twins got Mauer with a #1 overall pick. Then there is Morneau and one big trade with the Giants. Beyond that, where is the stream of talent flowing in from the farm system, or from free agency, or from anywhere else over the last 5 seasons?

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — May 17, 2011 @ 11:40 pm

  77. Why is everybody so obsessed with Kevin Slowey? Yeah, he has a low walk rate, but beyond that he’s a flyball pitcher with a low K rate and pedestrian velocity. I just don’t see it myself.

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — May 17, 2011 @ 11:49 pm

  78. I KNOW RIGHT

    Comment by adohaj — May 18, 2011 @ 1:50 am

  79. no

    Comment by adohaj — May 18, 2011 @ 1:57 am

  80. Slowey is overrated

    Comment by adohaj — May 18, 2011 @ 1:58 am

  81. I agree with pretty much all the assertions you raise, but the point you conclude with. Ownership, Bill Smith, and Ron Gardenhire have ran this team like shit for quite sometime. However, since their division sucked and they’ve always somehow managed to get a few top flight players (Morneau, Mauer, Hunter, Santana, etc.) surrounded by enough mediocre players and win a crappy division in most years. So this was a long time coming, they need major shakeups in the team. The Ramos trade was stone cold stupid, there’s been other cataclysmic moves made in the team’s pasts. The team places a premium on defense at non premium positions, and allows weak hitting players to protrude the lineup.

    A core of Mauer and Morneau is great starting point for a team that’s where Twins will likely will end up. They should trade any player over 30 they have for lottery ticket type prospects. Cut down the soft tossing righty tree and the weak hitting MINF tree while they’re at it. There’s not a whole whole lot they can do through free agency, but there’s always a team that will overvalue a reliever and there’s always a team that may be willing to trade an organizational type player for a bench bat. There’s hope yet for the Twins.

    Comment by Omar — May 18, 2011 @ 3:24 am

  82. And if he doesn’t play, they have two prospects ready to take over for Sam. Tampa’s not a taker.

    Comment by Nocturne — May 18, 2011 @ 3:45 am

  83. It looks like Cameron still hates Kubel. They should be able to get a pretty good player for him if they traded him this year. He’s probably a type A FA and almost a lock to be offered arb. But I think the Twins try to find a way to keep him since they will be cutting ties with several other Twins at the deadline or in the offseason.

    I also find it laughable that the Twins would have to eat salary to trade Capps. Saves and the special ‘closer’ title might be overrated but Capps is a pretty good RP’er and he’ll only be owed around 2.5M for the final two months of the season. And he looks like a lock to turn down an arb offer as a Type A FA since there is almost for sure some team out there that will offer a multiyear deal to him (and it will end up being an ugly contract in the end).

    Comment by kab21 — May 18, 2011 @ 4:47 am

  84. Maybe they should sign Cuddyer to a 7-year $75 million contract since they already have Morneau and Mauer locked up.

    Comment by Larry — May 18, 2011 @ 5:25 am

  85. You’re a genius!

    Comment by kab21 — May 18, 2011 @ 7:10 am

  86. The Phils may consider throwing a couple C prospects your way for Delmon Young in July, if you are out of contention. Even though he may not be off to a great start, he still had a hell of a year last year, and has good career avg. against lefties and w RISP…which is what the Phillies could really use right about now. 2 NL pennants and 2 WS appearances in the last 3 years, and were starting Ben Francisco, Michael Martinez, and John Mayberry Jr in the outfield..All this stupid talk about the EPIC 4 man rotation, well I ll tell you, Roy Cliff Cole and Roy arent going to go out and throw shutouts every game…We WILL be looking for corner outfield help come July, or at least I hope so

    Comment by phareastPhils — May 18, 2011 @ 7:46 am

  87. I don’t think you can win in spite of your manager for as many years as they have. Gardy must be doing some things very well.

    However, that doesn’t mean he can’t learn and get better.

    1. Stop hitting MIF 2nd “because that’s what they do” when they have an OBP lower than the odds of the world ending this weekend.
    2. Stop encouraging your best hitters to produce productive outs. All hitters should be trying to get a hit, not trying to hit a grounder to 2B.
    3. Understand the concept of pitching leverage better in the 7-9th innings.
    4. See number 1. Try really hard to remember #1.
    5. Get over your dislike of certain kinds of attitudes.
    6. Learn from Killebrew, and stop treating fans as ignorant on your shows.
    7. Learn to forgive and forget better (seems to have done this with Perkins).
    8. See number 1. Try really hard to remember #1.
    9. Stop pinch running with two outs and a guy on first. The odds of that helping are much lower than the odds you’ll need your legit hitter later in the game (especially with this offense).
    10. Stand up to Mauer and DH/1B him more to keep him more fresh and healthy.
    11. Hold your coaches accountable for bad performance, and fire them if they are bad. Don’t keep moving them around.
    12. Find someone to teach how not to get picked off first.
    13. Find someone to teach what base to throw to (how does someone that has playe ball for over a decade not know what base to throw to?).

    That’s off the top of my head.
    All that said, he must be doing something right.

    Comment by mike wants wins — May 18, 2011 @ 10:00 am

  88. It is hard to remember, but we have only completed six weeks so far. The Twins have been a bad team, but are 8.5 games back in the Wild Card. Though 13.5 games behind Cleveland, they are 8.5 games behind second place Detroit. Will the Twins be better than Cleveland, KC, Detroit and the White Sox during the next 18 weeks? It is certainly possible.

    The Twins need some production at catcher and at middle infield, where the offense has been worse than merely bad. They need better production at 1B. They need their ace to be an ace. They need their closers to close. Outfield, DH, 3B and SP2-5 still look okay on paper and they have an ace in the hole with minor league pitcher Gibson.

    The Twins recently promoted Plouffe, which allows Casilla to be benched. In addition to this addition by subtraction, Nishioka returns in a few weeks. They desperately need production at catcher, though if there is only one hole in the lineup, that can be overcome. I’d sign and play Max Ramirez (or Jake Fox), if I ran the Twins. Others suggest Molina.

    Morneau remains a question mark– he needs to produce or be benched. The Twins have won without him. Liriano seems to be turning it around. Nathan seems to be turning it around, with Perkins adding RP depth.

    So, if I ran the Twins, I would sign a backup catcher that can hit. Otherwise, I might hold tight, wait for players to heal, and wait for the rest of the division to return to normalcy.

    If the Twins do make a move– not so unlikely with Cleveland leading– I would sign Reyes, which addresses a long-term need, in addition to a short-term deficiency, then likely win the division again.

    Comment by David — May 18, 2011 @ 11:11 am

  89. Gooooood list. Me likey.

    Comment by Jason B — May 18, 2011 @ 11:29 am

  90. I sort of agree with some of this.

    1. They probably shouldn’t be trading yet, as only Kubel would yield a good return now (and I’d rather they kept him).
    2. Reyes would be great, but I don’t see it happening. They don’t acquire high priced players in their prime (except Capps oddly). It isn’t their style. They are also maxed out (apparently) salary wise. So the only way to add him is after this season when Cuddy, Nathan and maybe Young’s salary are off the books.
    3. Benching Casilla is addition by subtraction.
    4. I’m not sure Pavano looks good in person, or on paper.
    5. No idea if Liriano is really back or not. Pitching to the mariners is like pitching to the Twins. But, they do need him to be back.
    6. Nishi is coming back in a few weeks. The question is, will they really be out of it bay then?
    7. I think you have to keep sending Morneau out there, but I’d probably give him a day off or three more often. That would likely require Cuddy at 1B, which is bad, really bad, defensively.

    Comment by mike wants wins — May 18, 2011 @ 11:42 am

  91. We pretty much agree. Though from a financial perspective, I think having a winning team is very important, especially now. The Twins claim sell-outs through most of 2011, but the price of tickets in the aftermarket is down $8 below market price already. If the Twins go merely .500 the rest of this year and finish 14 under .500, the new paint smell is forever gone from Target Field and people will be incredulous that standing room tickets were ever sold for $26. If the Twins instead rebound, and .500 may be enough to win the division this year, and they can keep a winning product, the Twins can finesse their current higher ticket prices for a couple more years before the market breaks. Someone like Reyes could be a difference maker– not just on the field, but for the front office.

    Comment by David — May 18, 2011 @ 1:10 pm

  92. David, I agree, they would be better off with Reyes, both from a box office and on-field perspective. Since I am liking lists so much…..

    1. Trade for Reyes.
    2. Re-plant the trees (I remain very disappointed in this decision)
    3. Cut Casilla. He’ll always be too tempting to play if he’s on the roster.
    4. Move Pavano to the pen, start Slowey (or move Blackburn, your choice)
    5. The moment someone makes a good offer for Young, trade him. His defense is atrocious, and he’ll be making too much money next year relative to his offense.
    6. See if you can package your huge number of AAAA players for a smaller number of MLB players (ok, that part’s a pipe dream)
    7. Promote Rams and Parmalee to the next levels.
    8. Tell Hicks to quit trying to be Boggs/Mauer, and to start hitting the ball with authority.
    9. Get better beer choices in more of the park.
    10. Garlic or herbed fries, can we get those there?
    11. Consider trading one of your MiLB OFers or pitchers for a catching prospect.

    Comment by mike wants wins — May 18, 2011 @ 1:47 pm

  93. The premise is that the team, if not adjusted, will suck this bad next year, and that their current win rate represents a good measurement of the team’s performance.

    Nathan, Mauer, Morneua, Nishioka, and Liriano could well be top performers in 2012. Yes, they need a new SS, but it’s not like he has a three year deal.

    Comment by Barkey Walker — May 18, 2011 @ 1:57 pm

  94. Yeah, this team plus 10 million worth of players in the middle infield could never win the central division.

    Comment by Barkey Walker — May 18, 2011 @ 2:00 pm

  95. always over value relief? They lost their entire pen besides the two closers this off season. How much did those guys go for, and how much did the pay for players that replaced them?

    I think they over value relief less than the league.

    Comment by Barkey Walker — May 18, 2011 @ 2:04 pm

  96. Yep — that 94-win team last year was really running on fumes.

    Comment by robdeer — May 19, 2011 @ 10:01 am

  97. Good list.

    Comment by David — May 19, 2011 @ 11:03 am

  98. This is all too painfully true. Being a sabermetrics fan and growing up has made it really hard to support most moves the Twins make..

    Comment by Doctor_Teh — May 19, 2011 @ 11:52 am

  99. The division they play in is pretty awful. I think there is still an outside chance that if they have a hot streak and others in the division fall apart that they can be competitive. Probably won’t happen though.

    Don’t see a lot of guys they can trade. They have a decent farm system and will get better draft choices. Just go with it. Pretty much everything that needs to happen usually happens for the Twinkies, this year not so much.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — May 19, 2011 @ 11:32 pm

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