Twins Apologists

Actually, I should actually open that title up and call it \”Minnesota Sports Franchise Apologists on\”. Anyway, the reason I bring this up is I was reading a recap of a Twins chat with Joe C in today\’s Strib, and he started getting a little snippy with some of the comments.

I\’ve seen the same thing with the beat writers for the Vikings as well; and I understand why. There are plenty of people who right in stupid questions and observations like \”the Twins suck, they should have signed Manny Ramirez\”, but in many cases I\’m actually starting to side with some of the crackpots… for example:

[Comment From Jesse]
What is your feeling on how active the Twins are on the trade front? Guys like Freddy Sanchez are out there to be had and the Twins have a lot of money they have saved the past few years?
Joe C.:
I know the Twins try. It’s not like they’re asleep. But you hear the same old refrain about how other teams are asking too much, and adding in-season help just isn’t one of their strengths.

Adding in season talent isn\’t one of their strengths??? Really? I\’d go so far as to say that adding talent through any method besides the draft isn\’t one of their strengths. Keeping talent isn\’t one of their strengths. Besides scouting, do they have any front office strengths? Let\’s not put lipstick on a pig here Joe.

[Comment From jama]
Shouldn\’t the Twins be unsatisfied with their GM so far?
Joe C.: Look, the Garza and Johan trades don\’t look good right now. But there were many of us who applauded the moves at the time. I think if a GM came in and destroyed the way the Twins have been successful in years past, there would be an issue, but I think the Twins could have just as easily made those trades under Terry Ryan. He\’s still a big part of the inner circle.

\”Look…\” When anyone responds to you with that as their first word, expect them to be talking down to you.

Any heat on Gardy you are picking up? Jim Pohlad any quicker on the trigger?
Joe C.:
I read comments like this and shake my head. I just don\’t think Twins fans realize how good they have it with Gardenhire and his staff.

Ok, I would agree that a question like \”why don\’t they fire Gardy, he sucks\” would require a response like he gave, but I think it\’s a valid question. The guy asked if there was any heat. The Twins have a decent team and the division is ripe for the taking. There should be some heat.

[Comment From Duane]
You think Twins fans are happy with this team every year just making it to the playoffs? C\’mon?
Joe C.:
I know the playoff losses have been frustrating. But just getting into the October dance, gives you a chance. Look at the Rockies in 2007. Building a consistent contender in the Minnesota market is a massive accomplishment. As I always say, it was my years covering the Dodgers and Orioles that make me appreciate the way the Twins operate.

Yes Joe, it is. And we enjoyed the hell out of that accomplishment from 2001-2004. We\’d like to take the next step. I think waiting 5 years is patient enough. It\’s very easy to be reductionist and say something like \”well at least we aren\’t KC\”. The Dodgers have won just as many World Series as the Twins have in the past 30 years. Even the Orioles and KC have won one in that same time span. We went through our decade (or so) of penance (93-2000), we\’ve been through contraction. We\’ve seen a boat load of talent leave town over the past 10 years. Do you really think Twins fans are \”happy\” with how the front office operates???

[Comment From thepuck]
Really? I wonder what the average is for time before a manager is fired only winning one playoff series in 8 years? Most teams look in a different direction way before that?
Joe C.:
Getting there is 9/10 of the battle, my friend. Especially in baseball. Especially with a payroll 1/3 the size of the Yankees.

Ok, here come the excuses. Given that Pohlad (and now \”Pohlads\”) are the richest owners in baseball, this rings hollow. The Twins got their stadium and part of the promise is that we\’d see an uptick in spending to field a winning team. Additionally, with how weak the AL Central is, getting there is about 6/10ths of the battle. Since 2004 the Twins have been woefully undermanned and underprepared to make a playoff run. \”Getting there\” was the easy part.

[Comment From dennis]
You think vavra is a legitimate major league hitting coach?
Joe C.: No question. An absolute tireless worker. I know people think a hitting coach should be an ex-big league star or something. But the modern player needs to spend hours and hours and hours, studying video, learning the strike zone. Vavra gives every hitter a plan. It\’s up to them to execute.

Ok, this is a tough one. It\’s hard for the average fan, or even the involved fan, to understand how much Vavra really brings to the table. But let\’s see… the two best batters on the team (M&M) have load of natural talent, and they both said they\’ve made small tweaks in the off season (no mention of Vavra) to take it up a notch. The guys with tons of talent who are struggling continue to struggle (Young and Gomez). A defense of \”tireless worker\” really doesn\’t cut it. Every team has a guy who does that Joe C describes. The question is whether or not he does it well. I guess Gomez and Young\’s progress will really tell us if he\’s just a coach, or if he\’s a good coach.

[Comment From Jim T]
Will the Twins cut ties with Punto now that Harris has clearly proven himself to be a better everyday player?
Joe C.: Cut ties, cut ties, cut ties. So knee-jerk. Punto has been up-and-down since 2006. When he\’s up, people love him. When he\’s down, they want to cut ties. Granted, it would be nice if he were more consistent offensively, but you don\’t just cut ties with players after two bad months.

Ok, f**k you Joe. What is the deal with the Twins beat writers (and Gardy) and their absolute hard-on for Punto. And as for \”knee-jerk\”… if Punto had enough appearances to qualify he would be dead last in batting average, near the bottom in on base percentage, and dead last in slugging percentage. Harris can hit, and has a good glove. If Punto was on any other team (except the Nationals) he wouldn\’t even make the roster. I\’d be fine with his batting .260-.270, but a SLG of .211? Yes, he has been up and down since 2006, but just because he was acceptable last year doesn\’t mean he\’s automatically assumed a job this year. He has a history of tanking for an entire season. This looks like one of those years. Give the younger Harris a chance.

[Comment From Markoutstate]
This was the worst off season in Twins history. Forget about past bad trades, There were so many players out there for the cheapest prices ever ie: Hudson, Cruz. It\’s unthinkable for them to have done nothing last winter with all the players that were available that would really be helping now. Now there is no way to fix it. They should be on at least a two year WS run, not a sub .500 team. Am I wrong?
Joe C.: I don\’t think Orlando Hudson would have signed here. I think the Twins were pretty stubborn about not giving up a first-round pick for those Type-A guys, but let\’s see in three years, where Kyle Gibson ends up. As for the offseason in general, not many free agent relievers have been saviors. Many have been busts. I also think the Twins redeemed themselves with the Joe Crede signing.

For the right money, Hudson would have signed here. Cruz was the big one though. Going into the season the Twins knew their big hole was relief pitching, they knew they needed to address it. They did nothing, the season started and what\’s still the biggest problem? Relief pitching. The Twins are completely rip-able for that and the signing of Crede is not a redeemer… unless Joe means that it redeems the Twins from the worst off season in history… because that is still the 2007/2008 off season.

[Comment From Tom]
Your thoughts regarding Harris at short over Punto please.
Joe C.: I agree that\’s the right move for right now. It might not last forever, but right now, Harris looks like the best option at short, with Punto moving to 2B and roving like he used to. Punto\’s history tells you he thrives in an underdog role.

Continued Punto fellating.

[Comment From Twins Rule]
What happened to the Twinkies raising payroll after the stadium was approved? I am guessing we all just got taken advantage off.
Joe C.: It\’ll go up into the $80 million range, at least, next season, just through arbitration raises, etc.

Exactly my point Joe… the Twins aren\’t going to use the money to acquire more talent, just stay pat with what they\’ve got. Although I know where they can find a few extra million dollars… *cough* Punto *cough*… oh, and finally:

[Comment From Jason]
Joe C., in response to your earlier claim about how you shake your head if you see comments wondering about Gardy\’s job status and how we as fans don\’t realize how good we have it that Gardy is our manager…look, I have a signed Ron Gardenhire baseball in my car, so I\’m a fan and I think it\’s a premature discussion right now. However, the guy has missed the playoffs three of the last four years, though. We\’re not talking about John McGraw or Tony LaRussa. Why is not a fair question?
Joe C.: Sports fans are going to long for change any time their teams don\’t produce championships. I understand that. But I\’m here to say Gardenhire is one of baseball\’s best managers. Top 5. For the Minnesota market, where it\’s not about coddling multimillionaire free agent personalities, etc., Gardenhire has La Russa or McGraw-status.

I think this is where the need to get access to the clubhouse comes into play. Gardy is a good manager, but Top 5 is a stretch. Maybe Top 5 in the AL. Gardy does not have LaRussa status. Get back to me when he\’s been to the World Series (win or lose).



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