Gardy in Jeopardy? (And minor league update)

3 Sep

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Like Tom Kelly before him, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has developed a reputation of being tough on rookies and relying a lot on first impressions. My Your Voices blog this week is called Gardy in Jeopardy and discusses that very topic. ‘cmathewson’ wrote a tremendous article at Twinkie Town on Gardy’s Love of Veterans that gave me the idea for my blog. You will definitely want to read both, and be sure to leave your comments.

My radio appearance with John Bonnes on WCCO radio at midnight is coming quickly. Looking forward to talking Twins with the Twins Geek and host Steve Thomson.

I also wanted to provide quick updates on Thursday night’s Twins minor league games:

Elizabethton lost 5-0 tonight to Danville ending the Appalachian League championship series. Edgar Ibarra gave up four runs (just 1 earned) on seven hits and three walks in six innings. Peter Kennelly gave up an unearned run in his two innings. The E-Twins managed just four hits in this game. Josmil Pinto and Tobias Streich each had a double.

The Beloit Snappers lost to Quad Cities 8-3. Liam Hendriks started and gave up six runs (4 earned) on eight hits in four innings. Winston Marquez then gave up two runs on a hit and four walks in his two innings. Brad Stillings struck out two in two perfect innings. Adan Severino went 2-4 with his third and fourth stolen bases. Drew Thompson went 2-5 with his seventh triple. Aaron Hicks hit his third triple, but also had two fielding errors in the game.

The Ft. Myers Miracle lost 4-3 to St. Lucie. David Bromberg fell to 13-4. He gave up three runs on six hits and two walks in five innings. He struck out seven. Michael Allen struck out three in two scoreless frames. Henry Arias gave up a run in his inning of walk. Ben Revere and Chris Parmelee were each 2-4. On Wednesday, the Miracle claimed the second half title, so they will advance to the playoffs having won both halves.

The New Britain Rockcats lost 3-1 to Reading. Cole DeVries fell to 7-14. He gave up three runs (2 earned) on five hits. He walked two and struck out six. Carlos Gutierrez struck out two in 2.1 scoreless innings. Frank Mata struck out two in his perfect inning. The Rockcats managed just three hits in the game. Luke Hughes hit his 15th double.

It’s a good thing that the Rochester Red Wings got a win or it would have been a very negative day for the Twins organization. R.A. Dickey passed through waivers and made the start. In seven innings, he gave up four runs on nine hits. He walked three and struck out three. Anthony Slama recorded his fourth save with three strikeouts in two innings of one hit ball. Brock Peterson had another good game. He was 3-3 with a walk. Danny Valencia went 2-4 with his 22nd double. Dustin Martin was 2-4 with two RBI.

The Twins didn’t even play, but when Detroit pulled out a 10th inning win against Cleveland, the Twins lost another ½ game in the AL Central standings. So, with 29 games to go, the Twins are five games back. The Twins play the Tigers seven more times this season. If the Twins and Tigers were to each have the same record in the 22 games they don’t play against each other, the Twins would have to win six out of 7 games to win the division outright. If they won five out of seven, they would get the home field advantage in a one game playoff due to better head-to-head record. It’s a long, uphill road if the Twins want to win the AL central title.

If you have any opinions, comments or updates, please leave them in the Comments section.


74 Responses to “Gardy in Jeopardy? (And minor league update)”

  1. Greg September 4, 2009 at 2:40 am #


    Gardy may like Veterans but he is going nowhere. You know that. The kids that they brough up haven”t developed.

    I like the veterans and hope they carry over with this team to 2010…

    Plenty of season left and lets make it.

    Win Twins!

  2. dean Jarosek September 4, 2009 at 7:47 am #

    brock another 3/3 night with a walk, twins bring him up. He deserves it. How many 49th round kids make it! In the second half he got playing time and look what happened.

  3. mike wants wins September 4, 2009 at 8:29 am #

    Gardy should be in jeopardy.

    Does anyone here think they “play Twins baseball” and “do the little things” right anymore? Their baserunning, throwing from the OF, and bunting skills are terrible. He insists on batting stiffs 2nd, because that’s how you put a lineup together. He won’t play better, younger players over washed up veterans. He runs good, young players out of town (especially those with an “attitude”).

    I’m at a loss to understand what people see in him. The longer he is in control, the worse the team gets. He was great with the vets he inherited. The more this is his team, the worse it is.

  4. TT September 4, 2009 at 8:30 am #

    “Like Tom Kelly before him, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has developed a reputation of being tough on rookies and relying a lot on first impressions.”

    Proving once again that if something is repeated often enough some people will come to take it seriously and even believe it.

    Lets take a look at a couple of the past poster children for this claim that Gardy is hard on young players:

    Michael Cuddyer
    Justin Morneau

    Of course, both of them were also on the blogsphere’s list of players Gardy was too patient with once they got their chance and didn’t become instant allstars. Jason Kubel never got that treatment, but he was another player some fans thought was misused.

    But you can add to that list a lot of young players who never turned out to be very good:

    Lew Ford – whose early play had some commentators wanting him to replace Torii Hunter, Bobby Kielty – same as Ford, Dustin Mohr, Michael Restovich

    The list of over-hyped young prospects who failed at the major league level is pretty endless. Virtually every one of them has been a candidate in the blogsphere for mishandling by the manager.

    What is most amazing is that this accusation about mishandling young players is directed at a team that has stayed in the pennant race every year this decade with one of the youngest rosters in baseball. Just think how good they would have been if they hadn’t mishandled Terry Tiffee so badly.

  5. mike wants wins September 4, 2009 at 8:47 am #

    just think of how good they’d be if they’d kept Bartlett and Garza.

    How about the comments I made – do you think they “do the little things” as well as they used to? Do you think he gets to most out of his roster? Do you not think favoring Red over Morales is odd?

  6. JD September 4, 2009 at 8:54 am #

    If the Twins win 6 out of 7 they pick up 5 games and would be tied with Detroit. If they only win 5 out of 7 then they would still be back 2 games.

  7. TT September 4, 2009 at 8:59 am #

    “He won’t play better, younger players over washed up veterans.”

    I think this is plain silly. The reason guys like Cabrera, Crede, Rauch, Mahay, Dickey etc. are on the team is that the young players weren’t ready. If guys like Harris, Buscher, Casilla, Humber, Keppel etc had been able to do the job, those guys wouldn’t be on the roster.

    Guys like Punto and Redmond are on the team because they can play defense at defensive positions. The roto guys are always going to hate them, but they aren’t there for their offense.

    “He insists on batting stiffs 2nd, because that’s how you put a lineup together.”

    As far as I know, the rules require someone to bat second. If Gardy bats “stiffs” there, its because that is who he has available.

    I am not a great fan of Gardy’s, like I was of TK. I think he is too emotional. I suspect he lets the blogs/fans get to him and effect his decisions. And he talks the “fundamentals” game better than he plays it. But he has had the Twins in the pennant race every year while having an almost complete turnover in the roster. He must be doing something right.

  8. TT September 4, 2009 at 9:02 am #

    “Do you not think favoring Red over Morales is odd?”

    No. In fact, I would find it very odd if Gardy sent a rookie catcher, whose defense is suspect, out to handle a rookie pitcher in his first major league start. Its exactly that kind of criticism that I think comes from staring at spreadsheets to understand the game.

  9. thrylos98 September 4, 2009 at 9:04 am #

    Gardy should be in jeopardy for 2 reasons:

    a. an open rift and public disagreement and questioning his boss’ decisions (the latest being the jab towards Smith on not sending Morales to instructionals – that was towards Smith, not Morales. If Smith assigned him there, he had to go; btw, doesn’t Punto need instructionals about that sliding thing?)

    b. Ineffectiveness of the team since October of 2006 and general ineffectiveness since 2002 against winning teams.

    In 1986 the team brought in a young manager with passion. That resulted in 2 world series the next 4 seasons. Then that young passionate manager got old and comfortable and the team sagged. The same thing is happening here with Gardenhire (minus the rings). New blood and new modern baseball minds are needed. Look at what happened to the Rockies this season and even more importantly look what happened to the Rangers this season: Nolan Ryan comes in (a Baseball leader outside the organization with a vision and know how), Ron Washington comes in and one of the lamest organizations gets transformed. And of course we have the ’87-92 Twins to think about

    Change is overdue and not a better time to do it than now with the new stadium. Gotta get rid of the losing karma. No need to bring it to Target Field

  10. mike wants wins September 4, 2009 at 9:08 am #

    I’m no roto guy. there is no evidence Red can play d anymore, none. None at all. He can’t throw guys out. He can’t.

    Mauer could bat 2nd, still. It’s not that hard to figure out, really.

    You make excuses for him choosing to bat stiffs, and then turn around and say he has had them in a penant race every year (isn’t that because of mauer, morneau and others).

    I think we are going to disagree. When I watch his decisions, I see a guy that likes scrappy, bad hitters. I see a team that is getting worse at the little things the longer he is in charge. I see a preference for guys that are veterans, that aren’t as good as younger players (I remember how he treated Bartlett when he came up, and Morales this year). I see a team that is worse at baserunning (Punto and Cuddy especially). I see a team that doesn’t throw to the right base as well as it used to. Those things are all in his control (or, they should be). I just don’t see it.

    You do like it. That’s cool. We are going to disagree on this one.

  11. mike wants wins September 4, 2009 at 9:10 am #

    One difference between you and me, TT, is that I’m not making comments about where you get your opinions, I’m commenting on your opinions. You may want to try not casting aspersions on me, but on my statements. That would make your arguments more effective, and less personal.

  12. stu September 4, 2009 at 9:35 am #

    Does anyone here think they “play Twins baseball” and “do the little things” right anymore? Their baserunning, throwing from the OF, and bunting skills are terrible.

    This is where Seth’s “Gardy glare” comes in. Apparently a pat on the head would tighten up the defense.

    Because bloggers don’t have the access reporters do, sometimes they’re not equipped to write about certain things. You can say that Bartlett was sent down, but you can’t say it was because Gardenhire doesn’t like young players. If you’re going to make accusations like this in an article titled “Gardy in Jeopardy?”, you should cite some concrete verifiable examples, not just the collective conventional wisdom of the blogosphere.

    • thrylos98 September 4, 2009 at 9:47 am #

      Here are some concrete examples/facts:

      * Other than the run in September of 2006, the Twins have been a mediocre team since opening day 2005 (5 seasons)

      * Gardenhire has a 93-129 (.419) lifetime regular season record against teams that eventually made the post-season (2009 excluded for obvious reasons)

      * Gardenhire has an abysmal post-season record

      * The 2009 team, at least as good (on paper, same players + Crede + trade pickups) as the 2008 team has performed worse than the 2008 team.

      These are facts and not “collective wisdom”…

      • stu September 4, 2009 at 10:02 am #

        Examples/facts that show what?

        Mediocre? I’d call them competitive year in, year out. They’ve played a lot of meaningful games in September in that span.

        It makes sense to have a bad record against the best teams. That’s why those teams are the best teams. How many other teams have great records against those teams (other than those teams)?

        I’d say having a significant post-season history is pretty damn good.

        Baker started on the DL, took a while to settle in. Mauer missed the first month. Crede has been injured. Slowey is on the DL. Liriano is on the DL. Perkins was on the DL, now in AAA. Didn’t have bullpen weapons. Counted on Casilla (one of those young guys) to handle 2nd, didn’t perform.

        How exactly do you blame all that on the manager?

  13. mike wants wins September 4, 2009 at 9:46 am #

    i’ll say approximately what I said on the Strib:

    I’m not there. I don’t know how/why he makes the decisions he makes. I can only judge what I see, and draw conclusions based on what he does.

    I cited plenty of things:
    1. They don’t run the bases all that well.
    2. They throw to the wrong base.
    3. The insistence on not batting Mauer 2nd, and batting “professional” hitters there.
    4. The preference for Red over Morales (sorry, I don’t know how anyone can state Red is good defensively, and he doesn’t hit as well as Morales).
    5. From the outside, his statements about Bartlett were not constructive. It may be a difference in managment style, but when I had employees, I encouraged them, not beat them down.
    6. From the outside, it appears he prefers vets that aren’t as talented over young guys that are (when given the choice). That may or may not be true, but Punto is one example, as is Redmond, as was Castro over Bartlett. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s the conclusion I draw (as do several people on line, on the radio, and on tv, that are much closer to the Twins than I will ever be. We could all be wrong. We won’t know, frankly)
    7. Publicly disagreeing with your boss (as t98 points out).

    those are off of the top of my head, w/o thinking about it.

    I just don’t think he wrings the most out of his roster, and I don’t think he helps build the best roster. I could be wrong, I could be right. But, I am trying to offer evidence for my conclusions, and not disagreeing with others through straw man arguments.

  14. Seth September 4, 2009 at 9:50 am #

    anyone concerned by this from the blog:

    “I have been told by several Twins minor league players throughout the system that Ron Gardenhire does have a reputation of being rough on rookies and being big on first impressions. I have been told that hitters and pitchers are almost afraid to make mistakes. That isn’t a good environment for anyone to play well and get better.”

    • sam September 4, 2009 at 2:57 pm #

      I do not know about that he does not let minor league players for twins systems move up in september…….

  15. TT September 4, 2009 at 9:52 am #

    “He can’t throw guys out. He can’t. ”

    Which is just one aspect of catching and not even close to the most important.

    “new modern baseball minds are needed.”

    Right – like those Oakland A’s and Toronto Bluejays. That’s what we need, modern baseball minds that know how to sustain a cycle of mediocrity and failure.

    The fact is the Twins have been competitive for the last decade. And Tom Kelly had little to do with their lack of success in the late 90’s. In fact, once he had the players he re-built the team to the point that it surprised people by contending his last season as manager. Something it has continued to do ever since.

    “I’m not making comments about where you get your opinions”

    Sorry. I did not intend to be commenting on the source your opinions in particular.

  16. Seth September 4, 2009 at 9:54 am #

    The Twins have been a contender since 2002 (or 2001). Gardy has a very good personality and I can see why the players that he likes and trusts do like him. I’m not big on doing things by the book and solely looking at stat lines. I believe managers need to be given leeway and take chances based on gut feel as opposed to just doing what you’re supposed to. If you don’t do that, why play the game? I do chose to blame much of the 2009 season on the players that didn’t perform as opposed to blaming the coaches. The injuries have played a factor. Mauer missed a month. Crede’s missed a lot of time. Slowey would have really helped here. Maybe Liriano was hurt? Too much blame will go to the Twins manager and pitching coach. And much will also go to Bill Smith and the front office. I am most concerned when I still hear about minor leaguers fearing promotion to the big leagues based on what they are hearing from players who have been there.

  17. mike wants wins September 4, 2009 at 10:03 am #

    Seth, that is certainly a big, big concern of mine as well. Baseball is a game of failure. The manager needs to realize that also. If a team wants to build from within, and young players are afraid of the manager at the MLB level, that is a bad, bad, bad thing.

    This year has been a disaster on many fronts. Pitchers that we all thought would be at least mediocre, were worse. Crede couldn’t stay healthy. Slowey’s injury was not “overcomable”. The bullpen was bad, as many of us predicted, outside of a few guys.

    I’ve said all along that BS deserves one more year, that the minor league system and its lack of depth was not his fault. But, he’s now had two offseasons, and pretty much yucked them both up.

    I’d likely give Gardy one more year, unless what you say is true, that the minor leaguers are afraid of him. If that is true, its time for him to go.

  18. mike wants wins September 4, 2009 at 10:05 am #

    As for catching, there is no evidence that catcher ERA exists. Therefore, I’m not sure what else there is other than catching the ball, hitting the ball, and throwing out baserunners.

    And if you believe in catcher ERA, I think Morales’ is lower than Red’s this year anyway.

  19. TT September 4, 2009 at 10:09 am #

    “* The 2009 team, at least as good (on paper, same players + Crede + trade pickups) as the 2008 team has performed worse than the 2008 team.”

    Both were managed by the same person. As for being as good “on paper”, that is not a fact. Its an opinion and apparently not well-founded. The “facts” are little different than described.

    Far from having the “same players”, the Twins did not have Bonser (or Neshek) this year. They did not have Dennis Reyes. Three of their starting pitchers from last year are on the DL. They also did not have Mauer for a month.

    In terms of additions, Crede has played irregularly. And all the rest of the additions have come in the last month. You can blame Gardy for the young pitchers not pitching as well when they were healthy, but that was absolutely predictable “on paper”.

  20. Seth September 4, 2009 at 10:10 am #

    Love hte discussion. Thank you!

    This is one part of the role of a manager. I do think that it is a fair question to ask about the manager. However, so many other factors come into play that really blaming the manager for everything isn’t right. I would not fire Gardy, and I believe I wrote in there a few times that I would not advocate that.

    I also think Catcher ERA is a bad start, especially if a guy like Rod Barajas gets a ton of credit for 2008 because of his catcher ERA when his role was to catch Halladay and Burnett and Marcum (when healthy).

    When it comes to defense, visual is still the best in my opinion. Visually, I can see that Redmond has taken a step backwards. Morales may not be great, but he at least has the athleticism to make plays and has worked significant time with several of these starters.

  21. thrylos98 September 4, 2009 at 10:16 am #

    “Mediocre? I’d call them competitive year in, year out. They’ve played a lot of meaningful games in September in that span.”

    We can agree to disagree, but I think that we have different expectations (and definitions). I expect them to win in October; apparently you don’t. “Mediocrity” is not “Failure” (like the Pittsburghs or KCs of the world). Mediocrity is “just being good enough”. And that is not good enough for me. Might be good enough for you, but I would like a winner.

    • stu September 4, 2009 at 10:25 am #

      Mediocrity to me(and the English language) is average. You have to be the top team in your division to win the division. That is above average.

      • thrylos98 September 4, 2009 at 10:37 am #

        Twins’ record the last 3 seasons: .511 just about average = “mediocre” to yours and the “English Language” (actually it is Latin) definition. C+.

      • stu September 4, 2009 at 10:58 am #

        Okay, one more post about semantics… Average is a relative term. In this case, comparing the Twins to their competition for winning the division. If they are first (which is what it takes to win), that is above average.

        But before you reply and say they’re average compared to the rest of the league, this discussion is stupid. I think the argument for firing Gardenhire is a stretch. I think he’s gotten more players to excel than he’s hurt. I think he’s an above average manager, and if he was fired he’d be without a job for a very short time.

  22. TT September 4, 2009 at 10:27 am #

    “there is no evidence that catcher ERA exists. ”

    The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

    “I’m not sure what else there is other than catching the ball, hitting the ball, and throwing out baserunners.”

    Sort of the same with every position isn’t it?

    “I have been told by several Twins minor league players throughout the system that Ron Gardenhire does have a reputation of being rough on rookies and being big on first impressions. I have been told that hitters and pitchers are almost afraid to make mistakes. That isn’t a good environment for anyone to play well and get better.”

    I would not put much stock in anonymous rumors of complaints. AAA is filled with players who feel mistreated and if young players are buying into their complaints, that is a problem. But the public remarks by a lot of players who have been sent down and come back indicate that isn’t true. Morales, for instance, talked about how he needed to work on flaws in his defense caused by his injury.

    Again, the Twins are loaded with young players who are having success. As long as they aren’t complaining, the failures complaints are irrelevant. I also think it is natural for players moving from an environment where their development is the focus to one where winning is everything to see a difference in attitude. I am sure it is a shock, it is everywhere else in the world for kids in their first real job.

  23. Seth September 4, 2009 at 10:35 am #

    When Morales was sent down, he was given direction and it was positive. When Slowey was initially sent down, it was positive. When Morneau went down, Gardy raved about his power. Some guys get sent down, and you know they are coming back.

    But sometimes, you can also see when someone is sent down, they’re not coming back. Mulvey was a good example of just that. Listen to the quotes and the tone. I recall telling someone at the time that we wouldn’t see Mulvey back up with the Twins again. And maybe he’ll prove to be bad, or maybe he’ll be solid. There are examples of all of this.

    And to the point about being a lot of bitter players in AAA, there is no question that is true.

  24. gobbledygookguy September 4, 2009 at 10:35 am #

    mediocre: ordinary or moderate quality, barely adequate

    competitive: adequate but not exceptional

    we hear it a lot that they are competitive and that is good enough. they are but only when they are playing other mediocre teams. what is there record against “good” teams?
    they have padded their record for years on national league games. the record against the east is around .350 is that competitive or less than mediocre? 06 was the last playoff team, one and done! when was the last playoff series win? when was the last playoff game win? playing the game the right way went out the window a few years ago. gardy has been living off the wins he had early, the last 3 years have been mediocre at best.

    if you are happy with barely adequate & ordinary, when the team has 3 of the games best players in their prime just keep slapping gardy on the back.

    • stu September 4, 2009 at 1:49 pm #

      Your definitions for mediocre and competitive are the same.

      • gobbledygookguy September 4, 2009 at 3:18 pm #

        they came from websters, i didn’t make them up to fit my point.

  25. TT September 4, 2009 at 10:38 am #

    “I expect them to win in October;”

    We haven’t even gotten to October yet and you already want to fire the manager.

    • thrylos98 September 4, 2009 at 10:43 am #

      The Twins got in October plenty of times with Gardenhire and they did not win… For the record, I wanted him gone after the 2006 season.

  26. TT September 4, 2009 at 10:48 am #

    “Listen to the quotes and the tone. ”

    Yes, do listen. Gardy has mostly very positive things to say about Mulvey, and one devastating one. He doesn’t have control of his pitches and therefore isn’t ready to pitch in the major leagues.

    Gardy’s job requires that he make quick judgments. If a guy isn’t ready to play at the major league level he needs to figure that out and get him out of there. And the quicker he does that, the less damage the player will do to the team’s chances of winning.

  27. thrylos98 September 4, 2009 at 10:52 am #

    If a guy isn’t ready to play at the major league level he needs to figure that out and get him out of there

    Unless that guy is a veteran like Mike Redmond or Nick Punto…

    • TT September 4, 2009 at 11:06 am #

      “Unless that guy is a veteran”

      Uh – yeh. Because veterans have already proven they can play. That certainly is the case with both Punto and Redmond.

  28. Kunza September 4, 2009 at 10:52 am #

    Amusing posts this morning! Awesome!

    How about a different approach when it comes to dealing with this team…. radical moves this offseason

    1. Go ahead and offer Orlando Cabrera arbitration – we are not going after anyone else any better so we might as well take our shot with him accepting a 1 year deal

    2. Trade Joe Nathan – a fan favorite but when I think about the Twins roster, I think he has the most value of anyone other than our big 3 or 4. We would obviously have to roll the dice on a closer, but if it means having the chance to add 2 or 3 pieces, I’m all for it

    3. Trade Carlos Gomez – other than Span, he is the one guy that has value – no sense dumping Young for whatever we can get – I keep reading the “best RP available” for him – seriously? Span is turning out to be a star – let him play CF – suck up Cuddyer’s awful contract and let Young play

    4. Trade for a 2B – Uggla, Iwamura, Barmes?

    5. Sign John Lackey for $15 million for 5 years – we need an ace and he is the best available

    6. Take a flier on Erik Bedard – Rotation would be Slowey, Baker, Blackburn/Liriano, Bedard, Lackey – pretty solid

    7. Trade Blackburn or Liriano for the best deal you can get

  29. mike wants wins September 4, 2009 at 10:52 am #

    tt: what do you belive Red does that is better than what Morales does? Is that worth the lack of hitting? And, if you believe in catcher ERA, Morales’ is lower this year.

    what do you think about the team’s baserunning, or throwing to the right cut off player, compared to when Gardy had guys taught by someone else?

    what do you think about his batting order, in general?

    I’m genuinely curious here.

    • stu September 4, 2009 at 11:04 am #

      Are you suggesting baserunning and throwing to the right cutoff are learned at the major league level? By the time Gardy has them, all he can do is decide to console them and tell them it’s okay or to give them the “Gardy glare” and put them on the bench (but then he’d be accused of not liking the player or putting them in “Gardy’s doghouse”).

      Your beef is with little league coaches, not Gardenhire.

      • mike wants wins September 4, 2009 at 12:42 pm #

        What does Gardy do then? Put in a lineup and take out pitchers? Are you saying he does no coaching?

      • stu September 4, 2009 at 1:59 pm #

        I’m saying that if a player doesn’t have sound fundamentals by the time they reach the major leagues, it isn’t because the manager of the major league team failed to teach it.

        The manager can make it known that he won’t tolerate sloppy play, but he runs the risk of the blogosphere throwing around talking points about dog houses and glares. Luckily for the Twins, I don’t think he cares.

  30. mike wants wins September 4, 2009 at 10:57 am #

    Please don’t offer Cabrera arbitration. He isn’t good in the field, or at the plate.

    Trading Nathan is risky, but if you get a legit, everyday player in return, it would be worth it, but it won’t happen.

    Nope, I’d rather have Gomez and Span and their defense out there. I see no evidence Young is as good as any of the other three right now.

    Yup, and a SS (or sign a FA if one is available).

    I’d take a flier on Bedard, if you can get an injury salary level.

    No way I trade Blackburn. He’s a legit MLB starter. I’d have dealt Liriano last offseason (though as I posted here, it would be risky). I’d certainly include him in a deal this next year, IF I get a SS or 2B or 3B in his prime (you’d need more than Liriano in the deal).

    • stu September 4, 2009 at 11:05 am #

      I’m pretty sure Cabrera’s contract says his team can’t offer him arbitration if he’s a type A.

  31. AdamInCA September 4, 2009 at 11:01 am #


    By my Minnesota-turned-California math, the Twins would need to win six of seven against Detroit to force a tie and seven of seven against Detroit to win the division outright. The reason being if they win six games and lose one, they’ll move six games up and one game down for a net of five games up, putting them into a tie with Detroit. Every game against the team you’re chasing counts “double” because if the trailing team in the standings wins, they cut their deficit by one game but if they lose, their deficit increases by one game. Staying even isn’t an option (unless it’s the All-Star game and Bud changes the rules on the fly).

  32. TT September 4, 2009 at 11:13 am #

    “what do you belive Red does that is better than what Morales does?”

    It doesn’t matter what I believe, that’s why Gardy gets the big bucks and the rest of us get to kibbitz.

    My guess is that he knows major league hitters, selects pitches, decides on location, frames pitches, knows when to stop the game and calm someone down.

    If you want spreadsheet evidence – Morales has allowed 4 passed balls this year, Redmond has allowed 2 in twice as many innings. Of course, the pitchers they caught may have something to do with that. Just as pitchers have a lot to do with stolen bases and ERA.

  33. Topper September 4, 2009 at 11:21 am #

    How about Garrett Jones as an example?

    He had a consistently solid track record in the minors ever since moving up to AA. His coule years at Rochester he struggled for consistency but still had his raw power, but seemed to find a groove in ’07. He got all of 84 plate appearances in the majors with the Twins in ’07 where he obviously struggled to adjust.

    Then he languished in AAA through ’08 posting similar success numbers to ’07 before we finally released him. (And, I believe, we carried Brian Buscher on the roster over Jones.)

  34. roger September 4, 2009 at 11:55 am #

    Guys, I actually believe that Buscher can be a solid, although not spectacular, major league hitter. You cannot have a young player on the bench and expect him to hit when he only gets a few at bats a week [Buscher got 78 at bats with the Twins and was here from April thru July…so that is less than 20 at bats a month].

    A veteran may be able to do that, but not a young player (young in terms of major league experience). So Buscher is another player who I think Gardy may actually like, but still didn’t use him properly. I know he went back to AAA and didn’t hit there, but he was battling some injuries during his time there and after doing nothing for four months it will take awhile to get his swing back.

  35. roger September 4, 2009 at 12:00 pm #

    Sorry Seth, my info was a bit in error. Buscher had 120 at bats with the Twins in four months, so that is 30 per month or about 7 per week, not 5 as I indicated above. Doesn’t change the fact that he was basically taking up space on the bench while here.

  36. thrylos98 September 4, 2009 at 12:09 pm #

    Here is another good one from La Velle’s blog today:

    “Valencia is a candidate to start at third next season but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said earlier in the week that Valencia wasn’t playing great at Rochester and he wasn’t keen on using someone with no experience when the club is fighting for the postseason”

    And Buscher is…

    • TT September 4, 2009 at 12:19 pm #

      Buscher is a left handed bat with major league experience.

      • thrylos98 September 4, 2009 at 12:28 pm #

        Do you know what the sad thing is? I bet I have seen Valencia play more than Gardenhire has (I saw him in about 15 games), yet Gardenhire is ready to form an opinion based on heresay… Extremely sad.

      • stu September 4, 2009 at 2:02 pm #

        I think Gardy has other things going on during baseball season.

  37. TT September 4, 2009 at 12:14 pm #

    “So Buscher is another player who I think Gardy may actually like, but still didn’t use him properly. ”

    I think one criticism of Gardy that may have some merit is that he doesn’t keep players fresh the way TK did. It seemed like TK figured out how to use everyone on the roster so that they got regular playing time. Gardy seems to focus more on a game at a time.

  38. mike wants wins September 4, 2009 at 12:45 pm #

    Tony Bautista has major league experience, does that make him better than the rookie on the White Sox?

    That answer is EXACTLY why some of us disagree with Gardy. It is not about experience, it is about talent.

  39. TT September 4, 2009 at 1:23 pm #

    Do you realize how silly it would be for Gardy to conduct tryouts for third base in the middle of a pennant race?

    “(I saw him in about 15 games)”

    And Gardy won’t take your word for it over the Twins staff and professional scouts? Silly him, he ought to be fired.

    • thrylos98 September 4, 2009 at 2:44 pm #

      Tell me one scout who says that Valencia is a worse third baseman than Buscher, and that scout should be fired.

      • stu September 4, 2009 at 2:52 pm #

        Why is it a matter of who’s better between Buscher and Valencia? Wouldn’t Valencia have to be added to the 40 man roster?

      • TT September 4, 2009 at 5:02 pm #

        Valencia has 12 errors and a fielding percentage of .924. You have to catch and throw the ball, not just look good in your uniform.

      • TT September 4, 2009 at 5:18 pm #

        And to put those errors in perspective – that is almost twice as many errors as ANY player on the Twins has for the entire season. Valencia had those 12 in just two months at AAA. He had 8 more at AA earlier this year.

        Buscher has yet to make an error, albeit in limited playing time.

  40. mike wants wins September 4, 2009 at 1:37 pm #

    Gardy should trust his minor leage staff, coaches, scouts and front office to get him the best players they can, I agree.

    I don’t agree that playoff caliber teams should not have rookies on their roster, if that is what you just said.

  41. TT September 4, 2009 at 1:46 pm #

    “I don’t agree that playoff caliber teams should not have rookies on their roster, if that is what you just said.”

    The Twins do have rookies on their roster, including two starting pitchers, their best setup guy and Morales. That is a lot different than sticking a kid out at third base that the minor league staff and coaches don’t think is ready just because you want to make the decision yourself.

  42. mike wants wins September 4, 2009 at 2:34 pm #

    Did you actually read my first sentence, where I said he should trust the other people in the organization?

    I was responding to your first sentence, where you implied that it would be silly to have tryouts at 3b, which I took to mean he should not have a rookie with no experience playing. I must have misunderstood what you were saying with that sentence.

    And, no place did I say I should make that decision myself.

    • stu September 4, 2009 at 2:38 pm #

      The rookie on the white sox isn’t a September call-up. It’s not a tryout, he’s been playing with the major league team.

      Plus, it would make sense for the White Sox to hold tryouts at this point. They don’t seem to consider themselves to be in a playoff race.

  43. mike wants wins September 4, 2009 at 2:51 pm #

    How about the Giants calling up Posey (I think that’s the catcher’s name), do you disagree with that?

    look, Valencia may turn out to stink. But realy, Buscher is not good. We know that (though of course, that does not preclude him from getting better, or lucky). I don’t understand the desire to have him here, and not Valencia.

    Plus, not until Valencia was good in AAA, and was a threat to come up, did we ever here anything negative about his D or his attitude. We now hear it, from Gardy. It LOOKS like a pattern, but could be a coincidence.

    • TT September 4, 2009 at 3:04 pm #

      “not until Valencia was good in AAA”

      Valencia has not been “good in AAA’. Valencia had a hot start with his bat and has been up and down, mostly down, since. You heard from Gardy now, only because the STRIB asked about it because they have been blogging about him.

      “don’t understand the desire to have him here, and not Valencia.”

      I doubt Valencia was the alternative. Buscher is a left handed hitter who plays third and first. I think the plan was to call him back up from the moment he was sent down. I agree with Roger that part of his struggles this year have been lack of use.

      The only people who have had Valencia as the Twins future at third base is the blogsphere.

  44. TT September 4, 2009 at 2:52 pm #

    “And, no place did I say I should make that decision myself.”

    That wasn’t a reply to you. It was a reply to an earlier comment.

  45. Greg September 4, 2009 at 11:06 pm #

    I don’t know which postings are worse here or Twins Star Tribune pages. hmmmmmmm

    Reason Twins had a tough year thius year pitching went down.

    Twins Are never going to fire Gardy… come on.

    The players lkisted who did not materialize as rookies or that Gary didnot use them properly… Where were they after that?

    The only one who materilaized was Bartlett, and I am sure at the time might have made sense. He turned into a good player. Harris had more homeruns..




    punto is a part time player.

    win Twins!

  46. Joe September 5, 2009 at 9:02 am #

    In the future and going forward whoever the Twins manager is needs to be more friendly to younger talent playing for the major league club.

    Next year you have to think no brainers playing for the Twins next year are Danny Valencia, Rob Delany, Anthony Slama, and Trevor Plouffe.

    We see ETA on prospect reports and they seem generations away. If you are a high school bat drafted in the first or second round, you should take MAX 4 years to make the majors. If you are a college pitcher drafted in the first or second round you should take MAX 3, I say 2 years to make the majors. If you dominate a league you should be promoted.

    What has happened to David Bromberg this year is a joke. He was passed over in promotion to Mike Mccardell and Deolis Guerra this year. He is the best guy in the system. If the Twins are smart next year, Bromberg will be 22 next year. If he dominates AA the way he did the Florida State league this year he needs to go to Rochester early, and when I say early I mean like before he hits the 50 inning mark. The goal is if you have a dominate pitcher you want that guy in the majors. He should be on the big club after the All Star break. Every team in the majors rushes prospects except ours. Your not going to hurt them if they are good. Stop being treating these guys like little leaguers. They have been playing a long time.

    If next September rolls around and I see Kyle Gibson and Matt Bashore in A ball I am going to go crazy. Even worse if Next September is rolls around and Adrian Salcedo and BJ Hermsen are still in Rookie ball then someone needs to go. Whether that is Ron Gardenhire or Bill Smith I do not care. Change has to be made. Someone has to tell these guys that it is possible to win games with young player on a major league roster. No Nick Punto. It took Gardenhire 3 months to realize that Casilla is better. Anyway.

    Things to keep an eye on next year.

    Double AA Next Britian Roster should have the following roster
    Ben Revere
    Chris Parmelee
    Wilson Ramos

    Double AA Roation should be as follows
    David Bromberg
    Deolis Guerra
    Tyler Robertson
    Carlos Gutierrez

  47. Jim H September 5, 2009 at 10:36 am #

    Enjoyed the various comments on Gardy and his handling of young players. I think part of his job is to be tough on young players. Many complain about the Twins being less fundamentally sound than they used to be. If a young player is not fundamentally sound, you have to be tough enough to get the message through. It is what happened with Morneau, who was not considered a good defender when he came to the majors, but is now.

    I think that many of us look at the same set of facts and reach different conclusions. Too me, the Twins and Gardy have been trying to give Castilla the 2nd base job since they traded Castillo. He keeps giving it back. They clearly want him out there because he can be a good defender and a good top of the order hitter. Right now he not consistent for whatever reasons. They gave him 2nd to start the year, he played himself to the minors, they brought him back, he played himself to the minors, they brought him back and told him beat out Punto, and he sort of has.

    Now, whether Gardy likes him or Punto is irrevelent, Gardy is going to play who he believes is most likely to help him win. I think they are past the point of giving Castilla opportunities, he must earn them with solid play or he will be gone.

    Mostly you see that with the Twins and young players, they have to earn their opportunities or be in the right place at the right time when injuries occur. The more talented you are the more chances you might get, but eventually you have to perform. I always thought the Twins kind of mishandled Cuddyer, but he didn’t take advantage of his opportunities that well either. He was probably down to his last chance with the Twins when they moved him to right field and told him to concentrate on that. That seems to have been the right move. When healthy, he has become very productive.

    I don’t doubt that the Twins have mishandled players over the years, but there is a lot of cherry picking on the blogs. People pick examples that seem to fit their theory(ie. Gardy doesn’t handle young players well) and ignore anything that might run contrary to that.

    Not every sucessful minor leaguer will be successful in the majors. Some that are may not be successful right away and need certain circumstances to make it. While Bartlet is often cited as the poster child for Gardy’s mishandling of young players, I have always felt his defense is severely overrated in the blogsphere. Especially when he first came up. He has a great arm and seems to have good range but that can be difficult to judge on tv. Most of us can’t tell if he positioned himself well or if he gets good jumps on the ball, especially on tv. Even giving him that, I swear that every game I have ever seen him play on tv, he manages to make at least one misplay of some sort or another. Most aren’t necessarily errors, but turning dp’s into force plays are still misplays.

    What I am saying here is that you will have a hard time ever convincing me that Bartlet is a good defender, even though my evidence is thin and many(most) don’t agree with me. Most of you are like that. You form opinions, and then look for “facts” to back them up.

    I think that largely the Twins and Gardy handle young players well. They need to, to be competitive but there is too much evidence out there to make me think that they don’t. It can be argued that they relie on young players too much. At least some seem to suggest that when they want the Twins to go after free agents harder.

    Many had written Span off as a first round bust, somehow they must of handled him right. They spent the last 2 years with a very young group of starters and remained competive and perhaps without injuries, even better than that.

  48. mike wants wins September 5, 2009 at 11:35 am #

    Great comments Jim. But, just because something works does not mean it was handled correctly.

    But I do get your points, and I agree with some of them. We just don’t really know for sure how GArdy actually feels, and we do all draw conclusions partially based on our own biases (we are wired to do that from birth, that’s not necessarily a bad thing).

    71 posts proves that people actually care about this topic, and have some opinions on it for sure.

  49. mbrian33 September 5, 2009 at 7:38 pm #

    I think the criticism of Gardy’s handling of young players is overblown. He had his problems with Bartlett as cmatthewson wrote. Seth mentioned Depaula, Miller, Johnson, and Mulvey. It’s too soon to say with Mulvey, but the other guys didn’t go light it up with anybody else.

    They had a lot of patience with Cuddyer, and it payed off as he became a productive major-leaguer.

    As Jim noted, they are giving Casilla repeated chances to win a job despite Gardy’s reputed man-crush on Punto.

    Span was unhappy about his treatment when sent down in Spring of 08, but that turned out fine.

    Gardy did alright with Mauer, Morneau, Cuddyer, Span, Kubel, Baker, Slowey, Blackburn, Liriano, Neshek, Guerrier, Crain, and so on.

    The Twins are, and have been for several years, a very young team with a lot of talent developed out of the minor leagues. And yet they’ve been contending for the Central Division title nearly every year. I think the overall success rate with young players outweighs the few examples of guys that didn’t work out.

  50. TT September 6, 2009 at 1:34 pm #

    I would like to see some evidence for the claim that the Twins move players slowly. Garza was drafted in 2005 and was in the big leagues in 2006. Perkins was drafted in 2004 and was in the big leagues in 2006. Baker was drafted in 2003 and was in the big leagues in 2005. Players get moved up if and when they are ready to move up.

    Delaney, Slama, Valenncia, Hughes et al probably aren’t in the big leagues because they aren’t ready. They moved slowly because they developed slowly, not the other way around.

  51. Jim H September 7, 2009 at 12:30 pm #

    What you see with the Twins (and most teams probably) is that very talented players get pushed sometimes all the way to the big leagues even before they are ready. Thus the players tt cited and others such as Crain, Morneau, Kubel and even Hunter got to majors perhaps before they were ready and often were yo-yoed back and forth from AAA to the majors until they finally figured it out.

    Less talented players need to be ready to succeed in the majors. Thus a Lew Ford doesn’t get there until he is completely ready. Even then a marginal talent will probably have trouble. People with marginal big league talent can put up some pretty darn good minor league numbers but will likely end up with a short major league career, a longer bench warmer career if they have at least one above average skill, or if you are a bit lucky you could end up like Casey Blake.

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