Minnesota Twins Shakeup at GM Makes No Sense

This past week Minnesota Twins owner Carl Pohlad dismissed general manager Bill Smith from his role despite giving him the dreaded vote of confidence after the team’s ninety-nine loss season. It was mentioned that the change was due to philosophical differences and that Smith was offered another role within the organization in baseball operations.

I can understand that there would be turmoil on a club that was expected to compete for the division once again and tanked the season, but the manner in which this maneuver took place is nonsensical. The top assistants to Bill Smith are remaining intact in their posts. Ron Gardenhire undoubtedly will be in the dugout on opening day and Terry Ryan was brought in to be the interim general manager with no timetable on filling the position permanently.

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Twins and White Sox Have a Lot in Common

 

American League fans in Chicago and Minneapolis have experienced tremendous disappointment so far this season. The lackluster play of their clubs has had many sitting on their hands at US Cellular and Target Fields. There are actually tremendous parallels between the two situations. It starts with a list of three disappointing players on each roster.

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Sparky Anderson’s Special Day: Detroit Tigers Retire His Number

sparky_anderson

In a gesture that is long overdue, the Detroit Tigers are scheduled to retire the number of managerial legend Sparky Anderson on Sunday prior to their game against Kirk Gibson’s Arizona Diamondbacks. It is not surprising that one of these teams is entering the season in first place, but the part that is shocking is that it is the club from Phoenix. They are really cashing in on the catastrophic demise of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Their narrow lead over San Francisco does not mean that it is only a two team race. The Colorado Rockies have been known to make some late season runs throughout the last few years.

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Baby Steps Forward with the Minnesota Twins

matt capps

It is imperative that individuals refine and rewrite their goals on a consistent basis.

For example, I don’t think that my modeling career is going to take off the way that I had hoped fifteen years ago. One month out from the All Star break, the Minnesota Twins also need to do this. At the beginning of this season, manager Ron Gardenhire and GM Bill Smith undoubtedly had postseason play in the cards and a possible run at the pennant. This is of course is unless they were matched up against the New York Yankees in the playoffs.

Well, now it makes sense for the club to modify their expectations to move forward.

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Minnesota Twins Offense is Nonexistent

Delmon Young

Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer have been on the shelf during the early part of the season. The batting order hasn’t even come close to picking up the slack in their absence. Michael Cuddyer looks lethargic in his body language and Delmon Young’s production is nowhere to be found. The team had two national television appearances in the past week and both games contained striking similarities. They lost close games at the conclusion due to lack of execution against mediocre teams at best.

The good news is that Friday’s game against divisional rival Cleveland Indians was rained out. This is the best thing that could have happened since the latter is so hot and the former is extremely shorthanded. Ron Gardenhire should have taken the heat for moving closer Joe Nathan to a holder role because now it looks like the players make the roster moves instead of the manager.

In addition, a player’s confidence is a fragile thing. A conversation like that must be held in confidence, even if the pitcher doesn’t mind it getting out. Doubt is a fragile component in the late innings. The moment that it enters a reliever’s mind, bad things are looming on the horizon. No make-up date has been determined for Friday’s contest, which is also a good thing. If the teams didn’t meet so often throughout the season, then a doubleheader likely would have been decided upon. Splits are almost always the case when this transpires. It takes away from the intrigue of a single game when both best possible line-ups are not on the field.

Some credit has to be given to a few hitters. Danny Valencia is hitting for a low average, but some timely hits have garnered him a healthy number of runs batted in. Outfielders Jason Kubel and Denard Span have both hit over three hundred on the year and provided energy to this largely lackluster band of characters. With runs so hard to come by, the squad should be stealing more than Mike Leake at Macy’s.

At  least the movement might provide some holes for hitters who are in the batter’s box or decrease the necessity for extra base hits to score runs. While it’s true that the team’s winning percentage is hovering around a typical Tony Gwynn batting average, things can only get better. The White Sox haven’t looked much sharper and Detroit has proven to be vulnerable as fall approaches.

Fans have to ask themselves if it is okay for the team simply to be patient and wait for players to become productive and get healthy or is it time for some action?

They can no longer call themselves small market because of all the revenue generated from Target Field. In addition, they really do have a regional following because they are the only team in the area for fans in North and South Dakota to embrace. A substantial part of Iowa is even on their side due to the Cubs ineptness. So, the news is bad but it could be worse.

Minnesota Twins Already Facing a Breaking Point

Joe Mauer

Around opening day I predicted that the Twins would win the American League Central Division because they were healthy and ready to continue their fundamentally solid play backed by quality pitching. It appears that I have some egg on my face at this juncture. However, they have proven over the last decade to be viable foes for all comers in the Midwest region. There are some ways that the ship can be righted to change their future levels of success.

I have called for and will continue to emphasize the need to trade Joe Nathan or Matt Capps.

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Twins’ Gardenhire Should Take Notes From Cardinals’ LaRussa

I have thought for quite some time that Ron Gardenhire is in the top quartile of managers. His longevity is rare in the major leagues. He has the necessary knowledge to get the job done, and his players enjoy competing for him. The Minnesota Twins have stumbled out of the gate so far this season-losing two thirds of their games. It is not as bad as the Red Sox have done and is certainly no reason for alarm with the fans. However, it is time to reference Tony LaRussa.

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The Necessary Attributes to be a Major League Manager

ozzie-guillen

There are numerous schools of thought on effective leadership. One could spend hours upon hours at Amazon.com in this section. Because the Major League Baseball season is such a grind at around ten times the length of the NFL season, the necessary traits are somewhat unique compared with other professional sports. There are the old school supporters who would back the likes of Charlie Manuel and Jim Leyland, while opponents may cite the Braves Fredi Gonzalez and the White Sox Ozzie Guillen as models.

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Twins, Gophers, T’Wolves, Wild Head Coaches Doing Talk Show Together

Tubby Smith Minnesota

FOX Sports North launches “Unscripted,” a new series of specials designed to bring together leaders and figures in the Minnesota sports landscape, beginning Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2011. The first mini-series “Unscripted: Coaches/Manager” features Minnesota Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire, Minnesota Timberwolves Head Coach Kurt Rambis, Minnesota Wild Head Coach Todd Richards and University of Minnesota Golden Gophers Men’s Basketball Head Coach Tubby Smith.

Episode one of the three-part special premieres on Tuesday, Jan. 3 at 9:00 p.m. followed by episode two on Jan. 6 at 9:00 p.m. and episode three on Jan. 8 at 9:00 p.m.

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Ron Gardenhire: Award And Extension Are Much Deserved

Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire recently was presented the honor of American League Manager Of The Year. He edged out Ron Washington of the Texas Rangers, despite falling to the Yankees in the divisional series of the playoffs. It is obviously a commendation for his performance during the regular season, when he transitioned from the biggest home field advantage in all of Major League Baseball to unfamiliar surroundings in Target Field.

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty declared November 22nd to be Ron Gardenhire Day in the state.

By Patrick Herbert

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Minnesota Twins-New York Yankees Series Preview

Twins-Yankees playoffs

The history in the Minnesota Twins-New York Yankees matchup may not be long, but it is storied. [Read more…]

Minnesota Twins Limp Into the Postseason: Literally

The Minnesota Twins open up postseason play vs. the New York Yankees Wednesday evening at Target Field. Francisco Liriano will take the mound at 7:37 p.m. Central. This is wonderful news considering all of the injuries that have plagued the ball club this season. The absences of Justin Morneau and Joe Nathan for large portions of the schedule have been detrimental to the team’s ability to put out its top line-up on a daily basis.

The former took batting practice on September 3oth and was possibly thought to be available should the club advance the league championship series. Then, came the news today, that he’s out for the entire postseason. No matter what

The latter has no chance of taking the ball for the foreseeable future.

By Patrick Herbert

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