Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Twins 2011 Season Summed Up in 3 Words: FIRE BILL SMITH

I don't think there is a Twins fan out there that is not in some way dissapointed in the 2011 season. In fact there have been very few bright spots. Having said that I am every bit the Twins fan today I was on April 1, 2011, nothing can change that.

There have been numerous reasons for the downfall of the franchise this year. Every once in awhile things just catch up with you and this year bad luck has been running rampant. Firing AA Staff does not solve the problem.

I don't know the total games lost to injury this year but the number has to be astronomical. Just about every player on the 25 man roster and some on the 40 man have spent time on the DL, some with multiple trips and extensive time missed. This is led by Joe Mauer missing significant time due to Vaginal Rejuvenation Surgery (OK maybe not but keeps taking himself out for no apparent reason soooo.....leader or myth?)

More significant to me however is the bad moves, poorly timed moves, and/or lack of appropriate moves by GM Bill Smith. I can not legitimately think of a significant good move he has made that he has not undone by another bad or poorly timed move. The timing of every move he has made has been poor, the assets he has received have been less than poor, and he has released assets without attempting to get ANYTHING in return?

In just a couple short years he has already done significant damage to the franchise building efforts of Andy McPhail, Terry Ryan, Tom Kelly, and Ron Gardenhire. There was always a method to the madness in the previous 25 years, under Bill Smith it is just utter madness. I am not typically one to throw one particular person under the bus but it is time to FIRE Bill Smith before it is too late and more damage is done. Significant work needs to be done with the franchise before the start of the 2012 season and he is CLEARLY not the man for the job.

Many of the necessary pieces of the puzzle are in place for another run but they need serious help! Many of the young guys we have seen step up this year are ready to contribute. They will improve as well with a healthy and complete veteran roster around them.

Here are my initial thoughts on the roster as it stands today:

C: Mauer - Yeah I ripped him a little but he needs to be brought back down to earth, still best catcher in MLB.
C: Butera - Give the guy a break. Catchers usually dont hit for average & #2's even lower. Good defensive catcher and calls good game.

1B/DH: Morneau - No brainer but needs to stay healthy.
2B: Casilla - For now. Last chance. Needs to improve SIGNIFICANTLY.
SS: Plouffe - Despite the criticism is ready for the opportunity.
3B: Valencia - Down sophmore campaign but showed why is so highly regarded. Needs consistency.
UT: L.Hughes - Decent defense that will improve. Xcellent bat and will improve average with solid veterans around him.

LF: Revere - Arm a concern but makes up for it with great speed and range. Bat will improve as he adjusts.
CF: Span - Will return to form.
RF/DH/1B: Cuddyer - Versatile. Leader. Solid arm. Good bat. Clubhouse presence.
OF: Tosoni: solid all around, needs improvement. Should be at this level to continue development.
OF: Benson: ROCK Star in the making.

There are a couple guys on the fringe, outside looking in right now, but will become the new call ups. Guys like Parmalee, Dinkleman, & Hicks. All of the above guys are also subject to change based on any MUCH needed acquisitions and/or trades.

As far as the pitching staff goes there are only a few guys that should be locks or that give us decent depth:

SP: Pavano - Bulldog and innings eater. NOT an ace but will help solidify a rotation.
SP: Blackburn - Numerous medical issues last 2 seasons. Needs medical advice and improved training regimen in offseason.
SP: Baker - Similiar to Blackburn. Slightly ahead due to experience and proven worth.

RP: Nathan - Career Twins saves leader. Proved in 2011 recovered from Tommy John. Look for good 2012!
RP: Burnett - Becoming solid middle relief guy. Still improving.
RP: Duensing - Back where he belongs and is consistent & effective.
RP: Swarzak - Similiar in development to Burnett but nore versatile. Can spot start and/ or long relief.
RP: Slama - Ready for spot if he can return from injury and continue development.
RP: Gutierrez - It is time.
RP: Waldrop - Worth a long look.
RP: Perkins - Bounce back year. He needed it bad! Needs to show it wasnt a fluke though. Worth keeping for now.
RP: Dumatrait - Needs more time. Worth a look. Showed some good things.
RP: Diamond - Let Rob Delaney go to keep him. Better deliver and sooon.

Now for the guys that have outlived their usefulness in a Twins uniform, to say the least. This is not to say this is all inclusive trade list. There are a couple above if the right deal was available that could be moved, mostly younger guys:

UT:Tolbert - Offers nothing, no offense and average at best defense. better guys behind him that are ready.
SS/2B:Nishioka - One of MANY POOR acquisitions/decisions by the incompetent Bill Smith.
OF/DH: Kubel: Good guy, decent contributor. Career underachiever that plays to about 65% of his contract. Too expensive for what he offers a team. No versatility. Average at best defense, yet still an attractive trade asset for many teams.
OF: Repko - Decent Defense. Decent Arm. No offense. No versatility. Spot better suited to a young guy ready to step up. Could be small part of a trade package.
RP: Capps - Way too expensive. Way too overrated. Trade bait. Would be a good fit on a team needing strong mid to late inning relief from a veteran leader.
RP: Mijares - Too many chances, too few results. A dissapointment.
RP: Hoey - Bye
RP: Hughes - Trade bait. Not good. Inconsistent. Better arms ahead of him. Might have a chance elsewhere.
RP: James - Not interested. Bye.
SP: Slowey - Whined his way out of a job. Not a team player. No heart. Good stuff but inconsistent with poor mental make up.

I feel like there is a name or two I am forgetting. Tough doing it all from memory and on a cell phone. No computer. No media guides, no stat crunching, just my memory and opinion.

The biggest move the Twins have left to make to get the ball rolling on a successful 2012 season is to FIRE BILL SMITH!!

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