Thursday, May 5, 2016
Twins Are By Product Of Mismanagement, Nothing Else
Coming into the season, the Minnesota Twins had heightened expectations after an out-of-nowhere season a year ago. Peaking ahead of schedule, Molitor took the club to the brink in his first year as manager. Just narrowly missing the playoffs, many tabbed this club as poised for more.
Deficiencies were present in the bullpen a season ago, and defense was something that could also be looked upon. Despite no clear ace in the starting rotation, pitching was expected to be a relative strength with young arms on the way. Terry Ryan and the Twins did what they thought best positioned them, without blocking too many internal options, over the offseason.
Fernando Abad was a key offseason non-roster guy, and results aside (as great as he's been) it's was a move likely to work. Minnesota believed he was tipping his pitches, and just a year removed from getting everyone out, that seemed like a relative easy fix. Buying Ho Park was brought in to bolster the offense. Sure, he sent Miguel Sano to right field, but there's no denying the Twins run support has been for the better for it.
In summary, the roster construction of this team coming into the 2016 season was hardly problematic.
That leads us to where we find ourselves now. Local writer, Brandon Warne noted on Twitter that he'd be penning a piece in defense of the Twins roster shortly. Where that veers from the issue is that the roster in and of itself is not actually all that problematic.
The results have been nowhere near where this club should be (8-20 is horrible), however, it's been the in season adjustments that have highlighted a much larger issue. There's been an incredibly inept usage of the organizational pieces by both Paul Molitor and Terry Ryan. Promotions and demotions have been head scratching to say the least, and in game usage has questioned Molitor's savvy as a manager in general.
Our latest example for the Twins compounding on their own mistakes came in that drubbing to the Astros. Following a start in which the deck was nearly stacked against him, Alex Meyer was sent back to Triple-A, rather than the Twins bullpen, in favor of J.R. Graham. Graham was promoted having totaled an ERA north of 10.00 on the farm this season. Then, instead of being just a hidden body in the bullpen, he was used in the first game he was with the team. Of course, the Astros teed off on him, and the Twins wind up looking even sillier for it.
As we've now played over a month of the season, Molitor and Ryan have given us plenty of laughable instances to point at. The leash Eddie Rosario has been given is crazy, David Murphy was awarded a 40 man spot despite his intentions to avoid the dumpster fire through retiring. Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler have both been promoted and gone unused, and Molitor continues to be stoic throughout the whole process.
With how things have been handled to this point, it appears the Twins fundamental problem is that both Terry Ryan and Paul Molitor have absolutely zero clue. They have no clue what the identity of this team is, and that's a problem. You can only keep saying that such a small portion of the season has been played for so long. Right now, the Twins have virtually no chance of making the playoffs, yet every roster move is a knee jerk reaction that appears to be made thinking it's the final key to picking up that pivotal win.
There's no sense packing it in, but there's a right and wrong way to handle a losing season in big league baseball. For the Twins, making sure they understand what they have in their youth, and unlocking them as contributors for the season that lies ahead, is absolutely important. That doesn't appear to be the plan, process or goal however, and that underlines the much larger issue that this organization is facing.
How to change the tide is something that's much more of an uphill battle, but nothing Molitor or Ryan have displayed in 2016 suggest they appear capable of being a part of the solution.