An Interesting article in the WSJ, ranks Gardenhire as the best manager in the majors. The problem is that their methodology is based on a flawed assumption.
They "used three criteria to measure the performance of baseball managers: how their teams perform in close games when the manager's strategic decisions have the most impact, how many games their teams win compared to how many runs they score and allow (a formula known as Pythagorean wins) and whether they get more out of players than other managers, measured by additional games won per season".
The problems with the first two criteria is that a. bullpens and not managers win close games and b. the performance of the players and not that of managers are responsible for a team winning more games that the predicted Pythagorean wins. (I will spare the stats for now, but 90% of the teams who fit this category had either team ERA+ higher than 110 or team OPS+ in innings 7-9 higher than 110, or both.) The problem with the last criterium is that it requires a leap of faith: if a player has better stats a particular year there are a whole bunch of probably reasons and only one of them is his manager...
One another note, today the Twins made a very bad trade: They traded R. A. Dickey to Seattle for a minor league catcher. Do the Twins really need another minor league catcher or a versatile knuckleballer in their bullpen who can pitch every day and provide some stability, at least in the beginning of the season, to a young hurting group of starters? Plus, he could probably pitch for at least another 10 years (he is 32); I don't know what Smith was thinking (or whether he was thinking). You don't want to lose Bass and Dickey has never been with the team, but he would most likely be a better option out of the bullpen than Bass and I'd rather see the team lose Bass before Dickey... Also, Dickey passed through waivers, which means that he could be in Rocherster... This trade, even though it is in small letters in the back of the paper today, ranks up there with some of the worse Twins' moves, like non-tendering Ortiz and signing Punto to a $2.4mil/year contract. I just hope that the Twins' don't regret this.
Liriano will start the season in the minors, which means that Blackburn made the team. Baker's fate is still up in the air, which means that he could still be in the DL retroactively and Bass or Humber making at least on start on his spot. Other than that, "the rotation is set"