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5/7/09

5 games behind; 5 things that should happen now

The Twins just finished the second and last game of their series in Baltimore, where they got swept, two to nothing. Despite Joe Mauer's return, this club is lacking energy and the ability to fight, from the manager down to the players. Last night's game should not have been played. It was. It was up to Gardenhire to do anything possible to delay it in order not to become official. He didn't. Instead he sat at the dug out watching batters swing away and pitchers pitch fast and throwing strikes. All he did was to whine afterward during the press conference about how unfair it was to play. Yesterday, Matt Tolbert was brought up from Rochester and Alexi Casilla was optioned to the Red Wings. This might help infuse some life to an apparently lifeless club, but here are 5 moves that should be made sooner than later:

  1. Re-assign Joe Vavra within the Twins organization and get Riccardo Ingram from Rochester as the interim hitting coach. In Vavra's four years with the Twins the teams ranked 12th (current), 9th (2008), 13th (2007) and 8th (2008) among the 14 teams in OPS. As a reminder, OPS and more specifically the SLG component of OPS is what makes the Twins win. And here is how the Twins are ranking among the 14 AL teams during Joe Vavra's tenure: 2009: 12th, 2008: 9th, 2007: 13th, 2006: 8th. An exact mirror of the OPS rank. About time for a change

  2. Option Brian Buscher to Rochester and recall Luke Hughes. This season the Twins are hitting .240/.295/.343 against left hand pitching. The right hand batters are hitting an even worse .195/.260/.280 against LHP. Luke Hughes in Rochester this season against LHP has been hitting .474/.524/1.158 (yes, folks, that is a 1.682 OPS) with 4 home runs. Nobody will miss Buscher's "defense" and his .179/.324/.286 line. In addition, Brian Buscher has appeared in a grand total of 5 games this season. It is time that a better player comes up. This would allow the Twins to establish a rotation of Tolbert/Hughes at 2B and Harris/Punto at SS, with Hughes serving as the primary PH and some DH against LHP

  3. Establish an outfield of Denard Span LF, Carlos Gomez CF, Delmon Young RF and find a taker for Cuddyer or keep him on the bench. The energy and defensive ability of Gomez at center is direly missed this season. This arrangement is the best defensive arrangement for the Twins and Young will be able to provide better offense than Cuddyer. Once Cuddyer is traded, bring up Dustin Martin or Jason Pridie (both LHB) from Rochester as the 4th OF.

  4. Assign Mike Redmond to Rochester and recall Jose Morales. Hopefully Redmond will accept the assignment. The fact that this team lost a lot of energy and started losing when Morales went to AAA instead of the worse-performing Redmond, is not coincidental. Morales could replace Redmond as the back up catcher and provide a better LH bat off the bench than Buscher.

  5. Keep a short leash on Craig Breslow and R.A. Dickey and be on the phone with Pedro Martinez' agent. I have been a a proponent for the Twins signing Pedro this offseason. Their starting pitching at this point, esp. Baker, Blackburn and Perkins do not inspire a lot of confidence. Martinez will need about a month to tune up and be in MLB form. At that point, if Dickey falters, release him and replace him with the starter who is the least productive in the pen and insert Martinez in the rotation. Or, Alternatively, since the Dodgers are now an outfielder short and have six starting pitchers, try to see if you can work out a deal of Mike Cuddyer for Hiroki Kuroda. The money is pretty much even.


I think that all these moves will energize these Twins. What do you think?

6 comments:

'r Red Wings said...

Ssshhhhhhh! Keep it down about Hughes before the Twins front office hears you. ;-)

thrylos98 said...

:)

I think that Buscher is a fan favorite in Rochester. He will be fine there for a while, like McDonald

Anonymous said...

Thrylos,

Yeah, I'm reaching my frustration point with the Twins.

In looking at the lineup, I think it's obvious that Mauer, Morneau, Crede and Span are doing their jobs.

If anything, the preceding four may be pushing too hard, because they know they're the only ones producing.

Yes, Cuddyer is hitting a bit better, but I've seen too many misplays that I'm pretty sure Span would have made.

It looks to me like Delmon and Cuddyer are mirror images of each other defensively. However, Delmon has a better bat.

If Gardy holds to pattern, he'll have a "come to Jesus" team meeting in the next couple weeks and then shock everyone by benching certain players or cutting them.

Then the Twins will start playing serious ball.

-Blake

thrylos98 said...

Blake,

maybe... but I do not see him cutting Buscher and Redmond and benching Punto and Cuddyer... It just it's not him. And I think that it is about time that Bill Smith sends a message to Gardy and his coaches that this performance is unacceptable. Waiving bye bye to Vavra 1st, Ullger 2nd if the team does not improve and Liddle 3rd if the team continues the slide will go long ways sending such a message.

Marv said...

'Hiroki Kuroda', no. Give them Cuddyer, pay the lion's share of his contract, and take that kid they've got benched, Brandon Wood (.353/.436/.824 in Salt Lake, .333/.400/.333 in MLB for 2009). Torre doesn't like him so he sits. So very Gardy-like.
I think Red Man gets to finish his last year. If the Twins qualify for post-season play there will be a decision to make, but Morales is going to catch almost every day in Rochester knowing the backup catcher position is his to lose for 2010.
I am liking the Pedro idea at this point. With all the pitching we have we don't seem to have enough.
I also have been watching the numbers Hughes is putting up and agree completely regarding him for Buscher.
I think Young would look a lot better in that smaller right field. Get Span in left & you've got a pretty strong defensive OF.
And if most of us generated Vavra's results in our line of work we would be looking for a new job.

thrylos98 said...

Marv,

I love your thought about Brandon Wood, not sure that the Dodgers would go for it though... Still not sure about Redmond. But the back-up catcher position might not be that much of a problem, unless you have close games and Mauer is resting.

as far as this goes:

And if most of us generated Vavra's results in our line of work we would be looking for a new job.I could not agree more.