A guest-a-palooza episode. 95 minutes of baseball chatter with updates on the Twins managerial search, what to do (and not to do) with Miguel Sano, and how the Twins can salvage the 2015 season before it goes south.
You can download the new Talk to Contact (@TalkToContact) episode via iTunes or by clicking here, and if you want to add the show to your non-iTunes podcast player, this is the RSS Feed.
This week we’re joined by Bradley Swanson from Twins Notes to talk about his podcast and the special guests they’re having on this week. We are then joined by Seth Stohs and Jeremy Nygaard from Twins Hangouts to talk all about the 40-man roster and who makes the cut this winter.
Then more of the regular with beer, baseball and the news.
If you enjoy our podcast, please tell your friends about us and take a couple extra minutes and rate and review us on iTunes. Ratings and reviews help Cody fight the cold in the middle of winter while he lives in the hellscape that is North Dakota.
It’s the offseason, so that means we are already deep in thought and discussion concerning 2015 roster construction for the Minnesota Twins.
I reserve the right to change my mind, of course, but my preliminary thought on the subject has resulted in a conclusion I wasn’t expecting.
Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano should both be Minnesota Twins on Opening Day 2015.
True, General Manager Terry Ryan has some time before he has to give much thought to such an un-Twins-like idea.
Ryan can spend October finding a manager, gathering with his staff for organizational meetings in Florida and putting together a minor league field management organization.
But when the final out is made in this year’s World Series, it’s time to get serious about this roster. When he does, maybe Buxton and Sano should part of his plan.
My thoughts aren’t firmly in place yet, but it occurs to me that, if we’re all so certain that the Twins’ GM needs to think a bit differently than he has in the past when it comes to hiring a manager and coaching staff, maybe it’s time to think a bit differently about how he treats his future superstars, too.
So, even if you think I’ve lost my mind (and I may ultimately conclude the same thing), hear me out for a moment.
I think most Twins fans would like to see improvement in two specific areas next season.
First, as seems to always be the case, we want another top-tier starting pitcher. Maybe Ricky Nolasco will bounce back or maybe he won’t. If he doesn’t, Phil Hughes is going to need help at the top of the rotation. Even if Nolasco does rebound, I’d love to have him as my #3 starter rather than my #2, if I could land a bigger fish in the offseason.
The second area of relative consensus is that the outfield must improve.
The Twins scored enough runs in 2014 to be a competitive baseball team. They simply didn’t keep opponents from crossing the plate nearly enough. If the starting pitching was problem number 1A, the outfield defense was certainly 1B.
Fixing the starting pitching is easy enough. You shell out the money to lure one of the top free agent starters. If you’re not willing to do that, you might reach for another Phil Hughes-type, but I’m not enthused about that approach. I think you go for the top guys or you just load up Trevor May and Alex Meyer to go with Hughes, Nolasco and Kyle Gibson and get Jose Berrios ready for an early call-up when it becomes necessary.
As tired as we all are of losing 90 games, making a managerial changes takes a little bit of pressure off in terms of the 2015 season. For the first time in about three years, you don’t enter the season with the staff coaching for their professional lives.
So, if you can’t (or won’t) add a true difference-maker to your rotation, you can simply accelerate the advancement of those minor leaguers that you feel are closest to being ready.
Which brings us to the outfield dilemma.
The outfield situation is only a dilemma because of Byron Buxton. Without his presence looming, you could address the outfield just like you do the starting pitching – go out and get the best guy you can buy or trade for on the market.
But Buxton’s presence means (a) the Twins won’t add someone on a high-dollar long-term deal that would “block” Buxton, and (b) no centerfielder on the free agent market with designs on a long-term deal is going to want to come to Minnesota, anyway.
That appears to leave the Twins with two options. Either they identify a short-term solution they can sign/trade for or they keep the status quo, using Jordan Schafer or Danny Santana until Buxton is deemed ready for prime time.
With expectations dampened and a new manager in the dugout, however, maybe it’s time to just say, “screw development,” and throw Byron Buxton out there right from the start.
And while you’re at it, do the same thing with Miguel Sano.
These two guys are going to be the cornerstones of the Twins for years to come, so why not just get them in the game right now? Sure, they’ll struggle. But if they don’t arrive until 2016, you have to assume they’ll struggle some, then, too.
Okay, I know, we can think of a number of reasons NOT to do this. They both essentially lost their entire 2014 seasons to injury and there is no assurance either player is really ready to face Major League pitching.
The specter of Aaron Hicks’ two years of near-abject failure, after being pushed up to the big leagues prematurely, looms over the organization. And he came up after spending almost twice as much time as Sano at AA, a level Buxton hasn’t technically completed a full game at, much less a season.
You certainly wouldn’t want to damage the psyches of Buxton or Sano by having them fail miserably.
But you know what? From what I’ve seen of these two guys, I don’t think we have to worry about their psyches. Both players know what their destinies are and they aren’t going to let a little bit of a learning curve keep them from getting where they know they belong in this game.
We have seen how they address new challenges.
They see. They learn. They adjust.
Then they dominate.
So, maybe the Twins should just skip the whole, “what do we do to improve the outfield until Buxton gets here,” era and put the guy in centerfield.
Maybe you take them aside and say, “Guys, if you’re healthy in April, you’re going to be Minnesota Twins. You may perform like Kennys Vargas or you may look more like Aaron Hicks, but you’re going to stay in Minnesota. You will not be sent back to the minors. From this point forward, you are Major League baseball players. Now get to work and act like it.”
The thing is, you can’t wait until spring training to make this decision. It wouldn’t be fair to Trevor Plouffe.
If Sano is going to step in as your primary third baseman, Plouffe needs to spend some time this winter learning to play left field. Maybe he and Joe Mauer could learn together.
For that matter, I’d tell Sano to go out there and shag some fly balls, too, because I’m not convinced the Twins won’t discover they’re better off defensively with Sano in the outfield and Plouffe at the hot corner.
But one way or another, maybe Buxton and Sano should be in the Opening Day line up.
Imagine for a moment:
I’d buy tickets to see that line up, no matter who the starting pitcher is. I bet a few other people would, too.
In the days since that announcement, speculation has been rampant concerning who the next manager might be.
For his part, General Manager Terry Ryan said he would cast a wide net. He indicated he would look inside and outside the organization and that “diversity” would be a factor, both for the manager position and, ultimately, for the Twins’ coaching staff (further evidence that my advice, which included instructions for adding more Latin American coaches, was being followed almost to the letter).
It occurs to me, now, that I may have done a disservice to the Twins GM in my earlier article. I honestly didn’t expect Twins ownership to follow my advice. Heck, I didn’t even know Pohlad was one of my loyal readers.
Had I known how quickly he would take my advice to heart and act on it, I would have included advice to Ryan on how to go about replacing Gardenhire. But I didn’t. My bad.
But today, I’m going to rectify that oversight. Better late than never, right?
The Twins are a tight-knit organization. Rare is the case when something involving the internal workings of the front office reaches the public until the top dogs in that office want it to.
How do you know when they want the public to know something? Just assume that if you’re reading it, they want you to know it. You’ll be correct 99% of the time.
So here’s what the Twins want us to know about their manager search, so far:
Paul Molitor and Doug Mientkiewicz have been interviewed, Molitor more than once. Both are serious candidates for the job. Gene Glynn will be interviewed. Ozzie Guillen will not. That’s about all of it.
You know what? Molitor, Mientkiewicz and Glynn would all, in my opinion, have the potential to be excellent choices. If Terry Ryan introduces one of them as the next manager on Monday morning, you won’t find me yielding a pitchfork and marching on Target Field.
But it would be wrong.
To explain, allow me to digress briefly and talk about Iowa Hawkeyes football – specifically the head coaching job at Iowa.
A lot of Hawkeye fans love long-time coach Kirk Ferentz. A lot of Hawkeye fans would like to see Ferentz replaced. But, a good number of those fans have an unrealistic view of the Iowa program and the kind of coaching candidates the Iowa job might attract. Iowa is not Alabama, USC or Ohio State. You would not get top tier coaches tripping over themselves to take over the Iowa program. You would have to either hire from within or hire a lower tier outside candidate who has not yet proven himself.
In other words, when you talk about replacing Kirk Ferentz at Iowa, you’d better be careful what you wish for.
But here’s the thing: The Minnesota Twins are not in that position.
Sure, they’ve had 90+ losses for four straight years. That might seem like the kind of thing that would relegate the organization to a position where they have to be satisfied with the left-overs after the good teams in Major League Baseball decide who they want as their manager.
However, “good” MLB teams already have their managers in place. It’s not like there are going to be teams in the postseason immediately letting their managers go the day after their seasons end.
Manager candidates are being interviewed in a number of locations across baseball, but each of those teams has one thing in common – they played bad baseball in 2014.
Currently, there are three managerial openings: the Texas Rangers, the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Twins. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Milwaukee Brewers added to that list in coming days, but as things stand right now, the Twins’ 92 losses are the fewest among teams currently interviewing for a new manager.
The Minnesota Twins should be choice number 1 for anyone with designs on landing a big league manager’s job in 2015.
Texas and Arizona have had front office disruptions in recent years. In Arizona, your new General Manager was a player agent a couple weeks ago and will be reporting to an executive who was a Hall of Fame caliber manager. In both locations, the manager is going to have multiple bosses looking over his shoulder, all of which likely believe they could do your job better than you do (and in at least one case, he’d probably be right).
Arizona and Texas don’t have terrible talent. They have some guys who know how to to play baseball and they have minor league organizations considered to be at least average in terms of the talent moving through the pipeline. (It’s that dreary farm system of the Brewers that anyone considering a run at a potential Milwaukee opening should be wary of.)
Arizona is going to be rebuilding and trying to compete in a division with the Giants, who field perennial championship level teams, and the Dodgers, who are clearly committed to leaving the New York Yankees in the dust when it comes to being willing to spend money to buy championships.
The Rangers “only” have to deal with the Angels and A’s, I guess.
The Twins, on the other hand, had one of the top ranked farm systems in baseball heading in to 2014 and have a General Manager about whom their owner has stated that he’d be the GM for as long as he wants to remain in the job. That GM leads an organization that has demonstrated loyalty (to a fault, some might say) to managers.
The Tigers are aging and the Royals’ postseason run assures that they’ll retain Ned Yost as manager, which virtually assures that you won’t be viewed as the worst manager in your division, no matter what.
Who, in his right mind, would prefer one of the other open positions over the Twins’ job?
Which, finally, brings us to this advice for Terry Ryan:
You need to get this right. That’s not only the most important thing, it’s the only important thing, in this process. And here’s the process:
Step 1 – Talk to those in baseball you respect and ask them who they believe are the top 3 potential managers in all of baseball not currently under contract to manage another MLB team. Then make your own list of the top half dozen names or so.
Step 2 – Interview everybody on that list and identify those that not only are likely to succeed in 2015, but have a, “you never stop learning,” approach to life in general and baseball in particular, which you can envision allowing him to lead your team to success for the next decade. Ask each of them to tell you what they’ve learned about the game of baseball in the past two years that they didn’t know before. Anyone who can’t give you a number of ways in which they have expanded their baseball knowledge in that time should immediately be crossed off your list.
Step 3 – Rank your candidates after interviewing all of them, and not before.
Step 4 – Hire the name at the top of your list.
It’s really that simple.
Don’t get lost in a quagmire of details like how many years of experience they have as a manager at the big league level or at the minor league level or as a coach in the big leagues or whether their players liked them or not. Everyone who has coached/managed at any level has players who liked them and players who didn’t. Every one of them has success stories – and has failed at something.
Just act like you are the General Manager offering the best managerial opportunity in baseball and you are entitled to hire the best managerial candidate. You deserve that. The Twins deserve that.
Yesterday, in the hours following Ron Gardenhire’s ouster as manager of the Twins, I put up a post briefly discussing each of what I considered possible internal candidates to replace Gardy.
Shortly after that post went up, Gardenhire and Twins General Manager Terry Ryan held a press conference where some additional information was shared concerning the thought process that went in to the decision and the envisioned process for identifying and hiring a replacement.
Much has been written/said about the possible candidates in the meantime and there appears to be some small amount of clarity taking shape.
First, Ryan indicated that the search for a replacement would include both internal and external candidates. This is good.
He also indicated that “diversity” would be a factor in the decision making process, not only for the manager, but also for the subsequent decisions regarding the rest of the big league coaching staff. This is very good news.
Ryan also indicated that he was not overly concerned about the age of potential candidates. He isn’t looking only at “young” potential managers, nor only at veteran managers. I think this is good AND it may give a clue as to Ryan’s thinking going in to the process.
The GM also may have slightly tipped his hand when he first indicated that there was a “preference” for an internal replacement, then backtracked and said something along the lines of how the preference is for the “right” candidate, regardless of internal or external, but that ideally he would come from inside the organization. It’s splitting hairs, I know, but I think it does indicate some level of preference for an internal replacement, so long as that person can also be defended as being the “right” person for the job.
As a result, I’m already prepared to revise my list of most likely candidates.
Yesterday, I said I thought Terry Steinbach and Doug Mientkiewicz were likely the top couple of internal candidates. I kept Paul Molitor off that list for two reasons.
First, I thought Ryan would, “go younger,” and Molitor is roughly the same age as Gardenhire. Second, I felt Molitor, given his longer history of employment with the Twins than either Steinbach or Mientkiewicz, would be considered too much of a Twins insider to satisfy everyone, inside and outside the organization, that his hiring would not simply be a continuation of the Gardenhire regime with a different figurehead.
A number of stories have since popped up from writers/columnists with connections to the team’s front office pointing out that Molitor was (1) forced on Gardenhire a year ago, and (2) pretty much ostracized by the manager and his inner circle during the season.
One does have to wonder why the same writers weren’t all over that part of the story DURING the season and one conclusion might be that they are just now finding this information out. “From whom?,” you may ask.
We could speculate that the information is coming from sources inside the front office who may have an interest in softening the ground for the ultimate naming of Molitor as the new Twins manager.
What’s more, as various media sources have pointed out, the Milwaukee Brewers may well be considering a change in the manager’s chair. If so, one would expect Molitor to be on a list of likely candidates for that job.
It certainly would not look good to a lot of Molitor supporters to see the Hall of Famer stolen away by the Brewers while the Twins go another direction.
Of course, you could say pretty much the same thing about the chances Steinbach could be hired by Arizona while the Twins go through a more thorough process of screening applicants.
Whatever the reason, there already seems to be a groundswell of support and speculation focused on Molitor that goes beyond, even, what existed previously. In this case, I choose to believe that where there’s smoke, there’s fire and Molitor may well already be Ryan’s preferred choice IF Molitor wants the gig.
I add that condition because we probably can’t totally discount the possibility that he would prefer to get the Brewers’ job, for example. Though, given his in-depth knowledge of the talent coming up through the Twins’ farm system, this would seem unlikely, to me.
I’d be fine with a Molitor choice. I had the opportunity to interview him during June of the 2013 Cedar Rapids Kernels season and “impressed” doesn’t begin to describe the feeling I came away with.
Molitor is one of those guys that anyone with a mind for baseball would just love to get the opportunity to sit and talk with for an hour. I felt genuinely fortunate to get 20 minutes of his time over the course of a couple of days.
He doesn’t have the folksy charm of Ron Gardenhire. But, I found him to be friendly and open during our discussions, and his love for the nuances of the game and teaching young players the right way to play it certainly came through.
In any event, I do believe Ryan will conduct interviews with several internal and external candidates, including Steinbach and Mientkiewicz. (A number of external candidates have been tossed around, but my favorite is Rays coach Dave Martinez.)
In the end, however, Molitor looks like the leading candidate today.
We’ll see how long that indication holds.
What about Jake Mauer?
I mentioned Kernels manager Jake Mauer as a possible internal candidate, along with some thoughts as to why he probably would not be considered at this time.
Let me just say that, selfishly, I’d love to see Mauer return to Cedar Rapids, along with his coaches Tommy Watkins and Ivan Arteaga. That said, if I were to predict Mauer’s 2015 assignment (which obviously I’m about to do), I’d say look for him to be named the manager of AA Chattanooga.
It was Mauer that the Twins tabbed to be the first manager in Cedar Rapids when that affiliation was getting off the ground. He is a hard worker with his players, great with the front office, great with fans and great with media. In other words, the perfect manager to make sure a new affiliation gets off to the best start possible.
He could easily be given the same assignment in Chattanooga, where the Twins are moving their AA team in 2015. Mauer would also then be reunited with many of the players he managed in Cedar Rapids during 2013-14.
It would also be one step closer to a big league coaching assignment for Mauer and he’s more than deserving of being considered for that opportunity in the near future.
If that move opened up an opportunity for Watkins to get the manager job in Cedar Rapids, that would be a good thing, too.
It didn’t take long for the shoe to drop after the Twins’ season ended with another 90+ loss season on Sunday. That shoe landed on the heads of manager Ron Gardenhire and his entire big league coaching staff.
Gardenhire has been dismissed with one year remaining on his contract. The coaches’ contracts all expired at the end of this season and reportedly all were notified their contracts were not being renewed. The Twins front office apparently wants to give their new manager an opportunity to have input concerning his coaching staff, which certainly makes sense.
A press conference has been scheduled by the Twins for 3:00 pm. Both Gardenhire and General Manager Terry Ryan are scheduled to attend.
Gardenhire likely received more credit than he deserved for the Division Championship seasons during the first several years of his time in the manager’s office and more blame than he deserved for the past four years of futility at Target Field. That’s hardly uncommon for a Major League manager. It would not be surprising to see him managing another team in 2015, nor would it be surprising to see him be successful with that team.
Even so, it’s hard to argue that the time for a change in the Twins clubhouse had not come. Sometimes, a team that is transitioning to a new generation of players can benefit from a new figure at the top.
Now the question turns to, “who will that figure be?”
The Twins are not real experienced at the process of identifying and hiring a new manager for their Big League team as Tom Kelly and Ron Gardenhire held down the position for most of the past three decades.
It would seem un-Twinslike for Ryan to look outside the Twins organization for a new manager, but the dismissal of the entire Major League coaching staff could signal that the GM will broaden the search.
If Ryan stays inside, there is no shortage of candidates.
Terry Steinbach’s name has been mentioned as a possible candidate to join the new Arizona Diamondbacks organization and could equally be considered a candidate to lead the Twins.
Paul Molitor’s name is often brought up as a potential manager in Minnesota. Molitor spent several years working with the organization’s minor leaguers as a roving instructor before joining the Major League coaching staff this season. Molitor is roughly Gardy’s age, however, so he would not exactly be viewed as a young coach for a young new group of players.
Tom Brunansky spent time as a hitting coach in the minors before taking that role with the Twins. He worked with many of the organization’s up and coming young hitters, but he has not managed at the professional level.
Several current minor league managers could also be considered.
Gene Glynn has had a lot of success in Rochester with the oranization’s AAA club, however, like Molitor, age could be an issue if the desire is to bring in someone younger.
Jeff Smith, at AA, has had detractors inside and outside the organization. However, many of the issues have dealt with Smith supposedly putting winning games ahead of player development. That would not seemingly be an issue if he’s elevated to the big club. Smith was named by the Twins to manage a team in the Arizona Fall League last year, which would seem to indicate that he’s held in high esteem by the front office. If the Twins feel it’s time to move away from the “players manager” model, Smith might be an option.
Doug Mientkiewicz finished his second year as manager at high-A Fort Myers this season with a Florida State League championship. He’s seen as an up-and-comer by many and would certainly bring a fire to the role. Mientkiewicz was disciplined during his first year for his involvement in an on-field brawl during a Miracle game. Mientkiewicz originally asked to be assigned to a Florida team for personal reasons related to the health of a family member. Whether that situation has since been resolved or whether it would preclude a big league position is unknown.
Jake Mauer, older brother of Joe, has led teams at the Gulf Coast League rookie level, high-A Fort Myers and, for the past two years, at low-A Cedar Rapids. As with the others, he’s worked with most of the young players moving up through the system. He is not as intense, perhaps, as Mientkiewicz, but he’s also not as laid back as his younger brother is reputed to be. Still, unfortunately, fans’ perceptions may be that any hiring of Jake as manager would be a case of nepotism. After watching Jake work in Cedar Rapids for two years, I would love to see him get a shot with the Twiins, but with Joe’s own popularity waning with much of the fan base, that could put Jake in a no-win situation before ever managing a game with the Twins.
For my money, the most likely internal choices would be Steinbach and Mientkiewicz. Either could do a good job, but I’d hope that the Twins would also consider candidates from outside the organization.
Perhaps even more interesting than the choice of the new manager, to me, will be to see what the make up of the big league coaching staff is after the new manager is named.
In any event, it will be an interesting spring training next year, as the Twins get to know just their third manager since 1987.
I’ve been a bit out of touch with Twinsville for a couple of weeks as I’ve had some business travel and other non-Twins-related matters to occupy most of my time.
I did catch up a bit on my Twins reading in the past day or so, however, and – well – let’s just say I’ve been much more interested in the writing about the Twins than I have been with what’s transpired on the field with the Twins.
I read the columns by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s baseball writers and columnists recently, in which they were asked to share their ideas concerning what the Twins need to do to “fix” the sorry state of affairs at Target Field.
Jim Souhan believes manager Ron Gardenhire has to go.
Patrick Reusse believes the Twins need coaches who relate better to the increasing (and increasingly important) Latino segment of their roster.
LaVelle E. Neal wants the Twins to do whatever it takes to add an “ace” at the top of their rotation.
Phil Miller says, as hard as it may be to do so, the answer is patience, as we await the imminent arrival of some outstanding young prospects.
Their respective articles reflect opinions I think we’ve all heard voiced many times as this fourth consecutive 90-loss season has been completing its death spiral.
After doing all that reading, I paused and contemplated what it must be like right now to be Jim Pohlad.
I honestly believe he’s embarrassed by what his team has become – an irrelevant organization. The Twins are irrelevant among their MLB brethren. They are irrelevant within the Minnesota professional sports scene.
Say what you will about the Pohlad family, they did not get to where they are in life by being irrelevant.
I began to wonder what was going through the Twins’ owner’s mind these days as he prepares for, perhaps, the most difficult offseason since the passing of his father, Carl. Maybe Jim is asking himself, “WWCD?” What Would Carl Do?
Naturally, that led me to ponder what I would do if I were in Pohlad’s shoes. What steps would I take to make sure I never, ever, felt like this going in to an offseason again.
One awful season was an unpleasant aberration. Two was uncomfortable. Three was painful. Four is… I don’t even know, but you wouldn’t want to be around me much if I owned a team with the record of abject failure that the Twins have had so far this decade.
I thought all four of the Strib’s writers had good thoughts. I also believe there isn’t a single one of those ideas that would satisfy me if I owned the Twins.
If the four Strib guys worked for me and came to my office with those ideas, here’s what I’d say:
I think you’ve all made valid points. But here’s my problem.
Patience, Phil? I’ve been patient for three years. Don’t talk to me about prospects. Until they prove themselves at Target Field, those guys are nothing but business assets. They represent fluxuating inventory with short shelf lives. You’re not asking me to be patient, you’re asking me to be comatose.
You want me to buy (in money or prospects) an ‘ace,’ LaVelle. Great idea. I’ve been telling my General Manager to feel free to spend more money on whatever he thinks will improve this team. But we can’t force players to sign with us and pretty much every long term, big money, contract for an ‘ace’ that has been signed has turned out to be a bad contract for the team. And I may not be in love with prospects, but I’m not going to give them away in return for an aging pitcher who my stat buddies tell me has seen his best days behind him. If my GM can find an ‘ace’ available on the market who is willing to come to our town or one with enough tread on the tire left to be counted on for a few years of ace-hood that’s available for any trade even close to reasonable, we’ll go get him.
Jim, I really don’t think any manager in history could have won half his games the past four years with the collection of has-beens, wanna-bes and never-weres wearing a Twins uniform, so if you really believe firing Ron Gardenhire is going to fix things, you know a lot less about baseball than most baseball fans. And that’s a tough bar to get under.
Pat, same for you. I think it makes a lot of sense to have more of a Latin-American presence in the clubhouse. But do you think having a dozen Latino coaches would make this team a winner? I don’t. By the way, between the four of you guys, there must be about a zillion years of covering baseball between you, right? How’s your Spanish? I think every coach in our organization should learn Spanish, but I also think every media member who covers baseball should, too, and until you do, you’ve got very little room to criticize.
The problem is that none of your ideas will fix things. Not if that’s all we do.
Our fans aren’t stupid enough to believe that any one player, no matter how good he is, will turn this team in to a contender. Not if he’s a current Tigers ace, LaVelle, and not if he’s a near-certain future Hall of Fame center fielder who hasn’t completed a full game (much less a season) above high-A ball, Phil.
Many of them want Gardy gone. I understand that. But even the Gardy haters don’t really believe replacing him will turn a 90-loss team in to a 90-win team. Replacing even an unpopular manager won’t put butts back in the seats and replacing his staff with five guys from Venezuela won’t, either.
So, no, we’re not going to do a single one of these things.
We’re going to do all of them.
That’s when I would thank the Strib guys for their time, give them some drink tickets and send them to Hrbeks for a couple of refreshments while I talk to my President and General Manager.
With Dave St. Peter and Terry Ryan in my office, here’s what I lay out for them.
“Gentlemen, the good news for you is that neither of you are fired. Yet.
But I’m tired of losing. I’m tired of losing games and I’m tired of losing fans. And you two may think I don’t know crap about baseball, but I suspect that just maybe losing games and losing fans might be related.
I’ve got a list of the top 20 starting pitchers in baseball, ranked by some goofy thing called WAR. By the date season tickets have to be renewed, one of those guys is going to be working for me, Terry – or you won’t be. Do we understand one another?
Speaking of people working for me, you’re going to go tell Ron Gardenhire that he doesn’t. At least not as my manager.
Gardy’s a helluva guy and he’s had some good days as our manager. We’ll give him a nice watch, but I don’t believe he’s the guy to lead this team for the next 10 years and neither do our fans. Who you hire is your business. I’m just telling you who you’re going to fire.
I take that back, I am going to tell you a little bit about who you’re going to hire.
When spring training opens, I want at least two Latino members on the bench staff.
I mean it, Terry. And I’m not talking about a couple guys who took Spanish class in junior high. I’m going to send Tony Oliva to talk to whoever you hire and they’d better be able to keep up with him in a conversation.
Every company in every industry in this country has been getting on the diversity bandwagon for years. Everyone figured out long ago that having management that can communicate in Spanish is critical to attracting and retaining top Spanish speaking employees. I don’t know why you haven’t figured this out on your own yet, but now I’m telling you.
One more thing, Terry.
If they’re healthy, Alex Meyer, Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton will open 2015 with the Twins. How do I know? I heard all about it in the giant advertising campaign that St. Peter and the marketing folks are putting together the moment he walks out of this meeting. Right Dave?
That ad is going to run on the local affiliate carrying the Super Bowl. I want everyone in town talking about the Twins the next day and I want them buying tickets. Lots of tickets.
Dave, I keep reading about how attendance is going to drop next year. I’m telling you that it won’t. If it does, the attendance in your office will drop by one.
Our season ticket holders have been paying Major League prices for minor league performance for four years. I don’t care how far you have to slash prices, you put butts in the seats.
Next summer, people may call us crazy for what we’ve done. They may say we’ve lost our minds. But if they’re still saying the Twins are irrelevant, you two will not be calling me your boss.
Give my love to your families.
And then I think I’d take a very long cruise around the world on a very large boat and look forward to seeing what my team looked like when I got back.
On this week’s show there is a lot of discussion about recent subtractions (and an addition) to the Twins roster as they continue to trim down to their 25-man roster. Jason Kubel will make the team and both Scott Diamond and Vance Worley will be pitching elsewhere in 2014.
We discuss who is the last man in/out as the Twins trim the roster to 25 and then we take a look ahead at who will be the division winners and playoff contenders for 2014. You can download the new Talk to Contact (@TalkToContact) episode via iTunes or by clicking here.
We take a closer look at Twins pitching prospect and Eden Prairie native, Madison Boer before wondering aloud how Max Scherzer could possibly turn down $144 million.
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The highlight of this week’s episode is an interview with Josh Duggan (@oldmanduggan) of Royals Review to talk about what’s been happening with our division rival’s over in Kansas City. We review their off-season and make predictions about the future of the division in 2014 and beyond. You can download the new Talk to Contact (@TalkToContact) episode via iTunes or by clicking here.
At one point during the podcast Paul professes the strangest fantasy a man has ever had involving another man’s forearms, Jay Corn predicts the Twins to somehow win 83 games and Eric talks smack about his mother to his twin brother. Twins topics were also covered. Spring has sprung and the Twins are all down in Ft Myers for spring training and everyone is in the best shape of their lives. We discuss some notable signings from around the league take a look at Twins minor leaguer and 2013 draft pick Ryan Walker and course discuss what we’re drinking and recommend traveling to Alaska.
The boys have their potty mouths on this week, so if you’re listening near small children you may want to turn the volume down.
Since we had TwinsFest this weekend (and the TwinsDaily Winter Meltdown for those lucky enough to attend), I thought this was very representative as a “comic” summation of all the talking heads and opinions we heard over the weekend!