Wednesday, September 19, 2007


For attempted murder of my favorite baseball team.

One of us has got to go. Either me or Gardy. There simply isn't room for both of us in the increasingly less populated Twins Territory. Nothing is ever made of the shaky decisions that Ron makes on a day to day basis in his handling of the Minnesota Twins. Well, the time has come for his free pass to run out.

Last week, highly regarded GM Terry Ryan suddenly stepped down. In the aftermath write ups in print and on the web, everyone mentioned the failed experiments with signing veterans like Tony Batista, Rondell White, Sidney Ponson, etc. What no one said is that a major part of the problem was Gardenhire not recognizing when to cut the cord with these guys and yank them out of the lineup (or off the team, as the case may be). This mismanagement almost cost us a playoff berth last year before Gardy finally pulled the plug on Batista and Juan Castro in early June. That same difficulty in figuring out what lineup is best for the team has shown itself again late in this lost season.

The other day, Ronald felt it was necessary to tell all of us that he's penciling in TKOT nemesis Tricky Nicky Punto as his starting second baseman for 2008. This despite the fact that we have a young, promising infielder in Alexi Casilla who should be playing/auditioning for the starting job every night in September. Oh, and in case you were wondering, yes this is the same Nick Punto who is bottom five in the four most important hitting categories (batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, and OPS) among all Major League hitters. He's also 29 years old and a career .224 hitter. But he makes the occasional stellar defensive play and Gardy hates young players, so he gets the nod--in the middle of effing September.

Gardenhire is also continually playing the likes of Rondell White (Chrysler Key Stat of the Game last night: Ro White is hitting .056 at home this year) and Luis Rodriguez, whose .220 average makes him look like an All Star compared to Ro and the Tricky One. All of this while the Twins are 15 1/2 games back in the Central. What better way to prepare for the future than playing a soon to be retired guy who can't hit half his weight and a glorified AAA utility player? We need to give Brian Buscher the chance to be our everyday third baseman and give playing time to youngsters like Garrett Jones, Tommy Watkins, etc. to see if they can contribute to this team in the near future.

But, as I said, Gardy hates young players. That's why Batista, Castro, Ponson, and Ramon Ortiz are handed starting spots that are nearly impossible to lose, while young studs Jason Bartlett, Matt Garza, Kevin Slowey, etc. wallow in AAA despite proving that they've mastered that level. That's what leads to names like Adam Johnson and Mike Restovich. Remember those guys? Highly touted prospects, dominated in the minors, but never given a chance to see any significant time because of our reluctance to let them grow and work out their kinks at the big leauge level.

It's not just a mismanagement of young talent that has Gardy on my chopping block. His misuse of our pitching staff in general is going to kill any hopes of a playoff team in the immediate future. He absolutely refuses to give a young pitcher a spot in the rotation from day 1. Instead, some retread veteran or a "proven" 5+ ERA guy is guaranteed a spot. Worse than that (or maybe equally as bad come to think of it) is how poorly he uses our bullpen. What is the man's obsession with saves? He never pitches Nathan unless he has a save opportunity, or hasn't pitched in a month. He also throws guys who are on a rough streak, or just flat out terrible, in key, late inning situations (and then they predictably lose the game for us). And when we do get a pitcher throwing well, Gardy overuses them until they are basically ineffective (see: Neshek, Pat). As a very light hitting team, we can ill afford to have someone killing our pitching staff with poor decisions on a nightly basis.

So it comes to this: it's time for Ron Gardenhire to get on the same plane as TR come October 1. Either that or the Hatian from Heroes needs to "fix" Gardy's memory of everything he thought he knew about managing a baseball team. This team, hell this organization, has too much talent to have a manager waste it all away with terrible roster/lineup decisions. Otherwise, the good people of Hennepin County just wasted a lot of money on a new ballpark that will be empty by 2012 because our lineup of inept hitters and aging pitchers is winning 60 games a year. That is the future of Twins Territory as it stands now. If Bill Smith wants to really make a splash and improve this team, he will dump Gardy and find a manager who know how to fill out a lineup card.


Anonymous said...

It's about time we got a post from MR. Cue. It's a little hard to give playing time to Tommy Watkins right now though...

FantasyKing said...

Hey great article and i think you're right that Gardy's managing duties are finished come end of the season. Another thing you guys should touch on is our options this off-season. Money-bags Pohlad would rather fight Tyson in his glory days than re-sign the future of Twins baseball, so my question is who stays and who goes?