Saturday, October 6, 2007

Bill Smith 1, Terrible Players 0

This past Monday, Bill Smith officially took over as General Manager for the Minnesota Twins. On Friday he made his first move. Oh, there have been rumors of contract negotiations with Hunter and potential blockbuster trades involving Santana, but there was really nothing to those musings. In his first actual decision as our GM, Mr. Smith endeared himself to many Twins fans (well, at least those of us who write for this site).

On this beautiful October afternoon, the Twins finally cut ties with below average (I'm trying to be nice here) utility players Lew Ford and Luis Rodriguez. Oh, and Josh Rabe and Tommy Watkins were let go too, but that's far less important. What matters is that Bill made a strong stance with some of the garbage that is clogging up my favorite team's roster. His quote: "We needed to clean up the roster a bit so there was a number of moves to be made. And rather than wait until the winter to do so, we felt it was best to do that now." Here, here good sir.

Personally, I have never liked Ford. Even during the promising times early in his career (remember those two weeks?), I was never impressed with him. Sure, he had some speed and was able to take extra bases...during those infrequent times he actually got on. And when Hunter was injured for those few hundred games over the last four years (something he needs to remember before he continues to call others out for their toughness. But that's another post.) Lew was a decent stop gap who could use that aforementioned speed to track down a number of balls. However, both of those admirable qualities are extremely overshadowed by a) his less than stellar hitting ability, b) his growing problem with depth perception (or whatever it is that has caused him to misplay numerous routine fly balls), and c) the difficulty he has in remembering how many outs there are in an inning. If you don't know what I'm talking about with letter c, then you haven't watched many Twins games over the last couple of years.

On the other hand, I never had major issues with Rodriguez the way that I did with Ford. I'll channel my inner Denny and say that he was who I thought he was: a backup utility infielder who was solid with the glove and could, on occasion, get a couple of hits. In fact, I'd still rather have him than Nick Punto any day of the week, but Gardy has made it very clear that the Tricky One isn't going anywhere any time soon. Luis' problem wasn't physical, but rather one of circumstances. It's not his fault that the Twins have loaded up their roster over the last few seasons with more backups and utility players than should ever be allowed on one major league team. He's still a legitimate major leaguer, as evidenced by San Diego immediately plucking him off waivers once we parted ways with him.

Bottom line, it's nice to see Smith take a somewhat bold stance in getting rid of some excess waste on our roster as we head towards what should be a playoff season in 2008 (yeah, I said it). There was probably some pressure to hang on to a guy like Leeeeeewwwwwww (I'll never forgive some Twins fans for that) because he's a bit of a hometown favorite--at least he is to those who know nothing about baseball and just like shouting his name. I won't miss Ford and I'm glad L Rod has already caught on with another squad. But the most important thing is that our GM has made his first official move, and in my eyes it's a great one. I look forward to watching him mold this team over the winter. Best of luck to you Mr. Smith, I'll be watching...


Elliot M said...

Am I the only person that's confused why we waited AFTER the season to cut Lew Ford, rather then DURING the season when he was causing the Twins to lose meaningful baseball games?

What sort of discussion came up after the season where the higher ups finally decided, "You know, I've grown tired of watching Lew Ford hit .220 while simultaneously injuring himself every third week of the season. We need to get rid of him." ?

Isn't that EXACTLY what should have been said in April when we are, oh I don't know, FORMING OUR GOTDAMN ROSTER?!??

What an inept bunch. When we should be talking with the Mets about Johan in order to capitalize on their desire to save face after the biggest bed-shitting in MLB history, we're reviewing Lew Ford's stats.

We're going to fuck up trading Johan and end up getting 10 cents on the dollar. Then, Morneau is going to be pissed and refuse to sign longterm.

Get ready for a lot of Cuddy and articles from the Pioneer Press about how Joe Mauer has a hangnail in the future.

Sign Torii said...

I'm having a hard time sharing your excitement over getting rid of people. The Twins have historically sent people packing throughout their history; what makes this guy any different? Make a move and sign the talent you have and bring some in and I might share in your enthusiasm.

Scarlet said...

Interesting to know.