Thursday, December 13, 2007

TKOT Roundtable

Let’s get this out of the way----we love baseball. Absolutely love it. We eat it up like Mama’s Apple Pie. Or like a fatty loves Ding Dongs. We especially love the Minnesota Twins. We love it so much that when we find out that a role player gets cut in this mornings newspaper in December we all immediately cut work to meet at some speak easy in downtown Minneapolis to have another TKOT roundtable. Low balls of whiskey and fat cigars were passed around like usual and here’s what transpired...

Readers note: I don’t know if you guys like these Roundtables but it’s just everything we talk about with each other so why not put it in print right? Plus, it’s an easy entry to post for you readers and keeps this blog active. We love getting together in stinky smoked filled places to talk about things so if you have a topic you’d like us to touch on, just let us know.

Q: Am I the only one confused/upset about the Twins move to non-tender Jason Tyner? I mean, he's definitely not a starter, but considering we don't have a center fielder right now, this seems like an odd move to me. Even if we make a trade for a Crisp, Ellsbury, Cabrera, Kemp, etc., we are still going to need a backup outfielder that can play in center. Tyner isn't great, but he can hit over .300 off the bench, lay down bunts as needed, has speed on the bases, and plays a good defensive center field. And we're letting him go because we don't want to go to arbitration? Oh goody, we save $1 million. Our total salary is going to be less than $60 million and we can't spare a little for a quality backup outfielder like Tyner? This is ridiculous.

Schmick Schmarx: While I don't necessarily disagree with you, I'm not going to get to upset over losing Tyner. At the very least, it keeps Captain Ron from playing him in 140 games this year and killing our lineup. I'm holding out all judgment on the Twins off-season until the players report in February and we have a better idea what the team will look like.

Fuzz: Thank you Schmick Schmarx. If I ever hear you bitch Q about losing a 130-pound punch & Judy again, I'm going to slap you in the nuts. Tyner was a fun little cute player but come on. Right now we have Cuddy, D-Young, Kubel and Monroe not to mention are trade with Johan. I'd much rather give those AB's to Kubel and Monroe over Jason Fuckstick.

Dogg: I didn’t get the move at first either but now that Fuzz brings up who we have in the OF already, he would be our 5th outfielder. I don’t know if Monroe or Kubel will be good but I do want to give them a try. If we aren’t trading Johan, we should’ve definitely kept Tyner though. Monroe has a good chance of being cut 30 games in.

Q: Hooray! We have 4 corner outfielders on our team! World Series here we come! Nevermind the fact that none of them can play center. Forget about the fact that one of them hit .219 last year (Monroe.) Don't even mention that one of them has Varp's knees (Kubel.) Let's not talk about one of them potentially snapping and killing everyone on the field because he's insane and likes to throw bats at umpires (D-Young.) I was so utterly and completely wrong to think that a .300 hitting, quality defensive backup center fielder would be a good idea. Hell, we don't even need a center fielder. We can roll without one. I'm glad we saved that money and gave it to a steroid taking, fastball only throwing, piece of shit middle reliever that is guaranteed to lose us 5 or 6 games next year. That's an outstanding idea.

Dogg: Alright, I’m back with Q. Tyner should be on this team for $1M.

Schmick Schmarx: It was actually $3.5M but that isn't exactly a lot of money either in MLB.

Fuzz: NO, NO, NO! Does Boston, New York, Cleveland, Colorado, St. Louis or any other legit playoff team roll with a guy like Tyner? The answer is no. We get sucked into these hustle guys that play the "Twins brand" because that's what we are used too. That philosophy has gotten us nowhere. The Twins World Series teams didn't do it with a boatload of guys like Tyner, Punto, Bartlett, Rodriguez, Ford, etc... Maybe one or two for fill-ins at times but not a bunch of them playing. Billy Smith is trying to change that philosophy since he's cut all those guys except Punto.

Anyways, we're talking about Jason Tyner. The one homerun journeyman that goes 1-4 with a single. Yeah he hits .300 but he plays half the games and in no way you can tell me with a straight face that if he played 95% of games he'd hit .300? He'd be an All-star if he did that. He's a very average player that plays some decent defense. He'd be great on the Royals or the Pirates. They could use a guy like that. If we're serious about winning a f-ing title guys like Tyner need to be cut. Great move Bill, great move...

Dogg: You’re right Schmick Schmarx, it’s not a lot of money and that’s why I like signing Monroe. If Tyner hit just over .300 with few RBI’s and no HR’s like every other season, he would not be an all-star. Not even close. That’s beside the point but don’t compare us to the World Series teams. I believe the payroll structure throughout the MLB was much more balanced and we actually signed some guys like Jack Morris and Chili Davis. Unless Bill Smith / Carl Pohlad are ready to open their own pockets and spend, guys like Tyner are the guys we will get. I’m not pissed either way I guess because I do want to give Kubel, Young, Monroe and Cuddy most of the AB’s. I got Monroe going for 25 HR’s this year if we play him 5 days a week like we should.

Q: So how does that Bill Smith Kool-Aid taste, Fuzz?

Fuzz: Tasty.

Q: You are proving my point in your argument. Of all people, you know that I hate our "hustle guys". But that doesn't mean you shouldn't have one or two off the bench (or as you said, "maybe one or two for fill ins"). That's why Bartlett, Ford, L Rod, etc. are gone: our entire team was hustle guys for the last couple years. It is nice, however, to have an option or two off the bench that can bunt, pinch run, or, in Tyner's case, be a quality bat in the lineup when you give your starter the day off.

No one is saying that Tyner should start or that he would put up the same numbers if, god forbid, he did. That's the fucking point. He's a BACKUP, and a pretty good one at that. If you have a backup that can hit the ball well when he's called upon to do so, why get rid of him?

And quit comparing us to the Red Sox, Yankees, Mets, etc. They spend at least twice as much each season as us and can thus afford to have former All Stars as their backups. We do not have that luxury. As for teams like Colorado and St. Louis, maybe you should go onto (since you have nothing better to do) and look at their rosters. They definitely have (or at least had) Jason Tyner-type players such as Kaz Matsui, Willie Tavaris, David Eckstein, and Adam Kennedy. Those are just off the top of my head, I'm sure there's others.

But if you want to keep proving my point Fuzz, please be my guest.

Schmick Schmarx: Quit just staring at his batting average. His on-base % is terrible, his slugging % is terrible, and, while he may have above average speed, I don't think that he is a very good base stealer. He's not the worst guy in the world to have around, but we don't need a 20 email argument about him. He is very replaceable.

Dogg: Q is on fire! Caution, FLAMIBLE!!!! I agree with Q on what he just said. About Tyner Schmick Schmarx, he’s been here and we know what he offers. All the things you need from a guy off the bench while only paying him $1M. Sign him, that’s dirt money. Also, who is that player you’re going to replace him with? We won’t sign anybody worthwhile. Do you know this organization? All FA signings are has-beens.

Fuzz: Back to Q’s rant. I'll give you the front part of your argument. It is nice having hustle guys once in a while but it also forces you to play these guys if they are on our bench. At least it does with our Manager. That's probably a whole another Roundtable. But I'd much rather give these AB's to Kubel, D-Young and Monroe like Dogg mentioned. These guys have twice the ceiling as Jason Fuckwad and if we're going for "Project 2010" then we need to give AB's to these guys. So yes, I'm giving you the point that Tyner like guys are crucial role players for WS type teams. I was wrong to think that we are there right now. I spoke too quickly on that subject but do think that these AB's need to go to the guys I listed.

I am going to compare us to the big dogs (Yankees, Red Sox, Mets, etc..) I'm not going to compare to the hopeless franchises like the Rays, Pirates and Nationals. We're better than that. Yeah the big dogs might have the luxury of keeping former All-stars on the bench but that doesn't mean we have to keep average talent like Tyner on our bench. We can afford someone better than him. Those teams try to field a team differently than we do, you're right, but that doesn't mean we can't win a WS title with a different route. They do spend gobs of money but who cares? Yeah it sucks but it's the system we have to deal with. We're known to have some of the best scouts and that's the way we win. Through talent evaluation through the draft and trades.

By the way Kaz Matsui, Willie Tavaris, David Eckstein, and Adam Kennedy are all better than Tyner.

Q: I'm absolutely in favor of giving plenty of AB's to those guys--our corner outfielders. I don't want Tyner to take anything away from them. And yes, a guy like Delmon Young (22) has a much higher ceiling than a career AAA/utility player. But again, the problem is that we don't have anyone in center yet and Tyner is very good at what he does and doesn't cost much. To me, that seems like a great player to have on our team.

Secondly, Fuzz, your argument makes absolutely no sense. You want to compare us to big market teams (which is ridiculous) and not the successful small market teams (Cleveland, Oakland, etc.) but then you say that we aren't ready to compete for a World Series title right now. Then why are you looking at our team compared to Boston's?

Further, you go on to say that we could win a WS by going a different route than the big money teams do. Guess what? Players like Jason Tyner are that different route. Our minor league system was ranked as one of the 5 worst in baseball by a prominent baseball writer recently, so we don't have that to fall back on. We need to keep guys like Tyner and Punto as reserves because they serve a very important purpose and don't cost a lot of money.

Fuzz: I was stretching with the argument before so I apologize. I was trying to say that we aren’t ready to compete for a W.S. title right now but giving an average player like Tyner AB’s over better hitting prospects like Kubel and D-Young is a bad idea. Maybe we can’t be compared to them on a year-by-year basis but we still can be compared to them on the basis on seriously contending for a title. We can’t do it every year, so we need to build up to it. Tyner is in no way a build up option. He’s a fill-in so we don’t stink completely. I would rather see us give the playing time to any other better potential hitting prospects. Your point makes more sense but that’s what I was trying to convey. Ignore me though because I’m all hoped up on Makers Mark right now and I’m pretty sure these Cubans are laced with some good bud.

Schmick Schmarx: I think maybe Q has a man crush on Tyner. Why else would he defend a player like Tyner this vehemently? Save your boner for a player who would help the Twins win more games next year.

Q: And Schmick Schmarx, I'm not in love with Tyner, I just don't like the release of him. Bottom line--We still don't have a centerfielder and just let a quality backup outfielder walk away for $1 million. Seems like a bad move to me, but then again, I'm not Bill Smith.

Schmick Schmarx: We just signed Adam Everett from the Astros. What does that do for us? Do we now move Brendan Harris to 2B, let Everett start at shortstop, and make Punto our utility player?

Fuzz: Awesome!!! Another fruitcake with good defense that's going to hit .215 for us next year! I can't wait to lose 2-1 all next year again...

Q: Adam Everett is a poor man's Nick Punto.

Dogg: Adam Everett is our new SS. I don’t know what to think. Anyways, Tyner will probably sign on to a contender and win a title. He a perfect utility outfielder who can also pinch-hit, lay down a bunt and that .300 average off the bench will look great.

Fuzz: If Tyner ever contributes to a World Series title team, I’m going to say he’s definitely using some sort of performance enhancing drugs. Speaking of, we should skedaddle out of here to listen to that Mitchell Report that’s going to supposedly ruin baseball.

Dogg: Christ, that’s a whole other Roundtable! See you guys tomorrow then?


Hemi said...

I was kind of excited that we signed Adam Everett then I looked at the numbers and realized how bad he was. A career .248 hitter with a .299 OBP. I mean come on, how pathetic is this line up going to be. I'd rather bring Trevor Plouffe up from the minors (never would happen though) or play Punto at SS than play Everett.

We haven't filled any holes from last years team and its starting to get pathetic. We replace Hunter's bat with Young which is nice, but in the process we lost our shortstop who was pretty solid. So know we add SS to our needs at CF and 3B while taking away a position (lf) from a guy that could have a breakout year in Kubel. Granted he can still DH, but signing Monroe also means he will platoon at DH for Lefty/Righty matchups.

We have some serious work to do for us to be somewhat competitive next year and years beyond.

Kent said...

That's a lot of Jason Tyner talk. I don't really agree with any of you and I am surprised this is such a hot topic. Matt you're wrong to compare us to the big boys. We're not them, never will be them and you do need role players like Tyner to win ball games, big market or small market. Q, Tyner is gone, who gives a shit? I like and agree with your agruement that it's nice to have a guy off the bench who can pinch hit, pinch run, bunt and give a starter a day off. Sounds a lot like Nick Punto, Brendan Harris, Aleixa Casilla and the newly acquired Adam Everett. What do we need Tyner for? I know we don't have a centerfielder yet but we have one coming. Any Santana trade scenario so far pretty much is guaranteed to have a centerfielder involed (Cabrera, Ellsbury, Crisp, Willits) we have no need for Tyner. We need those ab's to go to Kubel and Monroe because you know what else good teams have: a power hitter off the bench. I love the thought of having a bench of Punto, Brendan Harris, Monroe and Kubel. Speed, D, left handed power bat, right handed power bat. That's a contender bench. Sure Santana isn't gone yet, but do you string Tyner along? No, you cut him get on with it and get your future centerfielder. I'll take Denard Span in center over Tyner anyday of the week. Bottom line we had zero reason to keep Tyner around; we're getting a centerfielder and we have the speed/bunt guys already on the bench.

Everett signing? Interesting? Maybe a stop gap if we pull the trigger on the Boston trade? Jed Lowrie was a stud in college, but average in the minors. However, let him season one year and take a switch hitting shortstop in 2009? Might be the route. The Everett signing to me shows that a deal with Boston is getting closer.


Anonymous said...

I think the Twins should have made a move for Haren. I thought he would be out of our price range but he is owed only 9.5 million over the next two seasons. Santana 1 Haren 2 and go for it next year, I don't think that would have been to unrealistic. Now the D-backs have a great 1, 2 punch.