Minnesota Twins owner Jim Pohlad appeared on 1500 ESPN in the Twin Cities this weekend and though he admits that “losing sucks,” don’t expect any changes to be made with manager Ron Gradenhire or Interim GM Terry Ryan.
“When Terry wants to remove the interim (label) from his title, we’ll welcome that,” Pohlad said, adding that Ryan’s “interim” label still exists only because Ryan “hasn’t chosen to drop that (label) from his title (yet). …
“But on the other hand, we don’t keep revisiting that every week or every month. We don’t keep saying to him, ‘Terry, why are you still interim?’ Whenever he wants to take that way, he can, as far as we’re concerned.”
The Twins are in danger of their second consecutive 100-loss campaign, but Gardenhire is still one of the most highly-respected managers in baseball. Prior to 2011, Minnesota had won six division titles in a nine year span.
Unlike 2011, this season has been mostly a healthy one for Minneota’s lineup. leadoff man Denard Span has missed more time than he would like, but the heart of the order – Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, and Josh Willingham – have been able to stay on the field for the most part. Ryan Doumit has provided a nice boost offensively as well.
The problem, really, has been the pitching staff and it appears to be an issue with organizational philosophy more than anything else. The Twins haven’t had a power-armed ace since trading away Johan Santana and, even through their minor league system, are stocked with control artists with underwhelming stuff.
Former GM Bill Smith, who had inherited the job from Ryan, made quite a few moves that didn’t pan out. I won’t blame him for the Santana deal, as he didn’t have much choice in moving their former Cy Young winner. Smith made a shrewd move in landing shortstop J.J. Hardy from Milwaukee, but then dumped him after one injury-plagued season, only to watch as Hardy re-established himself as a top-tier shortstop in Baltimore.
When Ryan re-claimed the GM job this winter, he recognized the club couldn’t afford to keep both Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer, but wound up netting Doumit and Willingham for a roughly half of what the former Twins made on the free agent market.
The Twins will have a lot of holes to fill on the pitching staff, but could have roughly $20 million available to do so. That won’t be enough to re-vamp a staff that needs an overhaul, but it might be enough to help them avoid the cellar in 2013.
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John Parent is the Senior Director of Human Resources for the FanSided Network. He can be reached at [email protected] or via Twitter @JohnJParent.