There’s A Target Out There Somewhere But The Twins Are Not It !
By tophatal …..
If there was a disappointment for me last year , then it was seeing the Minnesota Twins’ season implode in 2011 . Finishing with a 71-91 mark in the AL Central it seemed as if the Twins simply weren’t competitive enough to face the all too dominant … Detroit Tigers . And though the Tigers’ foray into the postseason was one that simply wasn’t a pleasant experience and it has to be said for all sense and purpose the question I am now asking and will continue to ask ………. is there a keen sense of ambition on the part of the ownership group led Jim Pohlad , who succeeded his late father , Carl Pohlad , into the position as senior managing partner ? =======================================================================================================
Slide show for your perusal .
The two big profile names on the Twins’ roster , Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer , the faces of this ball-club . But but that simply doesn’t add to the fact that without the production of Michael Cuddyer I sincerely doubt that anyone would have taken any interest in this team . If there was one thing that was uniquely transparent with regard to the Minnesota Twins , it was the pitching rotation and their inadequacies left a great deal to be desired . And with the loss of Cuddyer to the Colorado Rockies as a free agent in December , 2011 , it now begs the question as to who will step up to the plate for the team in 2012 ? .
For manager Ron Gardenhire and his coaching assistants this season will be a true test of the manager and what he now brings to the table along with his associates . Gardenhire and the Los Angeles Angels’ …. Mike Scioscia are now two of the longest-serving managers in baseball (MLB) .
If the Twins are to survive this season < A then it will be down to Joe Mauer , Danny Valencia , Justin Morneau and Denard Span to get the offense going if they are to prevail at any point during 2011. And while the organization goes through their preseason schedule , wherein , Gardenhire assesses the roster which includes their none roster invitees . This should as such give the fans an indication as to the approach to be taken by the organization as a whole .
Now a lot of people might contend that Twins’ GM Terry Ryan … overpaid in retaining Joe Mauer in light of the player’s injury prone season in in …. 2011 . But it simply has been last season that was a concern in term of productivity from the catcher for the general manager but also what appears to be a steadily declining attendance level at Target Field in Minneapolis , Minnesota . Ryan , having held the general manager’s position for the ball-club previously from 1994-2007 , only for Bill Smith to be brought for a four tenure , with the Pohlad’s then returning to Terry Ryan after four years of what may well have deemed abject failure during Smith’s tenure.
If I were an ardent fan of the Minnesota Twins my biggest worry would be the health issues as it relates to the team’s two biggest players ! There’s no doubt in my mind that Mauer and Morneau are the “heart and soul” of this organization. Without either , and there’s a better than even chance that this team is liable to be on the wrong side of a losing season ! I would also like to see a return to form of Francisco Liriano , a starting pitcher who a little more than five years ago was one of the premiere pitchers in the game . Now you simply can’t be sure what to expect of the all too inconsistent Liriano . Now it’d be remiss to suggest that injuries were not the main cause as to what has plagued the seven-year veteran but I also believe that there’s a lack of confidence with the player. And if he’s not able to overcome that then in all probability we will never see a return to form of the once respected player. Your thoughts on the matter ?
Ron Gardenhire , a former AL Manager of the Year knows that this season may well be his last chance to accomplish the feat of winning a World Series title as a manager . Long considered one of the best managers in the game it seems almost inconceivable that at each and every opportunity offered , his teams simply have come up short . And one only has to look at the teams that have simply denied the Twins a shot at the World Series in recent years .
Considered a small market team the Minnesota Twins along with the other franchises categorized within the area are not always able to retain talent , more often than not . So it came as something of a surprise to my mind when they sought to offer Mauer the contract offered by the Twins’ front office , which essentially made him one of the highest paid players in the game but also the highest paid catcher in baseball ! Given the rigors of playing the position and the very fact that nowadays the longevity of the catchers in today’s game is rarely beyond a decade or more . And as a productive as Joe Mauer is said to be what the Twins and specifically Gardenhire expects from the player , is maturity , and the ability to lead . Defensively , on this team he provides that and a great deal more . I don’t know that Mauer is willing to step away from playing the position as catcher to perhaps answer a need of the Twins to play elsewhere on the team. The organization does have two alternatives at the position in Ryan Doumit and Drew Butera at the position .
Joe Mauer is the draw on this Twins’ roster but I seriously doubt the fans are looking to simply seem him play center-field or first base when it is at as a catcher that he has made his name . As to the player’s own aspirations it’s clear that the hometown hero would like to bring a title to an organization that has been long starved of one . At some point in the not too distant future that premise could very well arise but it’s my belief that the team is still a long way of from where it needs to be in order to challenge the likes of the Boston Red Sox , Tampa Bay Rays , Detroit Tigers , Texas Rangers and New York Yankees within the AL , much less the perceived contenders within the NL .
As I alluded to earlier , with the Minnesota Twins being viewed as a small market team , it is easy envisage some of the realities that the organization faces. Financially , the Twins cannot compare to the likes of the Philadelphia Phillies and Miami Marlins as two of the more high profiled teams within the NL in terms of salary structure and it is abundantly as to who they lag behind amongst their AL rivals . Terry Ryan knows that he cannot match the resources available to the Red Sox and Yankees , as each has the largesse of their own respective sports’ cable programming outlets as a financial treasure trove ( NESN & YES Network ) . Having the outlets as a wholly owned subsidiary allows both organizations to essentially write-off any losses by their baseball operations and underwrite against those losses against the sports programming revenues . Something that the likes of the Minnesota Twins simply cannot afford in today’s game by making acquiescing to the outlandish demands made by the agents on behalf of their clients . Anyone of the believe that the Twins could simply make the outlay that the of Yankees have done in offering Alex Rodriguez that now ” infamous” $275 million 10 year deal ? Less we forget this is now being the second such deal that the player has signed over the course of his professional career . To my the vast majority of owners and general managers are simply too damn stupid for their own good and who show as about as much business acumen said to can be found , as the idiots who presently sit on the Senate Banking & Finance Committee !
The issues that faces a number of teams within MLB is not merely about reining costs but general managers , team owners and the league hierarchy working in conjunction working in conjunction of MLBPA (union ) led by its Executive Director Michael Weiner as to how best to address issues the game faces . I’m not so sure that the tete`-a-tete` . Nothing ever productive seems to come to light but somehow Bud Selig and his idiocy tends to put either a poignant spin on a story even when there’s a stench so vulgar that it simply defies logic ! . If the commissioner’s testimony to the to two congressional committees concerning the facts as he knew them to be , concerning the prolific and rampant use of steroids within baseball . Then how do you view Selig as the game’s highest ranking official as it relates to his complete gullibility and ignorance ? And when addressed on the escalating salaries within the game and whether or not he felt there was a need for a mandated salary cap ____ Bud Selig appeared to be dumbfounded in terms of rendering an answer . It never ceases to amaze me as to the gullibility of the man and furthermore his actions in the fiasco surrounding the overturning of Ryan Braun’s 50 game suspension shows how naive he just happens to be ! . And to think that the owners and league hierarchy offered him a four-year contract extension but yet somehow this appears to be justified in $20 million a year salary that this official attains from baseball ! Did I miss something here when there are at least at least 7 players at the top end of the salary scale who earn as much as the commissioner annually ? Never mind the fact that there are several teams at the lower end of the spectrum that can barely afford to spend in excess of $40 million annually but yet Bud Selig ignores that all without the assistance of the league . At some time either the fans will see the commissioner for what he is or as usual show complete apathy as they have tended to. Only then choosing something so trite when there are more acute issues that they have overlooked that in reality they should have shown more interest in !
Picture gallery for your perusal .
Do you believe that the Minnesota Twins are capable of being a credible contender within the AL Central this season and quite possibly challenging for a postseason berth ? And given the choice , who would you like to see succeed Bud Selig as the commissioner of baseball ?
Picture and slide show details below . ================================================================================================ =======
(1) Minnesota Twins third baseman Danny Valencia catches Baltimore Orioles Mark Reynolds , right, in a rundown while trying to steal third in the fifth inning of a spring training baseball game in Fort Myers, Fla., Friday, March 16, 2012. AP Photo/Charles Krupa …
(2) Minnesota Twins pitcher Carlos Gutierrez walks back to the mound with a fresh baseball as Baltimore Orioles Robert Andino , left, heads home on his solo home run in the sixth inning of a spring training baseball game in Fort Myers, Fla., Friday, March 16, 2012. AP Photo/Charles Krupa …….
(3) Catcher Joe Mauer (7) of the Minnesota Twins throws the ball back to the pitcher against the Boston Red Sox during a Grapefruit League Spring Training Game at Hammond Stadium on March 5, 2012 in Fort Myers, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ….
(4) Infielder Justin Morneau (33) of the Minnesota Twins fouls off a pitch against the Boston Red Sox during a Grapefruit League Spring Training Game at Hammond Stadium on March 5, 2012 in Fort Myers, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images …….
(5) Minnesota Twins starter Francisco Liriano delivers in the first inning of a spring training baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays in Fort Myers, Fla., Thursday, March 8, 2012. Liriano threw three scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out five in the Twins’ 1-0 loss. AP Photo/Charles Krupa ……..
(6) Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, right, argues a batter-interference call by home plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth , left, during the second inning of a spring training baseball game against the Boston Red Sox in Fort Myers, Fla., Monday, March 19, 2012. AP Photo/Charles Krupa ….
(7) Twins’ GM Terry Ryan has been entrusted with resurrecting the fortunes of the organization . AP Photo /Mark Webster ….
(8) Jim Pohlad senior managing partner of the Minnesota Twins . Pohlad assumed control of the team upon the death of his father , noted Minnesota businessman Carl Pohlad . Courtesy of the Minneapolis Post / Chris Harper ….
Damian Marley …………….” It Was Written ” ……. & another of his more socially conscious hits . Your thoughts ?
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