The Twins left Minnesota and the country yesterday with their tails between their legs after losing their fifth straight game and four in a row to those hated New York Yankees. The Yankees were slumping when they limped in to town but that didn’t stop this bunch of misfits and cast-offs from kicking some serious Twins butts here in Minnesota. I have seen better visiting Yankee teams at Ft. Myers in spring training then what they put on the field the past few days at Target Field and yet you just knew that some way and some how that the Twins would find a way to lose to this bunch of has been’s that make up the 2013 New York Yankees. I have no idea how the Twins can keep losing to the Yankees year in and year out, it’s like there is a Yankee curse on the Twins. Even the New York Times is getting in on the action with a headline that reads “Yankees Thrash Twins to Complete 4-Game Sweep.”
I know everyone is frustrated with the Twins play again this season as the team record stands at 36-46 so far this season. Before the season started I saw the Twins going 74-88 this season so that is not far off the mark at mid-season. The younger players are learning and you can see improvement here and there but this team has a long ways to go to be a serious contender. However; the team is playing like any young team normally plays, some days they surprise you with their ability and other days they frustrate you with their bone-head plays, but this is all part of learning to play in the big leagues.
Having said all that, I think that Terry Ryan needs to make some changes. There are players on this team with no Twins future and should be moved but the problem is that you get nothing for them in return. I have really enjoyed watching Justin Morneau over the years, just like I did Michael Cuddyer but he needs to be moved to give him a chance to play for a contender and the Twins must find out if Chris Parmelee is the Twins first baseman of the future. The Twins should eat some of Morneau’s salary and move him for the best prospect(s) they can get. If they don’t move him they have to pay him anyway and they will get no prospect at all. The most talk about a Twins player being traded has been about closer Glen Perkins. I would hate to lose Perkins but I would trade him if an offer of a top-notch prospect was presented. I am not talking a prospect playing in low A ball, I am talking a serious prospect that can help this team this year or next year. The Twins have always found closers and they will find another to replace Perkins. The Oakland A’s have done this for years and it has worked for them, it should work here too.
That brings us to the manager, Ron Gardenhire. I have always liked Gardy as a manager and still do. Who doesn’t like Gardy, he is an easy guy to like and he has been here forever and has won almost 1,000 games. Gardy isn’t the one losing these games, the Twins players are, but still, things seemed to have gotten stale here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and sometimes changes are necessary. If Gardy gets fired he will be managing another team next year or the year after for sure, but who should replace him? There is no one on the current coaching staff that seems to fit the bill. A number of people have mentioned Paul Molitor as a possibility but I don’t see that happening. The Twins said that Molitor was not a good fit to join the coaching staff and some said it was because he would put too much pressure on Gardy who is managing in the last year of his contract. I don’t think that is the reason at all, I think there are several reasons. First of all Molitor has absolutely no managing experience and no coaching experience to speak of. Next, Molitor has some baggage in his personal life that he brings from his playing days that does not excite the Twins organization very much and does not fit their mold of someone they would like to see lead their young players. Finally Molitor’s personality is not going to excite the Twins fan base, I know he is from St. Paul but his personality is more like TK’s then it is Gardenhire’s. Great players seldom make good managers. The Twins will probably let Gardenhire’s contract expire after the season ends and that is not what I though would happen just a few months ago but things change. The Twins need to reinvigorate their fan base after three losing seasons in a row and the promise of prospects in the pipeline alone isn’t going to put fans in the seats at Target Field, the fans need to see the Twins organization make some serious changes that are visible and at least show the fans that they are trying to make this team better. Just talking a good story doesn’t do it any more, we Twins fans need to see some action.
One more thing before I wrap up this blog today. Joe Vavra was the Twins hitting coach from 2006 through 2012 but was reassigned after last season. During Vavra’s tenure in Minnesota, the Twins have consistently ranked among the best in the league for both individual and team hitting stats. Former Twins player Tom Brunansky was named the Twins hitting coach after last season. Over the last few years the fans have clamoured for Vavra to be let go and finally Terry Ryan made it a reality after the 2012 season. So what did that change do for the Twins? The team is hitting worse than ever and yet I have not heard a single utterance of getting rid of Brunansky. So why is no one complaining about the job that Bruno is doing as the hitting coach for a team that claims that they are only interested in results? I am not saying he should be fired, I am just wondering why Brunansky seems to have that Teflon armour surrounding him.