The Minnesota Twins Are A Mess

Miguel Sano has been a pleasant surprise in Minnesota this season. (Photo by Keith Allison on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

Miguel Sano is having trouble repeating his performance from a year ago. (Photo by Keith Allison on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

The Minnesota Twins are off to a dreadful start, and that’s despite being well stocked with young talent. In episode 44 of the podcast, I spend some time wondering who needs to be held accountable for the sorry state of the franchise. Is it Terry Ryan and is questionable trades/signings and tendency to rush young players to the Majors, or is it Paul Molitor?

Look, I know Molitor is close to a God to Minnesota Twins fans, so I’ll probably be skewered for even suggesting that. However, Ron Gardenhire always seemed to be able to bring along young players, and he always managed to find a way to keep the team competitive. I am not saying Molitor can’t, but he hasn’t shown that ability yet.

Ryan is another story. I could spend all day questioning many of the moves he made. In fact, in the podcast I do! This the guy who signed pitchers like Kevin Correia, Ricky Nolasco, and Mike Pelfrey. This is the guy who rushed Aaron Hicks to the Majors from AA, skipping AAA entirely. Hicks, a great defender, wound up hitting .192, .212, and .256 in three seasons, and Ryan traded him to the NY Yankees for backup catcher John Ryan Murphy (who started the year 3-40 and got sent down). He also rushed Eddie Rosario after less than 100 AAA at bats.

He is also the guy who traded away guys like Denard Span and Ben Revere for pitchers Alex Meyer and Trevor May. Meyer has be so-so at best in the minors, and was lit up like a Christmas tree in Minnesota. May, who they thought was going to be a top-of-the-rotation starter, was a bust starting games. He may wind up a decent reliever, so I’ll give Ryan a pass on that one.

I also question the decision to have Miguel Sano, who is normally a third baseman, play right field this year. With no chance to learn the position in winter ball or the minors, you thrust a great hitter into an unfamiliar role at the Major League level.

Sano is hitting .234 with three homers and 12 RBI in 111 ABs. This from a guy who had 18 homers, 52 RBI, and a .270 batting average in 279 ABs last season. I have to believe his focus on learning the position has carried over to his offense. I know they have Trevor Plouffe at third, but he is far from the second coming of Brooks Robinson. I’d rather keep my potential stud in Sano happy and comfortable and look to use Plouffe as a chip to get some pitching,

I don’t know who the eventual hammer will fall on, but at some point the Minnesota Twins ownership will have to do something before the fan base revolts.

Also in This Episode:

  • The unsubstantiated whispering about PED use of successful players needs to stop.
  • Speaking of stop, the Angels are not going to trade Mike Trout.
  • The Bartolo Colon homer last week was priceless.
  • Steven Wright is the Red Sox rotation savior.
  • Is Dustin Pedroia the Red Sox next pitching coach?
  • My pick for team of the week

I appreciate you listening and following me every week. You can listen to the latest podcast here, or subscribe to it on iTunes to have it automatically downloaded to your iOS devices.

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions here or at ggumbs@sbcglobal.net. Please let me know what you think. See you next week!

Miguel Sano has been a pleasant surprise in Minnesota this season. (Photo by Keith Allison on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

Spotlight on AL Wild Card Race in This Week’s Podcast

As the calendar turns to September, five of the six division races seem to be well in hand, but race for the AL Wild Card has suddenly gotten very interesting. In episode 22 of the Sports Microscope podcast, host Gene Gumbs breaks down the chances for the six teams bunched up for two spots in the American League.

The Yankees or Blue Jays, whichever team loses the AL East seems a lock, but the Rangers, Twins, Orioles, Rays, and Indians find themselves in shouting distance of the number two position. Could the Indian schedule that seems them play 18 of their final 24 games at home be the difference?

Over in the National League, the St. Louis Cardinals continue to roll, despite having an injury list the size of War and Peace. Rookie outfielder Stephen Piscotty has been a big reason the Cards haven’t missed a beat, as has the recent hot play of Jason Heyward.

There’s plenty more baseball talk in this episode, including a stop in Boston and a look at the dynamic Red Sox outfield of Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, and Rusney Castillo.

Also in this episode:

  • Why are we celebrating Ichiro’s accomplishments in Japan?
  • The continued furor over NESN’s ouster of Don Orsillo
  • Miguel Sano‘s splash in Minnesota
  • Deflategate is almost over!
  • My pick for team of the week

You can listen to the latest episode here or subscribe to it on iTunes to have it automatically downloaded to your iOS devices. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. Enjoy, and thanks for listening!