What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
In this series, we here at Dubsism will investigate failing franchises and assume the role of general manager in order to return these franchises to past glory. In today’s installment, J-Dub will tackle the challenges facing the Minnesota Twins.
Granted, the Twins are already making roster moves; for example, they’ve already declined the option on Matt Capps and have made some moves on the 40-man roster. Regardless of what the Twins have already done and may do in the future, this is what I would do with the team as it existed at the end of the regular season to turn this team around.
Over the last five years, the Twins have gone from a high-talent, low-payroll team to a low-talent, high payroll team.
As obvious as it sounds, this team needs a top-to-bottom overhaul. This team needs to get out from under some heavy contracts, get some new leadership, and a revamp in the “on the field” philosophy.
The General Manager:
Terry Ryan is not the guy for this job long-term; that’s obvious. My plan of action here is to form a search committee to find a general manager who knows how to do the following:
That sounds like a pipe-dream, but there are some guys out there right now who have a proven track record in those three areas. I’m a big believer in executive talent, and I’m willing to spend the money to get the right guy.
I’ll admit, my odds of getting this guy to leave the Dodgers now that he has ownership with unlimited resources are somewhere between slim and none. Colletti built a winner in San Francisco in the late 90s with an owner who didn’t want to spend money. He also laid the foundation for the Giants club which won the 2010 World Series and made the NLCS this season.
Since 2005, Ned Colletti has been the general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He’s largely responsible for the Dodgers remaining credible on the field during the disastrous Frank McCourt era.
This is the guy who I think I could get on the reasonably cheap. Huntington is a general managers who has taken more of a “sabermetrics” approach to valuing players and it has paid off for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Like it or not, the team has improved since he took over in 2008.
In Texas, Melvin created the Rangers team that reached the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Melvin is also responsible for the Brewers’ team that made the playoffs for the first time in 30 years in 2011.
The Twins have already fired all their coaches, but they didn’t go far enough. Ron Gardenhire’s time in Minnesota needs to be over. It’s too late to hire Terry Francona, and I have no idea why the Twins just gave him a two-year contract extension. I really don’t want to buy out a manager’s contract on a team I’m not expecting to contend in the next two years, so Gardenhire stays as a lame-duck, at least until the next time I need a scapegoat.
There’s one thing the Twins have done correctly regardless of the performance on the field. They have had only two managers in the past 25 years, and it is far easier to do the kind of rebuilding this team needs on a stable platform. That’s why I’m undertaking a two-stage, long-term approach.
Stage One involves hiring a manager who will have the job from the end of the Gardenhire era until my future manager-in-training is ready for the job. The guy I want for that job is Paul Molitor. I’m not going to make the same mistake the Cubs made with Ryne Sandberg. Right now, I’ve got a Hall-of-Famer who has been a part of the organization for over a decade who would make a great manager for a rebuilding team. The deal would be Molitor is the face of the team in the dugout, then when it is time to transition to Stage Two, he gets a big-time front office job.
Stage Two involves getting my manager-in-training into the organization in either 2013 or 2014. The ideal candidate is a recently or soon-to-be retired player with at least a decade of major league service time, had been in several organizations so he’s seen various ways of doing things and can pick the best traits from each, and catchers will have a preference because I want a long-term guy who know how to handle young pitchers, because not only is he going to deal with a lot of them in the minors while he is the manager-in-training, but once he gets to the show, he will still be dealing with them because one of the ways I will be controlling payroll is to make the Twins farm system to young pitchers what mountain slopes in Peru are to cocaine (Chairman Marple, here’s your shot at some “Molitor” jokes placed on a tee for you…)
The candidate I have in mind for this manager-in-training role is Rod Barajas (details come later, since he is still under contract to the Pittsburgh Pirates). He meets all the criteria, plus unlike the rest of the Twins’ leadership structure, he isn’t lily white. This matters because the future of baseball isn’t lily white either. The important part is that Barajas is well-respected in baseball circles, and is considered by many to ba a manager waiting to happen. The plan is to get him into the organization now, so that when he retires as a player, he can go directly to coaching in the minors with the goal of eventually becoming the skipper of the big-league club.
The over-arching philosophy is I’m building this team around pitching and defense. That means there are going to be some big changes.
I know this is the part that will make Twins’ fans think I’m just trolling for some nasty comments, but as a general manager tasked with rebuilding this team, I’m faced with one over-arching fact. I get Joe Mauer is top-shelf talent. I get the fact that he is the home-town hero. But I also get that I’m rebuilding a team with limited payroll, and I can’t afford having 25% of my total payroll stuck in one player.
The hard financial fact is that I’m committed to $23 million a year through 2018 on Mauer, and my total payroll is now at $94 million. That has to change, because as great as Mauer is, he can only fill one spot in the batting order.
In an off-season deal, I’m making the following trade with the San Francisco Giants.
The Giants get:
The Twins get:
Why This Deal Works:
Believe it or not, this trade was conceived before Sandoval’s historic performance in last night’s World Series Game 1. The Giants have a ton of pitching, but they have struggled with consistency in production at first base and could use a defensive upgrade in center field. Both teams have bad contracts they would love to get rid of, but both would live with a bad contract in an area they sorely need. Not only do the Twins need pitching of all sorts, but Bumgarner could always be moved at a trade deadline despite his limited trade protection, not to mention the buy-out option in 2018. I’m even willing to restructure Sandoval’s deal until at least 2018, so long as the club gets a buyout clause which allows a buyout of his contract at that season’s major-league minimum salary if his weight exceeds a certain number.
Let’s be honest, there’s really no point in waiting until July to entertain offers for Justin Morneau. In fact, I’m not sure why Terry Ryan didn’t push the deal to the Dodgers that was on the table before Los Angeles blew all their money on the Red Sox quarter-billion dollar salary dump.
Playing GM of the Twins, Morneau means a guy to whom I’m paying him a ton of money ($15 million this year, to be exact), he’s a valuable commodity, he’s a free agent after this year, and let’s be even more honest…I’m not in the market to gamble on a concussed former MVP who just can’t seem to stay healthy.
Morneau is a used car, and I’m willing to make a deal. He’s relatively low mileage, and he’s got a performance engine, but there have been some major repairs, and we just don’t know how reliable he’s going to be down the road. I’m not at “best offer” territory yet, but the rest of the world knows that I get closer to that point with every passing day, because on July 31st, 2013, Morneau’s trade value starts depreciating rapidly due to the “desperation factor.”
In an off-season deal, I’m making the following trade with the Tampa Rays.
The Rays get:
The Twins get:
Why This Deal Works:
The Rays are afraid of arbitration with Price, who just won 20 games. The Rays also have a ton of young pitching talent whom they have under contract. This deal allows them to upgrade at first base while not re-signing Carlos Pena. Realistically, it only costs them a young reliever and a prospect. In return, along with a one-time MVP, they get two decent young pitchers and a veteran presence in Capps.
In an off-season deal, I’m making the following trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Pirates get:
The Twins get:
Why This Deal Works:
The Twins get a veteran back-up catcher who still has a little thump left in his bat, and the Pirates get to ditch a salary in exchange for two prospects.
The Bottom Line:
After enacting these moves the Twins would have several positive factors they currently do not have:
Let’s face it…anything’s is better than spending nearly a million dollars per loss.