Fire Gardy

Mismanaging games since 2002

Randy Ruiz

Happy first tourney day everyone!  I’ve been casually following this Randy Ruiz fellow the twins have at camp, and man, he can really mash the ball.  I’m starting to root for him to get the final bench spot.  This does bring up a few problems.  Ruiz has no glove, he can maybe play first. Maybe.  He provides good right handed power off the bench, which the twins need.  Just to double check, our position players so far are: Mauer, Redmond, Morneau, Harris, Punto, Everett, Lamb, Kubel, Monroe, Cuddyer, Young, CF.  Assuming we carry 12 pitchers, this leaves one spot on the bench.  When kubel is DHing (hopefully more often than not) the bench consists of Monroe, Punto, Redmond.  Does Monroe/Kubel count as our 5th outfielder as well as our DH or is Gardy planning on carrying an additional backup OF?  I would say as of now Buscher has the leg up for the final spot because of his ability to play third (and quite well, too).  Ruiz will be a nice option if someone gets hurt (I’m looking at your Monroe) to come up from AAA and be a masher off the bench.  With Buscher and Monroe (or eventually Ruiz replacing one of them) that gives us nice power options on the bench. Something we haven’t had in a while, if ever.  In the past few years our best power option off the bench was L-Rod.  I have a good feeling about this lineup. However, I doubt Gardy will maximize its potential and they will do much worse than they should.  I realize this post wasn’t Ruiz-centric, but I needed a title. And I’m out of witty slogans like “Tuesdays with Gardy”.  “Thursdays with Ulger”?  who would want to spend Thursday with him? Only Gardy. 

15 comments

15 Comments so far

  1. sirsean March 20th, 2008 8:07 am

    I’ve been watching Ruiz too, and I don’t know what to think.

    On one hand, he’s smashing the crap out of the ball. On the other, it’s only spring time. It’s easy to look good in March, but how do you look when the games count and the other team is trying to win?

    And I want Kubel to be the full time DH, meaning that the final bench spot should probably go to someone who at least could play a couple positions decently.

    But I really don’t think “no glove” should be a knock against Ruiz. What if he’s the next Ryan Braun? Or Prince Fielder? Or Ryan Howard? Or David Ortiz? What if we had one of those guys … would we be happy that they can mash the ball, or would we refuse to let them play because they’re not good in the field? (I think history says we’d cut them for not learning how to bunt. Damn it.)

    Is Ruiz the next Ryan Howard? Probably not. Is he the next Jack Cust? Maybe. Will we give him a roster spot and try to find out? Probably not.

  2. FunBobby March 20th, 2008 8:13 am

    They interviewed Cliburn and he said they played against Ruiz in the past and would just crush the ball. He has good minor league power numbers, and I at least think he is worth keeping in AAA so he can come up as an injury replacement. I think comparing him to Braun, etc. is a stretch, but I think the reason we would take Buscher over him is because he can play third and first, not just first. I agree, Kubel should be the full time DH with Monroe playing against tough lefties (Sabbathia, Buehrle, etc,)and subbing in the OF. Between backup DH and backup OF he will get plenty of ABs. Especially with Gardy’s love for using all backups during afternoon games. Sidenote:How much did it suck last year when Johan would pitch on a sunday afternoon and the lineup had like 2 regulars in it.

  3. sirsean March 20th, 2008 8:48 am

    Until Ruiz hits 30 HRs, comparing him to those big sluggers is obviously a stretch. But these guys can come out of nowhere … and we might have our hands on one right now. We won’t know until we give him a shot.

    Sidenote? I think that’s the headline of 2007. It sucked enough that Johan wanted to get out of Minnesota.

  4. FunBobby March 20th, 2008 8:51 am

    I guess even when all the regulars were playing we couldn’t score. We basically had no lineup last year that could score runs. It was just one of those years (or decades). That looks to be changing.

  5. sirsean March 20th, 2008 9:13 am

    We scored plenty in 2006. And it happened because the dregs of the order were actually hitting. By upgrading them to average hitters, we drastically improved the offense.

    Frankly, if I were Johan I’d be pretty pissed about having a 3.30 ERA, 230 Ks, a 1.00 WHIP … and everyone saying you had a terrible year because you didn’t win 20 games. It’s not his fault. (Hey, at least in interleague play he can score runs by himself.)

    But I think you’re right. It looks like the Twins’ offense should be reasonably strong for the next few years.

  6. FunBobby March 20th, 2008 9:16 am

    It SHOULD be strong, it really comes down to Gardy maximizing the talent/potential we have.

  7. sirsean March 20th, 2008 9:32 am

    That’s a fact.

    I’m guessing there’ll be plenty of ways he fails to do that this season. Should be some mix of “fun” and “infuriating.”

  8. Texas March 20th, 2008 10:25 am

    “funfuriating” perhaps?

    Ruiz intrigues me as well. I don’t think the Cust analogy can work though because the A’s don’t mind having someone with no glove who can hit the crap out of the ball. The Twins on the other hand go out of their way to not have players who are mashers.

  9. sirsean March 20th, 2008 10:50 am

    I think the Cust analogy works perfectly.

    Cust was an aging former-prospect who’d never been given a shot at the big leagues despite posting intriguingly high power numbers throughout the minor leagues (especially recently).

    Ruiz is in precisely the same spot in his career.

    The Twins were repeatedly willing to use Matt Lecroy in the “all-bat/no-glove/good-guy” role. (Much to my chagrin, admittedly.) Why not give Ruiz a shot?

  10. FunBobby March 20th, 2008 10:57 am

    I think they will, they almost have to. I just don’t think he will make the opening day ML roster. Morneau isn’t going to miss any games, (didn’t he play like 155 last year, and at one point had to leave a game with a broken nose?), and we already have a DH and a backup DH (Kubel and Monroe) so I think we need Buscher in there so we have someone to play a position. Unless the team bucks tradition and carries 11 pitchers, which i doubt. But I bet Ruiz makes it up when Monroe gets hurt or (god forbid) Kubel’s knees start bugging him.

  11. sirsean March 20th, 2008 12:02 pm

    Or if Lamb gets hurt and Buscher becomes the starter. I think you’re right that Ruiz won’t make the roster out of camp, but he’s hopefully the first guy on speed dial from Wild Bill’s office in case anything happens.

    Ultimately, while I want Kubel to get as many ABs as possible, a Kubel/Ruiz DH platoon would work really well. I can’t find splits for Ruiz, but I’m guessing he’s a big lefty-masher. If we play our cards right, we could get 40+ HRs from the DH position. That’s a definite upgrade from … 2 or whatever we had last year.

  12. FunBobby March 20th, 2008 1:11 pm

    That is another very possible option. I’d like to see how Kubel hits lefties before we do a full on platoon. I would like Monroe or Ruiz take the really tough lefties, but if it is some mediocre lefty (is Gil Meche lefthanded) I’d say let Kubel get his swings in.

  13. sirsean March 20th, 2008 2:09 pm

    Oh certainly. If Kubel proves he can hit lefties, he should be given every chance against them; and I think he should be given the chance to prove it, but I don’t know if he’ll get it.

    I don’t think Meche is left handed, but he’s not as bad as you think. Just because the Royals went totally overboard doesn’t alter his skills as a pitcher. And judging by the way the market’s looking … I think I’d rather have Meche than Ted Lilly or Carlos Silva (no offense Big Chief), who signed similar contracts. Just like with A-Rod, I think it’s unfair to base your opinion of the person or player upon the contract that some idiot GM saw fit to offer them.

  14. FunBobby March 20th, 2008 2:24 pm

    I think Gil Meche is a good pitcher, i was just trying to think of someone in the division who was closer to being an average pitcher than CC, Verlander, Etc. Ted Lilly also turned out to be pretty good down the stretch for the cubs.

  15. Fire Gardy » Good Bye Randy Ruiz March 22nd, 2008 10:21 am

    [...] while we were talking about how excited we were about Randy Ruiz, Gardenhire was crossing his name off the roster. Ruiz has been cut, along with Randy Keisler, [...]

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