In the past, I’ve talked about Gardy’s apparent problems in communicating with his players — Liriano and Casilla, in particular, have been the victims of this.
But recently a couple of stories have come to my attention that indicate this could be more of a widespread problem — and not just Gardy’s problem, but a clubhouse problem that could stem from a lack of true leadership.
A store about Mike Lamb:
“The energy level wasn’t what we expected,” Gardenhire said of Lamb. “He’s a veteran, a laid-back guy and we play at a different level. We like to run and do all those kinds of things. … We were just looking for a little different thing. That’s probably why it didn’t work out here.” As for the notion that it was his laid-back attitude that prevented him from sticking with the Twins, Lamb said he was never aware it was an issue. “I mean, if it was a problem, I wish someone would have told me,” Lamb said. “I would have thrown stuff if I needed to.”Now I’m not a big Lamb Fan. And I think Gardy’s probably right in his assessment — Lamb doesn’t seem to fit on this team, personality- or talent-wise. And I doubt he could have “changed” his energy level if that truly were the only issue. But I don’t see why he’d lie about not being told about it.
Secondly, I recently heard a story about Matt Garza’s arrival in Tampa Bay. Troy Percival came up to him and the conversation went thusly:
Percival: So, are you going to be as much of a jerk here as you were in Minnesota? Garza: I was a jerk in Minnesota? Percival: Um, yeah, everybody knows that! Garza: I had no idea that was my reputation. I wish someone had told me.This season, Garza has certainly seemed to be a better clubhouse citizen (aside from one altercation with his catcher), but the thing that strikes me most is that both players said the same thing: “I wish someone had told me.”
I don’t know if it’s really Gardy’s responsibility to go up to Lamb and tell him to act like Gomez and stop being such an old guy, and I don’t know how much if would have helped if he’d told Garza to stop being such an asshole (especially given how much of an asshole Garza was). But it’s telling that it wasn’t Joe Maddon that talked to Garza, it was Troy Percival, a veteran player who had taken on the role of clubhouse leader.
Are Mauer and Morneau failing in their duty to back up Gardy with player-leadership? I’d have to say it’s their responsibility to keep the players in line with this sort of thing, at least to the point where the players in question are aware their attitude is a problem. (And Torii Hunter isn’t the missing leader — he was here when Garza was, and Torii’s method of leadership was to call out Joe Mauer for being less than a man for only playing hurt sometimes, rather than point out actual problems, and talked to the media rather than directly to the player. That’s bad leadership, as opposed to the non-leadership exhibited by the M&M boys.)4 comments