After this season mercifully comes to a close in a little over a week we will ask ourselves “who is responsible?”. So lets just do that now. Someone MUST be held accountable for the Twins disastrous stretch run. But who? (or whom, I’m not sure). The first suspect will be this site’s namesake, Ron Gardenhire. His terrible in-game management (notice how I said “in game” meaning lineup construction, bullpen management, not shooting Scott Ullger in May, etc.) has been magnified down the stretch run. Everyone seems unfocused, especially the defense. They have made dozens of boneheaded plays that have led to crucial losses. Gardy has clearly done a bad job of managing by not only using a dart board to determine who will come out of the bullpen, but it seems as though he never reminded anyone we have been in a pennant race for the past month or so. I was reading about the firing of Ned Yost and I noticed he has basically managed his team to a similar record and playoff positioning as Gardy this season. So why was Gardy not fired as the team floundered down the stretch? If you say because “nobody expected the Twins to be in the race in September” you are an idiot. That is a terrible reason. Just because everyone (baseball writers, what the hell do they know anyway) thought we would be in the AL Central basement, doesn’t mean we get a free pass to be sucky. Yeah it was fun, but the fact remains we ARE (or were, depending on your state of mind) in it. Preseason expectations should notdictate how decisions are made during the season. I’ll say this, Gardy probably should keep his job because he has done a lot for the team in the past and he has gotten a lot out of a pretty mediocre and untested bunch of guys. However, if you are Ned Yost, you have to be a little upset. He basically lost his job because he didn’t live up to the hype, and Gardy surpassed the hype and kept his despite the two teams being in near identical positions. Moving on….
Next up in the firegardy.com blame game is Wild Bill Smith. He seemed to have overplayed his hand in the Johan deal, and we ended up with players who really aren’t all that good. Neither of the three packages looks all that great now, but since I write for the Internet (presumably out of my mother’s basement) I can second guess anyone and everyone. Gomez was exciting for about one game, then became frustrating. Humber didn’t look so hot in the minors, but Mulvey looked decent. The Red Sox package would have been good, Lester has been a hell of a pitcher, but Ellsbury, like Gomez, started off hot and seemed to really flame out. I didn’t look up any numbers on him, but I’m pretty sure he is platooning with Coco Crisp now. I would probably be more excited if the Twins had started Gomez in AAA, or sent him down earlier this summer when it became apparent that he was totally over-matched at the plate. I still support the Garza trade because the Twins finally showed willingness to part with one of their 35 good, young pitchers for some hitting. Young still has tons of upside (he is only 22) and really hasn’t been all that bad this year. He started off slow, but has been playing well in the second half. The way the twins draft and scout players we can replace Garza. It would be a shocker if we developed a talented hitter in our system, its just not how we roll.
Is it totally unfair to blame individual players for being bad? Probably. Most of that can be traced back to the coaching staff, who stuck with terrible players for too long. Consistently using Guerrier down the stretch even though it was pretty obvious he was unreliable? I guess it isn’t his fault Gardy kept calling his name. Sticking with Livan (who was named “Ace” of the first half for the team by MLB.com, because he had 10 wins) for several months too long, again not his fault. Is he supposed to call up Bill Smith and say “I’m pretty terrible at my job, you should fire me”? If only it were that easy.
Thoughts? Who else is to blame? Ozzie Guillen? Me? The people wearing pink Nick Punto jerseys (who can be blamed for pretty much every problem worldwide)?4 comments