Friday, May 22, 2009

Twins Roundtable

If there’s one thing that will forever be true about the founding members of TK on Toast, it’s that we love to talk/argue about the Twins. The Hometown 9 causes more excitement and frustration simultaneously than any of the other local franchises. This has never been more evident than with the 2009 version of Gardy’s boys. So I figured there was no better way to start TK 2.0 than with an old school Twins roundtable. You know the drill: the members of this exclusive club all took this fabulous Friday off to meet at an undisclosed location where whiskey, Budweiser, and Grizzly flowed freely throughout the smoked filled room. What follows is the transcript of the conversation.

Fuzz: The Twins had 20 hits yesterday and Punto was 0-5. Wow, I can't defend him anymore. He couldn’t get a hit in a slow pitch softball game right now. By the way, how bad is that Bartlett/Garza for Delmon Young trade? Holy shit that is bad right now. Bartlett is third in the whole damn league in average right now at .379 and Garza has a 3.4 ERA with four wins. I know Delmon has been gone on personal leave but he has a total of two extra base hits, and having another arm like Garza would be really nice about now.

A sickening sight for the Twins faithful

Dogg: We got Harris as well in that trade, and he will be our every day SS soon if Gardy pulls his head out and will hit .280+--just as good as Bartlett will end up.

Nic: Look, Garza needed a fresh start, but why the hell we included Bartlett and Garza in the deal instead of insisting on Blackburn or Perkins is beyond me.

Dogg: True, we haven't had a good SS here forever and he had played well enough to not trade him.

Fuzz: Bartlett is still a better fielder and hitter than Harris. Bartlett will come down from the .379 but he's still better. He also has more range. At the time, I wasn't that pissed but I'm also not a GM or a talent evaluator and Billy Boy Smith deserves to get ripped for this trade. It has turned out awful for us. The Santana trade is different in the sense that only a few teams could sign him with his salary and they were semi forced, but it's still a god awful trade. That youngen pitcher better be the f-ing deal or we just traded one of the best left handed pitchers in the last 30 years for a "poo-poo platter," copyright Bill Simmons. So far, Billy Boy is 0-2 on the trade shit. Besides Crede he hasn't brought in anyone worth dick either. Needless to say, I'm not too happy with the Bill Smith era right now.

Dogg: Blame Gardy for not knowing exactly what we have in Harris….

Should this man be the starting SS?

Fuzz: Fine, I blame Gardy. I blame them all! I'm so fucking pissed off at our organization right now, I can't stand it. We're so bleeping cheap all the god damn time.

How does a Span, Hunter, and Cuddyer outfield sound with a Crede, Bartlett, Casilla/Punto, Morneau and Mauer infield? I'll throw in Kubes for our DH for shits & giggles. Want to get a hit on us? How about a Santana, Garza, Baker, Liriano and pick from one: Slowey, Blackburn and Perkins rotation? Throw the two odd men out in the pen with Nathan and copyright Nate Williams....let's fucking roll!!!!!!Fuck us!

Dogg: Wow, I’ve never looked at it like that but your team listed there is unreal….F our organization is right!!!

Nic: First, if we would have just kept Johan Santana last year we would have made the playoffs. He still would have walked last winter, but we would be receiving 2 first round draft picks for him. Obviously, it’s easy to see it now but that scenario would have been better.Second, what fantasy land is Fuzz living in where we could have the team he threw out there. If we would have kept Hunter and Santana, there's 0 chance we sign Crede. Because those two players would have eaten up 30% of the payroll, we would have had a hard time extending Mauer and Morneau the first time and we definitely could not afford to keep them after their current deals are up.

Also, Span was a bust until something clicked last year. I'm not advocating that Bill Smith is doing even an average job; I'm just saying we made the right call on Hunter and Santana would have been tough to keep.

Finally, every small market team could play that game. What if the Royals were able to keep Carlos Beltran, Jermaine Dye, and Johnny Damon? They would be the team to beat in the central. What if the A's could have afforded to keep Tim Hudson, Barry Zito, Mark Mulder, Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada, and Eric Chavez? They would have been the team to beat for several seasons earlier this decade. This could go on and on with more teams.

Imagine the possibilities...

Fuzz: I guess I'm in "fantasy land." If your case is that we couldn't sign Crede if we had Hunter and Santana....big f*cking deal! Yes, he has 6 bombs but he's only batting .220. I could live with TKOT's boy Buscher there. I could live with that.

In Carl Pohlad's history, you're right, that team could never happen. But, if he would have looked at Ziggy Wilf and how he spends money like a drunken Irishman, we could have had that team. He never once went above & beyond with his own money. He always stayed right around where they needed to be to break even. He wanted to contract our asses! If he would have took a risk before he passed away (RIP), and said, "Screw it, lock up Hunter, Santana, Mauer & Morneau" and we didn't do that Young trade, that's the team we would have had. Yes, that's a fantasy land thought, and would have never happened but he had all the money in the world to do SOMETHING like that one time in his tenure as the Twins owner. And, he never did!!!!!!!!!! One roll of the dice like that and we would have been the favorite right now to win the Series. Our scouts/talent evaluators/Terry Ryan found the talent we needed to win a world series. We didn't have a lack of talent. It was up to Pohlad to keep that talent and make a run. He never did it that cheap bastard!

Q: Ok, so I've been quiet long enough--a few points:

1) Punto sucks. I've been saying it for years. His crow-hopping, looping throws from short make me want to vomit and he's once again hitting below the Punto Line this year.

2) Mauer hits a Granny and 2 doubles with 6 RBI yesterday. Guess where he was hitting in the lineup? That's right--2 hole. Amazing. What are the odds that he's still at that spot tonight? Effin Gardy.

3) Fuzz, I know you're an angry man these days (see Wolves, Timber and Twins, Minnesota), but your rants are extremely off base right now. Hunter had no desire to stay here--he even said so in the media. Santana was quieter in the media, but his agent made it very clear that he had little desire to be here as well. And if you think Garza wasn't leaving the second he became a free agent, you're kidding yourself.

Bartlett's range is very average, though it is much better than Punto/Harris/Tolbert. Also, everyone always complained that we never make a trade or that we have too much pitching and should trade for some hitting (specifically right-handed power). Well that's exactly what we did. Delmon was coming off of a rookie year where he hit .300 with 20 bombs at the age of 21. Was it a roll of the dice? Absolutely. Did it work out for us? Not at all. I think we became too accustomed to TR ripping everyone off for years and so we have one bad trade and everyone bitches about it.

Lastly, when you're an owner of a professional sports team, you have to treat it like a business, even if the fans don't like it. Otherwise you end up in a major hole where you have to do something like sell the team and risk them being moved. With the lack of money the Twins have coming in (no private network like the big market teams have, low merchandise sales, horrible stadium, etc.), there's no way you can even offer Hunter 20 mil a year and Santana 30 mil a year--you would absolutely hemorrhage money. I too bitch about this way too often myself, but when you step back and look at it, I think we've done a pretty good job of staying competitive, especially recently, when many, many other teams in similar situations (Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, etc.) have not.

Dogg: I think our point was that if our owner would’ve spent any amount of money what so ever we actually would have a shot at winning a title. Realistically, those playoff teams we had had about a 1% chance of winning the WS and that’s just because it’s baseball.

Fuzz: All fair points. Hunter would have stayed here if the money was right. Garza would have too, money talks. Santana seemed like he wanted to leave but you never know, I guess. Delmon hit .288 with 13 bombs his rookie year. You were close but that is still a little bit of a difference off of the .300/20 HR's and to give up Garza & Bartlett for that was a HUGE risk. And, we're getting burned by it now. All fair/legit points though.


Your last comment that we've stayed competitive regardless of our small market status is true, but in my mind, unless you take some risks financially with higher paid players, we'll be stuck where we are for a long time. Christ, we have been stuck for a long time! We'll be competitive, maybe win a division title like we have and then get bounced in the playoffs. We had one year since '91 that we advanced beyond round one. And, we got handled by a better Angels team in five games. And, you win with dominant pitching and overpaying guys like Santana and keeping Garza would have given us a much better chance than our current team. We don't have a true #1 right now. So yes, we're competitive and we hang in there year to year, but we'll need to get extremely lucky to advance to the Series with this current philosophy.

Dogg: We hang in there because our division is terrible…If Peavy signed with Chicago, we could’ve kissed this season goodbye.

Nic: If you are going to argue anybody, please make it someone else other than Torii Hunter. While he is a fine player, we could already see his abilities start to slip and he was never a middle of the order bat. There's no way we would want to be nor could we afford paying him $15 million a season the last 3 years of his current contract when he will probably be even less of a hitter and have to be moved to a corner outfield position.

Cash Rules Everything Around Me

Fuzz: That's fair, I could live without him. Santana is such a stud that we should have been throwing whatever we had at him. Maybe he wouldn't have taken it, but he is the deal.

Q: Great points on Hunter, Nic.
I'm pretty sure the Twins "threw everything we had" at Santana. We offered him a $100 million deal that he and his agent quickly rejected. I seriously doubt this franchise could offer anything more, which kind of sucks, but it’s the reality we live in.

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