The Season that Stunk

I don’t think it is a stretch to consider the 2011 season for the Minnesota Twins nothing less than a complete and total failure. No sugar-coating it, especially after running over the AL Central last year, but this year was terrible. The team, from top to bottom, was various kinds of terrible. I’m going to go ahead and use a little time to not look back but ahead at what needs to change.

Let’s get started!

Management

Where do I even start with this? I’m a believer that Gardenhire should be given one more season to do something with the Twins, at least another playoff showing (and hopefully get out of the 1st round … right Ron!?). However, from there, you can blow up the whole of the organization for all I care.

Billy Smith has to go, and he can take whatever talent evaluation staff he has as well (along with the medical staff … how many lingering injuries can the Twins have in a single season?). Start fresh, get in someone with a dang vision and passion, and get the ship righted REAL QUICK. The Twins now have the resources to be really good, but so much has been wasted that they need to blow this thing up.

Pitchers

Can Baker come back next year and be the Baker he was this year? Before he got hurt, he was one of the top pitchers in the league. Pavano is who is he, an innings-eater who fits in nicely at the back end of the rotation. Who is there after that!? Starting pitching should be a priority right away.

And the bullpen? What do you do? Keep Perkins and give almost everyone else their walking papers. To say the bullpen was a disaster would be stating it lightly. Get everyone else off of this team (including Nathan if he doesn’t show HUGE improvement over winter) and find some arms that can actually get people out. Ugh.

Infielders

Parmelee has played himself into some role on this team next year, and I think he will slot in really nicely at the DH/1B spot to split time with Morneau … if he ever comes back. Plouffe is in the same boat, that kid needs to have a spot whether it is in the outfield or 2B. Find a competent SS if Nishioka isn’t going to cut it (give him another year). Keep Valencia at 3B and tell him to take grounders every day during the winter. Spring training should be spent fielding grounders and learning how to throw properly. Pick up a veteran who can field and put in on the bench to teach the kids.

Outfielders

You are going to have to part ways with either Kubel or Cuddyer … so make a choice and go from there. Losing Cuddy’s RH bat would hurt, but I still hold out hope that Kubel can turn it around. This season was just such a waste.

Also, nice work not shipping Span out of here before the trade deadline. Revere should be manning on spot in the outfield, but now what do you do? Revere in left, Span in center, Cuddy/Kubel in right? Well that stinks. I would much rather have RH bat pickup in left, Revere in center (arm and all), and Cuddy/Kubel in right. However, we can’t have everything we want, can we.

Here’s to hoping Span returns to the pre-injury self so we can have a good on-base/speed combo at the 9/1 spot (thinking it would be Revere at 9 and Span at 1). ARGH!

Catchers

Capps was a bust, plain and simple. Too bad we don’t have Ramos anymore to backup Mauer, huh? Let’s hope the winter goes better for Mauer than either of the past two so that we can have a HEALTHY Joe Mauer for DAY 1 of the season. Pipe dream? Maybe.

Otherwise, Butera has been more than competent as far as defense goes, but if you can find a better bat with decent-enough defense, pick him up. Butera has filled-in valiantly, but it has to stop. I miss Mike Redmond.

Mauer needs to turn it around. We need an MVP season from him NOW!

Other Comments

Has there ever been a team that has gotten has fleeced with trades as the Twins over the past four seasons? What happened!? Garza for Delmon? Delmon for a bag of balls? Santana for a bag of balls? Hardy for rusty parts? Ramos for Capps? Just bad bad bad. Get better … now.

The batting order is going to be a mess next year. Maybe we can get by with the following (using only current players):

  1. Span
  2. Plouffe
  3. Mauer
  4. Morneau
  5. Cuddyer
  6. Parmelee
  7. Valencia
  8. Nishioka
  9. Revere

Who are we going to scare with that lineup? Hopefully some of those players can turn it around … but we are so weak on RH bats if Cuddy leaves that it isn’t even funny. Once again, fire your talent evaluation staff and get better!

Let’s not even begin to think about the rotation or bullpen. Don’t even go there.

Just a bad, bad year.

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