Your place for Minnesota Twins and New Britain Rock Cats coverage, analysis and opinion.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

An Open Letter from the Twins Front Office

It's been a tough 2+ years to be a Twins fan. Not just the losses, but, in my opinion, the lack of candid statements from the front office about the future of the organization. I expect accountability and honesty from family/friends, from my local/state/federal government, and from businesses that I financially support. The Twins have let me down. In fact, the Twins have let all of us down.

This post is a little late coming, but maybe that's for the best. Now, we known for sure that there is no ace pitcher coming, no All-Star middle infielder on the way, and that this team will go into 2013 with a payroll of between $80-$85 million. Of course, that's well down from 2010-2012 numbers. We now know that the Twins are rebuilding, as opposed to re-tooling. We now know it's going to be a years long -- as opposed to months long -- process. What frustrates me is the lack of public disclosure of this fact from the front office. Are we supposed to buy the notion that two years of Kevin Corriea is going to turn this ship around??? Yes, Terry Ryan and Dave St. Peter certainly have made statements implying that it's going to be a longer process, but in my opinion, that falls well short of what Twins fans deserve. What follows is what I, as the President of the Twins, would have published as an open letter to Twins Territory.

Dear Twins Territory,

It's been a difficult past two seasons. When you lose 90+ games in consecutive years, especially after a sustained run of success, it becomes apparent that changes -- changes in management, changes in player development, changes in the way business is done -- need to be made.

After evaluating the Twins organization from top to bottom, it became apparent that a "quick fix" was not going to turn the organization around. In other words, signing 2-3 "top flight" free agents, including one "ace" pitcher, wasn't going to turn this 90-loss team into a 90-win team. Sure, it may have made the Twins a more competitive team in 2013 and 2014, but there was no indication that this was a problem that could be fixed by spending a quick $30 million on free agents -- and importantly, such signings wouldn't have helped this organization for the long-run. Accordingly, the decision has been made to re-build over the course of a couple of years, as opposed to re-tool over the course of a couple of months.

We understand that, as Twins fans, you have come to expect playoff caliber baseball year in and year out, and we apologize for the product on the field in 2011 and 2012. Although there were good moments and memories along the way, the past two seasons do not represent what we believe "Twins Baseball" means.

The purpose of this letter is to tell our fans that, in order to get back to a sustained period of winning baseball, the Twins organization is rebuilding. We have every confidence that, by making shrewd business decisions, including trading some veterans for exciting prospects, stocking up on talent through the amateur draft, and continuing to develop our own players, this organization can be turned around. Unfortunately, this is not an overnight fix. It is possible -- likely, perhaps -- that the next season or two may be difficult at times. It's possible -- likely, perhaps -- that the 2013 Twins may not find themselves in the playoff hunt in September.

In exchange for a present that may, at times, be trying, we at the Twins offer an exciting future. A future built around Joe Mauer and a growing list of baseball's best prospects, including Miguel Sano, Aaron Hicks, and Oswaldo Arcia. Instead of trying to convince you, our fans, that this upcoming season will be one for the record books, we want to be 100 percent honest and forthcoming. As our fans -- whose ticket purchases at Target Field pay our players' salaries, who gladly wear #7 jerseys all around the upper Midwest, and who closely watch the development in our farm system -- you deserve honesty. And you deserve a quality baseball club that, for many years to come, will be a force not only in the American League Central, but in all of Major League Baseball. We are working tirelessly to provide that club for you.

Thank you for your continued support.

Andrew Walter
President, Minnesota Twins Baseball Club

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Random Thoughts

1. I have a new job. It requires a lot more work, time, and brain space than the old job did. As a result, I haven't posted here in a few months. And honestly, I don't feel like I've missed that much. As far as I can tell, there was no blockbuster signing, no stud free agent starting pitcher who's now a member of the Twins, and it looks like the Twins will go into 2013 with a payroll between $80-$85 million. So they won't be competing this season.

2. I'm not sold on Chris Parmelee. Sure, there might be many reasons to trade Justin Morneau at some point this season. I'm a fan. He's my favorite player on the Twins, and I don't want to see him leave. Ideally (in my world), he stay another couple seasons past 2013, when the Twins again are competitive. But again, there are likely financial reasons why it might make sense to trade him, and I get it. In my opinion, though, Chris Parmelee is not a reason for the Twins to get rid of Morneau. People are still sold on Parmelee's 2011 September call-up. Yes, he was pretty fantastic. And yes, he was great at AAA last season. But something tells me that he's no heir-apparent to first base for the Twins. Additionally, people forget how great -- and underrated -- of a defender Morneau became. Parmelee is not by any means awful in the field, but he's no Morneau defensively.

3. I will not pay to watch a Twins team that has Darin Mastroianni as its starting center fielder. No offense to Mastroianni. I met him last year at a Rock Cats event, and he's a stand-up, fan friendly guy. But he is no more than a 4th outfielder on a major league team. Further, if this team truly is rebuilding (which it is, notwithstanding the relative silence of the front office on that issue), it makes a lot more sense in my mind to hand the job to Joe Benson or Aaron Hicks, whoever performs better in Spring Training. Let these legitimate prospects figure out the big leagues in a season when it doesn't matter, so that they will be ready to compete when the Twins will be.

4. This might be a tough season for the Rock Cats. It's unlikely that Aaron Hicks, Oswaldo Arcia, Chris Herrmann, and perhaps Chris Colabello, will be returning to New Britain. That's the bulk of the 2012 Rock Cats offense. And pitcher BJ Hermsen is likely headed to Rochester. The best offensive talent in the farm system (Miguel Sano, Eddie Roasrio, etc.), still has some time to go before they are ready for AA, so it could be rough offensively for New Britain.