Sunday, August 07, 2005

The Prescription

From LaVelle in the Strib:

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has stated more than once recently that he would like to add speed to the roster and hopes it will be a priority during offseason planning.

Lack of speed has become an issue as the Twins offense has struggled for most of the season. A team can vary its approach when it has players who can make things happen with their legs, and put pressure on defenses.

"With speed," Gardenhire said, "you can do a lot of things."

The article goes on to lament the loss of Koskie and Guzman, as well as "injuries, demotions, and slumps" for supposedly making the team slower, particularly on the left side of the infield. But, Hark! Potential redemption may have arrived with the return of Jason Bartlett!

"I'd like to see some speed out there," Gardenhire said. "With [Punto] and Bartlett in the middle, that's speed. If they can both play together, that would be speed. I think the one thing we have been missing is speed.

"You'd like to be able to steal bases, [go] first to third on base hits."

This is the sort of thing that will someday drive me insane.

The Twins are 5th in the American League with 67 stolen bases. The teams ranked ahead of them are such noted offensive juggernauts as the White Sox (5th in Runs), Devil Rays (7th), Angels (1oth), and Mariners (14th). Yet even beyond the stolen base measure, it seems the Twins have several quick players in Hunter, Jones, Ford, Punto, Stewart, and Rodriguez. Mauer is quicker than your average Catcher. Cuddyer's speed seems no worse than average. I guess Castro might not be all that fast on the basepaths--he hasn't even attempted a stolen base this season--but then it's hard to tell about a guy who doesn't get on base in the first place. It looks to me like the only real slowpokes in the lineup are Morneau and LeCroy, when he's not sitting out because of gout or a righthanded power arm on the hill.

Does it seem like speed is a real problem for this team?

Meanwhile, the team .328 on-base pct. ranks 10th in the AL.

The team .403 slugging pct. ranks 12th, .001 ahead of the Royals.

The team .262 batting avg. ranks 12th, .001 ahead of the Royals.

Now, in Gardy's opinion, "the one thing we have been missing is speed."

Does it look like the team needs to add speed next winter, or does it simply need a few guys who can step up and hit with some pop?

I hope this doesn't look like a trick question to you.

But rest assured, everyone! The man in charge is an authority!
He knows best!


At 8/07/2005 10:09 AM, Anonymous Pepper said...

I read that headline in the Strib this morning and thought "What?? What the hell is he talking about?" I didn't even bother to read the article. After reading what you've written, I agree that this is another example of poor judgement on the part of the Twins' skip. Maybe he's just trying to take the focus off the poor hitting. Who knows what goes on in that head?

At 8/07/2005 8:35 PM, Blogger Moss said...

Last Moss checked, you still can't steal first base...

Even when they had "speed" in Rivas and Guzman, it seemed like it went wasted. No reason to expect that it will improve under the Gardentool regime.

At 8/08/2005 12:43 AM, Blogger Twinsluvver said...

Maybe Gardenhire was confused. There was a time when the TWins could create some runs ala stealing, hit and runs and bunting. But without enough guys hitting for average and a low team OBP this couldn't happen. Needless to say, Gardentool made some silly comments no matter how you look at it.

At 8/08/2005 12:03 PM, Anonymous Just Beth said...

Let's put this possibility out there: Gardy knows he needs hitting. More accurately, he needs guys to score. He doesn't have any other hitting prospects than the guys he's got. He might as well see if he can generate runs any way possible. Sometimes you have to take what you can get from what you have.

At 8/08/2005 3:00 PM, Blogger frightwig said...

But does it seem like the team is really short of guys who can run?

I'm really bothered by his comment, "I think the one thing we have been missing is speed." The Twins are not a station-to-station team that could use a manufactured run now and then, while the team is in a little slump. The lineup simply hasn't been hitting for over 3 months.

At 8/08/2005 5:21 PM, Blogger SBG said...

Maybe he was referring to amphetamines. You never know.

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