Thursday, September 29, 2005

Scotty, You're Doin' a Heckuva Job

Terry Ryan in the Pioneer Press:

"We've had a difficult year with the bats, and consequently a lot of people start putting responsibility on one individual. But for me, it's an organizational-wide responsibility.

"Scott Ullger is a professional. He does as good as he possibly can under the circumstances. He's very, very hard working. He's very accessible. He's very responsible. He doesn't stereotype hitters. He's willing to work any time. It's more my responsibility than it is the individual coaches."

All right. Fortunately for Scotty, he works for bosses who care more about his effort and good intentions than the results of his work. I wonder about the assertion that he doesn't stereotype hitters, when we know that certain players are counseled to "slap n' run" while others are urged to "let it fly," but whatever. The GM isn't going to blame his field manager or any of his coaches for what's gone wrong this season, or the poor showing of the offense in most recent years. Ryan says its "an organizational-wide responsibility," starting with himself.

So how will those words translate into action after the season ends? Will we see significant changes to how the whole organization operates?

Will we see Ryan commit to finding a 2nd baseman who can hit, and a corner outfielder who can mash the ball as well as bring some plate discipline to the lineup? Will he clear out some overpriced contracts to give himself the flexibility to pursue a Big Ticket bat? Will he finally trade some pitching surplus to bring his offense up to code?

If Terry Ryan really does commit himself to change his own operating procedures, then I'll forget about the hitting coach for awhile. Maybe the GM only needs to shuffle his outfield and find a better 2nd baseman than Rivas/Punto/Rodriguez, and the natural maturing of the young foundation of his lineup will take care of the rest. If he pursues that sort of course of action this winter, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. I'll be optimistic about the chances for improvement next year. But if retaining Ullger turns out to be the first sign that Terry Ryan remains committed to maintaining the status quo, then I'll be looking ahead to another season of watching the team stuck in traction. The rebuilding project may take awhile, in that case.


At 9/29/2005 11:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's what I'm talkin' about. O-F-F-E-N-S-I-V-E T-A-L-E-N-T to match that pitching staff.

What are your current thoughts on Lohse?

At 9/30/2005 3:26 AM, Blogger frightwig said...

I had Lohse pegged as a prime trading chip even before he took a bat to the manager's office door. I'm glad he had a strong finish to the season--it might increase his value in the market. But the Twins don't need to spend over $4m on a #4 pitcher who tends to struggle getting through the order more than once or twice.

Even in this season, when his 4.18 ERA is a career low, he has a 1.43 WHIP, his K/9 dipped to 4.33, and he's allowed batters to hit .299/.345/.455 off him.

I think the rotation will do fine with Baker at #4 and an audition at #5. Flip Lohse & his salary for a bat.

At 9/30/2005 7:47 AM, Blogger SBG said...

I think Lohse has value. I might be crazy, but I'm thinking that smoe team might be willing to suck up a year of Shannon Stewart to get Lohse, too. He's not the future of this club, but a lot of teams wouldn't mind plugging him into their rotation every fifth day and might be willing to flip us something decent in return.


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