Twins assistant GM Rob Antony has offered variations on this quote to multiple outlets, but here is the one he gave to MLB.com regarding roster battles at several positions: "Nobody's really stepped up to try to earn the spots, and that's a bad feeling when you're looking at giving spots away."
As we tweeted, this makes about as much sense as us being disappointed that our pug can't read our blog. Because there is a difference between genuine disappointment in underperforming and expecting a human (or dog) to do something that they simply are not equipped to do.
Antony has lamented that neither Aaron Hicks nor Alex Presley has grabbed hold of the center field job. Either conceivably could perform well this year. But neither has a track record suggesting they should be able to do that, and a few extra hits this spring shouldn't have convinced the Twins otherwise.
Jason Bartlett is a 34-year-old who hasn't played a regular-season game since May of 2012. Jason Kubel had a nice 2012, but he was awful in 2013. It would be great if he could return to peak form, but he'll be 32 soon and sometimes that just isn't in the cards.
As we've been saying all offseason, the Twins made reasonable upgrades to their starting rotation -- spending money that should translate into better performances. They did absolutely nothing -- short of adding light-hitting catcher Kurt Suzuki (OPS of .605 and .627 each of the last two seasons) -- to address their offense except hope and wish. Justin Morneau is gone. Ryan Doumit is gone. They weren't great, but they did have the second- and fifth-highest OPS among regulars, respectively, on a bad offensive team in 2013. The offense will need a breakout season from Oswaldo Arcia or a rebound season from Josh Willingham to avoid being historically bad in 2014.
To a certain extent, it's up to players to produce. It's also very much up to decision makers to put them in a position to succeed. If we're doling out blame for why it's not happening this spring, we're pretty sure we know where to start.