The Twins' roster purge continued Monday when Jose Mijares wasn't offered a contract for 2012 and Jim Hoey was claimed on waivers by Toronto. Add that to last week's sell-for-a-small pizza trade of Kevin Slowey, and the Twins ridded themselves of three pitchers who were terrible in 2011 after careers that showed enough promise (with Slowey and Mijares, anyway) that you wouldn't have anticipated the Twins getting little and nothing in return for them.
The obvious test for Terry Ryan is what he does to fill those spots on the roster, in addition to how he solves the shortcomings in the outfield and starting rotation.
The other test, which should be just as vital to the Twins future, is whether any of the departed make an impact with their new teams.
Sometimes, a player goes elsewhere and produces more than you could have expected. Carl Pavano did little from 2005 through 2009 that would have foreshadowed him becoming a 17-game winner for the Twins in 2010. (Maybe one of these days someone will create a Change of Scenery metric that baseball math geeks can chew on, debate and make into something even better.)
For all the grief -- orchestrated and otherwise -- that Slowey took in 2011, he had a 23-9 record in 44 starts over the previous two seasons. That being said, an 0-8 record, conflict with bosses and a poor relationship with the media (The latter a factor that shouldn't matter at all) can quickly undo the work of past seasons. What changed so dramatically?
It's entirely possible that whatever combination of flaws that Slowey now possesses will keep him from ever being an effective major league pitcher again.
It's also possible the Twins junked something that could have been salvaged.
The same goes for Mijares. Heavy J's stats with the Twins worsened in each season, and he did nothing last season to inspire confidence from fans or the organization. (Hoey's acquisition will remain a mystery and I think it's simply best to pretend that he was never here rather than try to figure it out.)
With Slowey in Colorado, Hoey in Toronto and Mijares wherever he ends up, we'll see if a different approach from new bosses results in them flourishing.
By no means am I predicting that will happen.
But if those guys do well in their new homes and the 2012 Twins are not markedly better than in the disastrous season we just watched, then it will be time to question whether Ron Gardenhire's and pitching coach Rick Anderson's approach to their team has worn too thin to be effective.
That's no different than the decision the Pohlads made about Bill Smith last month, right?