Reusse: Managing this mess is worse than being fired

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 1, 2013 - 6:40 AM

Ron Gardenhire is back because Terry Ryan had to admit he didn't give his manager a team worth managing.

hide

Twins manger Ron Gardenhire and Oswaldo Arcia

There are 30 major league teams and four wound up with records as putrid or worse than the Twins’ 66-96 finish: Chicago Cubs (66-96), Chicago White Sox (63-99), Miami (62-100) and Houston (51-111).

No matter those numbers, none among the 30 teams accomplished as little as the Twins in a regular season lasting from the MLB opener on March 31 to Monday night’s Game 163 between the Rays and the Rangers in Arlington, Texas.

The Twins crawled through six months of muck and, when it was over, the triumph was Brian Dozier batting .244, hitting 18 home runs, driving in 66 runs and making it look as if he will be the second baseman for a few years to come.

That’s it: Dozier, at 26, appearing to be an everyday player in the middle of the infield (even though he did join the parade with 120 strikeouts).

Nothing else through the 49,043 pitches thrown and faced by the 2013 Twins made you feel better than was the case on April 1, when Vance Worley opened the season by allowing a single to Detroit’s Austin Jackson in Target Field.

There were a couple of fulfilled expectations — Glen Perkins being able to close, and Pedro Florimon being able to catch a ground ball at shortstop — and everyone else fit among three categories:

A maybe, a downward trend or a raging negative.

The maybes were Oswaldo Arcia, as a flailing 22-year-old with power potential, and Josmil Pinto, a 24-year-old catcher who looked as if he could hit in 76 at-bats.

The downward trends included Joe Mauer, in the areas of durability and his future as a catcher, and Josh Willingham and Ryan Doumit as big bats in decline, and Samuel Deduno with a bad arm.

The raging negatives came nonstop, with Trevor Plouffe, Chris Parmelee, Aaron Hicks and Kyle Gibson all looking as if they could join the list of failed first-rounders, and with Worley and Scott Diamond going from projected top-of-rotation starters to Rochester, and … why continue?

Everywhere you turned there was failure, players and pitchers who never belonged here or were going backward.

You want to get excited about a bullpen built on 30-year-olds who got a lot of outs when the scoreboard was against the Twins? Go ahead. You want to cheer Rule 5 draftee Ryan Pressly’s work as the mop-up man in that bullpen? Go ahead.

Anthony Swarzak. Yup. That’s going to get a lot of season-ticket holders off the fence when the salesperson reminds them, “Our long man had a very good year.”

What went on with the Twins involved in major league competition was as much a disaster as any in their 53 seasons, when it comes to creating something for the next season and beyond.

Another complete failure was the shakeup of the coaching staff that occurred after the 96 losses of 2012. Tom Brunansky was going to offer a new voice and approach with the hitters, Bobby Cuellar was going to finally bring a Spanish speaker to the staff and Terry Steinbach was going to share his thoughts with manager Ron Gardenhire in the dugout.

Bruno’s Breezers batted in 1,467 innings and managed a team-record shattering 1,430 strikeouts. Cuellar was out in the bullpen, as far from Arcia or Pinto or Deduno in low moments as a coach could get. Steinbach’s main task was to stay alert as Gardenhire flung aside his chewed gum in disgust after another hanger from a pitcher, or whiff from a hitter with a runner at third, or a bouncer a couple of feet to the left of his third baseman.

Management absorbed all of this, then waited 22 hours from the final pitch of another 96th loss to announce Gardenhire would return for his 13th season in 2014, with his coaching staff intact.

General Manager Terry Ryan insisted there were good reasons for Gardenhire’s return, and denied the most obvious one: The GM was so sheepish over the 2013 roster that Ryan wasn’t willing to make it look as if the manager was being made a scapegoat.

  • related content

  • Reusse extra: How bad are these Twins?

    Tuesday October 1, 2013

    If it's true that the 2013 Twins never quit on Ron Gardenhire, that might be the most-frightening indictment of all for this baseball operation.

  • Section 219: Wrapping up a pathetic Twins season

    Sunday September 29, 2013

    How the Twins ended the season was a good thing, lest anyone find anything to be optimistic about in their closing weeks' performance.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Portland 0 Postponed
Brooklyn 0
Sacramento 0 Postponed
New York 0
Philadelphia 74 FINAL
New Orleans 99
Minnesota 84 FINAL
Oklahoma City 92
Orlando 94 FINAL
Memphis 103
Boston 99 FINAL
Utah 90
Denver 98 FINAL
LA Clippers 102
Army 68 FINAL
American Univ 66
Wright State 64 FINAL
Detroit 53
Syracuse 83 FINAL
North Carolina 93
Cleveland State 56 FINAL
Oakland 59
Delaware State 54 FINAL
NC Central 55
High Point 63 FINAL
Presbyterian 54
Howard 45 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 42
Coppin State 84 FINAL
NC A&T 71
Nicholls 51 FINAL
Northwestern St 80
Hampton 56 FINAL
SC State 65
Gardner-Webb 59 FINAL
Campbell 78
MD-Eastern Shore 72 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Stephen F Austin 82 FINAL
Lamar 65
Central Arkansas 67 FINAL
New Orleans 87
Norfolk State 70 FINAL
Savannah State 54
TX A&M-CC 70 FINAL
SE Louisiana 61
Sam Houston St 80 FINAL
Abilene Christian 63
McNeese State 84 FINAL
Incarnate Word 86
Milwaukee 48 FINAL
Valparaiso 73
Alcorn State 66 FINAL
Alabama A&M 78
Southern U 59 FINAL
Alabama State 63
Prairie View 68 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 105
Texas 86 FINAL
Iowa State 89
Texas Southern 85 FINAL
Miss Valley St 84
Long Island 85 FINAL
Bryant 88
Central Conn St 51 FINAL
St Francis-NY 49
Fairleigh Dickinson 0 Postponed
Sacred Heart 0
St Francis-PA 87 FINAL
Wagner 74
Delaware State 59 FINAL
NC Central 66
Howard 53 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 61
Coppin State 49 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 88 FINAL
SC State 53
Norfolk State 54 FINAL
Savannah State 56
MD-Eastern Shore 54 FINAL
Florida A&M 64
Angelo State 55 FINAL
Abilene Christian 70
Samford 32 FINAL
(25) Chattanooga 49
Prairie View 83 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 66
Alcorn State 58 FINAL
Alabama A&M 55
Southern U 53 FINAL
Alabama State 49
Texas Southern 63 FINAL
Miss Valley St 52
(12) Texas A&M 61 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 79
Robert Morris 68 FINAL
Mount St Marys 44
East Tenn St 72 FINAL
Mercer 70
Wofford 56 FINAL
Furman 58
Morehead St 64 FINAL
Tenn Tech 54
Illinois 57 FINAL
Michigan 70
Quinnipiac 0 Postponed
Manhattan 0
Saint Peters 0 Postponed
Rider 0
(18) Miss State 59 FINAL
Auburn 48
(15) Nebraska 72 FINAL
(20) Iowa 78

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How optimistic are you about the 2015 Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close