Souhan: Time for Twins to stop the bleeding

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 16, 2012 - 6:28 AM

With the worst record in baseball, the Twins need bold changes. Here's where to start.

Since the beginning of the 2011 season, the Twins' record is 73-125. Since July 18, their record is 29-76.

This can't go on, not with a $100 million club playing in a limestone palace. While change should never be made for change's sake, change in this case is necessary to remind everyone involved that Major League Baseball is a meritocracy, not a country club.

Tuesday, after losing 5-0 to Cleveland at Target Field, the Twins activated Justin Morneau from the disabled list and optioned Chris Parmelee to Class AAA Rochester. With Parmelee hitting .179, the move was inevitable, but Parmelee did not rank as one of the Twins' biggest problems. He's a promising kid who fell into a slump. He'll be back.

A team playing this bad for this long requires larger alterations. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Cut loose Jason Marquis

Marquis was signed to provide innings, throw strikes and act as a positive influence on young pitchers. He's 0-for-3.

Tuesday, he conducted walkabouts between pitches, displayed horrible body language and inflated his ERA to 6.68. He talks like a gamer and has the reputation of a gamer but pitches like Livan Hernandez on quaaludes.

It's time to conduct open tryouts for rotation spots. Scott Diamond and P.J. Walters have at least momentarily claimed two. Bring back Liam Hendricks (1.54 ERA at Class AAA) to replace Marquis, and have Brian Duensing or Anthony Swarzak ready to replace the next failed starter.

2. Try to trade Denard Span

Span is a quality player and a quality guy. He's also the rare player on the Twins roster who can be traded for value.

Joe Mauer has a no-trade clause. Justin Morneau's injury history will keep other teams from offering fair compensation. Span plays a position of organizational strength, and could bring a starting pitcher or two in return.

The Twins have talked to the Washington Nationals for the last year about a deal, but the Nats might not have the right pitchers to offer after trading three top pitching prospects for Gio Gonzalez.

The Twins need to make a reverse-Delmon trade. They traded Matt Garza for Delmon Young because they were so confident in their platoon of young arms. Now they're desperate for arms and have plenty of capable or promising outfielders in the organization.

Trade Span for a pitcher or two and call up Ben Revere to play center, and you would have improved your team immediately and for the future.

3. Reassign Joe Vavra

I've been covering big-league ball since 1993 and I've never known a good big-league hitter who relied solely on the big-league hitting instructor, so the Twins' hitting woes should not all be blamed on Vavra. But the hitters' approach against Derek Lowe was pathetic on Tuesday, and the team is hitting .184 this month.

Vavra can add value elsewhere in the organization, and the young hitters all rave about Class AAA hitting coach Tom Brunansky.

The Twins' coaching staff has enjoyed a lot of success but lacks three things: A hitting coach with a rapport with young players; a charismatic former big-leaguer who can scare a young player; and a Latin American coach who can communicate comfortably with Spanish-speaking players.

Brunansky would solve two of those problems. Dan Gladden and Paul Molitor would be great additions, too. And when Francisco Liriano or Alexi Casilla goes into a funk, they would benefit from a coach who speaks their language.

4. Wield the hammer

Much of Ryan's success as a general manager was due to patience and loyalty, but circumstances have changed. He's not running a $30 million team in a dump. He's expected to turn this franchise around quickly. He's going to need to shock this organization out of its lethargy.

I've defended manager Ron Gardenhire, because I don't believe any manager could win with these players, but he and Ryan will have to be willing to make changes if either of them wants to contend again, or survive.

Both might have to adopt the Darwinian motto favored by the rest of the professional sports world: Fire or be fired.

Jim Souhan can be heard Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon and weekdays at 2 p.m. on 1500-AM. His Twitter name is SouhanStrib. • jsouhan@startribune.com

 

  • Cleveland 5, Twins 0 Up next: 6:05 p.m. today at Detroit TV: FSN (1500-AM)
  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Minnesota 35 FINAL
Miami 37
Baltimore 13 FINAL
Houston 25
Detroit 20 FINAL
Chicago 14
Cleveland 13 FINAL
Carolina 17
Atlanta 30 FINAL
New Orleans 14
Green Bay 20 FINAL
Tampa Bay 3
Kansas City 12 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
New England 17 FINAL
NY Jets 16
NY Giants 27 3rd Qtr 1:25
St. Louis 20
Buffalo 10 3rd Qtr 10:18
Oakland 16
Indianapolis 0 3rd Qtr 1:31
Dallas 35
Seattle 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 108 FINAL
Toronto 118
Memphis 81 4th Qtr 5:24
Cleveland 94
Boston 13 1st Qtr 2:58
Miami 23
Detroit 15 1st Qtr 2:25
Brooklyn 24
LA Lakers 14 1st Qtr 2:59
Sacramento 22
Philadelphia 13 1st Qtr 3:10
Orlando 16
Phoenix 14 1st Qtr 4:10
Washington 17
Indiana 6:00 PM
Minnesota
New Orleans 6:00 PM
Oklahoma City
Colorado 0 1st Prd 8:14
Detroit 0
Dallas 2 1st Prd 9:40
Edmonton 1
Buffalo 6:00 PM
Boston
Carolina 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Toronto 6:00 PM
Chicago
Philadelphia 8:00 PM
Winnipeg
Harvard 27 FINAL
Virginia 76
Maine 69 FINAL
Army 72
Ferris State 82 FINAL
Bowling Green 68
San Francisco 65 FINAL
Cleveland State 69
Oregon State 52 FINAL
Quinnipiac 60
Coastal Carolina 72 FINAL
Central Arkansas 55
Holy Cross 48 FINAL
Canisius 67
Southern Miss 55 FINAL
Georgia State 68
Western Carolina 66 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 62
Creighton 58 FINAL
North Texas 62
Maryland 73 FINAL
Oklahoma State 64
Cornell 61 FINAL
Radford 74
Vermont 55 FINAL
Saint Louis 58
Loyola-Maryland 52 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Reinhardt 72 FINAL
Winthrop 100
Ark-Little Rock 46 FINAL
Green Bay 66
TX-Pan American 72 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 77
Alabama State 63 FINAL
Evansville 81
FIU 69 FINAL
Hartford 82
Goshen 55 FINAL
Valparaiso 82
Bryant 48 FINAL
Denver 46
Austin Peay 63 FINAL
Lipscomb 69
Tennessee St 47 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 65
South Dakota 67 FINAL
Montana 62
ULM 50 FINAL
Samford 64
Coker 52 FINAL
South Carolina 78
USC 75 FINAL
Boston College 71
Northern Ariz 66 FINAL
Hampton 75
SD Christian 61 FINAL
San Diego 71
UC Irvine 55 FINAL
Bradley 47
Troy 65 FINAL
Nicholls 64
Seton Hall 11 1st Half 9:12
Georgia 24
Appalachian St 5:30 PM
Alabama
North Dakota St 6:00 PM
Kent State
San Jose St 6:00 PM
Washington St
Alcorn State 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Sacramento St 9:00 PM
Seattle
Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 21 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 FINAL
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 24 FINAL
Air Force 38
South Alabama 28 FINAL
Bowling Green 33
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Cal-Irvine 55 FINAL
Denver 63
St Marys-CA 52 FINAL
George Washington 70
TX-San Antonio 49 FINAL
Nicholls 57
Portland State 71 FINAL
Columbia 66
Tenn Tech 62 FINAL
Morgan State 56
SMU 43 FINAL
Auburn 56
Quinnipiac 70 FINAL
Hartford 58
Hofstra 75 FINAL
Boston College 61
Eastern Washington 55 FINAL
Georgia Southern 42
Liberty 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 84
Fairleigh Dickinson 74 FINAL
Brown 79
Buffalo 73 FINAL
Long Island 79
Bucknell 74 FINAL
Mount St Marys 49
Stony Brook 70 FINAL
Wagner 76
FIU 83 FINAL
Wofford 75
Duquesne 56 FINAL
Providence 67
Maine 54 FINAL
William & Mary 51
Alabama State 43 FINAL
Samford 56
TX-Pan American 43 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 64
South Dakota St 64 FINAL
Marist 82
Saint Josephs 50 FINAL
(5) Notre Dame 64
Radford 60 FINAL
Virginia Tech 73
(3) Texas 67 FINAL
(4) Texas A&M 65
Rhode Island 60 FINAL
Bryant 56
South Florida 90 FINAL
Penn State 87
Sam Houston St 55 FINAL
TCU 79
Evansville 50 FINAL
IUPUI 62
(14) Maryland 110 FINAL
Coppin State 51
Mercer 59 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 72
NC A&T 43 FINAL
Chattanooga 58
Princeton 84 FINAL
Monmouth 53
Eastern Illinois 69 FINAL
Lehigh 72
Rider 67 FINAL
Binghamton 72
SC State 57 FINAL
Clemson 66
Fairfield 63 FINAL
Iowa State 76
Richmond 70 FINAL
Eastern Kentucky 56
Cleveland State 80 FINAL
Morehead St 72
Kent State 62 FINAL
Colgate 61
South Alabama 43 FINAL
UAB 73
Saint Peters 35 FINAL
Navy 71
Youngstown St 52 FINAL
Pittsburgh 78
NJIT 50 FINAL
Lafayette 66
Davidson 51 FINAL
Charlotte 86
Indiana State 73 FINAL
St Johns 67
Southern U 49 FINAL
Florida 78
Wright State 46 FINAL
Purdue 70
(19) Oklahoma St 66 FINAL
USC 62
Houston 54 FINAL
Texas Tech 60
Ark-Little Rock 66 FINAL
Tulsa 59
Dayton 71 FINAL
Vanderbilt 67
Northern Ariz 37 FINAL
New Mexico 56
UNC-Asheville 60 FINAL
USC Upstate 67
North Dakota 81 FINAL
South Dakota 86
Western Ill 57 FINAL
Marquette 65
Elon 67 FINAL
(6) North Carolina 85
Ball State 59 FINAL
Western Ky 84
(8) Kentucky 67 FINAL
(13) Duke 89
New Orleans 58 FINAL
Alabama 87
Chicago State 47 FINAL
Milwaukee 69
Bowling Green 61 FINAL
Bradley 47
Ill-Springfield 56 FINAL
SE Missouri St 73
Northern Ill 42 FINAL
Northern Iowa 51
(23) Iowa 100 FINAL
Drake 98
Central Michigan 64 FINAL
Minnesota 67
Western Carolina 45 FINAL
North Florida 62
Wyoming 71 FINAL
Colorado 76
Portland 58 FINAL
Boise State 94
Cal Poly 63 FINAL
Colorado State 65
No Dakota State 54 FINAL
Grand Canyon 69
Albany 71 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 49
Oklahoma 64 FINAL
Arkansas 71
Idaho State 63 FINAL
Seattle 55
(18) Michigan State 89 FINAL
(19) Syracuse 76
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Arizona State 88
TX-Arlington 43 2nd Half 3:14
North Texas 35
Fresno State 57 2nd Half 6:39
Oregon 55
St Francis-PA 47 2nd Half 15:46
Coastal Carolina 36
UNLV 50 2nd Half 9:28
CS-Bakersfield 50
UCLA 37 2nd Half 15:23
(2) Connecticut 50
(10) Louisville 48 2nd Half 15:09
(24) California 44
Howard 14 1st Half 8:47
Virginia 15
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
(21) Miss State
Illinois-Chicago 8:30 PM
Old Dominion
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Do you like the Ervin Santana signing by the Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close