Friday, February 3, 2012

Stream of Conciousness

As many can tell I am not a typical Twins blogger in that my posts are very infrequent. That is because I go to school in Texas and am very busy. I know everybody is busy, but for me my blogging is a hobby that I only do if I have time for it. I will blog more in the summer when I don’t have classes, but I felt the need the need to write my feelings with how everything is going with the Twins right now.


As many of you know I was 30 years old when I went back to College and will graduate next spring. When I decided to go back to school there were tons of people that thought I was crazy. They said why would someone give up a job that were you were making a steady income to chase a dream. These people created a chip on my shoulder in that I am determined to prove to each of them including some in my own family that yes I can do this and do it well. I see this same chip on the shoulder of several Twins players. With the departures of Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel, and Joe Nathan many have written off the Twins as a hopeless cause in 2012. Every prediction I have seen has the Twins fighting the White Sox and Royals for 3rd place behind Detroit and Cleveland. They say there are too many unknowns with the Twins with the injury situations of Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, and Denard Span along with the lowering the payroll by 13-18 million over 2011. However, when I look at Joe Mauer I see a guy who has a chip on his shoulder much like I do. He is out to prove that people have forgot just who is and that is one of the best players in the game. He is out to prove that 2011 was an aberration, and that he is a catcher first and foremost. I see that same chip on Denard Span’s shoulder who is sick of hearing about how the Twins should trade him, that Ben Revere is a better centerfielder than him. Denard Span is one of the top 5 leadoff men in the major leagues and people will give him the credit he justly deserves.


As a whole I see a team with a huge chip on their shoulder with a manager in Ron Gardenhire who just knows how to win. In case anyone forgot he has won six division titles in ten years as manager. This team will be better than what the so called experts think and those that undersell this team your in for a rude awakening. For those that think that the Twins have no chance to hang with the Tigers you will be wrong. Much like you can’t ever discount Bill Belichek and Tom Brady in a big game, you should also never discount the Twins when expectations are low and the Twins can be the underdogs Gardy loves to be. When they are underdogs the Twins have a tendency of just finding a way of getting it done.


I know many are perturbed that the Pohlad’s cut the Twins payroll and my response is simply who cares. Since when did payroll determine who wins the world series. If that was the case the Yankees would win it all every year. By my Minnesota math I believe the Yankees have only won 1 championship in 11 years while having the highest payroll by a large margin. Teams are build with cohesiveness and working well as a team. I would much rather play the Twins way and that is develop their talent and if that means letting free agents go then so be it. I have come to realize for some people it wouldn’t matter what the Twins payroll is it would be too low. Mr. Pohlad would get crushed no matter what he did as he should have done more. What people need to realize is as much as this is entertainment for us it is a business for him as it should be. In what business do you spend your own money on the product besides at the startup of a company. When your established the business should run on its own and you should get a profit out of it. The fact that he spends 52% on payroll is a credit to him and he should’t be expected to do more even though some people will never give him credit.


Those bitching about the moves Terry Ryan has done this offseason should be ashamed of themselves as he is working inside a budget. There was no way that Michael Cuddyer is worth 10.5 million anymore. He was never a superstar and his defense has slipped to below average. Credit Ryan for knowing that there was no way to sign Cuddyer at that figure so instead he signs Josh Willingham for seven million and to be honest Cuddyer and Willingham are very similar players. To be able to get a similar player for 3.5 million a year is pure brilliance by Ryan. Signing Jamey Carroll was also a good signing if you ask me as the Twins did not have the money to sign Jose Reyes and after last years debacle at SS they needed a steady hand at SS and that is what Carroll is and that’s steady. The coup of the offseason was signing Ryan Doumit for 3 million. Doumit is a .800 ops guy who can catch if something happens to Mauer. So in my mind with the budget they had and the moves he made Terry Ryan should get credit and not get bitched about. For those that say the Twins are not contenders with this roster you are wrong and you will be proven wrong over the next 6 months.


The guy that people are really wrong about is Aaron Hicks who for some reason people are starting to doubt. Seems like your average fan just looks at a few numbers and judge that he is a bust. If you look deeper with his walk rate and his gap power you are looking at a stud. It irritated me when I read Baseball America’s prospect list and saw that Hicks had dropped from 45 before last season to 127 this year. I followed every game that he appeared in and I really don’t get it. He has the chance to be a 6 tool player in that he will hit for average, hit for power, got speed, great range on defense, tremendous arm, and incredible intangibles. I talked to a fellow blogger about Hicks and he asked me on a scale of 1-10 how good he would be with 10 being a hall of famer and I said 8, but I think more of a 9 now. He has all the tools you want in a prospect and I truly believe that he is going to be a stud.
For those worried about the Twins system don’t be they have 15-20 players in their system that I believe will have the chance to be major league players. Then with all the draft picks they have in June the system will get better. It is probably middle of the pack now, but by the end of the year it will be a top 10 system if you ask me.


My biggest peeve with Twins fans is they believe everything they read instead of investigating things themselves. You don’t have to take my word for it think about it yourself and come to your own judgement. Just because something is written doesn’t mean that it is true so form your own opinions is my best advice. I thank you for taking the time to read this and look forward to getting to know all of you much better in the future. If you have any comments or questions you can either leave a comment in the comment box or shoot me an email at travis_aune@yahoo.com.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Glad to have you back blogging. And congrats on completing school soon.
I think just about everything will have to go right for the Twins to compete for a division title. That starts with a healthy Morneau, Maurer and Span of course. But the name of the game is pitching. Her are the ifs: If Liriano comes up big in his contract year and wins 15 games, if Baker's elbow doesn't disentigrate and he wins 15, if Pavano wins 13 or 14, Blackburn somehow wins 10 and Marquis wins 9 or 10. If Matt Capps is effective. If Glen Perkins is for real. If Zumaya has anything left. If someone surprises, like a Burnett, Bulger or Burton. Just to many ifs to be a contender. But, IF that pitching staff surprises and is effective, then we might be a contender.

Dave said...

Can't have enough good bloggers. The stars [and the many average players] would have to be perfectly aligned to get much above 80-85 wins. But Anonymous is correct: healthy pitchers and one [maybe two] surprises.

thrylos98 said...

Hicks has a .959 OPS in the AFL. Benson had a .727 OPS in the VWL (ok he was a bit stressed, armed robbery and all.) Hicks is a year and a half younger than Benson, but Benson still gets all the love. The one thing about Hicks is that he should quit switch hitting and hitting righty all the time. Other than that he will be fine. Remember the hatred about Span? Hicks is similar...

Congratulations with your acedemic achievements. It is never too late in life to do anything you want to do if you get your mind and heart in doing it

Jack Steal said...

Travis,

I went back to college part time at 24 and received my Associate's Degree at 28. I managed to find a job in my industry when nobody thought that was possible. I then went back to college at 35 and received my Bachelor's Degree at 37. I'm currently contemplating going back for my Master's Degree. I am living proof anything is possible when hard work is applied. You should be very proud of yourself for this tremendous accomplishment.

As far as the Twins are concerned your optimistic view is really amazing but a bit far fetched. They had the 28th worst starting rotation in 2011 and this year will be worse. The bullpen is the same nightmare as last season minus Joe Nathan. We signed an injury prone pitcher who has not pitched in 2 years. The Twins did the same exact thing as last year signed a million minor league (25) free agents hoping 1-2 will pan out. They passed on cheap veterans like Wheeler, Coffey, and Chad Qualls to save a few million. This team is a disaster and will lose 90-95 games again. Bad drafts, bad trades, and utter defiance to spend money has really cost the Twins. It's ashame how cheap the ownership is. Name the last time a team drew $3.1 million fans, 3rd year of new ballpark paid for by tax payers, lost 99 games, and slashed payroll by $15 million. My guess is you can't name one team that does this when they meet above criteria. However, I would love to be wrong!!

Travis Aune said...

Jack I respect your opinion but your wrong. What makes it fun to be a Twins fan is the Twins give guys chances that are not household names and make it work. Remember Matt Guerrier was junk when Twins signed him and he turned that into a multi year contract. They have had guys like Bob Wells, Bobby Keppel, Terry Muholland contribute when no one wanted them. So yeah maybe I am being overly positive, but thats why I enjoy being a Twins fan as they give opportunites the type of opportunities teams like the Yankees and Red Sox don't give. So yeah respectfully Jack you are wrong about the Twins because come September they will be in the race and thats all you can ask for.

TWINS TWINKLER! (so named as "TT" was title of player features in Minn. Twins game programs of 1960's) said...

I just want to join the bandwagon of praise for your educational endeavors...well done , sir!

I may not be nearly as optimistic as you Travis , but the essence of your points are well-taken . GM Ryan hasn't wowed anybody with his recent acquisitions, with the exception of Josh Willingham.
But remember this: he pulled off some of the biggest trade steals in Twins history, and I won't be surprised to see more. His moves this off-season have been characteristically low key, with incremental upgrades. They will field a competitive, fun-to watch team. I, too, don't appreciate or relate to all the negativity. Yes, you're correct, the Twins are operating under a sensible budget (hello out there, Florida Marlins!), probably treading water some , but that doesn't mean they can't contend. Chicago has outspent Minnesota constantly, with mediocre results! I'm looking forward to the 2012 Twins!

Dave said...

How many businesses have their factory or office building paid for by the public? Twins Fans now pay the 6th highest Ticket price in Baseball. A few years ago my season ticket cost thirty five dollars. It now cost Seventy Two! Fans pay more so they expect more. From 2001-2010 61.5% of the Teams that made the playoffs had top ten payrolls, 23.1% were middle third Teams, 15.4% came out of the bottom third.
Six out of the last ten World Series winners had top 10 payrolls.
The Twins will be about 14th this year in Payroll. In the long run payroll does matter.

Travis Aune said...

Dave- I think you missed my point and that is payroll ultimately does not determine who wins the WS and really who makes the playoffs. Of the 7 teams that made the playoffs other than the Yankees who are an anomaly theaverage payroll was 93 million. The Twins were in the top 10 in payroll in 2011 and where did that get them. The Twins are a mid market team and 100 million is nothing to sneeze about. In fact in 2011 the Twins had a higher payroll than 6 of the 8 playoff teams and where did that get them. Chicago has historically spent and spent and got them nowhere. Payroll is not the be all end all factor in winning. You could argue that the Twins high payroll was their undoing as they were not fundametally sound as they were in past years. What I am saying is the payroll is enough to win and I am so sick of people bitching about the payroll, ticket prices and such because at the end of the day it doesnt matter. The team with the best players that work the best together win. Not the team with the highest payroll. The Pohlads dont owe us anything we knew the deal when the stadium was approved and he can choose to spend his money however he chooses. I am glad that they havent strayed from their development model. If the Twins win or lose this year it wont be because of payroll and myself for one am really glad about that.

Jack Steal said...

Travis,

So all the professional scouts in baseball are wrong about Aaron Hicks and your right. That is very cocky and arrogant for somebody who does not make a living evaluating talent. Hicks had a terrible, inconsistent season, and even Terry Ryan is concerned moving forward. However, for some strange reason you believe Hicks is the next superstar of the league. My guess is Hicks won't even be added to 40-man roster at the end of 2012. Remember how great you thought Angel Morales was going to be. What happened to him again? If Hicks does turn into the player you believe, we will lose him in 6 years to the Yankees or Red Sox.
The Twins are nothing but a farm system for the rich and until there is a salary cap in MLB in won't matter anyways. Parity takes place in every other sport except MLB. By the way Benson, Sano, and Rosario are much better than Hicks. Once again I sure hope I'm wrong!!!

Travis Aune said...

Jack- For your information no I am not cocky or arrogant. Actually I base my opinions on information I receive from players that watch hicks every day. He is the real deal and he showed it in the AFL. Morales is going to be good too he was injured that is why he didnt move up. Hicks is my number 2 prospect behind Sano and I like Benson and Rosario as well. You dont have to diss one prospect to like someone else. Just because I like Hicks doesnt mean i dont like sano, benson, parmelee, hendriks, rosario and others. so please take a chill pill it is going to be ok.

Jack Steal said...

Travis,

I love the positive energy and keep up the great work. I listed your blog as a favorite at my site.

One thing I will remind you about. You said the team would be fine last year. We all know what happened after Smith let Neshek, Funetes, Crain, Guerrier, and Rauch leave. Throwing people in the bullpen who have had health concerns (Zumaya) or just signing a million minor league players failed last year. Why you and Seth believe it will work in 2012 is just hard to swallow. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and not changing. Remind me again what has changed with bullpen and starting rotation? They might not lose 99 game but that is not improvement in my mind. By the way Mauer, Morneau, and Span being hurt had nothing to do with the debacle of 2011. It had to do with pitching. Once again what have they done to improve upon that.

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