So we were a little slow with this for this series.
I sent off some questions to myjah, manager of Twinkie Town (a name that would be a deal breaker for me). Here is what she had to say.
The Twins aren’t having a good season (I figured I should point that out to you), but how are you feeling about the future? Do you think they will be a contender in 2 or 3 years? Are there happy signs from the farm system?
Alas, you're right. It doesn't look like the Twins are going to make it to the World Series this year, but I am hopeful about the future. They have a lot of great young talent--Max Kepler, Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, Jose Berrios, etc. Although some of those guys have struggled in the majors, you have to keep in mind those guys are still really young. Like, barely legal to drink in the USA young. There's time for them to figure it out yet.
The farm system is doing pretty good as a whole too. They've been winning championships down there. My main worry is that the Twins front office and/or ownership is going to miraculously find a way to screw it all up.
So although I am mostly hopeful about the future, I'm not sure when the Twins will be contending again. If things go right, I would say sure, they could be a contender in two to three years. Then again, I was saying the same thing two or three years ago too, and look where the Twins are now.
When you are contending again, do you think Paul Molitor will still be manager? Would you want him to be? What is his best attributes as a manager?
When the Twins are contending again, I do not think Paul Molitor will still be manager. I would not want him to be. Don't get me wrong, I think Molitor is an extremely, extremely smart baseball guy. I've heard stories that when he was a bench coach a few years ago, he'd yell out what pitch was coming from the dugout and stuff like that. He just knows so much about the game. But I'm not convinced he's a great manager, and I don't think he's the right manager for this young team.
When Molitor had Torii Hunter there last year to basically do all of the clubhouse leadership stuff for him, he was fine. With Torii gone? Things have been kind of a mess in that department. The Twins sorely need a leader, and I just don't really think Molly is going to be that person. First of all, he was much older (59 years old) when he took over the Twins than his predecessors, Tom Kelly and Ron Gardehire, were. Tom Kelly was 36 when he took over a young Twins team in 1986, and Ron Gardenhire was 44 when he took over a young team in 2002. They both had success very early, and managed for a very long time. I don't see that happening with Molitor.
Also, just Molitor's demeanor in general. He's a quieter Minnesota type. More cerebral. He's more like a Joe Mauer than a Torii Hunter. That's not necessarily bad, but I just don't see it meshing as well with a younger team that lacks a natural leader. I think he'd do a lot better managing a team of veterans.
It's also no secret that Molitor was not my first choice for new manager. I wanted Doug Mientkiewicz from the second Gardy was fired. I still want Doug. Doug has been managing in the Twins minor leagues for years now. He has strong relationships with all our top prospects, he won minor league titles with them, they love him, and he could be that leader in the clubhouse that the Twins sorely need. Hell, a couple years ago Doug ran out of the dugout and tackled the opposing manager during a Florida State League game, and then ironically won the Florida State League Manager of the Year award a few days later. Plus, he once said if he ever manages in the big leagues he'd want A.J. Pierzynski to be his bench coach, which sounds flippin' fantastic. Sign me up. (Tom: you have a different definition of fantastic than I do).
What happened with Byung Ho Park, he was hitting home runs early in the season and then just seemed to quit hitting. Where is he now? Do you expect he’ll be of any value as a major leaguer next year?
Byung Ho Park had multiple different problems with his right wrist/hand that worsened around mid-May, apparently, and led to him being demoted to triple-A in the beginning of July. The pain got worse, and he actually had season-ending surgery on it yesterday. He's rehabbing in the Twin cities now.
I really like Byung Ho Park. He certainly has the power as advertised. He actually hit the longest home run ever at Target Field in April, and Jim Thome and (sigh) Jose Bautista hit some monsters there. I hope when the wrist/hand thing clears up, and with more experience, Park will be a valuable major leaguer. I think he can be. He's very smart.
Are there any players you are looking forward to seeing the Twins call up in September?
Well, the Twins have used 48 different players so far this year, one short of their record 49, so I've seen most of the players on the 40-man roster already. I would say maybe Adam Brett Walker, a power hitting corner outfielder, but I don't know if they will call him up. He strikes out a lot. Then again, so do the current Twins...
Can we have a quick scouting report on the starting pitchers we are likely to see?
Sure: They are bad. Why do you think we're 49-78?
The Twins just demoted 40% of their rotation to triple-A yesterday. I don' even know who is in the rotation as this point. We're the worst team in the league, and our rotation has been the biggest problem. So yes, my scouting report is that they are bad, whoever it is who is pitching.
You have Joe Mauer under contract for two more years, if that’s the end for him, where do you see him on the list of all-time great Twins? Top 5? Top 10?
Top 10? Yes. Top 5? Yes. Will the Twins retire his number? Yes. Will there be a statue of him outside of Target Field? Yes. Will they name the street Target Field and the Twins' offices are technically located on after him? Probably. If he somehow won another batting title or had some playoff heroics, I would say definitely.
He currently has the 4th highest career bWAR in Twins history, and he will soon pass Kirby Puckett, also a life-long Twin, to be 3rd (Rod Carew and Harmon Killebrew are 1st and 2nd, respectively). He's declined so much with his injury issues in recent years that people forget how good he used to be. He won three batting titles and an MVP award as a catcher. Want to know how many catchers in the history of MLB have won more batting titles than Joe Mauer? Zero. He is unquestionably one of the very greatest Twins of all-time and probably catchers of all time.
It just sucks he can't catch anymore, although he's gotten really good defensively at first base now.
Do Byron Buxton’s struggles concern you? I had him penciled in as an all-star for the next several seasons…do you think that’s still his future?
Buxton has been at or near the top of prospect rankings for so long people forget the fact he's only 22 years old. He's only played in 109 major league games. Not even Mike Trout was instantly Mike Trout when he came up. Sure, I'd have loved for Buxton to be an instant success, but I'm not too concerned right now. You can see the talent (and the dang speed). He's also a very disciplined and hard worker. His demeanor reminds me a bit of Joe Mauer, actually. He'll figure it out.
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