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home : columns : joel alvstad May 31, 2016


10/9/2012 4:45:00 PM
Did Twins' moves go far enough?

Joel Alvstad
Sports Editor


It should come as no surprise that the Twins would make some changes in the coaching staff after back-to-back dreadful seasons.
They finally pulled the trigger on the move for which I had advocated over a full season, reassigning hitting coach Joe Vavra. I just don't think you can have a guy with one career home run trying to coach Major League hitting.
I guess I wasn't surprised that the Twins either fired or reassigned much of their staff, including Steve Liddle, Jerry White, Rick Stelmazek and Scott Ullger.
But the question is whether or not the team went far enough up the line?
Rick Anderson, for all the magic he worked when the Twins were winning, has been the main overseer of an abysmal Twins pitching staff.
And manager Ron Gardenhire headed up a club that went from being a trendy World Series pick a few years ago to back-to-back seasons where they were a lot closer to 100 losses than 100 wins.
The task now is to rebuild not just the franchise, but the identity of the franchise.
The Twins have gone from being a team built on pitching, defense and timely hitting to a team that has little consistency at the plate, shaky defense and a collection of Class AAA pitchers.
In short, the Twins have abandoned ship on "The Twins Way."
There has to be ways to bring that back. The first step in the process is to bring in a top-notch coaching staff. Former Twin Tom Brunansky is becoming well renowned as a hitting coach. Brunansky was always a decent average hitter for the Twins, but was also a consistent 20 home run threat. There is no reason why the same can't be true for a guy like Joe Mauer, or why a healthy Justin Morneau wouldn't be able to duplicate his MVP-type numbers.
Next, the Twins need to find a way to get Paul Molitor in a position with considerable clout in the dugout - whether that is as the bench coach or, better yet, as the third base coach. Molitor would know better than almost anyone how to teach "The Twins Way" and he would sprinkle in his unique aggressive style.
Next, the Twins need to develop power arms. They really could use a pitching coach that teaches a "swing-and-miss" philosophy, rather than a "pitch to contact" philosophy.
The problem the Twins pitchers have had the past two years was that contact was coming over the heart of the plate far too often. That falls on the shoulders of the pitching coach to correct that. So far, it hasn't happened.
Other things could also be considered to improve the Twins fortunes. For starters, bring back the trees in center field! Since the Target Field trees were taken out, the Twins have been dreadful. Who cares if the opposing hitters had a hard time seeing the ball? These are the same people who complained that the Metrodome roof made it hard to see the ball. Guess what? The Metrodome may have been the single greatest home field advantage in the history of professional sports, and the Twins used that to their advantage.
It may be tricky, but I wouldn't mind seeing the outfield fences in the power alleys pulled in just a touch. If Twins pitchers are giving up long balls anyway, it would serve the team better if our hitters would have better odds of putting a few more out.
And finally, the Twins have to use the money they get from having a three-year-old ballpark and use it wisely. Bring in a couple of powerful arms and maybe even bring in another power bat. You can't win in the Major Leagues with Class AA talent.








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