Friday, October 20, 2006

Looking Forward: Ryan's Problematic Approach?

As mentioned previously on this page, Terry Ryan did a recent interview on KFAN. More recently, Ryan spoke with LaVelle Neal of the Star Trib. In that article, Ryan once again suggested some things that should make fans a little uncomfortable. For one, he never really addressed any of the major offesason issues.

He showed not rush to get multi-year contracts done for certain key players, ignored the situations with Rondell White and Carlos Silva and seemed content with the team the way it is. The problem is we've seen this minimalist approach before: last year.

As we all know so well, keeping Kyle Lohse around and signing fringe free-agents didn't work out particularly well for the Twins. What did work out with the youth and the problem I see is that all this ambiguity leads me to think that Ryan is heading down the same slippery slope.

Trusting the youth is the biggest thing the Twins can do this offseason. That includes, obviously, offering important long-term contracts to the likes of Michael Cuddyer, Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer and maybe extending Johan's. It also means that the Twins should better trust their other youth. I don't think its as if Nick Punto or Jason Bartlett are losing their positions, but other things are troubling.

Ryan seems to like the idea of keeping Silva around more than signing a decent free agent veteran pitcher, a la Jeff Suppan (who is doing great in the playoffs THIS year), or entrusting young pitchers like Matt Garza and maybe Glen Perkins or even the much beloved J.D. Durbin. The clear point is that even if Suppan or Garza posts an ERA near 5.00, it will be better than anything Silva can give is.

For whatever reason, Ryan is reluctant to take these kind of risks and that makes it very frustrating as a fan. Taking the lumps is how teams like the Twins are successful. Johan wasn't a great pitcher right away. He didn't even strike out very many in his first two years. Justin Morneau struggled mightidly in 2005. Michael Cuddyer didn't do much at all from 2002-2005, but he was great this year.

What's the point? The Twins stuck with these guys (Cuddyer's case is different, since he was on the team, but not given a very stable job until now) but, whether it is Ryan's doing or Gardy's or both, they want to choose awful veterans or others over the best candidates. If such a philosophy continues, the Twins may run into similar problems next year.

All this leads to the bottom line: Keeping Carlos Silva is ridiculous, but repeating mistakes you made the year before that almost kept your team out of the playoffs is far worse.