|What will it take for Ron Gardenhire to save|
his job? More wins would certainly help.
Indeed, expectations of the coming season are lower than they were for 2011 -- when the Twins were coming off a 94-win season -- and 2012, when they could figure that better health from their stars and a veteran rotation would bring a rebound. They got the health, but the rotation completely imploded.
Now manager Ron Gardenhire is working with an expiring contract, and there is an expectation that he's on his way out the door. The best moves of the offseason -- the trades of Denard Span and Ben Revere for Vance Worley, Alex Meyer and Trevor May -- are more for 2014 and beyond than for 2013.
To be sure, Terry Ryan has suggested that Gardenhire's fate isn't tied to a specific won-loss record in 2013. But the general manager's been vague about what has to happen in 2013 for Gardy to keep his job.
In the coming days, with some interruptions, I plan to examine six specific issues -- problems that the organization in general and Gardenhire in particular must address if the team is to return to contention.
- Starting rotation
- Center field
- Middle infield
- Lineup construction
- Third base
- Bullpen roles
I would say this going into the series: If all these issues are fixed all season, the Twins will contend. I don't think that's likely, or even possible. But progress is certainly possible -- and necessary. Success and failure in any or all of these certainly cannot fairly be credited to or charged against Gardenhire alone, but in many of them he's going to have the final say in how they're approached. And I think that they will form a fair basis for evaluating how he's faring in his job in 2013..