FanPost

Bill Smith: Bad or Unlucky? (Poll)

Like everyone else I look at the Twins roster like I look at a growing pile of dirty dishes. I know it's a mess but I don't want to start the process of cleaning it up.

How much of this is Bill Smith's fault, and how much is just sheer bad luck?

I'll admit to disagreeing with many of his roster moves. But most had me thinking, "this COULD work." Delmon Young might have justified his first-overall pick. The players we got for Santana might have developed. Mauer could have continued being both powerful and durable. The late-season trades for bullpen help last year might have made the Twins a playoff force. The team might have found in-system or neglected free-agent pick-up replacements for Crain and Guerrier. Etc., etc., and I'm sure you are all waiting breathlessly for the return of Jason Repko.

Each time, I suspected it was a bad move. Still, some seemingly bad moves turn out to be genius. So I always gave Smith the benefit of the doubt.  But at what point do you blame bad luck on bad decisions?

Maybe it's like batting averages. If a player comes up from the minors and goes 0-for-10, you don't write him off. Nor do you go nuts if he's 20-for-60. You wait to see how he plays out over the long run. If he finishes the season with a .295 average in 150 at-bats, you don't proclaim him your sure-fire starter of the future. (You get hopeful, though.) But if he finishes the season with a .215 average in 250 at-bats, you start to wonder. He might need more seasoning, at least. If, after a few tries in the bigs, he still straddles the Mendoza line, you begin to make other plans.

Smith's been GM for a few years, now, and his average is hovering at around, generously, .215. The Thome signing was nice, as were Pavano's first seasons. (I don't think anyone can blame Smith for keeping those guys around, no matter how they do this year.) Many of his failures were bad luck, decisions that could have gone another way.

But where are the lucky hits? The bloopers that fell, the mistake pitches popped up for outs?

Pavano and Thome were low-risk, high-reward moves. Pretty much every high-risk, high-reward move made by Smith has ended up a wash if not an outright blunder. If he were a prospect, any team would be making other plans by now. Not writing him off -- but relegating him to the minors and looking elsewhere for future help. If he surprised them by finally figuring it out, great. They wouldn't be putting their hopes on his future success.

I think Smith is out of his league. He may surprise with a good streak yet. I wouldn't bank on it, though. And, while one of the things I like about this organization is its loyalty to the staff, maybe it's time to demote Smith. Give him his old job back, he was probably good at it. And draft someone else as your GM of the future.

Not that my opinion or yours or LaVelle's matters to the organization. I'm just venting rather than doing real work (like my growing pile of dirty laundry, which I think I will get to now.)

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