How long you hold onto a player, how many chances you give them, is never an exact science. And it's very easy to get burned, even if the decision is defensible.
It feels like over the last two or three winters, the Twins have had a great deal of decisions to make. Not your typical Do-We-Or-Don't-We decisions, although those were certainly there, but rather Future-of-the-Organization decisions. Trades, free agent targets, who deserves another chance; these directives from the front office dictated whether the Twins were able to, if not bridge the gap to the next wave of prospects, get ahead of their own rebuilding game.
While you can't blame Tsuyoshi Nishioka or Nick Blackburn for the rock that the Twins have hit at the bottom, they're popular scapegoats. Nishioka has been a disappointment from Day 1, and Blackburn's performance over the last few years was red flagged by his peripherals in spite of a solid initial presence. Outrighting both of these players was certainly the right thing to do, but how much earlier could the organization have recognized that it was a necessary decision?
And it's not like the Twins have always been on the wrong end of these decisions. They may have chosen to step away from players as impactful as David Ortiz or as under-the-radar as Craig Breslow too early, but they've also walked away from players at the right time, too. Most of the time, if you go back and look at the circumstances, the front office's decision is defensible. Most of the time.
But not always. Some of these decisions have been big picture, and we don't need to rehash them here because it would get us a little off-topic (we'll need to discuss them in the comments I'm sure). When it comes to making the big, impactful decisions on the future direction or the franchise, timing is everything. The Twins holding onto Blackburn and Nishioka as long as they did is certainly indicative of holding on too long.
We've all made that mistake in our lives. Probably more than once. Hopefully we learn what we can from the mistakes and make the proper adjustments, and I'm sure the Twins will be doing the exact same thing.
This is more food for thought than anything else this morning. I'm on my way back to Boston from Minneapolis today, so you'll hear from me again later tonight. Have a good Thursday everyone!