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The Patience Virtue

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It's not easy.

Even though I do try to maintain a view of the larger picture, I can't deny it--I get caught up in the moment just as much as the next guy.  And in those moments it's easy to second-guess decisions, and all justifications of The Future can be lost to an emotion-fueled fret.

Carlos Gomez

When the Twins had the decision to make of whether to start him in Rochester or Minneapolis, it was pretty easy to justify going either way.  Once the choice had been made, there were some natural doubts but for the most part it seemed plausible enough that, in the long run, this was the best route to take in the development of Carlos Gomez.

Ten games in he was incredible.  Twenty games in he couldn't even get by on luck.  A bit of a panic settled in, to which I wasn't immune.  Questions starting popping into my mind:  What if this was the wrong decision? What if being this over-matched wreaks long-term damage on his development?  How long should the Twins allow him to suffer this punishment?

Again, the emotion-fueled fret destroyed my common sense.  Ten games isn't enough to judge anyone on.  Hell, a full season often isn't enough to judge what kind of player a guy can be.

Questions like the ones I was asking myself don't have to be asked now.  It's Major League Baseball, and here's a shocker:  there's a learning curve.  For a 22-year old it's not uncommon to be over-matched, and in the end I do believe that the experience he garners now will help him reach his ceiling much sooner than had he been sent to Rochester.  We probably won't see it this year, but the re-occurring theme here is Long Term.

Joe Mauer

Mauer's had a slow start, just like pretty much every other position player.  For good reason we're concerned with his production, because the Twins need him to be an offensive force.  After a 2-for-3 game on Friday, however, it's amazing how quickly things change.  One game, and suddenly the batting average and on-base percentage are significantly closer to where most of us think they should be.

Of course there's still work to be done.  Mauer is still only batting .301/.358/.384, which shows a disturbing lack of power--even for a guy who's home run ceiling this season will only be 10-15.  But, patience is a virtue; it's a very long season.  Players who hit .300 aren't getting exactly three hits in every 10 at-bats, and it's not going to happen with Joe, either.  While there's a time and a place to be concerned about Mauer's production, it isn't now.  Not yet.

Joe Mauer is, without a doubt, one of the most talented hitters this team has seen.  What is done with that talent is more important, but we've seen what he's capable of.  We can't ignore that he's just as much to blame for Minnesota's slow offensive start as some of the other guys out there, the difference is that he has what it takes to come around; there's plenty of time for him to return to the form we hope he can fill out.

Francisco Liriano

For some reason it seems like somewhere along the line, it was forgotten that Liriano really hasn't pitched that much in the last year and a half.  Tommy John is a major surgery, and it's mildly annoying that somewhere out there, there's a Twins fan who's infuriated by the fact that he's not pitching like he was in the summer of '06.

It was asked earlier on this site whether we thought Liriano was lazy.  It's a good question, but unfortunately isn't really a question we can answer in any way besides subjectively.

Essentially, from our perspective, it's incredibly easy to make judgements on those kind of questions and they make for great debate.  But it doesn't help us answer the real question, which is how long will it take for Liriano to regain his effectiveness?  This means everything from his mechanics, to his command, to velocity, to his mental state, and the answers range from never to it's hard to say.  We don't have any answers right now, and as a result of that frustration we look for something to blame it on.

When Kevin Slowey went down, the Twins took a gamble on Liriano in hopes that in the higher levels of competition would up his game.  They ignored what Rochester told them, that he wasn't ready, and threw him into the fire.

There were no surprises here.  What would have been surprising, would have been if he'd been able to be even half as effective as he'd been in 2006.  But instead, he's responded just like a pitcher who's still recovering from the effects of Tommy John surgery.

Time is the only answer we have.  It sucks, it's frustrating and it's not the answer we want because we want an answer right now.  At least I do, when I hit one of those emotion-induced frets.  Hopefully whenever one of them strikes I can come back and read this, and maybe regain some of my sanity.