Is clubhouse culture becoming a concern?


As the Minnesota Twins have endured losing this season, more and more interesting comments have come out of the clubhouse and it is a growing concern.

The Minnesota Twins have done a lot of losing this season. Losing often can bring out an emotional side of people and players that are better left unseen. The unfortunate reality is it is starting to seem like that emotional side that is better left unseen is becoming publicly visible and may be affecting the on field product.

In the last several months there has been comments and rumblings floating out of the Twins clubhouse that seems unfitting for a team that wanted to win this season. Just as concerning is the comments often come from the leaders that should have led the Twins there. The most recent string of comments came from the mouth of veteran starting pitcher Ervin Santana.

After losing to the Detroit Tigers 5-3 on Friday, the starter Santana was asked several questions about his performance and how he was throwing. In all honesty, it wasn’t a great day for Santana as he went 6.0 innings and allowed four hits, two walks, and five earned runs which included two home runs allowed.

Santana generally shrugged off questions about his approach and performance, but when addressing the trade of closer Fernando Rodney he had some candid words for the front office. Most notably Santana said,

“It’s tough, especially when we’re only 10 games out and we have two months left. Everybody’s like, ‘They gave up.’ We’re not giving up, but they did. They took our pieces away, and it’s difficult to play without our good pieces. You know what I mean? So we just have to play with what we have and try to win games.”

Santana’s comments are not the first of the sort to come out of the Twins locker room. There is some truth to the fact that the front office did give up on 2017, but what hope or reasons were these veterans like Santana giving the front office to do anything differently?

This isn’t the first time these type of comments have floated out of the Twins clubhouse. Brian Dozier is probably the most famous for comments about the front office selling too soon going back to last season’s trade deadline. Frustration because of losing is one thing, but this is beginning to sound like a bigger issue than simple frustration.

In an August 1st edition of the Mackey and Judd show on 1500 ESPN (full audio here), the guys were joined by Darren Wolfson in a post-trade deadline conversation about the Twins. There seemed to be a general consensus between Judd Zulgad and Wolfson that the 2018 clubhouse was not a great clubhouse to be around. Wolfson even goes a step further and wonders if the number of one year contracts handed out this winter added to that culture.

Next: Five Questions the Twins need to answer

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As Wolfson mentions, the nature of a one year contract does create the possibility for a me versus we culture. We may never know if that is truly what happened in 2018, but if any sense of a bad clubhouse culture is true the Twins need to fix it before 2019. It that culture exists and goes unaddressed, no matter how talented the 2019 team is they may encounter more losing than winning just like the Twins have in 2018.


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