Minnesota Twins fans will always have a special place in their hearts for those 2000s teams that helped revive the franchise's fortunes.
If we're being totally honest, the Piranhas turned the Twins around and helped lay the foundation for where the team is today. It could be argued with relative ease that without those Tom Kelly and Ron Gardenhire teams we don't have Target Field or any of the other nice things we do today.
But as one member of those teams describes, we almost didn't have the nicest thing thanks to how bad the organization is at developing its talent.
Doug Mientkiewicz has fallen out of favor with the Twins in a pretty bad way over the last few years, and the reason has never been explicitly stated. For their part, the team has refused to roll around in the mud with him but that hasn't stopped Dougie from taking shots at his former team in the name of trying to play savior.
Doug Mientkiewicz calls out Twins for almost ruining Byron Buxton
Mientkiewicz recently appeared on A.J. Pierzynski's Foul Territory podcast and the two former teammates naturally got to talking about the Twins. This prompted Mientkiewicz to call the organization out for the way it handles its future star talent in the minors, something he claimed to have experienced firsthand while managing Byron Buxton in Fort Myers.
"It's surprising that Buxton's doing as well as he is because to me, we developed him in the [wrongest] fashion possible," Mientkiewicz said. "Thankfully, he was just good enough to where his talent finally came out. I still don't think that he's put it all together yet, and when he does it's going to be epic."
He seemed to blame the Twins front office, painting a picture that his lineups were micromanaged to the point where he couldn't put them together the way he wanted or he saw best for Buxton.
"The No. 1 thing you always hear in baseball is what? You gotta make adjustments. Well, in Byron's case, yeah you throw him heaters in A-ball he's going to kill you. We all knew the slider was his kryptonite. For example, I put him in the 3-hole one night in A-ball and they're like, 'You can't do that.' I'm like, 'Why not?' And they're like, 'Well, we want him to hit leadoff.'
Who "they" are in this isn't made clear, but it's not hard to connect the dots.
As an unabashed Doug Mientkiewicz stan, it pains me to see him at odds with the organization. That being said, as much love as there is in my heart for ol' Dougie this isn't a KG-Timberwolves situation and it feels like he has a bone to pick with the current regime over the way his career with the franchise ended.
The question is whether he has a point or if this is just part of his axe grinding. One of the reasons it's been so nice to watch Royce Lewis shine is because it's felt like such a journey to get to this point. It seems the Mientkiewicz is potentially drawing a correlation between the constant false-starts oor flat out failures of top prospects on the way the organization handles them.
That's a slippery slope, and a dangerous hill for Dougie to die on, but it appears his disdain for the Twins has overshadowed logic.