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Minnesota Twins Would Be Wise to Keep Ron Gardenhire, Justin Morneau and Glen Perkins

It Seems Dumb to Keep a Losing Team Together, but All Three Guys Are Part of a Winning Formula

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COMMENTARY | According to multiple reports, Minnesota Twins general manager Terry Ryan said that manager Ron Gardenhire's job is safe, even though the team is unlikely to reach .500 this year and might lose 90 games again.

By keeping Gardy in the Twins' clubhouse, he is doing the right thing.

Go ahead, freak out. Scream at me through your computer. Trash my name on every Twins message board on the Internet.

Ryan is making the right call.

He will also be smart to keep Justin Morneau and Glen Perkins in town, unless there is a team dumb enough willing to give a future ace for one of those guys.

Yes, keeping a losing team together seems ridiculous, but it's hard to fully blame Gardy, Morneau or Perkins for the team's troubles in the past few years.

Of course, Gardenhire has to take some of the blame for three straight losing seasons; Morneau has hit for average but is not hitting home runs like he used to; and Perkins can't save games if the team isn't winning.

At the same time, the Twins got themselves in trouble by getting rid of valuable players that should have kept in Minneapolis. The pitching rotation has been terrible, but even if Scott Diamond was pitching like he did in the previous two seasons, Mike Pelfrey looked like the player he was with the New York Mets and Vance Worley was not in Triple-A, the team still would need a legitimate ace.

Johan Santana may be too old now, but the team really hasn't had a true No. 1 since he was traded for cents on the dollar.

The Twins could also use a hard-hitting shortstop.

Brian Dozier can hit the ball awfully far for a small, defensive-oriented player, but we have learned that he is a second baseman, not a shortstop. Trevor Plouffe is turning into a bona fide power hitter, but didn't cut it at short, either. Pedro Florimon has shown more power than people expected, but he is unlikely to ever hit 20 home runs in a season.

Minnesota had a hard-hitting shortstop, however, when they sent their most valuable chip from the Santana trade, Carlos Gomez, to the Milwaukee Brewers for J.J. Hardy.

Everyone knows that Hardy only hit six home runs in his one season in Minnesota, but then was dealt to the Baltimore Orioles for two minor league pitchers and hit 30 homers for them the next season.

He could easily hit another 30 next season.

Teams have to adapt and change in order to win and they obviously cannot keep the same roster together every year even if they tried, but to shoo Gardenhire, Morneau and Perkins away during this rough stretch is a mistake.

It's easy to praise the Twins Way -- which entails loyalty to players and managers alike -- when the team is winning like it did between 2002 and 2010, and it's just as easy to dismiss it when things go wrong.

A good organization will use a winning formula through thick and thin. Gardenhire can win with better starting pitching and more consistency in the lineup, Morneau may just be a .300 hitter that drives in runs that doesn't really hit home runs as he ages, and Perkins will eventually get a chance to save games.

That's fine: All three of those guys will have value on a winning team.

The Twins would have been more successful if they would have kept Santana and Hardy in town, and they should not make the same mistake by giving up on Gardenhire, Morneau and Perkins right now.

Tom Schreier covers Minnesota sports for Bleacher Report. He has been credentialed to Twins games for the past three seasons and is a lifetime fan of the team. Email at or follow him on Twitter @tschreier3.

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