Falvey's First Stand
Image courtesy of Rick Osentoski, USA TodayIt was quite the situation to inherit. Held up by Cleveland's run to the World Series, Falvey got a belated start with the Twins. At 33, the second-youngest top baseball executive in the league found himself almost instantly entangled in a high-stakes showdown with one of the game's most legendary franchises – led by a high-profile exec in Andrew Friedman – over the best player on his new team.
Shortly after he came aboard, Falvey brought in his general manager, Thad Levine. It's likely that Levine handled the majority of the direct discussions. But the two (along with Rob Antony and the rest of the front office) agreed upon a minimum return that would justify moving Dozier, and their unwavering commitment to that valuation ultimately falls upon the top dog.
Without knowing the specifics of the best offer Minnesota turned down, it is difficult to cast any immediate judgments. We know Jose De Leon was on the table, but indications continue to suggest that Los Angeles refused to include one of Julio Urias, Yadier Alvarez or Walker Buehler in addition. A lengthy stalemate ensued.
On Monday, the Dodgers finally made their move, dealing De Leon instead to the Tampa Bay Rays for second baseman Logan Forsythe, who could fairly be described as "Dozier Lite." Barring some hugely unforeseen development, the Twins will carry now Dozier into the 2017 season.
At this moment, that looks like the right move. De Leon is a shiny prospect, and exactly the type of player Minnesota needed back as a headliner, but with a 1-to-1 swap and no meaningful auxiliary components the risks are sky-high.
The risk he faces now is that Dozier suffers another first-half slump, or a significant overall regression, while De Leon takes off in Tampa. That glaring missed opportunity would trail Falvey and his front office for a while, especially if the Twins keep wallowing in mediocrity (or worse) and the pitching doesn't improve in a hurry.
But I wouldn't say such a combination of outcomes is at all likely. Dozier is a star player in his prime, coming off one of the best seasons in team history. De Leon is a good prospect but hardly a can't-miss. While his numbers in the minors were nothing short of dazzling, there are signs the Dodgers weren't terribly high on him, and not all scouts were either.
Per Jeff Passan, the Dodgers held the 24-year-old in lesser esteem than at least three of their other young arms, including one who has thrown five innings as a pro. De Leon has yet to accrue even 115 innings in a season. Baseball America's Josh Norris yesterday relayed a scouting report that pegged him with No. 3 starter upside.
And the Dodgers, at the end of the day, were willing to deal him straight-up for a player in Forsythe who is a major downgrade from Dozier.
All of these initial indicators point to Falvey and the Twins making the right call. It's possible they'll never get a shot at another prize like De Leon, but that's the gamble they are taking.
In turn, they've got a lot of outs. If Dozier sustains – hell, even improves – and a more receptive market develops in July or next winter, there will at least be more robust (if not as top-heavy) offers on the table. And if the Twins manage to jump out to a strong start this season, with Dozier playing a big role? That's an outcome everyone can appreciate.
Regardless of how things play out, this much is certain: In his very first weeks on the job, Falvey faced off against a giant in the game, and held his ground. For better or worse, others around the league will not forget it.
- dgwills, KGB and tarheeltwinsfan like this