Overheard: Hall of Fame Jose, Falvey on the State of the Twins and More
Image courtesy of © Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports“For me, I want to make the All-Star Game again,” Berrios said. “I want to make 20 wins and put my team in the playoffs … I want to play in October with my team.”
Alright! I’m already getting excited. Then Park asked Jose about establishing himself as an ace and how his mentality has changed since he was a rookie.
“My mindset and my attitude to work everyday is the same. I want to be the best,” Berrios said.
OK, now I’m getting really hyped. Go on …
“I want to be in the Hall of Fame someday,” Berrios said.
POW! How awesome is that!? I don’t recall ever hearing a player throw that out as one of his goals, let alone a guy who’s only 24-years-old. I love it!
When we talk about leadership, this is true in baseball as well as other aspects of life, we typically are looking toward figures of authority or elders. That’s a relative term. You wouldn’t typically call a 38-year-old an elder, but in baseball terms I think that label fits for Nelson Cruz. Anyway, with his energy, work ethic and optimism, I see no reason to think Jose Berrios can’t be the leader of the Twins pitching staff for years to come.
Of course, there is no substitute for experience, but Berrios is entering this season with 71 starts under his belt. By no means has he seen it all, but it’s also not like it’s his first rodeo, either. And some of the young guys are already looking up to him. Brusdar Graterol has started referring to himself as The Machine Jr. That’s awesome.
Back in June, Mike Berardino asked Graterol about Berrios. Here are some of the things he had to say:
“My favorite pitcher is Jose Berrios. I like the way he throws. I like how he throws his breaking ball. Oh, my God, it's impressive.”
"My focus is to work out every day—every day. I need to keep my arm strong; that's the most important thing. So, every day I work on my arm. I like working hard. That's why Jose Berrios is my favorite. I understand he works every day."
"Every day I watch video of Berrios. That helps me improve. Right now, I'm working on my changeup."
Someday soon there may be two members of the Minnesota Twins rotation trying to pitch themselves to Cooperstown. Am I getting ahead of myself? Of course I am, but can you blame me? Listen to these guys. You gotta love it.
Falvey on WCCO
Twins Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey joined Chad Hartman on WCCO Thursday to preview TwinsFest. Here’s a link to where you can listen to the entire segment. Falvey joins the broadcast at about the seven-minute mark.
At around the 16-minute mark, the conversation really turned interesting and Hartman did an excellent job asking all the kind of questions that are on the minds of Twins fans. Here’s the question Hartman presented:
"If I see a team that wasn’t a factor for the majority of the season in the race and then spends 30 million dollars less in payroll, it makes me think 'is this just a rebuilding year?' Where the organization is in many ways admitting by their actions in the offseason 'we don’t think this is the year we should go all in because we think we’re either not good enough right now, we’re too young,' whatever it might be. Is it fair to say you view this year as a rebuilding season?”
It’s not like Falvey was going to respond by calling the Pohlads cheap and admitting the team is raising the white flag, of course, so he started his response with a lot of things we've heard before about the front office always being backed up when it comes to baseball decisions. But here's was what I thought was the key takeaway from his long response:
“We’ve added to this team,” Falvey said. “We don’t look at this as a rebuilding team. We look at this as a group that, if all those things come together with our young players — that we are putting all kinds of resources around to ensure that happens — if that happens, along with some adds we’ve made, we’re going to continue to have flexibility moving forward. So I don’t fixate solely on the payroll number, I think this is a team that’s growing and developing and getting better. They’re going to have their sights set on Cleveland from the start, I know that.”
Hartman asked about all the one-year deals they’ve been signing and why the team is so willing to go there when things went so poorly with similar deals last season. Falvey said the difference as the players they signed late heading into 2018 were all seeking multi-year deals, whereas the guys they’ve added this year were comfortable and saw some value in signing one-year deals. He said he views them very differently in terms of player desire and interest.
Hartman acknowledge that he saw a lot of potential for the lineup to be good, but expressed concerns about the current pitching staff. He asked if Falvey believes whether or not the pitching staff as it’s currently constructed can play meaningful games in September.
To his credit, Falvey didn’t side step the question, beginning his answer with “I do, and here’s why.” He went on to point out all the seemingly unorthodox ways some really good bullpens have been built of late, and specifically mentioned the 2018 Oakland Athletics. In regard to the closer role, he added that the Twins have five relievers who have closed out games at the big league level.
How about those 2018 A’s? Blake Treinen went from basically your average reliever in terms of production to arguably the most dominant pitcher in baseball. Yusmeiro Petit was sort of the equivalent to a bullpen innings eater, pitching an effective 93 innings, which had to go a long way to keeping everybody else fresh. Rookie Lou Trivino burst onto the scene, Emilio Pagan was death to right-handed hitters and Ryan Buchter was untouchable against lefties. That foundation of those five pitchers ended up blending to be a deadly bullpen.
Nobody could have seen things shaking out the way they did, but everything seemed to magically fall into place for Oakland. They added to that group around the trade deadline and went on to win 97 games last season. I don’t love the idea of the Twins depending on some of that magic finding their way, but if you wanted to point out an unorthodox way an excellent bullpen was built, I think Falvey nailed it with the 2018 A’s.
“Bullpens are made in many different ways, and you certainly have to have different looks and different angles to the group,” Falvey said. “I’m not ruling out that we could have a chance to add to that group of pitchers, but I think that’s a group that could surprise a lot of us because of what they can do, how young they are and the chance that they could take steps forward for us.”
Finally, Chad asked about whether or not Falvey really felt like they’d be making any more additions. Falvey said they have to be open to that possibility and it’s possible they might not even truly know how the team is going to round out until late March. Hartman finished with “will I see Bryce Harper or Manny Machado at TwinsFest this week?”
“Don’t always believe everything you read on the Internet,” Falvey said.
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