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Falvine Ready To Flex Muscles

The Minnesota Twins made a tough, but necessary move following a 103-loss season a year ago. In firing Terry Ryan, the team that calls Target Field home was going to be the business residence to new front office personnel for the first time in quite a while. Although both Derek Falvey and Thad Levine went through their first offseason with Minnesota last year, it’s now that seems to be the time they can show of their true acumen.
Image courtesy of © Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
Billed as forward thinkers, new-age baseball guys, and numbers focused, Falvey and Levine represent a very new culture for the Twins. We saw that play out more off the field than on it during 2017. With coaches like James Rowson and Jeff Pickler brought aboard, Falvine went young and progressive thinking right out of the gate. Former big league pitcher Jeremy Heffner was added to the organization, and those cut from the same cloth have continued to be called upon. Garvin Alston and Tanner Swanson both seem to be in that category as well.

Over the course of their organizational additions, Falvey and Levine have continued to display a tendency to follow through on something Levine mentioned during a mid-season Baseball Prospectus event. While the Twins may not outspend the competition on the field, they can find a competitive advantage in how they hire off of it. Beefing up the analytics department, and putting people in place that challenge players and coaches alike seems to be a good strategy. It’s of the same line of thinking that landed Jason Castro with the Twins for 2017. While pitching remains an expensive fix, an adept receiver can raise the overall water level of the pitching staff for a fraction of the cost.

Heading into what will be their first true offseason, or the one in which they feel comfortable making waves, Twins fans should find excitement in what we’ve been led to believe thus far. There’s a pretty low probability that the hometown nine sign the likes of Shohei Otani or even Yu Darvish, but the fact that they’ve been mentioned in the conversation is nice to see. Rather than looking for the scrap heap additions that can be made from minor league deals, it seems that the front office is aware that the time is now.

With Minnesota having graduated more than a handful of top prospects, the next phase in a rebuild is to supplement from outside. Pairing young players poised to break into their primes with established veterans is as good a recipe for winning as I can think of. That Falvine took the first year to make sure the correct infrastructure was in place should only further the ability to draw the most out of their on-field decisions.

Through the GM Meetings, Rule 5 Draft, Winter Meetings, and Free Agency as a whole, it will be worth dissecting what each decision is actually telling us. Rather than wondering what a certain player brings to the Twins, trying to understand what Falvey and Levine see as the play could be just as beneficial. In an uncapped sport with each team having access to the same commodities, it’s on the Twins to continue to carve out a competitive advantage. Whether or not we know now that Falvey has his sights set on the next Corey Kluber, trying to understand the thought process is half of the excitement.

Indirectly, we’ve been told an incredible amount by the Twins new front office over the course of their first year. While the moves have not been plentiful, the process has been put in motion to bear fruit at a very respectable rate. In a thinking man’s game, it’s hard not to be on board with what seems like a brain trust that is aimed toward sustainability as opposed to immediacy.

Ideally, I’d love to see the Twins open 2018 with names like Darvish, Santana, Cobb, Lynn and Shaw on their roster. Not knowing what will take place however, I’m equally excited to embark fully upon an offseason that has the chance to be one of the most intriguing in Twins franchise history. Smart people generally surround themselves with those who will challenge them, and help the overall growth of an organization. It’s fair to suggest that Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have accomplished that, and the next question is; where do they go from here?

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122 Comments

Well said. This is the first time in a long time that I am truly intrigued by the offseason and the front office.  Falvine have shown, albeit in a small sample size, to be very forward thinking and willing to take risks. Great to see.

    • Jerr, sploorp, Respy and 1 other like this
I'm optimistic this offseason, but the front office really hasn't shown much other than the ability to continually underestimate and misjudge the talent on the roster relative to the rest of the league.
    • notoriousgod71, mikelink45, Hosken Bombo Disco and 2 others like this

I have neither hopes nor expectations.This front office has not shown me anything that really excites me, like the team on the field did. 

 

I hope their methodical actions last season set us up for some real progress, but baseball is a funny sport and hard to see the final results.If we had signed David Price instead of the Red Sox we would have been elated, but David Price is not the pitcher we remember and his season was a real puzzle and free agency is a crap shoot - remember the big signing of Pujols and now what.  

​New names that have been hired for positions we do not know how to judge are interesting and hopefully they will all succeed, but of course they will not. 

 

No matter what the Twins Hot Stove League will be fun.Remember how TR used to do all his signings in Dec and then we waited, there will longer term speculation through this winter. 

 

Well said. This is the first time in a long time that I am truly intrigued by the offseason and the front office.  Falvine have shown, albeit in a small sample size, to be very forward thinking and willing to take risks. Great to see.

 

The team bought a pitcher before the deadline and then sold him a few days later. This shows a lack of sound decision making ability.

    • less cowbell more neau likes this

The team bought a pitcher before the deadline and then sold him a few days later. This shows a lack of sound decision making ability.


They also swapped him for better pieces than they initially traded away.... seems like a solid strategy. They aren’t afraid to make moves.
    • TwinsTakes-RD, Jerr, Oldgoat_MN and 16 others like this

They also swapped him for better pieces than they initially traded away.... seems like a solid strategy. They aren’t afraid to make moves.


Bought is probably a better description than swapped, since they paid the $4 million in salaries.
    • Jerr and Jham like this

 

Bought is probably a better description than swapped, since they paid the $4 million in salaries.

 

They also swapped him for better pieces than they initially traded away.... seems like a solid strategy. They aren’t afraid to make moves.

 

And they might get one back via free agency in Kintzler.

    • Taildragger8791, sploorp, MN_ExPat and 1 other like this

Losing Jaime Garcia for the rest of 2017 was more than made up by Bartolo Colon.

    • PseudoSABR, notoriousgod71, Twinfan & Dad and 3 others like this

Bought is probably a better description than swapped, since they paid the $4 million in salaries.


That's my thought as well. You should be able to purchase a solid prospect for $4 mil plus a legitimate starting pitcher from the team you ultimately battled for a home wild card game. In retrospect, international signing pool money may have been better than the prospect if we were set on trading Garcia to the Yankees.
    • ken and Original Whizzinator like this
Personally, I liked most of what the new regime did last season. I ALWAYS felt their approach, initially, was one of caution on the field(s), to see what they had from the majors on down, while implementing new ideas and eventually making various changes. Again, from the top down.

Now that 2017 has passed, and they have started their imprint in all facets, (though I still don't understand the Dougie Baseball termination), I'm expecting additional changes in all areas.

I feel they are being pretty smart, thus far, in the 40 man. I absolutely expect a couple 2 or 3 solid moves to take place. Does this mean a sudden, radical change in operational standards that leads to major trades and FA signings the likes of which we have never seen? Doubtful. Despite our most earnest wishes, I think most of us can agree that just throwing money at a situation doesn't necessarily fix things, be it a MLB roster or anything else. But I see thjs new group as being willing to do so where and when it makes sense, maintaining a balance, looking at the big picture, etc.

I'm pretty excited. And I have this hunch the moves made will make sense.
    • Twins33, sploorp, ken and 3 others like this
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Brock Beauchamp
Nov 18 2017 12:38 AM

 

I'm optimistic this offseason, but the front office really hasn't shown much other than the ability to continually underestimate and misjudge the talent on the roster relative to the rest of the league.

How so? The Twins weren't particularly good in the second half of the season, the rest of the league was just... bad. The Twins had a very good August but weren't exactly lighting the world on fire in September, playing .500 ball for the month.

 

A couple of hot streaks by breakout players fueled that modest run in August but let's not pretend that the Twins were some excellent team and the front office completely missed on the talent that was just waiting to break out in the fifth month of the season.

 

The front office hedged their bets and were wrong because one can't predict random players like Escobar going ape**** or that Buxton would finally figure it out.

 

These things happen with young teams and you can't predict when or where they will happen. What matters is how you react, which makes this offseason vitally important.

    • Carole Keller, BigSkyTwinsFan, PseudoSABR and 5 others like this
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The Wise One
Nov 18 2017 05:47 AM

 

That's my thought as well. You should be able to purchase a solid prospect for $4 mil plus a legitimate starting pitcher from the team you ultimately battled for a home wild card game. In retrospect, international signing pool money may have been better than the prospect if we were set on trading Garcia to the Yankees.

Legitimate starting pitcher as a prospect needs some thinking..If a team is going to sell you a pitcher that is even a average 1-2 WAR pitcher in his first 6 yearsthe wages the team pays out is going to cost more than 4 million.Why would a team give you something at a discount?.If the pitcher is that good they are going to collect more in salary. 

 

What the Twins gave up was a high ceiling prospect that is too young to project by statistics, a bust catcher and unspent yetbudgeted salary for a fringe prospec, a high ceiling reliever,and a blossoming prospect.Sounds like the Twins came out ahead. Ynoa slipped in minor league ball's grading. Littell's increased. 

    • sploorp, howieramone2 and SF Twins Fan like this
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ashburyjohn
Nov 18 2017 06:45 AM


The team bought a pitcher before the deadline and then sold him a few days later. This shows a lack of sound decision making ability.

The Twins were 49-49 the day they acquired Garcia. That's not a good enough pace to make the playoffs, but the FO bet on their players by providing an additional resource.
 
A few days later, the team had gone the wrong direction, now standing at 50-53. Not only the wrong direction, but now that many fewer games to make up the difference for making the postseason. It tipped the scales on how to approach the remainder of the season.
 
To everyone's delight, the team went ahead and finished at a healthy 35-24 (.593) clip anyway.
 
Even that brought them to only 85 wins. I don't remember the last time an 85-win team made it to the postseason. Certainly not in the two-wildcard-team era. Even if Garcia provided a couple of wins more than whoever soaked up his starts, that's still not enough to make it, most seasons. If any other rivals had gotten hot, the Twins would have been on the outside.
 
I think our front office looked at that particular situation very reasonably, concluding that two unlikely things both had to happen, and came away arguably ahead on the transactions. I particularly applaud using cash during a season the major league payroll isn't very high.
 
If FalVine took the wrong side of a 4% proposition (guessing one in five teams below .500 finishes that strongly, at best one in five years 87 wins earns you more than heartbreak), that's a bad beat. And it's hard to demonstrate Garcia would have changed our postseason results any.

    • Brock Beauchamp, luckylager, BigSkyTwinsFan and 9 others like this

The team bought a pitcher before the deadline and then sold him a few days later. This shows a lack of sound decision making ability.


Well then Good Sir, I must beg to differ and ask that we agree to disagree.
    • ashburyjohn and Riverbrian like this
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ashburyjohn
Nov 18 2017 07:04 AM

Well then Good Sir, I must beg to differ and ask that we agree to disagree.

You in the meantime condensed my argument to its pith and essence. :)

    • Riverbrian, tvagle and MN_ExPat like this

How so? The Twins weren't particularly good in the second half of the season, the rest of the league was just... bad. The Twins had a very good August but weren't exactly lighting the world on fire in September, playing .500 ball for the month.

A couple of hot streaks by breakout players fueled that modest run in August but let's not pretend that the Twins were some excellent team and the front office completely missed on the talent that was just waiting to break out in the fifth month of the season.

The front office hedged their bets and were wrong because one can't predict random players like Escobar going ape**** or that Buxton would finally figure it out.

These things happen with young teams and you can't predict when or where they will happen. What matters is how you react, which makes this offseason vitally important.


They went too light in their offseason additions and were too cautious at the deadline. At the very least they could have held.

It wasn't a travesty, but they were wrong evaluating their talent relative to the league at all points so far.

I'm optimistic about a good offseason, but that is based more on hope and a general trusting of their process, not based on anything they have actually done with the roster.
    • USAFChief, KGB, ken and 1 other like this
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Twinfan & Dad
Nov 18 2017 08:07 AM
Looks to me that Falvey came in and wanted to see what the young guys could do if they didnt have to keep worrying about being sent down to AAA everytime they encountered a slump like Ryan would do. This approach worked well for our young hitters as we now know that they can prosper if given consistent playing time. On the other hand the approach didnt work so well for our pitching as injuries prevented us from seeing exactly what the young guys could do. Is Falvey at fault for not looking into his crystal ball and forseeing all these injuries? Should he have traded young prospects for middle tier pitching help? Knowing that we were not a World Championship caliber team I think he played his cards right. Would keeping Kintzler and Garcia made a difference in the ending to our season? I dont think so! Garcia couldnt put it together for the Yanks and we actually received a young asset from flipping him. I am in agreement that moving forward Falvey should know exactly what holes he wants to fill and has plans A,B and C to make it happen. This is the offseason that he should be judged by not last year as he let us all see what our young hitters could do. Go Twins!
    • Oldgoat_MN, sploorp and Original Whizzinator like this

 

The team bought a pitcher before the deadline and then sold him a few days later. This shows a lack of sound decision making ability.

 

In a very short period of time.

 

They showed me that they are willing to support a team worth supporting and willing to rebuild a team worth rebuilding. 

 

After the year after year of my foot has fallen asleep trade deadlines under Terry Ryan and staff.

 

How this can be seen by anyone as anything other than refreshing is beyond me.  

 

 

    • luckylager, BigSkyTwinsFan, Oldgoat_MN and 7 others like this
I don't know. I still think the Garcia trade has a good possibility of being a solid move by Falvey. Both Zach Littell and Dietrich Enns are solid prospects that are close to major league ready. The Kintzler trade to me is the head scatcher. I'm not sure why the Twins continue to deal with the Nationals.
    • PseudoSABR likes this
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ashburyjohn
Nov 18 2017 11:42 AM

The Kintzler trade to me is the head scatcher. I'm not sure why the Twins continue to deal with the Nationals.

It depends on how they use the international bonus slot money that was part of the deal. It's the new PTBNL. :)

    • birdwatcher, Sconnie and sploorp like this

In a very short period of time.

They showed me that they are willing to support a team worth supporting and willing to rebuild a team worth rebuilding.

After the year after year of my foot has fallen asleep trade deadlines under Terry Ryan and staff.

How this can be seen by anyone as anything other than refreshing is beyond me.

changing their minds, in less than a week, doesn't inspire a lot of confidence. At least to me.
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KirbyDome89
Nov 18 2017 12:01 PM

 

How so? The Twins weren't particularly good in the second half of the season, the rest of the league was just... bad. The Twins had a very good August but weren't exactly lighting the world on fire in September, playing .500 ball for the month.

 

A couple of hot streaks by breakout players fueled that modest run in August but let's not pretend that the Twins were some excellent team and the front office completely missed on the talent that was just waiting to break out in the fifth month of the season.

 

The front office hedged their bets and were wrong because one can't predict random players like Escobar going ape**** or that Buxton would finally figure it out.

 

These things happen with young teams and you can't predict when or where they will happen. 

There was no excuse for putting together the bullpen they did to start the season. The Haley experiment magnified that issue & created a completely unnecessary roster crunch. The Garcia double switch was basically a wash but the Kintzler trade didn't make a ton of sense based on the return; even with the team trending down. 

 

You can't knock them for not seeing a WC birth, but part of the job is setting up the team to compete when young players like Buxton do ascend. That side has been lacking, hopefully this offseason is a change. 

    • Mike Sixel likes this

changing their minds, in less than a week, doesn't inspire a lot of confidence. At least to me.


I can understand the thinking that wavering on plan can be concerning, but I see it differently:

1. The FO made a decision to go get the Twins some pitching help. Made the trade to grab Garcia. Cost them a low level prospect.
2. The Twins looked awful after the trade.
3. The FO made another decision to sell. They didn’t waste any time. Made multiple trades.

The bonus here is that by “buying” prospects from the Yankees, the FO showed that ownership is willing to work with them and provide some $$$ if they have a plan. That is incredibly exciting IMO.

Things may not work out this offseason, but the fact that the FO made multiple deals, AND the Twins still made it to the post season has me happy with what took place at the deadline.
    • Riverbrian, ahart10, DocBauer and 3 others like this

 

changing their minds, in less than a week, doesn't inspire a lot of confidence. At least to me.

 

Yeah but that's only because of that time your wife talked you into 37 for a Power Ball Number when your heart was screaming 29.

 

As a result... when you go out with your wife to Chili's for Supper. You decide that you will have the Guacamole Burger around 3PM and you start looking forward to it. 

 

You finally get to Chili's with your lovely wife and the server tells you about the Endless Mix and Match Ribs special for less than the price of the Guacamole Burger. You look around the restaurant and you see incredible looking ribs everywhere and you almost order them... but then you remember the Power Ball number thing and you decide that it is best to stay with the original plan through hell or high water and you order the Guacamole Burger that you have been looking forward to for the past 3 hours.  

 

The burger ends up being OK but your wife was making multiple "These are delicious comments" while enjoying the endless ribs. 

 

You could have had those ribs but the Power Ball number ended up being 28 and 29 would have been damn close.  

 

 

 

I give them credit... It takes a special kind of pluck to change your mind out of necessity in front of many people who will claim a lack of confidence because of the indecision.  

 

Those who can't change their minds... can't change anything. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    • Oldgoat_MN, PseudoSABR, DocBauer and 4 others like this

I give them credit... It takes a special kind of pluck to change your mind out of necessity in front of many people who will claim a lack of confidence because of the indecision.

Those who can't change their minds... can't change anything.


This is a much better way of saying what I was trying to say 😃
    • birdwatcher, Riverbrian and jimmer like this

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