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Article: Is This Front Office Truly Enlightened About Pit...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 03:52 PM
We're about to find out.When Derek Falvey was hired to run Minnesota's baseball ops, he brought with him a rep as a pitching guru, partia...
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Article: Twins Sign RHP Anibal Sanchez... No, Really

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 03:46 PM
News came out late Friday afternoon that the Twins have reached an agreement with free agent right-hander Anibal Sanchez. The veteran wil...
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Fangraphs (and other national publications) on the Twins

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 03:32 PM
I'm just going to post here whenever they do an article on the Twins.   Today, they have one on Trevor May (noting some changes in s...
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Article: Twins Acquire Jake Odorizzi From Rays For Jermai...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 03:17 PM
According to multiple reports, the Twins have acquired RHP Jake Odorizzi from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for shortstop prospect Jerma...
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Article: Twins Daily Top Prospects: #3 Nick Gordon

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 03:16 PM
Nick Gordon might be one of the most polarizing prospects in the Minnesota Twins system. All of the national prospect rankings have him i...
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One Year In, Rebuilt Twins Front Office Is Crushing It

Major League Baseball is in uncharted waters. Executives around the league are still acclimating to the complicated international bonus pool system, and now to make matters more jarring, there are two completely unprecedented situations playing out on that front.

With Shohei Ohtani hitting the open market, alongside a dozen freshly released players from the Braves organization, teams are scrambling to get in on the action. Meanwhile, the Twins and their increasingly impressive front office leadership appear to be a step ahead of the pack.
When the Twins traded Brandon Kintzler to Washington at the deadline, they added $500,000 in international slot cap space. They later recouped another $3 million by voiding their agreement with Dominican shortstop Jelfry Marte, who failed a physical due to vision issues.

These developments enabled Minnesota to build up flexibility for a run at Ohtani, but it quickly became apparent this wasn't in the cards. The Mariners and Angels, among the finalists in the Ohtani Derby, both wanted to sweeten their monetary offerings. The Twins dealt $1 million to each, and in return acquired two high draft picks from this past June's draft.

Seattle and Los Angeles both bolstered their cases for Ohtani, but only one can sign him. Maybe neither will. And yet the Twins were able to extract valuable assets from both, and to do so, they gave up... nothing, really.

Yes, that money could've been spent on international talent – and still can be, after one or both teams come up short on Ohtani – but probably not one matching the caliber of these newly acquired prospects. Certainly not anyone as far along.

Derek Falvey and Thad Levine are showing a masterful ability to navigate this new MLB landscape, and the rate at which they've pumped quality talent into the farm system is incredible.

They already brought in arguably the best haul of any organization during their first draft in June (granted, they were gifted with very favorable circumstances). Now they've reeled in two more promising players from the top five rounds.

Plus, Falvey and Levine were able to acquire Zack Littell, Dietrich Enns and Tyler Watson during the season, all in exchange for two players they could now sign as free agents.

These aren't blockbuster moves that are going to garner glitzy headlines. The Twins haven't signed Yu Darvish, and until something of that nature takes place, casual fans at large will probably not buy into the notion anything has really changed.

But make no mistake, this franchise has entered a new era of strategic, data-driven, opportunistic baseball operations. We heard those kinds of terms tossed around often when Falvey and Levine came aboard; now we are seeing they were more than buzzwords.

Over the past decade at least, the Twins have consistently been criticized for lagging behind the times – justifiably so. It's been frustrating to watch from the outside. Now, no one could credibly accuse them of such.

The latest series of savvy maneuvers fits with an established pattern of supplementing the pipeline, and building a sustainable long-term winning engine. But as far as winning in 2018 is concerned, Falvey and Levine haven't done much of anything. This doesn't make them unique – all of baseball has sleepwalked through the first five weeks of the offseason – but it would sure be nice to see this team fire up the Hot Stove before the holidays arrive.

With the Winter Meetings on tap in Orlando next week, I suspect we'll have some higher-profile developments to discuss. And I hope the Twins will come away from them looking as good as they do now.

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195 Comments

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KirbyDome89
Dec 07 2017 09:34 PM

Definitely interesting to see their strategy during the draft and adding picks with the international money is a bonus that could look even better if the $ comes back. 

 

"But as far as winning in 2018 is concerned, Falvey and Levine haven't done much of anything."

 

I think this is the larger issue though, and it doesn't apply to just 18' but the following seasons as well. I'm anxious to see how this offseason goes, but as of right now it's hard for me to say they're crushing it, even if the comparison is the previous FO. 

    • KGB, DocBauer and sftwinsfan like this

These aren't blockbuster moves that are going to garner glitzy headlines. The Twins haven't signed Yu Darvish, and until something of that nature takes place, casual fans at large will probably not buy into the notion anything has really changed.

 

These kind of comments make me chuckle.As if disagreeing with the premise makes one only a casual fan.

    • Jerr, Mike Sixel, DaveW and 9 others like this

Man, it'll be interesting to see how TD rejoices once the new FO actually makes a move for something slightly better than a C prospect or mid-level FA.

    • Mike Sixel, DaveW, NapoleonComplex and 11 others like this

I agree with you Nick. 

 

They have been taking advantage of some under the radar stuff. Adding on 4 plus million in payroll to upgrade the farm with those Yankee prospects took some creativity. 

 

Acquiring the bonus pool cash and then turning that into additional prospects. 

 

If they add that glitzy move to these smaller forward thinking moves? We might get that franchise that we all deserve.

 

I've been impressed... and they can impress me further if they go out and support this young team with solid off-season off pitching acquisitions. 

    • h2oface, DocBauer, sploorp and 5 others like this
So does Falvey or Levine get executive of the year in 2018 or do they split it?
    • sploorp and Vanimal46 like this
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Nick Nelson
Dec 07 2017 10:09 PM

 

These kind of comments make me chuckle.As if disagreeing with the premise makes one only a casual fan.

I didn't mean to imply that at all. Only saying that casual fans of the team aren't even going to much notice stuff like this. And those are the people the Twins really need to reel back in.

 

If you're waiting to judge them on the bigger moves I don't hold it against you. But I like much of what I'm seeing – roster shuffling, front office and coaching hires, low-key additions... I find myself nodding my head a lot. This definitely was not the case in the latter half of TR's run.

    • luckylager, glunn, birdwatcher and 17 others like this

Small moves become additive. These prospects are actual people, but in some ways, we're better off viewing them purely as assets. The Falvey/Levine team have done a great job upping the assets in the bank. They can choose to have them mature or use them to buy talent elsewhere. They clearly get it.

 

I am over the moon with their first year. Bring on year 2.

    • glunn, birdwatcher, Riverbrian and 5 others like this

Wouldn't trading 2 mil to just one team have a lot more value than adding 1 mil to two separate teams. Or even 3 mil. Anyone else feel like we might have been able to get just one player but much higher on the prospect list?

    • KGB likes this

I don't know if they are crushing it.  However, I do like how they managed the roster (after about half the year last year).  I don't wanna rip on Terry or what he did but his second stint wasn't proactive more reactive.

 

These guys are doing what they should when it comes to roster management.  They also appear to have an eye for the future.  

 

I think what many of us want to see is what they will do in free agency and then what they do with the roster.  Nick, I do have to agree what they have done so far, after a year of assessing, is positive.  I'm all in.

 

    • glunn, LA VIkes Fan, sploorp and 1 other like this
Hmmm, one year ago we were all looking back at a 59 win disaster of a season. Now after bringing in a new front office and an on field improvement of 26 wins there seems to be a great deal of discontent from many “serious” fans. There seems to be an emerging view that unless this front office somehow brings in a superstar starting pitcher such as Darvish, many will be disappointed by the “failure”. With a bit of circuitous logic, I guess it is a healthy sign that fans have moved on so quickly to greatly elevated expectations. I do hope we get some high impact pitching help, but regardless I am thrilled with the new FO’s fresh approach.
    • Nick Nelson, Twins33, rghrbek and 2 others like this
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twinstalker
Dec 08 2017 01:24 AM

...These prospects are actual people...

 

I've been thinking about this all wrong...

    • BK432, Sconnie, sploorp and 2 others like this

Do you really think the available free agents are worth the cost & the risk?  

 

Darvish has been injured. Arrieta was unreliable last year.

 

Sure, Martinez or Santana would make a fine hitting addition, but the cost won't justify the improvement to the overall lineup. We still have the lingering promise of Vargas and a possible 300 hitter in Granite, not to mention the hitters in the minors.  I also worry that Sano's injuries may force him to be a full time DH. We should use that free agent money to spend on giving Sano/Buxton extended contracts instead.

 

Falvine seem to be making the best of a bad situation.  As much as we love our Twins, players may look at us very differently.  Just because we offer them the $$$, they still may not come.

 

Lets just watch what happens and root for our Twins and hope for the best.  :D

    • glunn, gocgo and sploorp like this

Wouldn't trading 2 mil to just one team have a lot more value than adding 1 mil to two separate teams. Or even 3 mil. Anyone else feel like we might have been able to get just one player but much higher on the prospect list?

I had this thought too... but on second thought, maybe this tact is better. These trades happened in very short succession. Seems like Falvine might be pitting these two teams against each other, not giving either one too much greater advantage over the other.

Promoting an arms race could leave both teams worse off in the long run, trading away multiple assets to keep ahead of the other.

By not picking a winner, Falvine can let a market play out and hope they both trade away more resources in the process.
    • glunn and sploorp like this

Small moves become additive. These prospects are actual people, but in some ways, we're better off viewing them purely as assets. The Falvey/Levine team have done a great job upping the assets in the bank. They can choose to have them mature or use them to buy talent elsewhere. They clearly get it.
 
I am over the moon with their first year. Bring on year 2.


This. Twins will have much more flexibility to make splashy trades with a deep farm system, as well as the increased likelihood that one or two of the guys from a deep system will exceed expectations. The other strategy I’d like to see employed more often is in years where their payroll is on the lower end due to playing a lot of young guys not arb eligible (like the last few years), they use money on a higher priced veteran with an eye toward a deadline trade if they are not in contention. Another path to adding “assets”.
    • glunn, birdwatcher and sploorp like this

I think they're making the best of their current situation but I really wish they would have been able to sign some international free agents the year they had the biggest IFA pool.

    • glunn likes this

Wait and see.This is the cosmetic phase.New paint, new parts, but same old car.I have nothing against the new FO, I just have a real hesitancy to jump on the band wagon until I see how their moves work out and more important, what their next moves will be.The on-the-field product is still the TR team. 

    • Mike Sixel, Twins33, KGB and 2 others like this

To repeat what has been said several times...the Twins have the money to do both extend their young stars AND make a splash in the free agent market. I'm betting they do both too. A bat, a starter a reliever and extensions .It's a good time to be a Twins Fan.

    • DocBauer and sploorp like this
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Bill Brown69
Dec 08 2017 06:42 AM

They can splash or not in FA and it will make no difference to my viewpoint. These guys know what they are doing and the Twins are going to be set for years to come, probably until the game passes them by like it did to TR.

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Tommygun921
Dec 08 2017 07:27 AM
Forgot the John Ryan Murphy for Gabriel Moya trade. Could be a good one as well.
    • Twins33, ThejacKmp, Oldgoat_MN and 2 others like this

Like you, Nick, I am excited about the moves they have made.And I am hopeful they will make a couple moves over the coming month that will help them stay in the hunt next year.On that front, do you think they will re-sign Kintzler?I could see him as a good addition to the pen...although I remain hopeful they bring in another top reliever also.

 

Adding prospects instead of mlb takent last trade deadline was a blunder, and missing out on the top international talent this offseason shouldn't really be a cause for celebration.

They've done OK considering these circumstances, but this is some impressive spin.
    • USAFChief, Mike Sixel, gunnarthor and 5 others like this
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The Wise One
Dec 08 2017 08:26 AM

The new front office has not been able to kiss a frog prospect and turn in into a prince charming major league player. They tried with Ynoa.They got apitcher having a league average season and soon to be free agent. They got a pair of frogs backs.10 million for Pettit, 3/38 for Chatwood,2/15.5 for Mikolas.The early market indicates pitching is going to be expensive. That will drive up the price for cost controlled pitching. The front office has a hard task ahead of them. The fans should not expect the something for nothing. That is for the fairy tales

 

Adding prospects instead of mlb takent last trade deadline was a blunder, and missing out on the top international talent this offseason shouldn't really be a cause for celebration.

They've done OK considering these circumstances, but this is some impressive spin.

Concur.Even if you like what little they've done..."crushing it"??

 

c'mon.

 

 

    • gunnarthor, Twins33, Dantes929 and 2 others like this

I like the optimism and enthusiasm, but the new team hasn't done much yet. Terry Ryan did more in his first year back (which was not a good thing, mind you).

While I definitely recognize and appreciate what the new front office is doing, at this point I would hardly characterize it as "crushing it". I was initially going to comment that they are an essentially "replacement level" front office, but that probably doesn't give them quite enough credit. However, all the moves Nick sites - the draft, the trade-deadline deals, the recent moves with the international bonus money - are all moves that I would expect any reasonably competent front office to make. And if you look around the league, I think the vast majority of teams have front offices that are making the equivalent moves given their circumstances.

    • KGB likes this

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