One Year In, Rebuilt Twins Front Office Is Crushing It
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.
- Thrylos, h2oface, Sconnie and 2 others like this