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Twins Targeting Rangers Assistant Levine For GM

After weeks of uncertainty, the Minnesota Twins’ front office is starting to materialize.

The Twins announced the hiring of Derek Falvey as the Vice President and Chief Baseball Officer at the beginning of October but the role of General Manager remained vacant. Now, according to multiple reports, the Twins appear on the verge of hiring Thad Levine as just the sixth General Manager since relocating to Minnesota.
Image courtesy of Jim Cowset / USA Today
As Falvey’s Cleveland Indians trounced the Chicago Cubs in the first game of the 2016 World Series, the Star Tribune’s Lavelle Neal broke the news that Levine has “emerged as a candidate” to fill the GM position. Shortly thereafter, Dallas Morning News’ Rangers beat writer Evan Grant tweeted, confirming the Star Tribune report that Levine is expected to join the Twins.

Levine is an interesting balance to Falvey’s background from Cleveland’s analytical-oriented front office.

Since coming into baseball with the Colorado Rockies, the 44-year-old Levine has spent 11 seasons with the Texas Rangers in the Assistant General Manager’s position, overseeing the statistical analysis among other things for the team. The Rangers, however, are far from front-runners in baseball’s analytics game: According to an informal 2015 ESPN report, the Rangers fell towards the bottom of the league as an organization that eschews statistical analysis (although ahead of the Twins) and opted for more of the standard scouting practice.

Meanwhile, in a 2014 Reddit chat, Levine addressed some of those concerns.

“As a "younger" front office, we used to be younger than we are now, we were considered an analytical group, when in practice, we were much more scouting focused in our decision making,” Levine said. “In the past five years, we have made significant investments in analytics both in people and systems.”

It’s hard to completely judge an organization’s analytical strengths or how much they have grown but, as it stands today, the Rangers have three people listed on their front office who appear dedicated to analytics, including Todd Slavinsky, a University of Minnesota-Morris graduate, as the Director of Baseball Analytics. The Twins, too, have three staffers from their analytics department listed on their front office page, an area they were hoping to grow with the addition of Falvey.

In a 2011 Washington Post profile on Levine, Levine said that he believed the biggest advantage a team could have is hiring the best talent evaluators. He noted that there were approximately 30-to-50 of these baseball oracles floating around the game and that he was focused on hiring several of them to give his team the upper hand. “The Rangers complement the recommendations from their scouts with statistical analysis, not the other way around,” wrote the Post’s Adam Kilgore.

In that same Reddit chat, Levine submitted an interesting nugget regarding the methods of the Rangers front office. He said that the team monitors Twitter and occasionally finds inspirations for potential trades.

“[A]t the trade deadline, we are all on Twitter, because you may be surprised how many trade discussions are inspired or refined by tweets.”

Levine also said that the front office staff would use all of the publicly available sites such as Fangraphs.com, Baseball-Reference and others to obtain information. This is by no means a bad thing, however you have to believe that while teams like the Rangers are finding that type of info, organizations like the Cubs, Astros and Dodgers are creating their own research firms in-house.

That said, the Rangers methods have been successful and Levine has been instrumental in some of the talent acquisition that has created the strong American League West dynasty. After all, Texas has made it to the postseason in four of the last six years as well as the World Series twice. In his tenure, the Rangers were able to acquire Mike Napoli, Cliff Lee, Josh Hamilton Carlos Lee, Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison and Jarrod Saltalamacchia for various pieces of talent.

“Trades tend to be unique one trade to the next,” Levine commented. “Baseball is all about talent evaluation. Everyone understands the concept of scouting two shortstops. But our jobs also require us to scout each GM. So depending on which GM you are negotiating with, the discussion will go differently.”

Overall, Levine’s background seems balanced in both the new school and old school mentalities. One of Levine’s purported strengths while with the Rangers was being able to quickly diagnose the team’s in-season weaknesses and respond swiftly. For years the Twins seemed to fail at identifying roster weaknesses, reacting too late or in the wrong way to these issues. If Levine is able to transport that skill from one organization to another, that should be a huge benefit.

It is no small task rebuilding the Twins, but Thad Levine has been in that position before with the Texas Rangers and has two World Series visits to show for it.

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53 Comments

 

“[A]t the trade deadline, we are all on Twitter, because you may be surprised how many trade discussions are inspired or refined by tweets.”

 

Love it!

    • HitInAPinch and T.C. like this

These are always interesting profiles and I like the insight, but like most fans I have no idea if these men are good or not and can only applaud the change and potential.

    • Jerr, glanzer, Platoon and 1 other like this
Somebody give this guy a username for TD... We have better ideas than Twitter!
    • BK432, Blake, Mike Sixel and 16 others like this
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terrydactyls1947
Oct 26 2016 06:56 AM
Has Falvey been included in this decision? I sure hope he's on board.
    • d-mac likes this

 

Somebody give this guy a username for TD... We have better ideas than Twitter!

Hmmm, maybe. :)

    • HitInAPinch and Vanimal46 like this
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HitInAPinch
Oct 26 2016 07:35 AM

Thanks for posting, Parker.Another great GM prospect!And there's probably a lot more out there.

 

After weeks of uncertainty, the Minnesota Twins’ front office is starting to materialize.

 

This is the thing that many of use have been wondering about.I've posted that Falvey may not be involved with the search or any decision making because he is bound by contract to work for the Indians.Sounds like the Twins upper management is in charge. Falvey is probably in the mix, just not the decision

maker.

 

EDIT:Well, if I had read all of the StarTribune article on the GM search, I would have seen this:

 

"Falvey was announced as the Twins’ hire on Oct. 3 but will not officially take over until the World Series is over. There has been limited communication between the Twins and Falvey, as much as the Indians and Major League Baseball are comfortable with."So, there it is.

 

Any way this situation plays out, it's a new world order for the Minnesota Twins Front Office.

Yep, that's them....

wwe-rumors-nwo-kevin-nash-return.jpg

 

 

Talent evaluation seems like it is THE thing teams should invest in. While coaching and developing and health and everything is important, picking the right players in the draft/trades/FA is, imo, the most important thing to do right.

    • birdwatcher, Mike Frasier Law, nicksaviking and 1 other like this
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nicksaviking
Oct 26 2016 08:11 AM

“[A]t the trade deadline, we are all on Twitter, because you may be surprised how many trade discussions are inspired or refined by tweets.”

 

Love it!

 

Crowd sourcing trades via Twitter is actually the thing that gave me most pause!

 

Though I'm not a fan of that kind of social media at all so if there is any value to it I'll probably be the last to realize it.

    • DAM DC Twins Fans, Craig Arko, Rigby and 2 others like this
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Fargo_Jeffrey
Oct 26 2016 08:18 AM

No love for Baseball Prospectus Thad?  

Let's get him in and go to work.  Might as well do what he can to strengthen as many departments as possible.  i do like the idea that he's out there constantly searching for good people.  Instead of just hiring a few and saying yeah we are good now.  

    • nicksaviking likes this
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HitInAPinch
Oct 26 2016 08:29 AM

More from Berardino on GM search, via MLB Trader:

 

http://www.mlbtrader...gm-rangers.html

 

"Sawdaye over the weekend was an assistant GM position, so it would appear that Sawdaye was never in the running for the No. 2 spot in their operation that will now go to Levine."

 

 

    • nicksaviking likes this
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Nick Nelson
Oct 26 2016 08:55 AM

Worth noting: The Astros were looking at Levine for their GM opening 5 years ago before they ended up hiring Jeff Luhnow.

 

http://www.espn.com/...opts-stay-club

Well, he certainly has a lot of time as assistant GM.

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nicksaviking
Oct 26 2016 09:10 AM

 

More from Berardino on GM search, via MLB Trader:

 

http://www.mlbtrader...gm-rangers.html

 

"Sawdaye over the weekend was an assistant GM position, so it would appear that Sawdaye was never in the running for the No. 2 spot in their operation that will now go to Levine."

 

I actually am more interested in the next line:

 

"The fact that Minnesota was offering additional AGM slots to outside hires, though, does suggest that there could be further changes to the Twins’ front office even after adding Falvey and Levine."

 

Go get em', pick these other teams clean. Can't wait until we start seeing ideas for major and minor league field staffs too.

 

I would also guess that the other Cleveland guy who was Falvey's best man at his wedding is still strong possibility of coming along.

    • big dog, HitInAPinch, Vanimal46 and 1 other like this

I'm thoroughly surprised with the shape the front office is taking! I was certain this summer after the TR dismissal and Pohlad "lovable" comments that the Twins' version of a shakeup would just be handing the keys to Rob Antony. 

    • Tom Froemming likes this
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nicksaviking
Oct 26 2016 09:32 AM

 

I'm thoroughly surprised with the shape the front office is taking! I was certain this summer after the TR dismissal and Pohlad "lovable" comments that the Twins' version of a shakeup would just be handing the keys to Rob Antony. 

 

I thought it would be hard to keep Anthony seeing as he didn't get the top job. It will be interesting to see who stays, the more and more rumors that come out, the fewer people I think do. It's certainly starting to look like most people who stay will not be in a high profile positions.

    • glanzer and Kwak like this

I thought it would be hard to keep Anthony seeing as he didn't get the top job. It will be interesting to see who stays, the more and more rumors that come out, the fewer people I think do. It's certainly starting to look like most people who stay will not be in a high profile positions.


Works for me. Let's hope Falvey floods the organization with outside talent. Preferably everyone they hire being Director level or whatever job title they make up.
    • HitInAPinch, d-mac and operation mindcrime like this

How is the Pres/GM structure expected to set up? Falvey organizes the plan and Levine makes the deals?

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nicksaviking
Oct 26 2016 11:13 AM

 

How is the Pres/GM structure expected to set up? Falvey organizes the plan and Levine makes the deals?

 

I think something like this:

 

James-Bond-Spectre-Empire-April-2015_Pag

    • Mike Sixel, frightwig, Pius Jefferson and 2 others like this

I don't even care who he is or what his background is. I just like saying Thad.

 

Thad

    • Mike Sixel, Vanimal46 and Dozier's Glorious Hair like this
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drivlikejehu
Oct 26 2016 11:23 AM

Definitely would appear to be a strong hire, if accurate. Considering Levine is already the #2 in Texas, I assume it confirms that the Twins' GM will have a lot of day-to-day decision-making responsibility, making it a real promotion even though his place in the org hierarchy will stay the same.

 

I think something like this:

 

James-Bond-Spectre-Empire-April-2015_Pag

 

This is brilliant.

    • HitInAPinch likes this
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ScrapTheNickname
Oct 26 2016 01:45 PM

 

I don't even care who he is or what his background is. I just like saying Thad.

 

Thad

After saying it a few times it sounds like I'm saying "sad" with a lisp, which starts to really sounds sad.

    • frightwig, HitInAPinch and Dozier's Glorious Hair like this

 

I don't even care who he is or what his background is. I just like saying Thad.

 

Thad

It's so exotic! And a hell of a lot better than Brad.... If the Twins just hired a Brad I wouldn't be as excited. 

    • ScrapTheNickname likes this

 

It's so exotic! And a hell of a lot better than Brad.... If the Twins just hired a Brad I wouldn't be as excited. 

Isn't Brad a car's name?

    • Mike Sixel, gil4, Oldgoat_MN and 4 others like this

 

Isn't Brad a car's name?

Only if you have Liberty Mutual Insurance. 

    • Mike Sixel, Oldgoat_MN, DocBauer and 2 others like this

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