Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

The Forums

Twins stuff from around the Web (Fangraphs, Twitter, Athl...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:23 PM
Per request.....new thread! this seems like a really odd post to start with, which makes sense for a thread about the Twins and Internet....
Full topic ›

Article: Twins Game Recap (7/17): Mets Blow Out Twins, Co...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:18 PM
Things started out great for the Twins, who had the lead until the sixth inning, after yet another quality start by Martín Pérez. But ter...
Full topic ›

Matt Magill DFAd

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:18 PM
The Minnesota Twins just announced that RH RP Matt Magill has been DFAd. Kohl Stewart recalled, likely in a new role.    
Full topic ›

Article: Twins Trade Rumor Recap: Teams Pondering Selling

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:12 PM
The rumor mill has been pretty dry lately, so Bob Nightengale’s recent story with trade talk rumors was a tall glass of water. The revela...
Full topic ›

Twins World Series Hopes Rest Behind the Plate

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 03:45 PM
"Hot catchers are a lot like goalies standing on their heads in hockey - once you get on a roll in the postseason, you tend to stick with...
Full topic ›

Using Derek Falvey and Thad Levine's Past to Forecast the Minnesota Twins' 2019 Trade Deadline

Welcome to the final day of the All-Star break! The Home Run Derby has concluded (shout out to Pete Alonso for Justin Morneau-ing the hell out of Vladdy Jr.) and the All-Star Game came and went. Now we find ourselves smack dab in the middle of my favorite time of the season: trade season. After the All-Star game, every beat writer in America with any sort of following dusted off their phones, confirmed their “sources” and now keep Twitter even closer than before in the hopes that they might be the first to drop some juicy news regarding the potential interest of a team in another team’s player.
Image courtesy of © Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sport
For the Twins, they find themselves solidly on the other side of the table this year as they will not be looking to shed veterans for prospects but instead they will be adding veterans in exchange for their much-coveted prospects. Essentially, this will be the first deadline under the new front office headed by Derek Falvey and Thad Levine where their play is obvious and on the spectrum that involves making a World Series contender instead of aiding another team in their efforts to win the title. I phrase it that way with the odd 2017 deadline in mind where Jaime García was acquired just to be shipped off to the Yankees a week later and Brandon Kintzler was sent to the Nationals. But that was hardly a team looking to become true World Series contenders and the fact that they made the playoffs that year at all was a minor miracle.

This year is different, the fruits of Falvey and Levine’s efforts (along the many coaches and players) have blossomed and the Twins sit at the top of the AL Central with a 5.5 game lead. Since the introduction of the new front office, basically everything that was ever synonymous with Twins’ baseball has been stomped on and thrown out the window. Long gone are the days of small ball and pitching to contact and in are the days of slugging and striking out other batters. The results have been pretty decent if you ask me as Stage 1 of the plan has been a success but Stage 2 emerges and the question now is; how will the Twins attack the trade deadline?

We all have our own personal beliefs for whom the Twins should acquire (I say a top-tier starter, a top-tier reliever, and a mid-tier reliever for depth but that’s a different topic), but as I mentioned before, we are heading into uncharted territory as the Twins go into the deadline as kings with a vast bounty in front of them to choose from, something that has not happened under this front office. Shoot, the last time you could really even say they were in a similar place was 2010 when they last took the division, but even that team was only at 58 wins at the deadline (the current Twins are already at 56) and the only big move at the deadline then was the addition of Matt Capps which was… Yeah let’s just leave that topic alone.

Without any recent Twins history of deadline moves as World Series favorites, I looked to the history of Derek Falvey during his tenure with the Indians and Thad Levine when he was with the Rangers in order to get a good feel for how those teams acted when they were in a similar spot as the Twins are now and then use that information to predict what they will do in the coming weeks.

Derek Falvey
Falvey first joined the Indians in 2007 but was promoted to co-director of baseball operations after the 2011 season so that is where I will start my investigation. In the season immediately following his promotion, the Indians won just 68 games as they continued to wander aimlessly through the baseball landscape like the Israelities when they left Egypt but with fewer curses, or maybe more actually ... anyway, they were bad for a while.

It was a different story in 2013 for the Indians, as they won 92 games and made it to the Wild Card game. They would eventually lose that game but they finally reversed course toward a successful future and the groundwork was set. At the deadline the Indians were at 59 wins and their lone move was acquiring reliever Mark Rzepczynski who definitely made me check my spelling no less than four times when typing his name.

The Indians were really boring for the next two years so let’s skip those.

The 2016 Indians is where stuff gets really fun. That team won 94 games and not only won the division but made it to Game 7 of the World Series where they lost in heartbreaking fashion, a shame. That Cleveland team had 60 wins at the deadline and shocked the baseball world by acquiring a little known reliever named Andrew Miller at the deadline. They also were on the verge of acquiring catcher Jonathan Lucroy but he exercised his no-trade clause and the trade died.

What can be learned from this? Well, unfortunately there was only one year where the Indians were in a position much like the 2019 Twins. But what is really interesting is the addition of Andrew Miller as he proved to be a key cog in their bullpen and was an instance where the Indians bought high on a controllable reliever who would help the team that year and a few years down the road. What possibly is frightening is that the one weakness of that Indians squad was their bench depth that was half-heartedly addressed by adding Brandon Guyer and journeyman Michael Martinez who of course happened to be the final out of that World Series. The 2019 Twins currently hold a better bench than the 2016 Indians, but it will be pushed to the limit in every capacity during the playoffs and Derek Falvey would be wise to remember what happened in 2016.

Thad Levine
Thad Levine was brought on as an assistant to the general manager for the Rangers following the 2005 season. Since he was there was that many years ago, I’ll cut out some seasons that amounted to nothing, you’re very welcome.

For the first few years, the Rangers really didn’t do much winning but in 2010 they won 90 games and made it all the way to the World Series. With 61 wins heading into the trade deadline, the Rangers were big buyers, as they traded for starter Cliff Lee and reliever Mark Lowe along with some depth pieces like Bengie Molina, Jeff Francoeur, Jorge Cantu, and Christian Guzmán during July and August. Cliff Lee was a hired gun as his contract was up after the year, Mark Lowe was a controllable reliever who stuck around for two years following the 2010 season and the other players mostly didn’t stick around long.

What I find very interesting is that the Rangers in 2010 had no previous history of success leading into the season but saw what unfolded in front of them and were very aggressive in acquiring the pieces necessary to make a run not just that year but for years in the future. They covered all their bases (pun most certainly intended) and just happened to run into the buzzsaw that was the Giants that year in the World Series. Speaking of the future, though …

The 2011 Rangers didn’t like losing the World Series in 2010 so they went and made it again! This year they won 96 games and had another aggressive trade deadline by acquiring relievers Mike Adams, Koji Uehara, and Mike Gonzalez in order to boost a bullpen that was the third worst in baseball by fWAR before the deadline (it was then the sixth best bullpen by fWAR in baseball after the deadline). The Rangers after the deadline were again a very well-rounded squad but just couldn’t seal the deal against a scrappy Cardinals club and they again lost the World Series.

What I really like is that the Rangers again showed that they were willing to aggressively attack what they saw as the biggest weakness on the team in order to put themselves in the best place possible to win a championship.

The next two years, the Rangers still fielded good teams but not quite good enough to make more deep playoff runs and they made a number of trades for veterans in which they gave up prospects who eventually would become quality players in a desperate attempt to continue their run (guys like Kyle Hendricks, Carl Edwards Jr., and Leury Garcia). Their contention window with that core was over after 2013.

Now knowing how each team conducted their deadline when in a position to succeed, I am even more looking forward to the deadline as it could be a combination of the Indians' pragmatism in 2016 for quality players who would stick around for more than just that season (Andrew Miller and almost Jonathan Lucroy), and the Rangers' aggressiveness in 2010 and 2011 where positions of need were identified and addressed and depth was made a priority in order for their squad to best make their playoff run. I can’t know for certain what the plan is, but I am damn excited to see it unfold.

  • pbrezeasap and caninatl04 like this

  • Share:
  • submit to reddit
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

85 Comments

Photo
SpicyGarvSauce
Jul 11 2019 09:05 AM

Enjoyed the article - but one thing that the Indians and Rangers didn't/don't have is an ownership group like the Pohlads. That is the one factor that I think we need to remember as being in play.

    • Madisonsdad likes this
Photo
Tom Froemming
Jul 11 2019 09:10 AM

 

Enjoyed the article - but one thing that the Indians and Rangers didn't/don't have is an ownership group like the Pohlads. That is the one factor that I think we need to remember as being in play.

I'm not sure that's true. Cleveland sold off parts and reduced payroll this offseason despite being the defending division champs and the favorites to repeat.

    • glunn, birdwatcher, nicksaviking and 4 others like this
Photo
TwinkieTownKiller
Jul 11 2019 09:15 AM

 

Enjoyed the article - but one thing that the Indians and Rangers didn't/don't have is an ownership group like the Pohlads. That is the one factor that I think we need to remember as being in play.

Owners that like to intervene usually tend to do so either in the way of limiting spending in the offseason or when a team is trying to offload a franchise cornerstone that puts people in the seats (see Manny Machado in Baltimore a few years ago). Dealing prospects is usually a spot where ownership will put full faith in the front office. I'd guess Falvey and Levine have full control.

    • birdwatcher, James, gagu and 2 others like this

 

Enjoyed the article - but one thing that the Indians and Rangers didn't/don't have is an ownership group like the Pohlads. That is the one factor that I think we need to remember as being in play.

 

I think this is hugely misunderstood. I don't know what the other ownership regimes they worked under were like, but I think people mischaracterize the Pohalds.

 

Let me start by saying I loathe what the Pohlads stand for in many ways. Since the next generation took over, however, they have made it clear that they are not "baseball people", and say it regularly in front of staff and even fans.

 

They always delegated the responsibility of payroll to Terry Ryan or Billy Smith, who were running the team under the mindset Carl ran the team on, when they were far less profitable. 

 

They continue to delegate all responsibility to their new regime, and that regime says they spend whenever asked on infrastructure and development (I asked this directly of them at a STH meeting).

 

The problem with them is that they don't exude a desire to win to the fans. When the people they delegate to are budget conscious, it makes them look bad, and they have literally zero PR skills as an organization outside of cheesy feel good marketing campaigns.

 

 

    • birdwatcher, KGB, kenbuddha and 1 other like this

Cool article.  If I am ever on a sport radio call in quiz, it will be good to remember that the Rangers lost two straight World Series in 2010-11.  I completely had forgotten, but the Cliff Lee deal helped me remember those teams a bit.

 

I just don't believe the woe is me stereotypes will play out.  The FO will get some help, and the only thing we'll be lamenting is the loss of some prospects.

I enjoyed this article! thanks,

    • nicksaviking likes this
Photo
OldTimeTwinkie
Jul 11 2019 12:38 PM
What was the price they paid for their new players would be interesting to know. Who were they and how highly regarded/ranked were they? Maybe that would give us Falvey and Levine s risk reward tolerance to project what they would be willing to give up.

I'm not sure that either Cleveland or Texas, in those years, had the ammunition that the Twins FO have this year. They're blessed with a pretty well stocked group of minor league prospects that should be able to fill almost any team's needs, whether for position players or pitchers. And they've also got an incredible amount of payroll space.

 

The Twins can afford to virtually meet any reasonable price for whatever talent they feel will make a difference during the last half of the season and the postseason.

    • birdwatcher and gagu like this

This feels like it was written by the Twins PR department.

 

Until the Twins show that they'll make significant payroll additions, we should correctly assume they won't. This FO refused to add to a playoff caliber team two years, so, until they do, we should assume they won't. 

 

My guess is that the Twins do a few minor moves to bring in bullpen help - maybe even taking on a little salary - and losing some prospects in the 15-30 range but nothing bigger than that. I think we'll hear rumors that the Twins are interested/close to making a big move but it won't pan out.

    • Mike Sixel, adorduan, Doomtints and 2 others like this
Well I don't expect us to trade for David Price and his 30 million per year contract. Though I bet we wouldn't have to trade much to get him.....but I see the Twins doing what is needed to get done to get us players. Rooker is a great trade chip as is Gordon and Larnarch. We will not have a place for these guys for a few years with others coming up.

 

They always delegated the responsibility of payroll to Terry Ryan or Billy Smith, who were running the team under the mindset Carl ran the team on, when they were far less profitable. 

 

They continue to delegate all responsibility to their new regime, and that regime says they spend whenever asked on infrastructure and development (I asked this directly of them at a STH meeting).

 

Bill Smith was given enough rope, it seems, but Jim and Terry were both clear that every expenditure had to be run through both Jim Pohlad and Dave St. Peter after Smith was demoted.

 

St. Peter has stepped back since Levine was hired, but Levine has still made it clear that he has to run things through Jim.

 

The closest thing to what you are alluding to is a statement by Jim Pohlad during the Terry Ryan firing stating he was surprised that Terry Ryan didn't come to him more often to ask for more money in order to make a move. Considering payroll is heading downward since then, I suspect this statement was largely for PR.

 

Heck, every statement this team has made since 2010 regarding payroll has been for PR. Reality has never jived with their statements.

    • Mike Sixel, gunnarthor, shimrod and 1 other like this
Photo
tarheeltwinsfan
Jul 11 2019 01:01 PM

 

 

Let me start by saying I loathe what the Pohlads stand for in many ways.

I'm not from Minnesota. What is it that the Pohlads stand for which is so lothesome?

    • RaymondLuxuryYacht and gagu like this

 

 

This feels like it was written by the Twins PR department.

 

Until the Twins show that they'll make significant payroll additions, we should correctly assume they won't. This FO refused to add to a playoff caliber team two years, so, until they do, we should assume they won't. 

 

My guess is that the Twins do a few minor moves to bring in bullpen help - maybe even taking on a little salary - and losing some prospects in the 15-30 range but nothing bigger than that. I think we'll hear rumors that the Twins are interested/close to making a big move but it won't pan out.

 

I imagine more will be done than in the TR years -- where we would often see one token move at the last possible second to make sure there wasn't an uproar among fans and the press -- but as to the caliber of this year's moves it's impossible to know.

 

One thing is for certain, any move the Twins could make that would make a difference would be an expensive one, both with cash and prospects. And, yes, if they don't make an appropriate move or two I can see this team fading down the stretch.

 

Saving money year after year only makes sense if you're willing to spend that money you saved when the time is right. The Twin Cities have proven that the seats will be full when the team does well, and they'll be empty when the team sucks. The path forward for this team could not be more clear.

    • adorduan likes this

 

I'm not from Minnesota. What is it that the Pohlads stand for which is so lothesome?

 

Carl started out by buying foreclosed properties (mostly farms) during the Great Depression. He continued to buy failed or failing assets and properties, including banks, land, buildings, etc., throughout his lifetime.

 

Note a couple of things:

 

- Though the Pohlad family was valued at $3.6B as late as 2015, Jim is suspected to only have cash in the $1M - $10M range in spite of running the both the Twins and managing the real estate holdings. How would you feel about doling out $100M contracts when you have much less than that?

- The $3.6B value in 2015 appears to be going downward, though I'm not sure how as the economy has been good, so take this with a grain of salt.

 

- The liquid assets in the family that come from the businesses are shared by 20 different people and their families. Jim probably doesn't have the control we think he does. If the Twins go in the red, it affects a lot of people, all in his family.

    • gunnarthor, tarheeltwinsfan and Wizard11 like this
Photo
yarnivek1972
Jul 11 2019 01:38 PM

Owners that like to intervene usually tend to do so either in the way of limiting spending in the offseason or when a team is trying to offload a franchise cornerstone that puts people in the seats (see Manny Machado in Baltimore a few years ago). Dealing prospects is usually a spot where ownership will put full faith in the front office. I'd guess Falvey and Levine have full control.


I would simply add to that to say provided they don’t add ridiculously to payroll. I’m sure they have a dollar amount that ownership will allow them to add. What that is, none of us fans have any way of knowing.

(Also, and this is the worst bit, until recently the Pohlads were the regional bottler for Pepsi. Gross.)

    • Doctor Wu likes this

The FO told at the start of the season they were going to wait to see how the season developed before making a big addition.Now we are a contender and have been trading for assets the last 2 years.I think the team as developed a lot faster than they had planned.The first year they sold at the trade deadline and the team go hot and made the playoff.Last year must have thought they were farther away from being a playoff team since they traded assets that would have been great to have this year.

 

It will be very telling of the FO based on what they do this trade deadline.If they are not ready to make a move this year, when will they be ready?

    • tarheeltwinsfan likes this

 

I think this is hugely misunderstood. I don't know what the other ownership regimes they worked under were like, but I think people mischaracterize the Pohalds.

 

Let me start by saying I loathe what the Pohlads stand for in many ways. Since the next generation took over, however, they have made it clear that they are not "baseball people", and say it regularly in front of staff and even fans.

 

They always delegated the responsibility of payroll to Terry Ryan or Billy Smith, who were running the team under the mindset Carl ran the team on, when they were far less profitable. 

 

They continue to delegate all responsibility to their new regime, and that regime says they spend whenever asked on infrastructure and development (I asked this directly of them at a STH meeting).

 

The problem with them is that they don't exude a desire to win to the fans. When the people they delegate to are budget conscious, it makes them look bad, and they have literally zero PR skills as an organization outside of cheesy feel good marketing campaigns.

You mean GREAT advertising campaigns like North Dakota University night? I guess UofM Gophers come every other night!

    • SpicyGarvSauce likes this

 

Carl started out by buying foreclosed properties (mostly farms) during the Great Depression. He continued to buy failed or failing assets and properties, including banks, land, buildings, etc., throughout his lifetime.

 

Note a couple of things:

 

- Though the Pohlad family was valued at $3.6B as late as 2015, Jim is suspected to only have cash in the $1M - $10M range in spite of running the both the Twins and managing the real estate holdings. How would you feel about doling out $100M contracts when you have much less than that?

- The $3.6B value in 2015 appears to be going downward, though I'm not sure how as the economy has been good, so take this with a grain of salt.

 

- The liquid assets in the family that come from the businesses are shared by 20 different people and their families. Jim probably doesn't have the control we think he does. If the Twins go in the red, it affects a lot of people, all in his family.

It would take a lot for the Twins to actually go in the red.

 

(Also, and this is the worst bit, until recently the Pohlads were the regional bottler for Pepsi. Gross.)

What is bad about being a Pepsi bottler?I don't get it?

 

What is bad about being a Pepsi bottler?I don't get it?

It's not Coke.

    • Twins33, Doomtints and rdehring like this

 

It's not Coke.

On that I agree. 

 

But the tone of where this discussion has trended is that there is something legally or morally wrong with being a Pepsi bottling company. 

    • gagu likes this
Photo
Brock Beauchamp
Jul 11 2019 02:57 PM

 

I'm not sure that's true. Cleveland sold off parts and reduced payroll this offseason despite being the defending division champs and the favorites to repeat.

Yep. And I don't think even the Pohlads forced the front office to do that during their 2000s run.

 

Cleveland fans should be furious right now. They're piecing together a run now but could easily be right in the mix had they spent for a few more wins in the first half of the season.

    • nicksaviking likes this
Photo
diehardtwinsfan
Jul 11 2019 02:57 PM

 

It's not Coke.

I know. It's better than coke... so again, what's so bad about being a Pepsi bottler?

Photo
yarnivek1972
Jul 11 2019 03:15 PM
In my experience, pepsi is more likely to be on sale at my local grocery store.

Similar Articles


by Jeremy Nygaard , Today, 01:52 PM
Photo


by Ted Schwerzler , Today, 11:06 AM
Photo


by Matt Braun , Yesterday, 09:22 PM
Photo


by Ted Schwerzler , Yesterday, 12:03 PM
Photo


by Cooper Carlson , 16 Jul 2019
Photo