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The New Management Team - How are they doing?

Posted by mike8791 , 14 November 2017 · 1,329 views

The one year anniversary of the new Falvine Team has come and gone. We have a year's activity to judge this duo and like any new management there are some pluses and minuses, as follows:


1. The Twins improved by 26 wins over 2016. In truth, even F&L's biggest supporters would be hard pressed to attribute this improvement to their actions, as the only FA signing was Juan Castro and while he was a noted improvement defensively, he didn't come close to Suzuki's offensive contribution with Atlanta in 2017. The improvement came primarily from Ryan's young nucleus that started to emerge in 2017, especially Buxton, Berrios, Rosario and to a lesser extent, Polanco. Good years from veteran holdovers Santana, Mauer and Dozier played a significant role, as well.

2. Hiring James Rowson as hitting coach. He has been given credit for working with young players like Buxton and Polanco for their second half surges. How much of this improvement is due to Rowson's tutelage and how much due to the individual's natural maturation is a relevant question, but there is little doubt that the Twins' were a much improved hitting team in 2017 and for this, Rowson should be given some credit, at the very least.

3.The double trade of Jamie Garcia. While steeped in controversy, Falvine's move to acquire a solid mid-rotation starter for a low level prospect was a refreshing change from the previous regime who rarely dipped into the trade mart in midseason, except for adding several veterans at the deadline when the Twins were very much in the race in the 2002-2010 seasons. More shocking was their dumping of Garcia at the deadline for two prospects. While ccriticized at the time for waving the white flag, year end results affirmed that this was the right move, adding two good prospects without losing much in the way of rotation depth.

4. The pickup of Colon, while pretty much derided at the time, proved important in stabilizing the rotation in August when the Twins surged back into the playoff race. While Bartolo showed his age in September, his contributions in August provided a huge lift to a team struggling to stay above water.


1. Failure to significantly improve the bullpen. This was the most glaring omission in Falvine's 2016-2017 offseason. Bringing in Craig Breslow and Matt Belisle as the only two outside relievers was a mistake from day one of the 2017 season. The bullpen was a glaring weakness in 2016, yet despite a good number of FA's available, the duo was surprisingly passive in trying to improve the situation. One can fairly ask : what were they thinking?

2. Failure to agressively go after a right handed bat that could be the primary DH and provide some backup at 1B. With the large number of DH-types available, failing to improve upon Robby Grossman should be looked at as a glaring omission in last offseason.

3. The trade of Kinsler at the deadline failed to bring sufficient return(at least based on Wheeler's MILB record). Giving a talented closer up for peanuts made little sense at the time and less so as we go into the offseason still looking for 2-3 late inning shutdown relievers. It was fortuitous that Belisle managed to fill the hole adequately and that Busenitz and Hildenberger provided a surprising bridge to the closer.

4. The hiring of Garvin Alston as pitching coach. I know, I know - it is much too soon to damn this move before he even steps on the field, but there are two reasons to doubt the veracity of this move. First, he has a very undistinguished coaching career, having not been a pitching coach above the Single A Minor League Level, having more experience as a pitching rehab coordinator than pitching coordinator, having been fired after a couple months as San Diego's pitching rehab coordinator, and never having any major league pitching success. And yet our wonder boards went out on a limb and hired him because they thought he was a good communicator. And this decision was made in an offseason when such worthies as Mike Maddox, Carl Willis, Chris Bosio and Jim Hickey were all available. Are F&L so arrogant to think they know better than all the top baseball minds who went with proven pitching coaches because they see something no one else has?? I hope I am sorely mistaken about this choice but with an open window to improve the team, the risk/reward ratio seems perilous, at least as of now.

We are now entering the most significant part of the offseason - the GM Mtgs this week and the Owner mtgs next month. It's too early to tell what our new team will do. After years of torpidity under Terry Ryan, we are all hoping that Falvine will be up to the task. This means not waiting until all the quality free agents have signed elsewhere; no more Ricky Nolasco-type signings; no more dumpster diving for washed up relievers; willingness to trade top prospects for bonafide major leaguers who can fill gaping voids at the head of the rotation and shutdown relievers.

Early reports(and yes they are in the infancy stage as of now) indicate the Twins will be significant players for top end starters like Darvish or Arrietta. As most Twins Daily readers acknowledge, with no #1 or #2 starter types in their minor league system, if the Twins are going to make the big jump to compete with the Indians and Astros, they need to find at least one potential ace. Will they spend the money to do this. Pohlad has always been quoted as saying he will authorize the money when asked by his GM for the right player(s). Well, this is the time to do that! And while the FA pickings seem slim, Ohtani should be high on their radar(by which we mean more than just sniffing around). They have factors in their favor to make an all out pitch for this guy. If they wind up settling for their usual average pitcher then mark down this offseason as a failure. The need is clear, but is the will and determination there?

Reports that they are seeking the Red's closer by trade do little to add to our confidence. Even us amateurs know that there are enough quality FA relievers available to significantly bolster the bullpen. Why give up 2 or 3 of their limited number of prospects for a reliever when their needs in the rotation are so much more glaring. I would hope that the Twins would consider trading said prospects for a stud starter than for a reliever.

In any case, the duo will now have to produce - in a big way. Their creativity and moxie will be tested to the max in an offseason that is a seller's market for pitching. How they do will go a long way to see whether the Falvey/LaVine team will turn around our 26 years of futility and bring a championship back to the Twin Cities. The clock is ticking!

  • tarheeltwinsfan likes this

Nov 17 2017 10:26 AM

Boy, you are hard on Falvey and Levine, considering where the Twins were a year ago. You failed to mention the changes made to the analytics department and process - making the scouting and analytical reports more streamlined and applicable. Maybe that had an impact on the pitching and hitting – and ultimately on the season?


But I also think it's important to remember what they did not do - they did not trade Brian Dozier last offseason, and I suspect an extension is more likely than a trade regarding him. 


So yes, they did not bring in a lot of relief help last offseason. But I expect them to this winter, and to bring in a good starting pitcher or two.


Next winter - 2018-19 – should be even more interesting with Mauer's and Dozier's contracts coming due.


I'd give  them a B or B+ on the year. In hindsight, they should not have traded Kintzler or Garcia. But at the time, I understood the reasoning.


The goal of all 30 teams, ultimately, is to win the World Series – but only one of the 30 teams can do that each year. The rest have to settle for the role of being non-champions.


The Twins had a good year. They're on a good track. They need a few pieces, but the team is largely intact. 


With some minor improvements, 2018 could be the year they excel.

The Wise One
Nov 17 2017 09:42 PM

Belisle had a few bad outing. When they were bad, they were really bad. He ended up with better than league average numbers. It is not to say that it was a great signing, but it was nowhere near a bad signing.Breslow was a placeholder for if, really when, the early season gambles like Tonkin failed. Not a great signing, but he was brought in to be expendable. With the late season emergence of Hildenberger and Busenitz, Breslow's role was completed.


Right handed bats as primary DH. Statistically Vargas had a better season than any of the part timeright handed DH/ benchbats.It would be nice to have a better bat. What was out there as a part timer? 


Lottery tickets. Can't win if you do not play. The loss of Kintzler had little effect on the team. Relievers of his ilk get you lottery tickets,


All of those great available pitching coaches. The cynic in me asks if they are so great, why are they available? They do not have all of the answers. Management has an idea, a direction, a scheme. They hired someone who will carry that out. Complaining of others thinking they are so smart........

    • BigSkyTwinsFan likes this
The Wise One
Nov 17 2017 10:17 PM

The Reds reliever would come in far cheaperin terms of salary than a FA. That money could instead be used to overpay for a Darvish.In terms of prospects given up, there are few great prospects in the upper levels. If the Reds want a couple of them the Twins should be signing the trade papers quickly. 

I certainly can't fault mgt. for taking risks.. This was one of Ryan's greatest faults.Nor can I fault Falvine for not biting on a Dozier trade if the only return was Jose DeLeon(an unverified rumor btw).And one can give them a pass(sort of) on doing very little their first year when they were assessing organizational strengths and weaknesses(though the state of the bullpen at the end of 2016 demanded a more robust response than Belisle/Breslow, IMO).


But I have to question the hubris of Falvey and company in addressing the team's biggest need, improved pitching, when they reach far out on the limb to grab Alston, an undistinguished lower minor league pitching coach who went from one organization to the next without much upward promotion.The question one has to ask is: are F&L really that much smarter than the most experienced GMs in the league who quickly scarfed up some of the elite pitching coaches available this offseason?  


We all agree that the Twins' window for competing at higher levels is opening now.Can they take such a risk with an unknown PC at this juncture?How will Alston's selection affect the team's ability this offseason to attract top pitching talent?Would Ohtani, for one, be more or less attracted to a team that rolled the dice on an unproven PC or would the presence of a Mike Maddox improve the Twins' admittedly low odds of attracting high end talent in the off season?


Put me down for an "incomplete" grade for our year old managment team.So far they've nibbled at the edges and done a little dumpster diving.It would be foolhardy, I believe, to give them too much credit for the Twins' 26 win improvement last year.Their inherited roster accomplished this jump.Now it is up to them to fill the holes we all agree on.Can they accomplish this in the offseason is the big question?Time to separate themselves from the Timid Terry regime and go for broke now as their young core matures.No doubt, all Twin fans will be pulling for them to succeed.Are the Twins the next Cubs/Astros organization to emerge?Too soon to tell, but so far the biggest decision of the offseason, i.e., Alston, has not been a promising sign.

Like i to say the jury is still out on the boy geniuses because this past year had very little to do with them but more the previous regime. As much as fans want to critize Terry Ryan the team out on field this past year is his vision of the Twins. These are players they scouted signed and developed over the past few years and it was free agents he signed as Gm alos on the field. This group has done a good job in coach hiring it appears from this past years performance but also alot of it had to do with keeping healty team on the field and development of young players in the organization. This regime had easier time of releasing several players than previous regime and i think this had more to do with success of the team. The releasing of Trevor Plouffe was one where it allowed the Twins move Sano to 3 base and Kepler to right field which both helped the offense and defense of the Twins which in turn improved the pitching over the year before. Also last years trades netted twins some much more pitching talent in Mejhia, Santiago, and Busenitz giving two more starters and another bull pen arm. Like I say this was Terry Ryans team on the field and I think boy geniuses were caught off guard that this group of players could compete and if they had done a little more in off season to improve the bull pen instead of weakening mid season this team could have gone a little further in the playoffs.

This leadership group will be tested this year and we will have to see how there vision of  the Twins and how they get to that vision. Then we will also see how that vision pans out for the Twins. They have a lot of big decisions this winter if they are going to improve this team next year and get them ready for possible playoff run. They will need to improve the bull pen something of weakness starting last season and they did nothing improve that pen if anything they weakened it by there trades last summer. Second what there plan is for starting pitching if they are going to keep some pitchers or are they going to sign a free agent or trade for a pitcher. All these moves will have longterm effects on how team will be structured in the future. There drafting of players that won't be know for at least another 3 to 4 years before we can determine that. The next thing is will they be able sign some of there young talent to longer term or will they just keep them under team control or will they trade them again for future talent. All these things will be determined this off season and next couple so like I say the jury is out on these boy geniuses. I have my doubts about them they say all right things for the public and media are in love with them for now. Also they got a huge gift from previous regime in that they were given team with a lot of young talent and cheap plus they started to learn how to win as a group. I will this group credit for giving Molitor information and coaches to where he has become a better manager if not one of the best in the game and getting better. I think the downfall of F and L will be I think they are extremely arrogant thinking they know everything when in baseball just when you think you got something figured out it changes. Like last summer when they gave up they have said they had only 4 % chance of winning is why they were sellers. Baseball maybe about numbers but it still played by people who may defy the numbers one way or another. That's what your good baseball people are about is finding the right mix of players getting them to play together and believe in what they are doing teaching them to play the game correctly.

I may be wrong about F and L but its much more than there numbers its about people go look at Astros those players are all talking about getting that right mix of players and coaching that finally got them over the hill this year. yes they had a lot of talent but they did last year too but adding the right people got them to winning a championship. So we will see if this comes to Minnesota in next few years.