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Article: One Year In, Rebuilt Twins Front Office Is Crushing It


Nick Nelson
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Building up the system is the best recipe for long-term success. 

 

This is exactly it. Fielding a major league team that can contend for a World Championship every year should be the goal, and I think this is what Falvine are striving for. The key is building a minor league system that graduates several good major league players every year. It takes time, hard work, good hires, good drafting and a bit of luck.

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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.

I'm a casual fan. Khakis and polo shirt only. Haven't worn a tie to a game in years.

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Forgot the John Ryan Murphy for Gabriel Moya trade. Could be a good one as well.

That trade stills seems to good to be true. How did we steal that one? Then again, Arizona has made some loony deals in the past couple of years. Thinking of how Atlanta took took advantage of them a few times, getting good prospects for a whole lot of mediocrity.

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That trade stills seems to good to be true. How did we steal that one? Then again, Arizona has made some loony deals in the past couple of years. Thinking of how Atlanta took took advantage of them a few times, getting good prospects for a whole lot of mediocrity.

Catchers are more valuable than we think - Buetera, Murphy and Herrman all got us far better returns than any of us expected.

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That trade stills seems to good to be true. How did we steal that one? Then again, Arizona has made some loony deals in the past couple of years. Thinking of how Atlanta took took advantage of them a few times, getting good prospects for a whole lot of mediocrity.

Just like the Hermann - Daniel Palka trade, last year we thought the Twins won that deal. This year, they drop and lose Palka. Arizona is trading what they feel is marginal prospects and getting a couple years of a backup catcher. Seems like a good move by Arizona.

Edited by KGB
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As you mentioned, very few players in their primes (under 30)hit free agency.

 

Look at high profile free agents: Zito, Fielder, Pujols, etc. Albatross contracts that hamstring an organization. I'm sure there are some that work out. Greg Maddux comes to mind, but he was 27 and the and the Cubs had issues, and arguably that was a different era.

 

Big money contracts are rarely worth it, especially for those that get themselves in the position to reap the rewards.

 

Age, satisfaction, many factors contribute.

 

Adding a sensible free-agent to address a weakness in a mature team? Hell yeah. Chili Davis, Jack Morris, good adds that helped put their team over the top, all low risk short term deals.

 

Big money free-agency is a fool's game.

Agree completely while qualifying that the 5 or 6 largest markets have enough incremental revenue to absorb contracts that go terribly bad as long an equal number of them work out.  All we need to do is observe which teams sign these enormous contracts.  Small market teams rarely (almost never) sign these kinds of deals.  It is very obvious that mid and small market GMs agree with you.

Edited by Major Leauge Ready
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The new boys inherited a good situation, not a bad one. Jim Pohlad and company finally realized they had to commit the funds to building a competitive organizational infrastructure. They went out and hired two baseball people with credentials to replace one, and then they infused the budget for the new guys. They've improved the situation nicely.

 

The main changes I think I'm seeing from the new boys are that they're much more strategic. They're more opportunistic. They're less risk-averse. They're more proactive. They're more decisive, even when they're wishy-washy. ;) They're supporting what was already a very able scouting and development staff by making the few personnel changes that they deemed necessary, by adding additional talent, and by supporting the whole effort with all the modern technology and data-driven methods. 

 

From where I sit, it's all good, as long as they don't suffer from hubris or get too cute about it all. Other organizations are run similarly and by equally adept management teams.

 

I find it comforting that some things haven't changed all that much. The boys didn't just look at the back of a baseball card before pulling the trigger on acquiring the new assets via the draft and these other transactions. They relied on the very same competent scouting staff. And yes, it's a lot easier to infuse your already decent farm system with even more talent when you have the two things they've had going for them, which is a favorable draft position and valuable assets to trade. Time will tell, but you gotta like what you see so far with Lewis, Rooker, Enlow, Moya, Littell, Watson, Pearson, Severino, et al.

Edited by birdwatcher
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I have no idea how successful this front office will be but they literally have done nothing that a typical front office wouldn't have done. It will all depend on whether their judgment proves to be good. Until then "crushing it" is just click bait. Not why I come to this site.

I'm not sure if this is true. Some examples of maybe why not:

Atlanta traded Garcia, did not eat any of the money on his contract and got a rookie level, high risk pitcher.

Kansas City and others had similar playoff hopes and they held on to the players in the last year of contracts rather than trade them.

The Yankees and others had $1M+ in international funds but they held on to it rather than trade with Seattle and LAA for more advanced prospects.

Additionally, they've made some really interesting coaching decisions that others haven't. Jeff Pickler vs Joe Vavra for "QA Manager"? Garvin Alston or one of many retreads for Pitching Coach?

 

I'm not saying no one else would make this moves, but I don't know that they're exactly typical moves.

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Just their quotes and interviews in the weeks that follow.

Obviously they aren't going to go on record and say they screwed up, but they were actively trying to add in August and saying the team played better than they thought it would.

Well, if you are going to say they committed a blunder and essentially admitted it, then say this, you are just strawmanning

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From where I sit, it's all good, as long as they don't suffer from hubris or get too cute about it all.

A project leader from one of my early jobs passed along this sage rule of thumb: "It takes about 10 Attaboys to make up for 1 OhSh[oo]t".

 

Said another way, a chess player who grinds down the opponents through a sequence of small tactical positional advantages leading to small gains in material can still lose the game in the blink of an eye due to a careless blunder.

 

I'm encouraged by a lot of these moves, but Terry Ryan was also adept at small-ball GMing, and we have yet to see a really big move by our new guys to start to tell what will happen under their regime. They aren't likely going to win a WS doing only what we've seen from them so far.

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While I have never agreed, I would accept that trading assets at the deadline could be seen as the appropriate move. But in hindsight it is absolutely a blunder. It really does blow my mind that adding some marginal guys can make up for this as a hindsight analysis.

 

And phenomenal is really a stretch here. Adding a couple of depth pieces is certainly better than nothing, but there was talent out there that was worthwhile to pursue that they either passed on or missed out on.

i agree with your argument. I’m not yet ready to crown Falvine as king. They are doing well, maybe very good. Not exactly crushing it.

 

Don’t quite agree that last trade deadline was a blunder. The players traded away probably wouldn’t have made a big enough impact to really be a blunder. It may have been the wake up call the team needed to turn the season around. The team is better now than it was before the trade.

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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.

I don't recall this board ever liking a free agent move our favorite team has made. Hughes maybe the closest. There will be much unhappiness, unless we sign the most expensive item on the menu.

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Provisional Member

i agree with your argument. I’m not yet ready to crown Falvine as king. They are doing well, maybe very good. Not exactly crushing it.

 

Don’t quite agree that last trade deadline was a blunder. The players traded away probably wouldn’t have made a big enough impact to really be a blunder. It may have been the wake up call the team needed to turn the season around. The team is better now than it was before the trade.

That's a fair argument. I will say it was a blunder, but it's not a huge one, affected the 2017 season only, and the franchise is in better shape right now than it was before the deadline.

 

But I don't think it was worth the marginally better position the franchise is in now over taking less of a shot last year when they were in the playoffs.

 

Overall, this isn't that big of a deal, but is a data point against saying they are "crushing it" as a front office. That said, I am pretty optimistic as a whole about the front office and I think it was a good change from the Ryan regime.

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Well, if you are going to say they committed a blunder and essentially admitted it, then say this, you are just strawmanning

I don't follow what you are saying.

 

The front office made a blunder last trade deadline, admitted it with their actions and admitted it as much as they could with their words. Should I be more clear? Less clear?

 

It's not a disaster, they shouldn't be fired, and it is probably even understandable.

 

But it is worth repeating if people rate their performance as "crushing it". They were too light last offseason and were wrong on their analysis last deadline.

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As you mentioned, very few players in their primes (under 30)hit free agency.

 

Look at high profile free agents: Zito, Fielder, Pujols, etc. Albatross contracts that hamstring an organization. I'm sure there are some that work out. Greg Maddux comes to mind, but he was 27 and the and the Cubs had issues, and arguably that was a different era.

 

Big money contracts are rarely worth it, especially for those that get themselves in the position to reap the rewards.

 

Age, satisfaction, many factors contribute.

 

Adding a sensible free-agent to address a weakness in a mature team? Hell yeah. Chili Davis, Jack Morris, good adds that helped put their team over the top, all low risk short term deals.

 

Big money free-agency is a fool's game.

Bingo! I'll never get over how many members of the board still confuse free agency with Christmas. Free agency has evolved into the market of last resort.

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I don't follow what you are saying.

The front office made a blunder last trade deadline, admitted it with their actions and admitted it as much as they could with their words. Should I be more clear? Less clear?

It's not a disaster, they shouldn't be fired, and it is probably even understandable.

But it is worth repeating if people rate their performance as "crushing it". They were too light last offseason and were wrong on their analysis last deadline.

They blinked, and then rebounded nicely. You're hanging your hat on Ynoa( the next Hu) and that we could have made a move to beat a far better team at the deadline? 

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But I don't think it was worth the marginally better position the franchise is in now over taking less of a shot last year when they were in the playoffs.
 

Strongly disagree. Marginal improvements now can result in significant improvements later. Decreasing our chance of winning the 2017 World Series from 0.02% to 0.01% was worth even a small marginal improvement in the overall state of the franchise.

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I have no idea how successful this front office will be but they literally have done nothing that a typical front office wouldn't have done. It will all depend on whether their judgment proves to be good. Until then "crushing it" is just click bait. Not why I come to this site.

If "literally" every other front office would have done it, why didn't they? Why didn't the Yankees flip their international money to teams angling for Ohtani and acquire two new prospects? Why didn't anyone else hire James Rowson or Jeff Pickler? Why didn't anyone else bring in John Manuel, or this highly touted Pitch F/X specialist the Twins just hired? 

 

"Crushing it" is an opinion, and one you can disagree with, but it's not click bait. There is plenty of back it up. This group is clearly differentiating itself.

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If "literally" every other front office would have done it, why didn't they? Why didn't the Yankees flip their international money to teams angling for Ohtani and acquire two new prospects? Why didn't anyone else hire James Rowson or Jeff Pickler? Why didn't anyone else bring in John Manuel, or this highly touted Pitch F/X specialist the Twins just hired?

 

"Crushing it" is an opinion, and one you can disagree with, but it's not click bait. There is plenty of back it up. This group is clearly differentiating itself.

What happens if the new coaches are no better than the old? What happens if the two prospects they got the international money never see the big leagues? Like I said,time will determine whether these moves amount to anything. There is literally no way to make this determination right now.

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If someone can explain the masterstroke in last winter's Rule-5 draft, where we chose Miguel Diaz and then hilarity ensued all the way through July 24, I will be more inclined to decide on crushing versus non-crushing. :) What did we net, in exchange for the investment of a 25-man roster spot for more than half a season during which we wound up in post-season contention?

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You really didn't answer the question. Is it better the owners pocket the money than it be spent inefficiently? Morris signed the largest FA contract ever, at the time.....

Inefficiency and waste annoy me more than owners being conservative with their money.

 

Morris was only a 1 year deal. No problem with that.

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I don't think there was any blunder at the deadline last year. I would wager these two slick youngsters we're fully aware the team was not ready to really compete and that they would be flipping Jaime to improve the organization. The acted mighty quickly to strike for maximum return. That they would move Kintzler for maximum value for an expiring asset.Was fun to watch. Never said that before and I'll bet there's more in store.

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You really didn't answer the question. Is it better the owners pocket the money than it be spent inefficiently? Morris signed the largest FA contract ever, at the time.....

Some context...

 

The contract guaranteed 3/2/2 if Morris accepted the player option. Higuera had signed a 4 year 13 million guaranteed contract early that winter. Other pitchers were getting guarantees of 10 million or more.

 

Baseball was coming out of collusion and salaries were escalating very quickly. The going rate for a top pitcher was going to pass 5 million. Gooden signed a 3 year extension for 15.45 million guaranteed prior to the 1991 season. Three days after the Twins signed Morris, Clemens signed a 4 year extension worth a guaranteed 21.521 with an option for 5.5 million more.

 

Collusion a thing of the past, salaries were escalating and each new contract seemed remarkable to newspapers. The Twins guaranteed 7 million to Morris and 3 days later Clemens got a guarantee of three times as much.

 

The Morris signing was critical to the Twins, but he didn't get Clemens money or even Higuera money. He didn't earn top tier pitcher money until after 1991 when the Blue Jays gave him more than 5 million a year. Relative to Twins signings the commitment was more similar to that of Nolasco or Santana.

Edited by jorgenswest
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I don't follow what you are saying.

 

The front office made a blunder last trade deadline, admitted it with their actions and admitted it as much as they could with their words. Should I be more clear? Less clear?

 

It's not a disaster, they shouldn't be fired, and it is probably even understandable.

 

But it is worth repeating if people rate their performance as "crushing it". They were too light last offseason and were wrong on their analysis last deadline.

Except they didn't admit any such thing with their words or actions.

 

Making a different decision later, when the circumstances have changed, is nowhere near automatically admitting that your earlier action was a blunder.

 

Calling the flop, then folding the turn - with new information and circumstances, doesn't mean your flop call was a blunder.

It could mean that, or it could mean that you made the right decision both times under the circumstances.

 

We have no idea how the FO feels about their deadline decision.

Saying you think it was a blunder is a fair take. Insisting on that opinion being a fact, and insisting on putting words in the FO's mouth isn't.

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Except they didn't admit any such thing with their words or actions.

Making a different decision later, when the circumstances have changed, is nowhere near automatically admitting that your earlier action was a blunder.

Calling the flop, then folding the turn - with new information and circumstances, doesn't mean your flop call was a blunder.

It could mean that, or it could mean that you made the right decision both times under the circumstances.

We have no idea how the FO feels about their deadline decision.

Saying you think it was a blunder is a fair take. Insisting on that opinion being a fact, and insisting on putting words in the FO's mouth isn't.

It would be fair to say they traded pitching only because they decided they had zero chance at the postseason.

 

Since that was not true, it’s fair to say trading away pitching was a blunder, and I absolutely believe Falvine would say the same. Whether or not they actually made the postseason is irrelevant to the decision, as are postseason results.

 

To put it in your poker terms, folding after the flop, when pot odds indicate you should call, is a blunder, regardless the turn and river.

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Except they didn't admit any such thing with their words or actions.

Making a different decision later, when the circumstances have changed, is nowhere near automatically admitting that your earlier action was a blunder.

Calling the flop, then folding the turn - with new information and circumstances, doesn't mean your flop call was a blunder.
It could mean that, or it could mean that you made the right decision both times under the circumstances.

We have no idea how the FO feels about their deadline decision.
Saying you think it was a blunder is a fair take. Insisting on that opinion being a fact, and insisting on putting words in the FO's mouth isn't.

 

Poker's a terrible analogy for this situation. The basic information never changed, it was all right in front of them. Which is why flip flopping three different times between buying, selling and trying to buy again never made any sense.

 

And we do know (somewhat) how the front office felt about their decision, they did answer questions about it after the fact.

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