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In Defense of the Twins Front Office


6 minutes ago, nicksaviking said:

I know there are many who don't like the analytic approach, but I think many around here, if not most, appreciate the attempt at forward thinking.

But it's not enough to have that approach, you still have to produce. That's why I keep asking for a distinction between job responsibilities. I like the theoretical game plan. Is it possible that Falvey has instituted a good framework and infrastructure while Thad Levine has botched the execution?

While it's a boogeyman term for some, analytics is essentially the systematic study and analysis of what happened to inform decisions. Which is why I feel good about this front office learning valuable lessons from this year. They will take a hard look at everything that went wrong and assess a path forward based on evidence rather than fanciful thinking (i.e., the plan after 2011's disaster). 

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1 minute ago, Nick Nelson said:

While it's a boogeyman term for some, analytics is essentially the systematic study and analysis of what happened to inform decisions. Which is why I feel good about this front office learning valuable lessons from this year. They will take a hard look at everything that went wrong and assess a path forward based on evidence rather than fanciful thinking (i.e., the plan after 2011's disaster). 

Is there a path to contention in 2022?

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7 minutes ago, Mike Sixel said:

Should we also take out the best players other teams sign, and see how they look in FA? Of course bad things happened, but you can't just throw out all the good stuff and say "see, they are bad at this". that said, I'm a year from doing so.....as I'm not in love with a lot of what they've done. IMO, the big mistake was thinking they could keep signing 2 FA starters and half a bullpen every year, rather than trading for a guy under control or signing a FA for more than 1-2 years.

I think people also forget that the minor league season was cancelled last year. Kind of hard to move a SP from A or even one who got to AA late in 19, to the majors this year, let alone at the start of this year......

Which is my biggest issue with this season (now). They aren't promoting guys so that they can be in MN early next year, setting themselves up to have to acquire too much pitching again (which they'll hold onto because they are ok, rather than promoting guys that might be good or better).

Sigh… Is your first paragraph really debating in good faith? Gleeman did a full analysis, every free agent signing. Then labeled the signings as great, good, neutral, poor, very poor. I’ll attach the images. How do you evaluate their ability to sign free agents? 279C8EA7-7F85-45D7-9A94-7A99F2727485.png.0d68376b2b3914ffb918f91e76665a9d.pngDE29DEF2-7D66-4AE2-9383-757D8EC57976.png.8a18f7e14b0091fead587c3115cc90a0.png

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5 minutes ago, USAFChief said:

Is there a path to contention in 2022?

Not a particularly likely one........but I'll bite:

1B ... Kiriloff

2B Polanco
SS FA
3B Donaldson, Arraez, Miranda
LF Larnach, Martin, Arreaz
CF Buxton, Martin
RF Kepler
C Garver, Jeffers, Rortverdt

DH Sano, Donaldson, Larnach

That's a legit offense, maybe a good D if Martin and Buxton and Kepler are the OF and the FA SS is good.

SP Maeda and who the heck knows? I'm guessing one legit FA SP and a trade for a number 3 type. Ober at 4 and then probably Jax or Ryan with Winder, B, and others in AAA ready when needed.

That's clearly a major issue. Major. Like, the part I don't think is fixed in one year.

RP Rogers, Duffey, Alcala, Moran, Cano, 2 free agents and a whole lot of guys in AAA.

That's a better team than this year, on D and O. I don't realistically think SP can be fixed in one year, but maybe they get luck in a trade and a FA signing and Ober is a legit 4.....and one of the others is a 3 or 4. 

I don't think so.....but I also don't think they are this bad again next year. If I had any confidence in Lewis as a SS, I'd really like their O and D in 22 and beyond (assuming they sign Buxton).....it all comes down to pitching.

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Any analysis that says Donaldson is a poor signing is suspect at best.....I'd move him to good, frankly. That changes the numbers dramatially.

And, really, if you look at the ratios, that's probably about what every other team does .....which is 100x more than TR ever did, btw. 

I can't draw a conclusion, fairly, unless someone does this for every FA signed, and compares to the industry......

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20 minutes ago, Major League Ready said:

You simply elect to ignore hard fact.  The Twins FA signings are on par with all of the other teams.  It's much more telling of how ineffective free agency is on average.  Did they rely on free agency or did they hope like every other team to get better than average productivity from free agents.  What we should be asking is why so many people here go off the deep about spending when free agency is so ineffective, especially for teams outside the top revenue teams.

Would they have been in better shape if drafting was better 5-10 years ago.  Of course!  This front office did not make those selections.  We should also ask why so many people want to trade away prospects if developing talent is so important to below average revenue teams. 

But if the Twins are subpar at developing pitchers don't you think they would be compelled to be better than par in free agency to make up for it? Or are the fans expected to just shrug their shoulders and accept that they put in an average effort?

Trading for pitchers isn't the same animal as signing free agents either. I don't understand your last point. Trading for Kenta Maeda and Jake Odorizzi are two of the best moves the front office has made.

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2 hours ago, Mike Sixel said:

Nick Gordon, Kohl Stewart, and Tyler Jay say hi.

This can't be stressed enough, IMO. Those were ALL TOP TEN PICKS.

If one of those is a 3 WAR player, a success rate that seems fair, how different is this roster overall (not this year, unless he's a SP)? If two of those are good? Those picks should be in their prime in MN right now.......How different are the last couple years if Gordon is Turner instead, for example?

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2 minutes ago, Mike Sixel said:

Any analysis that says Donaldson is a poor signing is suspect at best.....I'd move him to good, frankly. That changes the numbers dramatially.

And, really, if you look at the ratios, that's probably about what every other team does .....which is 100x more than TR ever did, btw. 

I can't draw a conclusion, fairly, unless someone does this for every FA signed, and compares to the industry......

He’s at a negative trade value right now where they have to kick in cash in order to move him. It’s not going to get any better for the last 2 years of his contract. His value extrapolated over 162 games in 2020 was 1.6 WAR. He missed 32 games last season, 26 games and counting this season. YMMV. 

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5 hours ago, RonCoomersOPS said:

Baseball Reference says they were a game over .500 in August last year and won at a .667 clip in September (24 games) of last year. They scored 119 runs with 112 against in August, compared to 110 for and 80 against in September.

I know that 2020 was a weird year, but I don't recall September occurring before August. Seems like you might be misremembering a little bit.

Ahhhh, stats.

My point basically was, without wasting the time to look it up and going from memory, was that for much of the season they were barely a .500 team.

So I did waste the time to see how much I misremembered.

On August 5, after a quick start, and they were 10-2. 8 games over .500

On August 2`1 they were 17-10, 7 games over.

On August 29th, they were 20-14, 6 games over, and passed by both Chicago and Cleveland.

On August 31 they were 20-16, 4 games over.

On September 10 they were 27-18, 9 games over.

On September 18 they were 31-22, 9 games over, and still 3 games behind Chicago.

On September 23, they were 35-22, and a season high 13 games over .500, and back in the division lead by .5 game.

On September 27, and the short season end, they were 36-24, 12 games over .500, and barely won the division by 1 game over Cleveland and Chicago.

Soooooooooooo, the point was, without looking up the exact dates and records, that they were barely a .500 team after a fast start. From August 5 to September 27, they were barely a .500 team, with much of it a below .500 team. They gained a total of 4 games on .500 from August 5 to September 27. Sorry I misrembered the dates a little bit. I think we both have found stats to back up our points. Gotta love statistics eh?

And that was some fine snark - "but I don't recall September occurring before August." Well played.

 

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Just now, Vanimal46 said:

He’s at a negative trade value right now where they have to kick in cash in order to move him. It’s not going to get any better for the last 2 years of his contract. His value extrapolated over 162 games in 2020 was 1.6 WAR. He missed 32 games last season, 26 games and counting this season. YMMV. 

Now we are supposed to predict injuries? I guess my mileage does vary.

He was signed for the front of the deal, not the back. I'm not sure how we should ding the FO for the pandemic blowing up last year.......and how that impacted his playing time and how he played. His fWAR per 162 this year is 3 ish. 

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8 hours ago, MMMordabito said:

The returns so far on Falvey's development pipeline are mediocre at best.  Bailey Ober is the only one that really looks like he has a decent chance to stick in the rotation so far, but he may never be a workhorse due to either health or management. Barnes is likely AAAA, but I'll give him a chance for the rest of the season..

You're feeling wayyyy more optimistic about Ober and Barnes than I am.

I see Ober as a Devin Smeltzer-type (up and down for a couple years, long relief, fizzle) and I don't see Barnes as having an MLB future at all.

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2 minutes ago, Mike Sixel said:

Now we are supposed to predict injuries? I guess my mileage does vary.

He was signed for the front of the deal, not the back. I'm not sure how we should ding the FO for the pandemic blowing up last year.......and how that impacted his playing time and how he played. His fWAR per 162 this year is 3 ish. 

You’re right there, I’m not sure how it’s not clicking yet. You said he was signed for the front of the deal. They got a half season from him year 1. Maybe 100+ games this season if he comes back from injury. Help me understand why it’s not a poor signing? Re: injuries. I mean, the dude has recurring leg injuries. Predicting injuries is the wrong term… His risk is higher than others of injury. 

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Just now, Vanimal46 said:

You’re right there, I’m not sure how it’s not clicking yet. You said he was signed for the front of the deal. They got a half season from him year 1. Maybe 100+ games this season if he comes back from injury. Help me understand why it’s not a poor signing? Re: injuries. I mean, the dude has recurring leg injuries. Predicting injuries is the wrong term… His risk is higher than others of injury. 

He played in 155 games in 2019....He had 2 seasons playing less than 155 before that. Yes, 2 they were 18 and 17.....

People scream and yell they never sign big time FAs, then when they do, and something bad happens it was a bad signing. Dude got hurt, after playing in almost every game in 2019.....I really don't know how to judge year 1, since it wasn't a full year. Look, my main point about that list remains....how does it compare to other teams? 

Lastly, we won't agree on this, so I doubt I'll reply to anything else on this part of the topic. IMO, they are likely about middle of the road in FA. That isn't good enough when your system is weak, we agree on that. It isn't good enough when your budget is limited and you can't afford mistakes. But I'm not here to say they are bad at it, without context about how well other teams do. I'm here to say a: we don't know and b: they need to be better, but I don't know they are bad at it.

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3 hours ago, Nick Nelson said:

I think it's fair to say a franchise that led all of baseball in losses the previous 6 years and coming off a season with the most losses in Twins history was lacking vitality and vigor. 

You could say their system was healthy at that time but... was it? Their top 10 in 2016 included Nick Gordon (#4), Tyler Jay (#5), Stephen Gonsalves (#6), Alex Meyer (#8), Kohl Stewart (#9) and Nick Burdi (#10). I think you're looking through a really rose-colored hindsight lens to suggest this franchise was in anything other than a dire state when new leadership took over. TR's front office had been rebuilding fruitlessly for half a decade. 

Buxton, Rosario, Sano, Polanco and Kepler were all under 25 and on the Twins in 2016. Berrios, Pressley, Duffey and May were all on the big league team. They had won 83 games in 2015. Ryan et al had drafted Kirilloff, Baddoo, Rortvedt, Balazovic and Miranda in 2016. 

Yes, the draft sucked for three years. The only player to develop, Garver, is thanks to the current front office. But I just named 14 players that have had a positive impact from the Ryan years. That is not a roster moribund and in despair. 

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I don't think using Dollars/WAR is a good metric for evaluating free agency signings without context. Recognizing the fit for the signing is, in my opinion, step 1 in regard to evaluating free agents.

If the Twins had signed only Cruz across the entire period, their free agent record would be impeccable using the Dollars/WAR metric; however, the front office's performance would be universally regarded as horrendous.

The Twins did not sign the players they needed to advance in the playoffs. The front office built a team which was designed to potentially win the AL Central, a division with 3 teams actively rebuilding and 1 small market team in the twilight of their competitive window who decided not to start the rebuild only because of how weak the division already was. Unfortunately, a team capable of winning the AL Central is not a team which necessarily would have won in other divisions or the playoffs.

It's also worth noting the Twins won the AL Central in 2020 by the absolute slimmest of margins. 2 teams were only 1 game back, folks.

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2 minutes ago, dbminn said:

Buxton, Rosario, Sano, Polanco and Kepler were all under 25 and on the Twins in 2016. Berrios, Pressley, Duffey and May were all on the big league team. They had won 83 games in 2015. Ryan et al had drafted Kirilloff, Baddoo, Rortvedt, Balazovic and Miranda in 2016. 

Yes, the draft sucked for three years. The only player to develop, Garver, is thanks to the current front office. But I just named 14 players that have had a positive impact from the Ryan years. That is not a roster moribund and in despair. 

That's 1 starting pitcher. Seems pretty bad to me. Awful even. I do agree that the core of this roster is from Ryan, but that is what we'd expect at this point in the process for sure. Next year and beyond is the real test of this FO. Larnach, Jeffers, and some pitchers need to be good. 

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This front office has made more deposits in my Bank of Trust than withdrawals.

I'm finally of the ripe 'ol age to be a season ticket holder, and will be next year too. But if management and labor can't arrive at a new CBA (collective bargaining agreement) and there's another work stoppage, the bank defaults, and I'll bring my sign out of the closet, "Don't Feed the Greed."

You've got me for one more year, Derek & Mike.

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1 minute ago, Mike Sixel said:

That's 1 starting pitcher. Seems pretty bad to me. Awful even. I do agree that the core of this roster is from Ryan, but that is what we'd expect at this point in the process for sure. Next year and beyond is the real test of this FO. Larnach, Jeffers, and some pitchers need to be good. 

Pretty bad is better than "near death" and "in despair". 

The change needed to be made. Falvey and Levine should get credit for convincing the Pohlad's to provide needed investments in the farm system and analytics. But they had six top-100 prospects on the roster, all under 25. They had a great draft class entering their first year. It's not like the rebuilds of the Astros of the past or the Tigers of the present. 

Like I continue to say, Falvey and Levine have done okay - great in some spots, questionable in others. I agree that 2022 is a pivotal year for their regime. I just get tired of the hyperbole.

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1 minute ago, Mike Sixel said:

That's 1 starting pitcher. Seems pretty bad to me. Awful even. I do agree that the core of this roster is from Ryan, but that is what we'd expect at this point in the process for sure. Next year and beyond is the real test of this FO. Larnach, Jeffers, and some pitchers need to be good. 

This FO let Ynoa, Gil, Rodriguez, Wells, Anderson and Chargois go in their first two years. That kind of changes the storyline on how good the pitching they inherited was, doesn't it? And they got back to back 4 WAR seasons out of Santana, acquired by the previous FO, as well as an "in his prime" Gibson, and even 21 decent starts from Mejia.

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I feel that either Ober or Jax could work out in the rotation, and the Twins have a lot of possible pieces.  I still think we need either Pineda or 2 more pieces this winter to save the young starters from being over pushed.  Maybe Ryan is here this year and should be so we will have a better idea.  Out of about 12 possibilies maybe 2 - 3 will work out.  But it is too early to know and we probably will not know until 2023 - 2024 on how the young pitchers work out.

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1 hour ago, USAFChief said:

I would have a much easier time chalking up 2021 as some bad luck if I could look optimistically at 2022.

Exactly this. It seems like a lot of folks here are acting like the Twins are running neck-and-neck with Cleveland as division/WC runners-up this year. They are one of the WORST TEAMS IN MLB. This isn't a matter of falling a little short of contention - this is "Total System Failure" territory.

That's why I'm so down on the FO. Many teams fall short of their hopes and goals - that's fine. This team was expected to win the division and isn't even close to being competent. That signals a major organizational problem moving forward.

Now, the team may have gotten lucky in one way. If you're not going to win, it's probably better to trade Cruz and Berrios and to have a top-5 draft pick in 2022. Let's see what they can do with this little silver lining. Take your lumps, learn from the contenders and turn this thing around in a hurry.

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5 minutes ago, Mike Sixel said:

Calling up Nick Vincent in a lost year reduces my trust in the FO by a considerable amount. I really do not understand what they are doing with the bullpen right now. Maybe I should stop trying to give them a chance.....

Yeah, that move seemed strange to me too. I mean, he's a good ML relief pitcher who won't embarrass the team. And the Twins are really struggling right now so a vet might be good. But I'm trying really hard to be nice.

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3 minutes ago, se7799 said:

I have many issues, you can ask the wife.  But my largest concern is our manager.  I believe if we have any hope of being competitive next year, we will need an elite manager.  

How much do you think a manager matters? I mean, a FA player gets about $7-8MM per win......and only a handful of managers make even $5MM.....I can't see that they matter that much. Probably 2-3 wins, making them underpaid relative to players. I could be wrong, maybe they are worth a lot more, but then I'd think they'd be paid a lot more.

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23 minutes ago, dbminn said:

...The only player to develop, Garver, is thanks to the current front office...

Oh yeah, the way they had Garver play 1/2 to 1/3 of his games in the minors at utility positions and didn't give him a legitimate shot until they failed to protect Stuart Turner from the rule 5 draft, Jason Castro got injured, and their ill-advised free agent signing, Bobby Wilson, played like crap. The front office didn't defend Garver, instead allowing Molitor and Glen Perkins, among other pitchers, to take a nasty public swipes at the future starting catcher in 2017-2018.

By the way, Garver made the call to a catcher framing coach, Tanner Swanson, not the Twins front office, and Garver spent the time working to improve himself. So Falvey does get credit for hiring the coach Garver reached out to for training, but it was Garver who was trying to seek an avenue of improvement.

If it weren't for Garver's initiative and hard work while being publicly humiliated and largely ignored by this front office, he certainly wouldn't be starting for the Twins. This front office did just about everything they could to miss Garver's talent.

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1 minute ago, Mike Sixel said:

How much do you think a manager matters? I mean, a FA player gets about $7-8MM per win......and only a handful of managers make even $5MM.....I can't see that they matter that much. Probably 2-3 wins, making them underpaid relative to players. I could be wrong, maybe they are worth a lot more, but then I'd think they'd be paid a lot more.

Nothing makes a manager look better than a great bullpen. Regardless of how one feels about Rocco, he didn't have the arms this season. A moribund bullpen. 🤫

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2 minutes ago, bean5302 said:

Oh yeah, the way they had Garver play 1/2 to 1/3 of his games in the minors at utility positions and didn't give him a legitimate shot until they failed to protect Stuart Turner from the rule 5 draft, Jason Castro got injured, and their ill-advised free agent signing, Bobby Wilson, played like crap. The front office didn't defend Garver, instead allowing Molitor and Glen Perkins, among other pitchers, to take a nasty public swipes at the future starting catcher in 2017-2018.

By the way, Garver made the call to a catcher framing coach, Tanner Swanson, not the Twins front office, and Garver spent the time working to improve himself. So Falvey does get credit for hiring the coach Garver reached out to for training, but it was Garver who was trying to seek an avenue of improvement.

If it weren't for Garver's initiative and hard work while being publicly humiliated and largely ignored by this front office, he certainly wouldn't be starting for the Twins.

You win the Most Concise and Biting Comment Award! Hard to argue too...

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I won't be outraged when they're back next year, but I've seen enough. They may be able to get the Twins back to play-off contention, but they'll never contend for a World Series with this front office. They proved that when they did nothing at the deadline in 2019.

There are a lot of problems with the moves made last winter. I can forgive Happ and even Colome because both were worse than anyone could have expected. There's zero excuse for losing Wade and Badoo for the sake of Jake Cave, etc.

But let's focus on what they're doing now. Continuing to run Simmons and Jake Cave out on a regular basis is maddening. Why is either one on the team? And they finally end the Burrow experiment, but who do they call up? A 35 year-old waiver claim. What is the fascination with garbage heap waiver claims. Call up some of the young arms already. Ugh.

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