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Who do you want to replace the FO with?


Craig Arko
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Even if I am unhappy with the results in 2021, and decide to hold the current FO accountable, I think the process that chose them back in 2016 was basically sound. So my answer now will likely be the same if a change came instead a year from now, or two, or more.

I'd target successful franchises whose leadership is not nearing retirement, and see who within the somewhat younger ranks appears to have a lot on the ball but is blocked at the top. Running a team isn't all about one's own talent evaluation, et cetera, so whoever you hire will need to retain or replace your own staff on a pragmatic basis - I don't think Falvey ever was "all about the spreadsheets" and that wouldn't be my criterion this time either.  What's most important is to get someone with deep experience in the mechanics of running a baseball organization, not just general business skills and neither just baseball acumen, so that they don't have to hire a retread like Roland Hemond (just to pick a name, he's 91) to serve as special assistant GM and answer dumb questions like, "so what are the tricks of the trade to negotiate a major free agent contract? I spent most of my time coordinating the scouting and then the coaching."  The person needs a lot of positive qualities of character (honesty, humility, toughness, vision), and the absence of any red flags that might signal eventual doom.

Falvey was a reasonable choice in 2016.  Whether or not he worked out (and I'm not one who has closed the books on that), he checked all the right boxes at the time.  If I deviate from that earlier process, it might only be to pick someone five years older, or so.  Hm, Falvey is five years or so older than he was in 2016. :)  The point about age is that the person have a mental database that covers a lot of situations, so that when something new comes along the reaction might be, "hm, this reminds me of a situation back in 2008 when the boss screwed things up badly, let's do it this other way instead."

The difference it would make? A fresh set of eyes with a different point of view about things like how loading up on corner bats fits in with a long term strategy for the franchise as a whole, for example. Also, while Falvey is hardly stale in the job, the state of the art is constantly moving forward and someone from a successful organization might have a different perspective on priorities and allocation of resources - analytics that identify ways to reduce injuries might involve some secret sauce that a new person would know how to tap into, for another example.

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Despite my dislike of the FO, I'm not 100% sure both Falvey and Levine should go. Levine should go, no quesiton. I don't know enough about Falvey and his role do be as sure. Although the pitching failure this year and the adoption of the five inning starter doesn't fill me with much hope about him, either.

As to a new GM, I'm not sure who the best but there are some deserving names out there. Amiel Sawdaye was under strong consideration before we hired Levine and has been with the DBacks, who created a great farm system. Sounds like he might go from assistant GM to GM though, so not sure he'll be available. DeJon Watson, currently with the Nats would be an interesting pick as well.

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I suppose I should state a preference here.

Simply, I don't.  I expect one or both will get bona fide better offers when their contracts expire at the end of 2024, and they'll leave. That's the business called MLB.

Change for the sake of change rarely results in any real improvements, in my experience. Just swapping one set of systemic issues for a different set, which could be good, bad, or simply ugly.

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1 hour ago, Craig Arko said:

I suppose I should state a preference here.

Simply, I don't.  I expect one or both will get bona fide better offers when their contracts expire at the end of 2024, and they'll leave. That's the business called MLB.

Change for the sake of change rarely results in any real improvements, in my experience. Just swapping one set of systemic issues for a different set, which could be good, bad, or simply ugly.

My guess is that Falvey's contract will be extended before it expires, and my secondary guess is that Levine will stay unless he gets an offer of an effective promotion to move to another franchise.

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6 hours ago, Craig Arko said:

This thread raises some questions: if you want to replace the FO, who would you replace them with, and what kind of difference would that be expected to make?

This is essentially the same question I usually pose to those who want to fire Baldelli. It's very easy and simplistic to advocate for a firing of those in charge. What is far more difficult and far more important is choosing the person to take over. Do not fire or non-tender Falvey and/or Levine unless someone better is already lined up to take over.

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3 hours ago, Nine of twelve said:

What is far more difficult and far more important is choosing the person to take over. Do not fire or non-tender Falvey and/or Levine unless someone better is already lined up to take over.

It is indeed far more difficult to find the right person; evidenced by how Pohlad and St. Peter did not find the right person or people to take over for Terry Ryan after 2016.

I can imagine that there are plenty of people who could step in and, given the right tools and access, do just as good a job or better going forward than Falvey or Levine would do. That is easy to imagine. But things don’t work that way. Falvey and Levine will be given more time, which is fine. I just hope they admit to themselves that they could use some assistance or that the processes they came in with, whatever they are, did not work. 

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10 hours ago, cHawk said:

The answer is nobody. You don’t give up on your FO after one bad season.

I think it’s silly this is even a conversation right now.

I agree with you that it's too soon. But, there are those that think it's enough and I really want to hear what they think should be changed and how. Maybe not specifically 'who', as in names, but I want to know what they think is wrong in our system and how they think it should/can be corrected. And I'd like specifics, not just 'it's just wrong and should be changed' or 'I want to win a WS and these aren't the guys to get us there'. Why? How? I think it's a legitimate question and deserves a conversation and is not silly. Don't participate if you think it's silly.

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11 hours ago, DJL44 said:

Let Mike Veeck run the team. He'd be able to keep the crowd happy and the turnstiles spinning even if the team stinks. Nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd.

It's hard to tell, but I assume you were joking. What he did was OK from a business standpoint for an unaffiliated minor league team. Since the roster is made up of has-beens, never-wases, and never-will-bes you have a very low payroll so you don't have to attract many fans to cover expenses. This also means you won't attract fans who want to see quality baseball so instead you market to people who are willing to pay to see a pig as a mascot and other kooky gimmicks. Your win-loss record makes no difference. None. This would never work in the major leagues.

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6 hours ago, Nine of twelve said:

Since the roster is made up of has-beens, never-wases, and never-will-bes you have a very low payroll so you don't have to attract many fans to cover expenses.

The same thing works in the major leagues, in fact with revenue sharing that guarantees a profitable team. Keep the payroll low and cash those checks from the Dodgers and Yankees. Judging by how much fans love Randy Dobnak and Willians Astudillo I think most Minnesota fans would rather watch a team full of outcasts and weirdos lose than see good players win. I hear from people all the time how they'd rather take their family to a Saints game than a Twins game. Cheap beer, stupid games and pigs would draw more fans. The State Fair draws 100,000 people on a weekday and they don't have any good baseball to watch.

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I'm fine with Falvey and Levine, but

1.  They were playing with fire by having so much turnover with relievers.  It always seemed like nonsense to me how they had a new set of guys ever year.  This was working for them, so this year I backed off of predicting it would fail.  I figured they knew more than I did, but their luck ran out.  They need to build a foundation of relievers and build on that, not do drastic turnovers every year.  

2.  I'm happy they found a way to hit a lot of home runs, but teams need more than that to win.  Twins fans learned this watching Dozier mash the ball during the total system failure.  This FO did not get that message, or disregarded it.  The last I looked, the Twins were doing very well with home runs this year, among the best, but their W-L record is among the worst.  What else can this FO do except coach to launch angles?  Now's the time to show it.

3.  I don't know how much control Baldelli has with the roles people play on the field.  If he is responsible for pitchers and position players playing out of position, the lineup card being filled out in bizarre ways, and choosing when to pull a pitcher, I would find some way to coach him.  Let him experiment all he wants in the preseason.  If some of these are not Baldelli's decisions, then it's time to cut the cord and give him the space to succeed or fail.

4.  Building on #3, if these are all Baldelli's decisions, have a serious conversation about changing his ways.  If the results of that conversation is the feeling that he can't adjust, then don't waste time.  Move on.  Baldelli is a great guy, but there are countless great guys in this world who are unfit to manage a baseball team.  Give him a chance to turn things around, but one output of this process has to be evaluating if can he build and maintain a successful clubhouse.  When on-field decisions make fans wonder if the manager is on medication (or if he should be), that's not a good sign.

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45 minutes ago, wabene said:

Had a couple and got a little obnoxious the other night, I apologize. 

 

46 minutes ago, wabene said:

Had a couple and got a little obnoxious the other night, I apologize. 

No worries, mate.

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23 minutes ago, Dodecahedron said:

I'm fine with Falvey and Levine, but

1.  They were playing with fire by having so much turnover with relievers.  It always seemed like nonsense to me how they had a new set of guys ever year.  This was working for them, so this year I backed off of predicting it would fail.  I figured they knew more than I did, but their luck ran out.  They need to build a foundation of relievers and build on that, not do drastic turnovers every year.  

2.  I'm happy they found a way to hit a lot of home runs, but teams need more than that to win.  Twins fans learned this watching Dozier mash the ball during the total system failure.  This FO did not get that message, or disregarded it.  The last I looked, the Twins were doing very well with home runs this year, among the best, but their W-L record is among the worst.  What else can this FO do except coach to launch angles?  Now's the time to show it.

3.  I don't know how much control Baldelli has with the roles people play on the field.  If he is responsible for pitchers and position players playing out of position, the lineup card being filled out in bizarre ways, and choosing when to pull a pitcher, I would find some way to coach him.  Let him experiment all he wants in the preseason.  If some of these are not Baldelli's decisions, then it's time to cut the cord and give him the space to succeed or fail.

4.  Building on #3, if these are all Baldelli's decisions, have a serious conversation about changing his ways.  If the results of that conversation is the feeling that he can't adjust, then don't waste time.  Move on.  Baldelli is a great guy, but there are countless great guys in this world who are unfit to manage a baseball team.  Give him a chance to turn things around, but one output of this process has to be evaluating if can he build and maintain a successful clubhouse.  When on-field decisions make fans wonder if the manager is on medication (or if he should be), that's not a good sign.

Hmmm, interesting.

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