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Are Falvey’s offseason strategies “bad?”


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31 members have voted

  1. 1. Is Falvey’s offseason strategy (when it comes to pitchers) bad?

    • It’s awful and it never works under any circumstances.
      1
    • It’s bad and only works once in a blue moon.
      15
    • It’s not bad and you can make it work if you do it correctly.
      15


This is a topic that has come up a few times since June of last year, and especially in this thread. The majority opinion seems to be (Disclaimer: This is my interpretation, so if it’s inaccurate, then my apologies) that Falvey’s offseason strategy is “insanity” or “unsustainable” or, in simple terms, “bad.” This is the most common depiction of Falvey’s supposed offseason strategy that I see particularly on TD: “Sign leftovers and pray for a bounceback year.” This seems like a pretty accurate depiction (I would word it a bit differently) but what I have trouble understanding is why this strategy is necessarily a bad one. As I said, I would word the depiction a bit differently: “Identify low-priced options that have tools that we can work with and improve.” (obviously referring to pitchers) 

To me, this doesn’t seem like a terrible strategy as long as you can make it work. The Twins did make it work in many ways in 2020 (Wisler, Thielbar, etc) and it completely flopped in 2021 (Colome, Shoemaker, etc). To me it seems like one year it worked out and one year it didn’t, so the results are mixed.

Is this strategy necessarily “bad?” What are your thoughts?

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From the beginning I was against signing soft tossing LHP Happ and Shoemaker. I don't know how they came to the conclusion that they could be salvageable. But my biggest gripe is when early from the beginning that Dobnak's new slider needed more time, Happ & Shoemaker wasn't cutting it and Colume' and the BP never really took off. They should've immediately dropped Dobnak's new slider, dialed way back on the BP & SP usage and took Colume' out of the high leverage position, instead they doubled down. When something is so obviously wrong you need to be flexible and change it immediately not wait until we're out of contention

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When signing free agents, there are two factors. (1) What are you willing to pay them. (2) Do they want to play for your team. Often, no amount of money thrown at a player will guarantee that the player will come and play.

 

Where it works...if a guy is on the fringe like, say, an Ervin Santana who wants that additional guaranteed year. or a Michael Pineda, who wants a decent salary while rehabbing and will give you a deal on his first year  back.

 

Then, you to evaluate your own players. That is where the Twins seem to have the most trouble. Did they wait to long to bring Berrios into the long-term contract fold discussion, because if you wait too long they find themselves seeking another team for the same amount, if not maybe even less, than you might've paid for their services.

 

Evaluating players is always an issue, because you balance giving someone like a Morneau or Cuddyer or Hunter or Nathan a longer contract against someone coming up to take their place at a substantial cost savings. Forget that they have been a loyal part of the team for many seasons. But you like them, but not enough to keep them around when you would raeehr deal with a lesser option. And then you scramble when the replacement isn't as good.

 

Every year there are hundreds of players looking for work. Last season the Twins gave innings to Happ, Shoemaker, Barnes, Albers,, Barraclough, Robles, Farrell, Law, Colome, Waddell, Minaya, Coulombe, Gibaut, Vincent, Garcia, Burrows and Gant. None are returning. Some got a showcase at season's end when the Twins would've been better served giving innings to people like Balazovic, Strotman, Cano and Moran who are the future.

 

They jettisoned Wade and allowed Baddoo to depart, but filled the outfield with Garlick, Cave, Refsnyder and Rooker. They also managed to NOT increase the value of Simmons and supplemented the lack of a shortstop with Maggi, Lin, Riddle and found a backup keeper in Gordon, who many fans thought the Twins should've kicked off the organizational chart a couple of prior years earlier.

 

So, yes, there does seem to be a love of the scrap pile. See 2020 with Homer Bailey, Corey Gearrin, Juan Minaya, Matt Wisler, Alex Avila, Ildemaro Vargas seeing major league time in a short but competitive season. That's how the cast-off signings should work, rather than filling your backup roster and the upper minor league levels with guys who are basically around for one year and gone.

 

And, especially during a losing season, you can bring up your own future players and allow them to fail, rather than guns for hire who are playing to gt something better, which will probably NOT be with your team.

 

 

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I'd say there's a lot of context missing in that description of their strategy. They sign those types of pitchers because they're not really interested in long term deals for pitchers. The real plan is to develop pitching. And that is the best plan for any team. They had their timeline altered with covid then an injury filled season last year. The plan has never been to build a sustainable winner by continually signing cheap vets to short contracts. It was an interim strategy while executing the bigger one in the minors.

Also missing that they brought in Odo and Maeda during offseasons. But their tab has come due and it's time to see the real plan play out. The next season or 2 will tell us if they were good at executing their plan. But developing pitching by acquiring minor leaguers through the draft and trades is the plan for every smart team. Just a matter of who can execute. And how long you can hang onto the ones you do develop once they start getting expensive.

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Chpettit19 stole my thunder and basically said everything I was going to say. And Maeda and Oddo have to be part of the discussion topic. Those were very good moves.

I think context is very important. And while I'm repeating what's already been stated, Happ and Shoemaker...at the time of their signins...were very sound decisions. As was Colome. We have to remember Happ has had a very solid career and was coming off a very good year. Ditto Colome. Shoemaker was a cheap flier with a track record of being good when healthy. He was supposed to be depth and a fill-in option. 

Where I think the FO has missed the mark is not firmly engaging Berrios earlier for an extension. Now, we don't know all the details or how hard they tried, to just be real. Maybe they were just rebuffed by Berrios despite honest attempts.

I also think the one area they need to improve is to target one or two guys they really like and jump in quickly. Their patient strategy has paid some very nice dividends, especially as they have worked so hard to rebuild the entire system from the bottom up, and not just in regard to prospects, but in practice and approach. But there's nothing wrong with identifying someone you like and think fits a real need and just go get them, THEN sit back and see how the market plays out.

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5 hours ago, chpettit19 said:

I'd say there's a lot of context missing in that description of their strategy. They sign those types of pitchers because they're not really interested in long term deals for pitchers. The real plan is to develop pitching. And that is the best plan for any team. They had their timeline altered with covid then an injury filled season last year. The plan has never been to build a sustainable winner by continually signing cheap vets to short contracts. It was an interim strategy while executing the bigger one in the minors.

Also missing that they brought in Odo and Maeda during offseasons. But their tab has come due and it's time to see the real plan play out. The next season or 2 will tell us if they were good at executing their plan. But developing pitching by acquiring minor leaguers through the draft and trades is the plan for every smart team. Just a matter of who can execute. And how long you can hang onto the ones you do develop once they start getting expensive.

I forgot about that part. I agree that that’s also something that they factor into their decisions.

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I don't have any thunder to steal.  My only thought is that their current method works sometimes and fails at others.  I do agree with DocBauer's additional comment that they should target someone early and go all out to sign them.  And if they can't sign them, please be honest with the fan base and tell us what happened.  The normal "we tried but couldn't sign him" excuse is getting pretty stale.

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18 minutes ago, terrydactyls said:

I don't have any thunder to steal.  My only thought is that their current method works sometimes and fails at others.  I do agree with DocBauer's additional comment that they should target someone early and go all out to sign them.  And if they can't sign them, please be honest with the fan base and tell us what happened.  The normal "we tried but couldn't sign him" excuse is getting pretty stale.

Honest question, do you see other teams doing this? I most certainly am not following the pressers of other orgs closely, but I don't get the feeling that openly speaking about what went wrong is something any org in any sport really does. It's all rumors and leaks that I see. If I'm a FA and decide to sign with MN instead of Mil I wouldn't want Mil FO telling their fans what happened beyond "we tried but couldn't sign him." Not their place to speak about my decision making process. If I choose to tell why I chose MN that's on me. And if I'm a FA who knows Mil is likely to put my business out there for everyone to see I'm thinking twice before I even engage them in contract talks.

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Me too.  That Chpettit19 is quite the thunder thief.  He must have quite a stockpile of thunder.  Seriously, their plan appears to me to put a decent team on the field this year while building a pitching staff that will support sustained success.  If you evaluate "their plan" based solely on this year it's hard to imagine what they are doing.  The problem is their plan is puts significant weight on long-term success.   Therefore, what is assumed to be their plan is likely not at all their plan.  

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My biggest question is why do you go the route of signing 1 year scrap-heap pitchers when there is always the option to sign better pitchers to 2, 3 or 4 years contracts? Wouldn't it have been better 3 years ago to sign 3 new good pitchers to 2 or 3 year contracts than dip into the garbage can every year for 1 year guys that are half as good. Surely they knew the prospects they have been accumulating in the minors wouldn't be ready to pitch in the majors until 2021, 2022 or 2023. I truely believe the option to go with 1 year guys is because they are cheap. You can argue that the better pitchers don't want to come and play in Minnesota.. but why is that? Part of the reason, I believe, is because this organization doesn't commit to winning and shows they are cheap, They won't go out and get the type of guy that can take them to the next level. Just guessing here but that is probably why Berrios wanted to leave as well. If you aren't committed to winning and it SHOWS, you will lose in more ways than one.

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One thing that bothers me about Falvine's strategy is that the more crowded the market becomes in this arena, the more impossible it becomes to "win" using this approach.

For example, it appears the Giants also employ this strategy, as they basically walked away from Gausman without even making an offer. Obviously, the Giants were pretty damned good at letting the market fall to them and using bounce-back candidates to fill a roster last season.

And if you're only one of five capable teams trying to root out the under-market values every offseason, the chances of actually landing one, much less more than one, of these guys approaches zero.

And if you're not actually getting the cheap guys you want and you're paying the likes of JA Happ instead of Robbie Ray or Kevin Gausman every offseason, that's called "being cheap and dumpster-diving", not "exploiting a market inefficiency".

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6 minutes ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

One thing that bothers me about Falvine's strategy is that the more crowded the market becomes in this arena, the more impossible it becomes to "win" using this approach.

For example, it appears the Giants also employ this strategy, as they basically walked away from Gausman without even making an offer. Obviously, the Giants were pretty damned good at letting the market fall to them and using bounce-back candidates to fill a roster last season.

And if you're only one of five capable teams trying to root out the under-market values every offseason, the chances of actually landing one, much less more than one, of these guys approaches zero.

And if you're not actually getting the cheap guys you want and you're paying the likes of JA Happ instead of Robbie Ray or Kevin Gausman every offseason, that's called "being cheap and dumpster-diving", not "exploiting a market inefficiency".

Bingo! You need to evaluate your strategy based on capability to execute. If you are not capable of execution (or the market isn't feasible) the strategy needs to change and thus far hasn't.

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44 minutes ago, rv78 said:

My biggest question is why do you go the route of signing 1 year scrap-heap pitchers when there is always the option to sign better pitchers to 2, 3 or 4 years contracts? Wouldn't it have been better 3 years ago to sign 3 new good pitchers to 2 or 3 year contracts than dip into the garbage can every year for 1 year guys that are half as good. Surely they knew the prospects they have been accumulating in the minors wouldn't be ready to pitch in the majors until 2021, 2022 or 2023. I truely believe the option to go with 1 year guys is because they are cheap. You can argue that the better pitchers don't want to come and play in Minnesota.. but why is that? Part of the reason, I believe, is because this organization doesn't commit to winning and shows they are cheap, They won't go out and get the type of guy that can take them to the next level. Just guessing here but that is probably why Berrios wanted to leave as well. If you aren't committed to winning and it SHOWS, you will lose in more ways than one.

I am not sure where you are going with this.  Had they signed SPs to a 3 year deal 3 years ago they would be free agents.  Obviously, the 4 plus year guys would still be under contract for a year.  There was exactly on SP that got a 4 year deal and that was Nathan Eovaldi.  Signing 3 SPs in a given year is nearly impossible.  Demand always far exceeds supply so expecting us to land 3 good SPs in 1 year is not realistic.  Anything is possible but this is unrealistic.  BTW,  the only SP to sign a longer contract was Patrick Corbin and he was replacement level last year.  He could bounce back but I am glad we don't have him on the books for 3 more years.

I also recall people being furious when we didn't land Bumgarner.  He produced 1 war for 2020-21.  How happy would we be with him taking up IPs the next 3 years?

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Teams need to use a combination of strategies to build the roster. One that largely eschews free agents or trades except to gain players left after other teams have finished their business will inevitably leave a team short. Prospects are the lifeline of every team but Falvey needs to consider all avenues to improve the team. They seem very hesitant to trade players or sign free agents. Donaldson was a great move and he was good last year. The Twins can still have a good team in 2022 for less than $120 million. Somewhere along the line, this year, Falvey needs to take some chances.

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1 hour ago, Major League Ready said:

I also recall people being furious when we didn't land Bumgarner.  He produced 1 war for 2020-21.  How happy would we be with him taking up IPs the next 3 years?

Just to play devils advocate (because I wasn't really in the boat to sign Bumgarner, at least to 5 years, and it seems like they really didn't have a chance for him even if they wanted him) but with that said, would the Twins be in any different of spot today if they signed him, Maybe they don't sign Pineda (he made 5 good starts in 2020) or maybe the do and don't sign Bailey, Hill, Happ and Shoemaker, but anyway Madison would have quickly moved down the rotation hierarchy in 2020 because he was mostly to very bad in just about all of his starts. 2021 he was decent, not as good as Pineda, but 2021 was terrible all around. The first two years would have cost the Twins about 5 million more for Madison, the next three years are where Madison's contract gets real expensive. But with the way he finished the year last year giving Diamondbacks 5 to 7 innings with decent results, there would be hope he figured something out and instead of looking for 3 starters the Twins are looking at two, and it isn't like his contract (at this time) would have hindered them from signing somebody, because as of yet they have signed anybody anyway. 

Again, signing 30 year over used pitchers to 5 years contracts probably (and very likely) isn't the best way for a lower revenue team to go about business, but if the Twins aren't going to spend on FA just to keep payroll lower, well then screw them, I have better places to spend money then target field in MPLS.

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18 hours ago, chpettit19 said:

I'd say there's a lot of context missing in that description of their strategy. They sign those types of pitchers because they're not really interested in long term deals for pitchers. The real plan is to develop pitching. And that is the best plan for any team. They had their timeline altered with covid then an injury filled season last year. The plan has never been to build a sustainable winner by continually signing cheap vets to short contracts. It was an interim strategy while executing the bigger one in the minors.

Also missing that they brought in Odo and Maeda during offseasons. But their tab has come due and it's time to see the real plan play out. The next season or 2 will tell us if they were good at executing their plan. But developing pitching by acquiring minor leaguers through the draft and trades is the plan for every smart team. Just a matter of who can execute. And how long you can hang onto the ones you do develop once they start getting expensive.

I think this FO prioritizes "value," to the point of being detrimental at times. They've made long term offers, only to come in well under the winning bid(s). Injuries are part of the package when it comes to developing pitching no? If they're investing so much of the future into these young arms, they don't get a pass when those guys almost inevitably miss time. They didn't seem to have much interest in paying Berrios, and he clearly was "affordable." Barring a steady stream of high end rotation arms from the minors, it'll take a change in their approach to "value," or their attitude towards FA, for the "sustainable," aspect of winning to work out. I don't feel they've shown a willingness to do either, which makes me question whether a prospect pipeline was the plan all along, or if it's merely the most viable way out of the corner they've backed themselves into.    

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Not to repeat what others have said, the strategy here is to develop an internal pitching pipeline and primarily rely on that pipeline Hopefully the strategy also includes augmenting that group with FAs and trades, but they've fallen down there. I do think a big part of it is the attempt to maximize value in a market where others are doing the same thing. If you're always looking for a value play guys like Bundy become more attractive than they really are in practice. That to me is the problem here. At some point, we have to break down, say we're really ready to compete, and pay the price for a top of rotation guy whether it's by re-signing a Berrios or paying for a FA. I just don't know that this FO will ever do that. I think this pipeline strategy won't work unless they do. 

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With several FA SP signing reasonable deals, I think the FO thought the prospects would be ready sometime this past year, so they brought in guys to eat innings until they came up. unfortunately injury appeared, so I think they will run it back with Bundy, Dobnak, Ryan, and Over plus probably Pineada in the hopes to eat innings until the prospects appear this year. 2023 will probably be when we swing big again as Donaldson would only have a year left and Sano would be gone or on a cheaper contract.

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9 hours ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

One thing that bothers me about Falvine's strategy is that the more crowded the market becomes in this arena, the more impossible it becomes to "win" using this approach.

For example, it appears the Giants also employ this strategy, as they basically walked away from Gausman without even making an offer. Obviously, the Giants were pretty damned good at letting the market fall to them and using bounce-back candidates to fill a roster last season.

And if you're only one of five capable teams trying to root out the under-market values every offseason, the chances of actually landing one, much less more than one, of these guys approaches zero.

And if you're not actually getting the cheap guys you want and you're paying the likes of JA Happ instead of Robbie Ray or Kevin Gausman every offseason, that's called "being cheap and dumpster-diving", not "exploiting a market inefficiency".

Given the contract Ray signed for one year, 28 other teams also must be run by less than brilliant minds. Since when would paying Gausman 18.9 million be dumpster diving? Given his history and 2019, the 9 million they gave him wasn't dumpster money either

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I have no idea as to what the ideal starter for the Twins FO looks like. They have a profile as they are analytic driven bunch.  My guess would be a durable four seam fastball, slider, third pitch type pitcher that they have not found . Pineda misses on the durability. He is stop gap anywhere he signs

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When someone assess the front office here do they also give the front office any credit for the ownership hamstring? Pohlad has to sign off on the contracts. Dire Straights may have money for nothing (and the chicks for free) but it didn't come from a Pohlad. The Pavano and Hughes extensions, the Nolasco fiasco, and the Ervin Santana suspension would make it hard for anyone to convince  Pohlad to pay for a pitcher. I bet he was also happy how Johan deal turned out

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On 1/28/2022 at 10:41 AM, jjswol said:

I guess my question would be "What exactly is his strategy?"

Perfect response!  Since no one from the front office has ever revealed their strategy, this is exactly where we are.  So unless a strategy is explained, there's no way to know if it is right or wrong.

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What off season strategy? Goes something like this...."Well, I guess we need to field a team in 2022 so we better act like we are doing something. I know, lets trade for 2 has been pitchers and a catcher with framing ability. How far did you say it was to the pin on this shot?"

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On 1/28/2022 at 7:10 PM, Prince William said:

When someone assess the front office here do they also give the front office any credit for the ownership hamstring? Pohlad has to sign off on the contracts. Dire Straights may have money for nothing (and the chicks for free) but it didn't come from a Pohlad. The Pavano and Hughes extensions, the Nolasco fiasco, and the Ervin Santana suspension would make it hard for anyone to convince  Pohlad to pay for a pitcher. I bet he was also happy how Johan deal turned out

See here is the thing. Those guys/contracts you just talked about. They were still middle of the road guys. They didn't take any chances there and actually got what they had coming to them giving #4 starters large contracts. 

There are only 2 ways to get an ACE here. Develop one(will never happen IMO) or trade for one(probably never happen either)

To do the second thing, you are going to have to give up your best prospect +. Will they? Well, this organization never has so I have no faith in them to do so now. And I am not talking about a trade for a Maeda type. 

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On 1/28/2022 at 9:36 PM, USAFChief said:

A strategy that depends on filling 40 percent of every year's rotation with one year scrapheap projects is not one that will lead to "sustained contention," as was promised. It can't be done.

 

 

Amazing isn't it? Why pay these washed up guys, just use your kids. 

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On 2/1/2022 at 2:07 PM, Battle ur tail off said:

See here is the thing. Those guys/contracts you just talked about. They were still middle of the road guys. They didn't take any chances there and actually got what they had coming to them giving #4 starters large contracts. 

There are only 2 ways to get an ACE here. Develop one(will never happen IMO) or trade for one(probably never happen either)

To do the second thing, you are going to have to give up your best prospect +. Will they? Well, this organization never has so I have no faith in them to do so now. And I am not talking about a trade for a Maeda type. 

So Johan Santana was never an ACE? Ervin Santana with an ERA in the low 3s is a number 4 starter. Okay dokey

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