Falvey took over a 100-loss team and turned it into a 100-win team just three seasons later. Even with this poor start to the 2021 season, the team’s record under his regime is 331-288, a .535 winning percentage. That might not jump off the page — it’s an 87-win pace — but keep in mind how bad things were before that. In the six seasons prior to Falvey taking over, the Twins posted a 407-565 record. That’s a .419 winning percentage, or a 68-win pace.
So that’s it, right? Case closed, Falvey has been great for the Minnesota Twins. Well ...
How much of the Twins’ success can be attributed to this front office? That’s a really tricky question to try to answer. If we look at advancements in systems and technology, the Twins are definitely in a much better place than they were in 2016. So is basically every other team in baseball.
Has this Falvey and Levine-led front office been better than one could expect from a “replacement-level” front office? I think this is a better concept to ponder, as opposed to just comparing them to their direct predecessors.
Would the Twins have been any more or less successful under another set of front office leaders? Would the organization be any better or worse setup for future success had it been under different leadership? Do we think Falvey and Levine are better than whoever the current up-and-coming front office stars/future GM types are available right now?
This may seem like a weird way to frame the conversation, but why not? It’s just like the players, there are only so many of these jobs.
The overall team success has been there (well, prior to this season) but this front office has not delivered a pitching pipeline nor impact pitching through free agency. About a month ago, Aaron Gleeman of The Athletic took a look back at every Falvey-Levine era free agent signing. It wasn’t inspiring. Their record in trades isn’t looking so great, either.
Falvey and Levine are also no longer the new kids. The Twins have been an incredibly loyal organization, there’s been remarkable consistency in their front office over the past several decades. That’s admirable, but it’s not the way things work elsewhere.
Levine is already in the top half of the most-tenured general managers in baseball, ranking 13th. Here are those who have held their positions longer than Thad. Among the GMs with a longer tenure, seven of them have held their role a mere 15 more months (or less) than Thad has. Just five active general managers have held their positions for six years or more. There’s a lot of turnover.
Things are a little more difficult to measure with Falvey. Front office structure seems to be getting more and more complex with new titles and job roles seeming to be invented each season. Heck, Falvey himself was promoted from the title Executive Vice President and Chief Baseball Officer to President of Baseball Operations back in November of 2019.
I always feel slimy about calling anyone’s job into question. These are people with lives and families. This is how they earn a living. But after having months of bad baseball and being able to ponder about these things I keep coming back to the notion there are only 30 of these jobs. You must perform.
Some may criticize that as too extreme of a “what have you done for me lately” mentality but you tell me, what have they done? The team’s winning percentage since they took over is nice, but it’s difficult to say how much credit they really deserve for that and (sorry, yes, this does have to come up in every conversation) it’s not like it resulted in any postseason success.
This team has the potential to bounce back next year and still have another window of contention, but it’s going to take a good trade deadline followed by a good offseason. Do I trust this front office to deliver in both of those areas?
Thinking about that is what led me to write this, and I encourage you to consider that same question and let me know your thoughts.
Personally, I do not trust them to deliver anymore. I’ve lost faith in this front office. Call that fickle if you’d like, you’re probably right. What can I say? This is what a lost summer can do to a baseball fan.
Injuries Don’t Excuse How Bad This Twins Team Has Been | Tom Froemming
How Much Can The Twins Spend This Offseason? | John Bonnes
Revisiting the Shaun Anderson Trade | Cody Pirkl
Do the 2021 Twins Have the Worst Pitching Staff in Team History? | Cody Christie
There's No Easy Way Out of This for the Minnesota Twins | Tom Froemming