A week after Derek Falvey was rumored to be the Twins’ new front-office executive, the team finally announced his hiring as executive vice president and chief baseball officer on Monday.
Falvey, 33, had spent his entire baseball career with the Cleveland Indians, including as assistant general manager, before coming to the Twins. He arrives as another of the “whiz kids,” the young baseball executives, steeped in numbers and data, that are being hired throughout the majors. Cleveland clinched the American League Central title and is headed to the playoffs.
In a prepared statement, Falvey said the following:
“It’s a tremendous honor to have the opportunity to lead the Twins baseball operation,” Falvey said. “This is a proud, resilient franchise, and I’m eager to return championship-caliber baseball to the Twin Cities. We will work diligently and collectively to select and develop top performers, advance our processes, and nurture a progressive culture that will make fans across Twins Territory proud.”
If anything stands out about his statement, it’s this: “nurture a progressive culture.”
That’s a welcome change for the Twins and the team’s old-school approach, which finally resulted in longtime general manager Terry Ryan being shown the door this past season. Ryan was a good GM, but there was this sense that baseball was looking at Ryan and the Twins in its rear view mirror.
That view was reinforced by Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon after he revealed to the Chicago Tribune that he had interviewed with Ryan in October 2014 before accepting the job with the Cubs.
“After our conversation, I thought we’d known each other for 20 years,” Maddon said about Ryan. “We started talking about true baseball stuff. There was no overt concern about the sabermetric component or numbers.”
Ouch. Maddon had more to say about how the game has changed.
“If you choose not to remain contemporary, at some point you’re going to deem yourself unemployable,” Maddon said. “The group that fights trends or change, eventually that expiration date is going to come up.
So, Falvey enters and who exits? On Monday, interim GM Rob Antony met with manager Paul Molitor’s seven coaches to “inform them a decision on their future will be made once Falvey officially takes over,” according to MLB.com. Those coaches are hitting coach Tom Brunansky, assistant coach Rudy Hernandez, pitching coach Neil Allen, first-base coach Butch Davis, third-base coach Gene Glynn, bench coach Joe Vavra and bullpen coach Eddie Guardado.
If anyone stays, my vote goes to Bruno. He helped them hit 200 home runs, the third-most in franchise history.
But if the decision is to let some or all of them go, what does that mean for Molitor? And if he has little say in who he works with, why would he stay? Or maybe they all go, including Molitor. I must admit that if I’m Falvey it would be hard to look past 103 losses.
Here comes change.