Minnesota Twins: Grading the Front Office Decisions

Jul 2, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; A general view at Target Field between the Minnesota Twins and the Texas Rangers. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 2, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; A general view at Target Field between the Minnesota Twins and the Texas Rangers. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports /

The Minnesota Twins hired two new faces in November of 2016 to help them get back on track. Let’s review some decisions made by Derek Falvey and Thad Levine so far.

It is safe to say the Minnesota Twins have more than just two people making the decisions in the front office, however, as Vice President and General Manager, they get the final say. That being said, let’s get into it.

The Offseason:

The Move: The Minnesota Twins, in need of a starting catcher after the departure of Kurt Suzuki, signed Jason Castro. The Twins also acquired backup catcher Chris Gimenez.

The Grade: B+

The Reason: The Twins have been in contention so far this year, and a big reason is defense and pitching. Castro gives them upgrades at both from last year with a strong arm, good game calling, and elite pitch framing.

The Move: The Twins added journeymen Matt Belisle and Craig Breslow to the bullpen.

The Grade: D

The Reason: In the Twins biggest concern area going into 2017, the front office decided to add very little to the existing core. Adding more talent in the offseason is never bad in the bullpen, ask the Yankees. If you make the playoffs great! You have more arms to use. If you don’t, trade them at the deadline to bolster your farm system.

The Move(s): The Twins opted to tender Hector Santiago; non-tender Trevor Plouffe.

The Grade: A

The Reason: Both of these moves have worked out swimmingly for the 2017 Twins so far. Sending Plouffe packing was a tough call, but opened up the hot corner for the teams upcoming franchise player; Miguel Sano. Hector Santiago struggled in 2016, but has bounced back earning the Twins an A for these moves.

The Season:

The Move: The opening day roster consisted of thirteen pitchers.

The Grade: C

The Reason: The team gets a slight pass on this decision due to injuries forcing their hand. It seems that Kennys Vargas was intended to be the bench bat they wanted, however it is unclear if they would have taken him out of camp had he been healthy. The front office did force their hand into this situation by not adding reliable bullpen depth, which required them to bring more arms.

The Move: The Twins have been patient with Byron Buxton.

The Grade: B

The Reason: In previous years, when younger players have slumped, they would get a plane ticket to Rochester to work it out. So far the team has been patient with Byron, knowing he has conquered the minors. It appears he has turned a corner as of late, hopefully this patience pays off.

The Move: The Twins optioned Adalberto Mejia, consequently moving to a four man rotation.

The Grade: A

The Reason: This might be the sneakiest smart move the front office has done this season. It appears Mejia was struggling with some control troubles out of the gate. Rather then let him fight through it up in the majors, the team saw an opening in the schedule, allowing the team to go to four starters and letting Mejia put in work in AAA to fix his issues.

The Move: The Minnesota Twins optioned Kyle Gibson and traded Danny Santana.

The Grade: A

The Reason: I am lumping these two in the same category for a good reason. They were both viewed highly by the previous front office, and yet they have both been dealt with swiftly by the new one. Gibson being optioned shows he does not get preferential treatment. Also, someone in this front office is clearly paying attention to the stats, as they traded Paul Molitor’s favorite toy after being awful for over two years.

Overall Grade: B

The front office clearly had a plan this offseason to put a premium on pitching and defense. They did so by adding Castro and are being patient with Buxton in center field. Their biggest failure was to address a woeful bullpen. They freed up third base for Sano, which means never having to think about him in right field ever again. The Twins have made some other minor moves, (and non-moves, *cough* Berrios *cough*) yet, their vision for this team appears to be working so far.

Next: 5 Greatest Teams in Twins History

With the draft coming up and some large trade pieces likely on the move, let’s see if Falvey and Levine can keep their high marks.