Minnesota Twins GM Thad Levine was a “significant player” for the Philadelphia Phillies head of baseball operations. Here’s why he opted to stay.
On Friday, it was reported that Minnesota Twins General Manager and VP of Baseball Operations Thad Levine is a “significant player” for the Philadelphia Phillies as they try and find their next head of baseball operations according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
Less than 24 hours later, Jon Heyman reported that he was no longer in the running for the job:
This raises the question: Why did Levine opt to return to Minnesota so fast? Let’s take a trip down memory lane and look at why the GM of the Minnesota Twins wanted to remain here in the North Star State.
Minnesota Twins’ “Falvine” pairing
Levine has been with the Twins since the 2016 season. Hired with President of Baseball Operations Derek Falvey, the pair has helped bring the Twins to three playoff appearances in four years and back to back A.L. Central Titles.
The two have been a great combo in leading the Minnesota Twins into baseball’s new era. Replacing old school baseball with previous GM Terry Ryan and modernizing the way the Twins scout, draft, and develop players.
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The duo have almost made moves completely in unison, appearing together in big press conferences like the introduction of Manager Rocco Baldelli and the signing of Josh Donaldson. They work so well together, they were often nicknamed the “brain trust” or even one resembling a power couple with “Falvine.”
This probably played a huge part in Levine opting to stay. When there’s someone you work well with and you’re in a comfortable situation, you don’t want to leave. Almost everyone can understand that feeling.
The issues in Philadelphia that the Minnesota Twins don’t have
The other aspect that played a huge role would be the talent in each organization. The Twins have a better farm system than the Phillies and a more solid team. Right now, the Twins clearly have a better talent pool than the Phillies.
You can also understand the argument for Levine to leave. Philadelphia offers Levine the chance to be “the guy” by heading the baseball operations department and working with one of the highest payrolls in baseball.
Philadelphia has been one of baseball’s biggest disappointments over the past few seasons, but that’s mostly because they’ve been able to make splashy trades and for players like catcher J.T. Realmuto or monumental signings like the 13 year, $333-plus million superstar contract Bryce Harper got.
The biggest struggles for the Phillies didn’t come from the offense. It came from a bullpen that was one of the worst in baseball and the biggest reason why the Phillies once again missed the playoffs. This makes sense when you consider they pursued Levine.
Levine has been part of a front office that has developed quality arms from no-name waiver guys like Matt Wisler, found young prospects like Jorge Alcala, and successfully traded for impactful starting pitching like Kenta Maeda and Jake Odorizzi. The Phillies need a guy like that.
This offseason, the Twins avoided arbitrations hearings with several players and worked out contracts. Most notably was Jose Berrios, who went through a tough and long arbitration fight last season. Many had eyes on the situation this year between the star player and front office, but a deal got done. Thad Levine was a big part of that.
This isn’t to take anything away from Derek Falvey, who’s been great at leading this front office. The two work so close together and the Twins have never seen how the team is run with just one of them. This closeness is key for the Twins.
With all those reasons, it’s overall pretty clear why Levine opted to remain in Minnesota. With an incredible relationship with Derek Falvey, an elite talent base to build with, and a questionable organization in Philly, it’s a good move to remain in Minnesota.
After back to back division titles and a bright future ahead, the Minnesota Twins are seeing other teams around the league take players and coaches away from them. This offseason, the Twins have lost Trevor May to the New York Mets, a bevy of teams are interested in Nelson Cruz, Eddie Rosario was waived, and Jake Odorizzi could be out the door as well. Levine won’t be one to go.
The Twins will still be a good and competitive team in 2021 because of savvy front office members like Levine. Luckily for them, Thad Levine will be around to continue to work through this contending window. We’re happy to have him.