Monday November 7, 2016 will mark a substantial date in the history of the Minnesota Twins. For the first time since 1995 when Terry Ryan assumed the General Manager role, the organization will have quite the shake up at the top. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine are being formerly introduced and they'll have quite the challenge in front of them. It will be incredibly important for them to get creative.
Looking back at a World Series played between the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians, it became quite apparent that the internal processes for both teams were focused within. Neither team had made it to the pinnacle of the 2016 Major League Baseball season by targeting a multitude of free agents. Sure, the Cubs had Jon Lester and Ben Zobrist while the Indians took interest in Mike Napoli. At the heart of it all though, you could find good draft strategies and strong trades.
As both Falvey and Levine look to right the ship for the Twins, it's now more than ever that they'll need to revamp the system by using the same principles as baseball's best. Forget what you think about payroll or how money should be spent, there's just not really any good reasons to be spending it this winter. The free agent market is mediocre at best, and the Twins overextending themselves on lackluster pieces is something we've seen far too often.
Players like Corey Kluber, Jake Arrieta, Francisco Lindor, and Addison Russell come about because of front office executives willing to take chances. Both Falvey and Levine will need to get together and decide which pieces they have to hold onto, and where they can part with value in hopes of returning even more. Unchanged from 2016, the Twins could be a better team next season. Slightly better pitching and more consistent hitting would have them trending towards .500 quite realistically. The problem is that shouldn't be the goal.
It's hard to suggest a full on rebuild, but right now, the Twins have way too many parts that simply land somewhere in the middle. Ervin Santana probably isn't going to be around when this team is a winner, Kyle Gibson may not push the needle, and guys like Trevor Plouffe, Phil Hughes, and even Glen Perkins may find themselves tied much more to what once was. Some of them will have value, and others will have their value tied to the roster spot that could be better utilized elsewhere. The two new front office members will have to immediately begin to make those decisions.
For now, it's hard to suggest a flurry of moves for the Twins this winter. They have some pretty glaring weaknesses, and finding answers on the free agent market isn't the right way to go. Falvey and Levine are going to need to get to scouting internally in short order, while hoping they can find some partners to get creative with. If Minnesota has its way, making a handful of trades prior to the 2017 Major League Baseball season would be a pretty great plan of action.
At some point, internal development will need to be raised, and the prospects counted on throughout the system will need to spark the change. While that's pretty obvious, doubling down to bring in more wild cards and chances for success is something that the Twins can definitely afford to do.
For far too long, the organization has been ok with being good enough, settling for mediocrity, and really treading water in the shallow end. It's long been time to get creative, take some chances, and in turn, hope to see some results that push the needle a bit. Getting that started sooner rather than later is something we should all be excited about.