They took a three-day junket to a luxury spa in the Arizona desert. But to hear Twins officials tell it, they barely left their hotel rooms.
New Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey and General Manager Thad Levine spent their first week on the job at MLB's annual general managers meetings at the posh Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia. And while they found time to circulate with their peers from other teams and agents representing free agents, "our primary objective was more internally focused," Levine said Thursday as he prepared to head back to Minneapolis.
"Derek and I spent extensive time with [assistant GM] Rob Antony, getting a total immersion in our roster, the systems and processes that are already in place, and going over some general philosophy, both from an on-field and off-field perspective," Levine said. "I know a lot of people have made the assertion that we're behind, but I think we found we're in a unique position of strength. I come with my own perspective on [Twins players] from Texas, Derek has his own from Cleveland, and we married our evaluations with the club's internal viewpoints to see what we can learn from that."
Just as important, though, was gathering impressions from potential trade partners, and Levine said the three days in Arizona were promising. The Twins made it clear that they are open to any potential transaction, even moving their most productive players, such as Brian Dozier or Ervin Santana.
"We found that we have players, quite a few players, that the industry values somewhere between moderately and highly," Levine said of his preliminary talks. "We were very encouraged by the response we got. There were varying degrees of interest — nothing actionable yet, but there is plenty of time — but if we desire to make moves, there are positions of strength."
Levine said he and Falvey came away convinced that the Twins' 59-103 record in 2016 doesn't accurately reflect the level of talent in uniform, and that "just pushing a reset button on the season would likely produce a better outcome. … But we know as well that we have areas where we need substantial improvement."
That said, their next objective once they return to Target Field won't be strengthening the Twins' 40-man roster but the organizational chart. Falvey and Levine have been given the go-ahead by owner Jim Pohlad to greatly expand the team's management, adding expertise in a number of areas it has lacked.
The new bosses have called a meeting of the entire baseball leadership for next week, "and the agenda is going to be pretty dense," Levine said. "We're going to be adding resources rather quickly, from personnel to systems to technology, all with an eye toward making the best baseball decisions we can."
Yes, the most important free agent the Twins add this offseason may be a data analyst, not a starting pitcher. Levine said the Twins won't be neglecting the roster, but November will be about getting the off-the-field team in place first. Then they can focus on the team as the winter meetings approach; they're scheduled for Dec. 4-8 just outside of Washington, D.C.
"We're going to be active on the major league front. We have a good grasp on some possibilities for us to explore," Levine said. "But there is no mandate that we do anything dramatic right away."