Derek Falvey was hired as the Twins’ chief baseball officer four months ago, and the ensuing time has been a whirlwind of getting up to speed and implementing new plans. He chatted Friday with the Star Tribune’s Michael Rand.
Q In your interactions with fans recently on the Twins Caravan, did you sense they were antsy wanting more free-agency moves?
A I think the reality is that every free-agency period has ebbs and flows to it. Early on, we identified a position we felt was very important to hit — the catching position. So getting Jason Castro was meaningful. … Our next step was to see how things shook out going into January. That was part of our plan. I think you’re seeing there are a number of free agents still available that I think can impact us this year and beyond, so we’re staying in touch with those guys right up until we get to spring training and maybe beyond to figure out ways we can add a number of those guys potentially as we go forward.
Q Is that a way to get a better value instead of diving in right away?
A There’s a supply-and-demand component to any offseason. I think we’re seeing right now there might be opportunities in the pitching market to have conversations. We have had a lot of those conversations over the last month or so, and I would expect those to start coming to a head really in the next week to 10 days.
Q How has it been knowing you are the person people will inevitably blame if moves don’t work out?
A It comes with the job, and I’ve been fortunate to have guys like Mark Shapiro, Chris Antonetti and Terry Francona, who have had their fair share of criticism and fair share of praise, to teach me how to deal with that. You need to stick to your vision and your plan. But you need to be thoughtful when you adjust and not be too rigid.
Q You and General Manager Thad Levine arrived as a package deal of sorts. Do you think Thadrek Falvine is the appropriate combined name for the two of you?
A [laughs] I’m really not good at nicknames, so ask [Levine]. He’s the funny guy out of the two of us.
Q No kidding. It’s like he’s auditioning for open mic night every time he talks.
A He’s great at it. He brings a lot of levity to each day in the office. … We complement each other in so many ways. I can’t be happier with the choice and opportunity to work with him.
Q Spring training is only a few weeks away. As you keep evaluating this organization and roster, what do you want to see?
A I want to see things that are admittedly a little behind-the-scenes. There are cultural elements to a successful team that I’ve been able to observe: a team pulling together, a team operating in a way in which guys play for each other and not themselves. ... I’ve certainly been trained in the metrics and analytics. I played a considerable role in Cleveland developing our systems. However, because of the opportunity I had working with the major league staff and working so closely with Terry Francona, I had the opportunity to find out what drives the culture of winning. When you can blend the art and science of baseball, you have the opportunity to do something special.