The new front office team of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have pledged to expand the club's statistical analysis department, something sorely needed if the Twins are going to catch up with the rest of the league.

They also have stated that they respect the human element as well, and that a blend of the two is necessary when making decisions.

Perhaps that is why the dynamic duo is interested in increasing the numbers of humans whose opinions could help steer the Twins from their losing ways.

The Twins, perhaps as soon as next week, will officially announce that former pitcher LaTroy Hawkins is on board as a special assistant. Torii Hunter on Tuesday said that, ``chances are very, very high,'' that he will return to the club in a similar capacity.

And that's not all. Former outfielder Michael Cuddyer is expected to join the organization as well.
They are putting the band back together. There's a few more grey hairs involved this time around, but it's a clear move to add the voices of former Twins who have had success. It's been known for years that Hunter and Hawkins wanted to join the club in some capacity once their playing careers ended, and both won't be shy about expressing their opinions about how players are performing on the major league level as well as how prospects are being developed.

All three retired after the 2015 season and have had a year to ponder their next moves. It certainly can't hurt to add their voices to the mix.

And with Eddie Guardado returning as a bench coach, that's four players who were part of winning Twins teams in the 2000's. Hunter, Guardado and Hawkins took their lumps in the late 1990's before being part of the AL Central champions in 2002 - the first of six division titles during that decade. Cuddyer was a top prospect who was called up late in 2002 but ended up starting in right field in the postseason.

Guardado just finished his second season as bullpen coach, and has been a hit with the relievers with his straightforward approach. Rookie J.T. Chargois struggled early but made noticeable improvement during the final weeks of the season.

``It's definitely taken a few of Eddie's preachings,'' Chargois said in September. ``I think we are getting there.''

This group knows what a good team looks like. It knows what a good player looks like. They also know what it's like for a bad player to become a good player, because former manager Tom Kelly kept reminding them of that during their formative years. They could help here.

``Derek and Thad are good front office guys,'' Hunter said, ``and they want to be good about bringing in different guys with different opinions. The game is about numbers but you have to have people around who have experience.''

The exact roles have yet to be determined. Hunter, Hawkins and Cuddyer are expected to be in uniform during spring training as special instructors. Their duties during the regular season could include some scouting, checking in on prospects or the major league team.

But it's clear that Falvey and Levine don't mind having more people in on the evaluation process. The final decision is theirs, but they welcome the input.

And why not seek input from a few people who helped the franchise rise from the ashes in the 2000's? Because that's what needs to happen here again.

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Former Twins pitcher Hawkins joining team as special assistant

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Twins officially add Hunter, Cuddyer, Hawkins as special assistants