On Monday morning, new chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and new General Manager Thad Levine will meet their new employees and then the media as they take on the challenge off getting Twins baseball off the ground.
Soon we will learn which members of the coaching staff they will retain and which players they are eyeing in free agency and trades, and get an idea what their vision is for the franchise.
Part of the vision, however, has already started to play out.
According to several team officials, the plan is to grow the baseball operations department, add more decision-makers and specialize more roles. Twins owner Jim Pohlad is ready to invest in strengthening the infrastructure and moving the organization in line with what many other organizations are doing.
There already has been discussion about where to put the extra cubicles.
Times are a-changin’ at 1 Twins Way.
Ever since Falvey was announced as the CBO a month ago, employees have wondered where they will fit in, if at all, with the new regime. Monday they will start getting some answers.
Staff turnover in any regime change is expected. But the long-term plan is more about adding personnel than replacing them.
Just compare media guides to see how far behind the Twins are.
Fifteen people are listed under baseball operations for the Twins. Cleveland, where Falvey is coming from, has 24. That staff includes a senior director of baseball research and development and a data scientist.
The newly crowned world champion Cubs have 33 people listed in their department. The staff includes a baseball systems architect and a mental skills coordinator.
Let’s go back to the Twins’ division. The Royals’ staff has grown to 32 since Dayton Moore became the GM in 2006. Detroit lists 29 members in its baseball operations department.
Championships aren’t solely won based on staff size, but modern baseball departments are more specialized, embrace statistical analysis and take a more holistic approach to building a better team.
In that regard, the Twins are the Chevy Corvair in a parking lot full of Infinity Q60 Crossovers. They know they are playing catch-up.
The statistical analysis department definitely will expand. The Twins do have Jack Goin in place as their director of baseball research, but Falvey and Levine want to address staffing issues. Both executives understand the importance of analytics in today’s game. It’s not their only guiding light, as both Falvey and Levine blend the numbers with the eye test. Falvey, a small-college pitcher, has been lauded by Indians manager Terry Francona for the information he provided to his pitching staff. Falvey was hands-on with Francona and might be the same way with Twins manager Paul Molitor.
To get an idea of how serious teams are playing the stats game, look at Philadelphia. Phillies owner John Middleton, in an interview last month, said he had no analytics department in 2013. In 2014, he had one full-time employee and one intern. Next year, the Phillies will have six full-time members in their analytics department and a seven-figure budget.
It’s not clear how much the Twins will spend on their stats staff, but they are now willing to invest in this and other areas after five losing seasons in the past six years and a club-record 103 losses this season.
La Velle E. Neal III is a Twins beat writer • firstname.lastname@example.org • Twins blogs: startribune.com/twins