KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Robbie Grossman was a member of the Cleveland Indians organization for only six weeks, all of it spent in the minor leagues. So he doesn’t remember much about Derek Falvey, Cleveland’s assistant general manager who will soon take over baseball operations for the Twins. In fact, he had to look at a photo to remind himself what Falvey looks like.
But if the 33-year-old executive, who worked under president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti and general manager Mike Chernoff, didn’t make a strong impression on Grossman, the Indians’ organization definitely did.
“Everything was first-class over there. Everything was really well thought out and executed,” said Grossman, who spent spring training with the Indians and six weeks at Class AAA Columbus before requesting his release to pursue a major league opportunity. “The whole spring training, from how everything was run in the clubhouse, how they took care of the wives, parking, meals, everything — you could tell it was a really well-run organization.”
Not bad on the field, either. The Indians have posted a winning record for four straight seasons, and on Monday clinched their first AL Central title since 2007. Now Falvey, who is expected to be formally named to his new post sometime in the next week, will try to bring that level of success to Minnesota, where the Twins are headed toward a new franchise record for futility.
“I think it was a good hire. Obviously they have a good thing going over there in Cleveland, and hopefully he can turn things around here,” Grossman said.
Removing the uncertainty that has lingered around the franchise since General Manager Terry Ryan was fired in July might help, too. “Just to get a direction of where we’re going, obviously that’s a huge step for the future of this organization,” Grossman said.
Will he, one of the last pickups of Ryan’s tenure, be a part of that future? Grossman shrugged. “This is a business,” said Grossman, whose .385 on-base percentage leads the team. “I learned a long time ago, you stick with your routine and keep trying to get better — that’s all you can do.”
Join the club
Twins manager Paul Molitor has been trying to keep his team motivated for about five months. This week, he’ll finally watch opposing managers do the same.
The Royals, World Series champions 11 months ago, are on the brink of elimination from the postseason chase, and the White Sox, the Twins’ final opponent of the season, have effectively been out of the race since losing six of their first seven games after the All-Star break.
For Molitor, the task is the same: Trying to keep complacency away as best as he can.
“It’s my job to try to keep these guys [in the] present as much as we can. It’s easy to let your mind start drifting to what you’ll be doing a week from today, instead of [on] today,” he said. “It’s our job to try to prevent that. We’ll be watching to see who comes out and gives us a good effort the rest of the week.”
Come this far
Brian Dozier will be in the lineup for the rest of the season’s final week, Molitor said. Along with Ervin Santana and Joe Mauer, Dozier was given the option of taking one, or several, days off during the final week.
“I was open to it. I wouldn’t hold it against him if maybe he picked a day this week and got a break,” Molitor said. “But right now, it’s full steam ahead.”
Dozier, who needs two home runs to tie the major league record for home runs by a second baseman, held by Davey Johnson and Rogers Hornsby, said he intends to play in every game, for a simple reason.
“They pay me to play,” he said.