The Twins were hoping when they hired Derek Falvey that he would someday win a World Series. Just maybe not quite this soon.
Falvey was in Toronto on Monday, exactly two weeks after the Twins announced that the 33-year-old had been selected as their new chief baseball officer, in charge of all decisions regarding the team’s roster and baseball organization.
Only one problem: “He’s a Cleveland Indians employee,” Twins President Dave St. Peter said, and he will be for at least another week.
That means the Twins front office is in an odd limbo for now, preparing for important decisions about the team’s future without the decisionmaker having any input. Falvey has had discussions with interim General Manager Rob Antony and manager Paul Molitor, but St. Peter described them as “introductory — anything beyond that would not be appropriate or viewed fondly by the commissioner’s office,” which is trying to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.
As an Indians assistant GM, Falvey has daily responsibilities with his soon-to-be-former team, providing scouting reports and helping Cleveland manager Terry Francona and his coaching staff with game preparation. It’s an exciting time for that organization, given that the Indians are 6-0 this postseason and a victory away from their first pennant since 1997.
But that success means Falvey can’t move into his Target Field office, begin assembling his staff, hire minor league managers and coaching staffs or make decisions about the Twins’ 40-man roster until at least next week. And should the Indians make the World Series? Game 7 is scheduled for Nov. 2 — only five days before the MLB general managers’ meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz.
“I look at the calendar every day,” St. Peter joked.
Offseason rosters don’t have to be set until Nov. 18, and the Twins have no contractual deadlines — triggering options, for instance — to deal with right away, which takes some of the pressure off. Falvey is learning as much as he can about the Twins during his free time, St. Peter said, and he is frequently briefed by Antony and St. Peter, though both sides are careful to observe the MLB mandate about working for only one club at a time. Antony made the decision, announced Monday, to delete five players — lefthanders Andrew Albers, Pat Dean and Tommy Milone, infielder James Beresford and outfielder Logan Schafer — from the 40-man roster by sending them outright to Class AAA Rochester, for instance.
“I get the sense that Derek is burning the candle at both ends these days. I know he’s spending a lot of time over the course of his week refining what he wants to do when he gets here to Minnesota — what our organization will look like, what will be some of the short-term priorities,” St. Peter said. “He’s excited about that. His first focus is the Indians, but I’m not sure he’s sleeping much these days.”
Current Twins employees probably aren’t, either, given that the incoming boss will ultimately decides who keeps their jobs and who doesn’t. St. Peter says he’s sensitive to that predicament.
“It’s an awkward time within our baseball operations area — there’s certainly still some uncertainty that permeates our scouting staff and our minor league area,” St. Peter said. “All we can do is ask people to do their jobs, stay focused, and know that in the relatively near future, they’re going to have a chance to interact with their new leader.”
For now, Antony is handling all decisions that cannot wait, assembling information on choices that Falvey will have to make quickly once he arrives, and making sure that normal offseason functions are running normally. Decisions about contracts for Molitor’s coaching staff, minor league staffs and scouts might need to be made before Falvey’s arrival.
“We certainly understand there are some deadlines that will be coming in the relatively near future around our roster. We think there’s ample time to make those decisions,” St. Peter said. “Rob is going through the normal prep he would on arbitration cases, we’re going through the normal … preparations for free agency, things of that nature.”
The wait will be worth it, St. Peter said. He’s even rooting for the Indians, though it means further delay for the Twins “because it would be a special thing for Derek and so many other people we respect there.” He wouldn’t mind a Cleveland sweep, however.
“I understand the perceived challenges with our [situation]. It’s not ideal,” St. Peter said. “We understood the ground rules going in, and we have such conviction that Derek is the right guy for this job, that that was something we were willing to abide by for the short-term.”