The 2017 Winter Meetings have come and gone, and the Twins are basically still sitting in the same place they were before the meetings began. The team didn’t make any big splashes, just signed a new minor leaguer or two. There were a lot of Brian Dozier trade rumors, but nothing actually materialized. In fact, the most exciting part of the Winter Meetings for the Twins (at least from an outsider’s perspective) was the Rule 5 draft—and no matter what happens in the Rule 5 draft, it’s still the Rule 5 draft.
I wouldn’t be surprised if many Twins fans were letdown by the team’s seeming inactivity at the Winter Meetings—but I’m here to tell you that they shouldn’t be.
Have some patience, you guys. If it seems like the Twins have just been idle this off-season, I’m afraid you aren’t looking enough at the bigger picture. The Twins not only hired a new GM (from outside of the organization!), but restructured their entire front office and hired a Chief Baseball Officer as well. They essentially gave former GM Bill Smith his walking papers, already got a crap load of the band back together, and signed a well-sought-after free agent catcher who also helps address their pitching needs. The Twins haven’t been idle this off-season. Not at all.
In fact, the Twins have been rather busy—so busy with getting the new front office leadership together that they never held a full organizational meeting after the season ended. Hence, it’s not surprising that the new leadership spent so much time at the Winter Meetings simply getting to know more about the organization, building relationships, and finding where they stand in the vast ocean of off-season roster building-ness.
"I think we laid the groundwork with a lot of teams and potential free agents," Derek Falvey told reporters. "[But] I think the most productive element was the time we spent with our scouts and the group we have here. We hadn't a chance to meet many of them in person yet."
One thing that seems particularly interesting to me is how much the Brian Dozier trade rumors died down after Falvey and Levine actually met with him. Brian pled his case for wanting to stay a Twin, and it seems to have been at the very least somewhat convincing. That doesn’t mean the Twins won’t trade Brian Dozier—because really, who knows—but there seemed to be a quick change in tune that I found interesting.
Just as Levine said, after meeting Dozier in person, “When you hear somebody deliver a convicted message like that, I think you’re willing to bet on them.”
Falvey and Levine did just fine at the 2017 Winter Meetings. The fact that they didn’t make a big splash, if anything, might be a good indication of how the new front office operates. I mean, can you imagine if the new front office ran into the Winter Meetings and traded a player of Brian Dozier’s caliber before even ever meeting him or waiting to see what other teams want to offer?
Let’s have some patience—like Falvey and Levine just did—and see how the rest of the off-season unfolds.