No, I don’t follow every single Twins fan on Twitter. It’s not even close. However, I do follow the local beat writers and they often will retweet a formerly-anonymous Twins fan’s fed-up opinion with the new Twins front office. Doesn’t matter that it’s only been half a year; Derek Falvey and Thad Levine signed a catcher that can’t hit and a couple of past-their-prime relievers just like Terry Ryan and Bill Smith would have because they also didn’t address the starting rotation, they’re just outsiders that nonetheless are continuing the country club mantra that the organization has held for decades.
Yet that idea could not be further from the truth. We’re well aware that Jason Castro was signed due to his pitch-framing ability. Craig Breslow was brought on because he experimented (is still experimenting?) with pitch-tracking data to reinvent himself with a lower arm slot, plus he has the analytical mind to effectively communicate the front office’s ideas to the players. Matt Belisle is the only new player that evokes the old Ryan/Smith plan, but his secondary numbers show that he’s been an effective, though unsexy relief pitcher since 2010 (plus a bunch of those years occurred while with the Rockies, and few pitchers willingly go to pitch at Coors Field).
However, Falvey and Levine have already enacted a new game plan that is a stark contrast to the days of Ryan and Smith. With the bullpen stretched thin last week, the Twins put Rule 5 pick Justin Haley on the 10-day DL. Now, he is a Rule 5 player so his “injury” could easily be the Twins taking advantage of the rules to keep him in the organization without having to send him back to the Red Sox, but he did leave his last appearance earlier than expected so perhaps the issue was legitimate, but I digress. In his place, the Twins called up lefty reliever Buddy Boshers, who was a fine pitcher when healthy last season. To help the depleted bullpen, Boshers pitched 2 1⁄3 scoreless innings even though he averaged less than an inning pitched per appearance last season in the majors.
After the game was over, how was Boshers thanked for his tireless work? He was sent immediately back to Triple-A Rochester and was replaced by starting pitcher Nick Tepesch.
I know that myjah already wrote about this but I cannot highlight this enough: This move already shows a new line of thinking from this brand new front office. The past Twins organization would have done the same as last year when Ryan O’Rourke had to do a similar service as Boshers; he sat on the active roster unavailable for several days because, well, I really don’t know why other than the old Twins organization didn’t like hurting the feelings of its players. Meanwhile, Falvey and Levine recognized that Boshers would not help the team for several days and quickly sent him out for another pitcher that could serve as the new long reliever until the bullpen righted its ship.
I watch the MLB transaction wire like a hawk and many teams send players up and down repeatedly throughout a single week. Sometimes it’s like the Twins with Boshers, where the team needs a fresh arm. Sometimes its a game of matchups, where the team is facing another that is full of lefthanded bats and thus they want another lefthanded reliever to be available. Though not all teams are all gung-ho with the back-and-forth on a regular basis, some certainly took advantage of the opportunity far more than the Twins over the past decade. I’ll admit that the move was small, but it demonstrated that Falvey and Levine recognized a way to help the team in the extreme short-term and took advantage of it.
Thus, the next time you or I hear someone complain that Falvey and Levine aren’t doing anything to help the Twins improve, it might be worth mentioning that progress is still made with just dipping a toe in the water compared to diving into the deep end.