Monday, September 26, 2016

Can Derek Falvey Be The New Andy MacPhail?

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher, USA Today Sports
The Minnesota Twins of the early-1980's were bad... like really bad... like almost as bad as the Twins of the last handful of years. There was a 100-loss season in 1982 as well as multiple 90 loss seasons as a new age of young players took their lumps. As these players gained their footing, Minnesota would win two World Series titles in a five year span.

When Calvin Griffith sold the Twins to Carl Pohlad, the new ownership group looked for a young, up-and-coming executive to bring the team back from the abyss. Andy MacPhail, a 33-year old with two years experience as an assistant GM, was handed the reigns and the rest is history.

Putting trust in a young, unproven leader worked for the Twins in the late-1980's. Now Twins fans hope that history will repeat itself.

Sources point to the Twins hiring 33-year-old Derek Falvey from the Cleveland Indians as their new president of baseball operations. Minnesota wanted a new voice at the front of their baseball operations and Falvey is half as old as former GM Terry Ryan. To put this in more perspective, Falvey is the same age as current Twins player Joe Mauer.

Falvey has moved swiftly through the Indians organization as he started as his baseball career as an intern in 2007. In less than a decade, he moved up to assistant general manager. During the last calendar year, he will have moved from director of baseball operations to assistant GM and now to president of baseball operations.

As I mentioned at the end of last week, Falvey's young age and rapid rise in the Indians organization could all help his cause. The Twins don't switch front office personnel very often so a young, passionate person could hold down the spot for years. It's going to take a massive shift to move Minnesota from the bottom of the standings and a lot will be riding on the shoulders of Mr. Falvey.

MacPhail has gone on to work as the Preisdent and CEO of the Cubs, the President of Baseball Operations in Baltimore, and he currently serves as the President of the Philadelphia Phillies. Even with all of these stops, one of his biggest accomplishments might have been rebuilding the Twins pitching staff leading into 1987 and overhauling the rotation going into 1991.

Frank Viola, Bert Blyleven and Les Straker led the 1987 rotation with Jeff Reardon in the closer role. Jack Morris, Scott Erickson, and Kevin Tapani were the top three starters in 1991 with Rick Aguilera as the closer. "We had to turn the entire pitching staff over in a four-year period, which was no easy feat," MacPhail said. He went on to say it took "a little bit of everything" to turn the pitching staff around.

Now Falvey is tasked with a similar challenge including turning around a pitching staff with an AL's worst ERA. Falvey's current team, the Indians, are on their way to winning the AL Central and their pitchers have the AL's best ERA. Falvey currently oversees the Indians' whole pitching program and that might be one of the main reasons he is ending up in the Twins front office.

Only time will tell if Falvey can find some of the same magic that surround MacPhail and the Twins two World Series rosters. Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, and Jose Berrios could end up following in the footsteps of Kirby Puckett, Kent Hrbek, and Scott Erickson.

Those days seem a long ways off but Falvey provides some hope for a better tomorrow even if a World Series title seems years away.

What can Falvey do to overhaul the rotation? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

1 comment:

TT said...

No, he won't be the next Andy McPhail. Andy McPhail grew up in a baseball family. Both his father and grandfather are in the hall-of-fame as baseball executives. He had almost a decade of his own experience in a variety of roles before he was named Twins general manager, including vice president of player development in the Twins organization.

Falvey may turn out fine. But he has no real experience managing anything, much less a multi-department baseball operation. My guess is that Jim Pohlad has chosen someone he thinks will micro-manage the baseball team for him. His father was a banker who let baseball professionals run the business, just as he would any other company he was involved in. Jim Pohlad is clearly cut from a different cloth.