Derek Falvey and Thad Levine – “Falvine” have put themselves in a precarious spot. They aren’t necessarily responsible for everything that has gone wrong this year, but with the trade deadline 11 days away, they are going to be making some important decisions that impact 2022 and beyond in a major way.
This week has been filled with stories about the Twins trying to extend Byron Buxton, or how they have an extremely high asking price for Jose Berrios, and that the team was disinclined to trade players under contract beyond this season at the deadline, all while the Twins got swept by the Tigers in humiliating fashion.
In the face of recent evidence, Falvey and Levine are playing with fire. Not only do they believe that the Twins can be successful next season, they are willing to bet the Twins’s farm on it. Not only that, but perhaps their jobs as well.
There is nothing left to play for this season, so there is no advantage to holding on to the players mentioned above until the offseason, unless there is a sincere belief in the Twins’ ability to contend in 2022. I would say, in fact, that it would border on malpractice to allow assets to leach value if you don’t intend to use them in a meaningful situation in the future.
Because 2022 IS the future with many of those players. Jose Berrios has made it very clear, even in the linked article above that his goal is to reach free agency, while the relationship between Byron Buxton and the organization is still strained after some mid-career playing time manipulation. Beyond that, relief pitchers, no matter how strong, are not franchise tentpoles.
So if the Twins don’t make a move in dealing Buxton or Berrios at the deadline, the organization, and especially those at the helm, have a vested interest in contention in 2022. If they can once again compete and prove that 2021 was a fluke, that’s great for everyone. If not, then not only have the Twins seen one window of contention close with a whimper, but they have hamstrung their ability to start the rebound from a really good position.
Having one bad season, especially given the condition at the start of the season, the bad luck and injuries is forgivable. Failing to set yourself up for the future is not. Falvine is banking hard on 2022, potentially at the expense of years beyond.