Minnesota Twins Hire Thad Levine as General Manager
The Minnesota Twins have hired Texas Rangers executive Thad Levine as their new general manager. He will join recently-appointed chief baseball officer Derek Falvey in the new-look front office.
The Minnesota Twins‘ search for a new general manager is apparently at an end, as the club has announced that it has hired Texas Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine as senior vice president and GM.
— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) November 3, 2016
Last night, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports had reported that an announcement was imminent.
The Twins had supposedly been circling Levine for several days as their prime candidate for the position. Last week, La Velle E. Neale III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that the Twins were considering Levine for their open GM role. He also mentioned that the team had offered a position to former Boston Red Sox executive Amiel Sawdaye, although the St. Paul Pioneer Press’ Mike Berardino later clarified that he was given the chance to join as an assistant GM.
Sawdaye went on to accept the assistant general manager position with the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he reunites with former Red Sox GM Mike Hazen.
It’s important to note, however, that as general manager Levine is expected to sit below new chief baseball officer Derek Falvey in the Twins’ chain of command. Falvey had previously been the Cleveland Indians’ assistant GM and was brought in by Minnesota at the end of September. At 33 years old, Falvey is now the second-youngest head of a Major League Baseball franchise. Milwaukee Brewers general manager David Stearns is 31.
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The Twins hope that an injection of youthful leadership will have a positive effect on a franchise that had largely stagnated in recent years under former GM Terry Ryan. Ryan held two extended stints with the club, serving as general manager from 1994 to 2007 and again from 2011 to 2016. He was dismissed this past July.
Though Minnesota enjoyed considerable success under Ryan’s watch, winning four AL Central division titles in five seasons between 2002-2006, they were never really able to get over the hump and go deep into the postseason, advancing beyond the ALDS only in 2002. The Twins have won 70 games or fewer in all but one season since 2011. In 2015, they were a surprise playoff contender under new manager Paul Molitor, notching 83 victories and finishing three games out of a Wild Card spot.
The team failed to build on that momentum this year, though. Far from it – they finished with a league-worst 59-103 record. It was clear changes needed to be made, and the Twins have now done that at the top of the front office. Many thought Molitor wouldn’t be spared either, but the organization is going to keep the Hall of Famer in the manager’s chair.
It’s hard to argue with the backgrounds of the executives the Twins are bringing in, with Falvey and now Levine. The Indians are coming off a run to the World Series, and though the Rangers rather disappointingly fizzled out in the ALDS, they boasted the best record in the AL (95-67) and have won at least 90 games in five of the last seven seasons.
The Twins will aim to reverse their slide down the standings and get back to their winning ways.