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Twins bosses Derek Falvey, Thad Levine arrive in Boston to defend trades

July 29, 2018

BOSTON – In the Twins clubhouse, “the mood was pretty bad,” Brian Dozier said, in the wake of Friday’s pair of trades that exchanged Eduardo Escobar and Ryan Pressly for five prospects. In the Twins front office, General Manager Thad Levine said, both scouts and data analysts found the team’s haul in the deals “very exciting.”

Levine and Twins Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey flew to Massachusetts on Saturday to address that difference of opinion, making themselves accountable and available to explain their motivation for moves that left remaining players disappointed.

“When challenging decisions are made, you have to be part of it,” Falvey said. “Ultimately, these guys are professionals. They understand the reality of situations.”

Yes, but several pointed out that the Twins had won four games in a row entering Friday, pulling within seven games of Cleveland, their smallest deficit in a month. Falvey and Levine’s answer: Basing such important decisions on just a handful of games around the trade deadline is a mistake.

“We’ve played north of 100 games, and when you get to a certain point in the season … we try not to let one day or a few days sway the decisions,” Falvey said. “I don’t expect the players to always understand that, and they shouldn’t. They should want to go out and win tonight, no different than three days ago.”

Added Levine: “At the deadline, you want to be either investing in trying to win more now, or more in the future. What we didn’t want to do is get caught in the middle of those. We made the executive decision that we were going to invest in getting better for the future.”

The players the Twins received — pitcher Jorge Alcala, who turned 23 Saturday, is the oldest of the five — “all have a chance to climb the ladder for us,” Levine said. “I believe four of them will go right into our top 30 prospects, and that’s meaningful. What we were able to accomplish yesterday may not pay dividends tomorrow, but on the horizon, that just got brighter.”

Levine said he had one regret about Friday: That word of Escobar’s fate leaked before the player, and manager Paul Molitor, could be informed directly. Both learned of the trade when it was broadcast on TVs in the clubhouse. “It hurt us that Eduardo found out by way of something other than Paul, Derek or myself telling him,” Levine said.

Staying in touch

Dozier said he talked with Escobar once Friday and twice Saturday, “just to say hello, and make sure he was doing all right, because he took it pretty tough.”

Escobar was in the Diamondbacks lineup Saturday, batting fifth and playing third base at San Diego.

“He’s doing well, in a better mind-set today,” Dozier said. “He’s got a few friends over there. Arizona just got a lot better, not only on the field but in the community.”

Happy to be back

As Dozier spoke, Escobar’s replacement, Miguel Sano, pulled on his uniform a few feet away. Sano said he is happy to be back from his six-week minor league assignment — but he’s glad he went, too.

“It was an experience. It wasn’t negative. It was something positive, now that I look back on it,” the 25-year-old infielder said through an interpreter. “It helped me realize the steps I needed to do to be back up here. It was a good experience and I learned a lot from it.”

He said he is grateful that the Twins intervened when his season spiraled downward. “This is my future. They had my future in mind. I understand why they did what they did,” he said. “It’s my life and my future and I’m looking forward to it.”

Sano didn’t address his weight specifically, but he clearly is lighter than when he was sent to Florida on June 14. “I feel better, healthier,” he said. “A lot better.”

That should pay benefits, he said. “My swing is the same,” said Sano. “But since I worked on my entire body, I feel healthier and it’s allowing me to swing better.”

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