Barreiro Pushes Derek Falvey to Answer Tough Questions
It wasn’t even a month ago that Dan Barreiro made Minnesota Wild general manager, Bill Guerin, sweat during an interview that made it clear the team wasn’t keeping Kevin Fiala. On Wednesday, it was Twins President of Basketball Operations, Derek Falvey’s, turn.
Barreiro vs Falvey
The seasoned KFAN radio host, formerly sports columnist, started the interview off (05:40 mark above) by lobbing some friendly softballs to the Twins’ PoBO. First, about Luis Arraez’ success and then the league plunging itself into the new dead ball era. But after that, Barreiro turned to the Donaldson locker room dynamic and if that was part of why he was traded. Falvey, handled it like a pro and wiggled out pretty easily.
So Dan, always up for a challenge, decided to pick at the biggest scabs currently bothering Minnesota Twins fans.
- Buxton’s ever-decreasing workload and his “100 game” goal
- Rocco’s in-game (rigid) bullpen/starting pitching management
Falvey may have dodged the Donaldson question like a pro. But Barreiro wasn’t going to let him get off that easy in other areas. When the KFAN host didn’t like the answer he got about the team’s cautiousness with Byron Buxton, something about ‘well Carlos Correa already told you what’s up with Byron Buxton‘, Barreiro doubled down and asked Falvey to answer again. And by golly, the answer he got the 2nd time through was much more satisfactory.
[18:34 mark of original KFAN – Barreiro Show Podcast]
Barreiro: “It strikes, I think some as a bit of an indictment That the process, you know, he’s not 42 years old. We understand he’s got a history with this. That process is so elaborate. that in the course of a game, even if you intended at the start of the night to not use him because that’s part of the plan, you have an opportunity to plug them in. That in effect, you’re saying you can’t because that’s too great a risk. That’s quite a concession, isn’t it?”
Falvey: “Well, it’s part of the calculus, no question. And as you said, these are, these are challenging conversations to have. And sometimes there aren’t perfect answers. But for Byron, we’re certainly working with him. Nothing’s as rigid as ‘this guy will never show up in the game late in the game. Certainly he’s done that already for us at different junctures and ultimately hopefully he will as the as the year wears on some of its dependent upon how he’s feeling and where he’s at and how the last number of days have gone.”
“So we work and partner with him you know, obviously with the medical staff with the coaches and otherwise to figure out what’s the best path. For that and ultimately every night he’ll make that he’ll have that conversation with Rocco and the staff and figure out. If that’s the right night to use him. There have been times where I know he talked about getting himself ready later in the game to come into a game and that’s something we’ll deploy when the time’s right”
What about the pitcher management?
Somehow, the management of Byron Buxton isn’t even the biggest question mark facing the way Rocco Baldelli and the Minnesota Twins manage their roster on game days. Many questions have risen regarding the pitching staff. Pulling starting pitchers too early, often in favor for Tyler Duffey, has cost the team multiple victories already this season.
Falvey’s answer was damn good. He mentioned innings oftentimes being a bigger factor than someone’s pitch count, in when they come out of the game. That cooling down and ramping back up over and over again might mean more to the Twins thought process, when pulling a pitcher, than the cumulative number of times they’ve thrown to the catcher.
And quite honestly, that makes some sense. Amazing what happens when you let your guard down and answer questions with thought and honesty.
[21:13 mark of original KFAN – Barreiro Show Podcast]
Barreiro: “Is the team too programmed, to the point where, is the manager allowed to make decisions on the fly, on the basis of ‘okay here’s what’s happening within the game, that seemed like a good plan before the game, but maybe we steal an extra inning with [the starter] and then maybe we don’t have to go as deep into the bullpen’. Can you help me understand that?”
Falvey: “One of the things you hear from relievers a lot is, ‘hey, if you can give me a sense of where in the game, roughly, I’m going to come in, it helps me kind of prepare and do my pre-prep routine.’ So a lot of that is a partnership with those guys.”
“The other thing I would point out is, sometimes we get fixated on that pitch count number. It’s a big part of the game of baseball. But oftentimes, in Chris [Archer]’s case, a guy who’s come off of two surgeries the last couple years. Ultimately, trying to figure out what’s the best cadence for him, to continue to get through a whole season.”
“And what we hear sometimes, is it’s the up and down as much as it is the pitch count. The between innings, the sitting down, the coming back out. So, while pitch count does become a focus, sometimes it’s about the number of innings a guy has gone. Even with those numbers of pitches.”
Pushing the Envelope Matters
This may have been the most pointed interview I’ve heard Derek Falvey do. Until now, he has always been the slimiest interview in town. That’s not to say he is a snake, in the common epithetical meaning. It’s just impossible to get a straight answer out of him or anyone in the Minnesota Twins organization.
But who is asking the question matters even more. If the interviewer, like Barreiro does regularly, is willing to push the envelope, then even guys like Falvey is capable of giving legitimate answers.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan