Derek Falvey expecting smooth leadership transition between Pohlads
Joe Pohlad took over the team organizational lead from his uncle, Jim.
MINNEAPOLIS — There’s a new Pohlad in charge, and only time will tell how Joe Pohlad, the Minnesota Twins’ new executive chair, will differ from his uncle, Jim, atop the team’s leadership structure.
But already, there’s one key difference that president of baseball operations Derek Falvey, who now reports to Joe Pohlad, can point to. Joe Pohlad, Falvey said, will be the first in his family to have an office at the stadium. The result of that?
“The benefit there will be to have that active dialogue on a more regular basis,” Falvey said. “With Jim, I could call him any time and talk him through it, but sometimes I’d have to catch him up on where things are. Whereas Joe, I can walk down the hall and say, ‘Here’s the landscape of what’s going on, here’s what’s happening.’”
But while additional facetime will be a benefit, the transition itself might not be all that big — and that’s because, Falvey said, Joe Pohlad already has been involved in all major baseball decisions he’s had over the past five seasons.
When the Twins were discussing signing shortstop Carlos Correa to a deal in March, Joe Pohlad was conferenced into the call with his uncle.
“I remember during that conversation me presenting where we were at and where it might end up and where it might land and kind of turning it back to them to see what their comfort level was and Joe was deferring to Jim,” Falvey said.
In a note to team employees sent Nov. 28, Jim Pohlad said he still plans to be involved in Twins and Major League Baseball business as the team’s control owner, and he’ll still be consulted on decisions, especially major ones.
The Pohlad family took ownership of the Twins in 1984 when Carl Pohlad, Jim’s father and Joe’s grandfather, purchased the team from Calvin Griffith.
“Joe’s going to lean on his dad (Bob), he’s going to lean on Jim, he’s going to lean on his brothers, he’s going to lean on other members of the family to make some of these difficult decisions along the way,” Falvey said. “… I think it’s a really good thing for our team long term to know this transition is happening, that this team is part of their family for a really long time and that’s how they view it.”
Cruz, Arraez together
Former Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz, 42, is planning on playing for the Dominican Republic this spring in the World Baseball Classic.
The free agent hopes it isn’t the end of his playing days.
Coming off a difficult 2022 season during which he hit .234 with a .651 OPS and just 10 home runs, Cruz had surgery to correct an inflammation issue in his left eye. As he starts preparing for the WBC and the upcoming season, he’s anticipating having a familiar training partner for part of the offseason: Luis Arraez.
Arraez came to work with him at his home in the Dominican Republic last season, and after a difficult first couple of days of training as he tackled Cruz’s demanding routine, Arraez adjusted, shedding some weight and strengthening his legs.
The Twins infielder stayed healthy during the course of the 2022 season, which culminated in him becoming the American League batting champion. Cruz was watching every step of the way.
“Really exciting. All the things he did do in the offseason and seeing it develop in front of my eyes, even his body changing. He looks more mature,” Cruz said. “His body is more muscular. At the end of the day, he did what he’s supposed to be doing to stay healthy. We know he’s going to hit.”
Cruz said he plans to host Arraez in the Dominican Republic again and is also expecting to head to Venezuela, Arraez’s home country, for a week during the offseason.
Arraez is one of a handful of Twins players who already have committed to play in the upcoming World Baseball Classic, which will be held during spring training.
With the event being held for the first time since 2017, the Twins are anticipating a spring camp that will be missing some key players. Falvey said they were already making plans for those players — some are on 50-man rosters at the moment and might not make the final cut — and expect to make resources available in early January at the complex in Fort Myers, Florida.
“Fort Myers is open like Jan. 4 to the extent we want to offer it up to them if they would like to come in and do their workouts there, we can do that,” Falvey said. “I think a whole host of them have already decided to do that. We’re going to see guys there mid-January that are probably going to be prepping for it. That helps a little bit.”
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