Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Winter Meetings, Day 1

The only news of substance involving the Twins Monday was a reshuffling of titles and responsibilities in the scouting department.

Deron Johnson, who had been scouting director, has been named "senior advisor of the scouting department." As expounded here by the Pioneer Press' Mike Berardino, he's to be more heavily involved in international and pro scouting than he has been. Sean Johnson (no relation) will be the scouting director, which puts him in charge of the June draft and the No.1 overall pick.

To my knowledge, neither Derek Falvey nor Thad Levine, the two newcomers at the top of the baseball ops hierarchy, have been an amateur scout, much less a scouting director. But the Twins have no shortage of experienced -- and well-regarded -- amateur scouts. Mike Radcliff, the scouting director when the Twins took Joe Mauer 1-1, is still around (vice president, player personnel). So is Larry Corrigan, the scouting director before Radcliff; he ran the draft that brought in Torii Hunter. So the new scouting director has his predecessors going back more than two decades to advise him.

At least, they are around now. While Falvey and Levine said at their introductory press conference that current baseball ops people who want to buy into their vision are welcome to stay, we know that Terry Ryan chose to leave and Bill Smith has been told he's not returning.Two area scouts were let go even before Falvey and Levine arrived, a decision made by assistant general manager Rob Antony. The new cadre of special assistants (Michael Cuddyer, LaTroy Hawkins and Hunter) are apparently expected to play a role in the draft. There are going to be changes -- not necessary dramatic or in a tidal wave, but changes nevertheless.

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