Front office talks state of team at TwinsFest

GM Levine: Club focused on adding veteran leadership

Front office talks state of team at TwinsFest

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins president Dave St. Peter, chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and general manager Thad Levine each addressed the state of the franchise during the annual media luncheon before TwinsFest on Friday.

St. Peter made a slew of announcements, including the news that Michael Cuddyer and Andy MacPhail were elected to the Twins Hall of Fame. Falvey focused on describing meetings he held with the organization's scouts and hitting coaches during a trip last week to the club's Spring Training complex in Fort Myers, Fla. And Levine spoke more about the roster and how the Twins are still in the market for a free-agent veteran with leadership ability.

"We've been very consistent in our messaging this offseason that we have a desire to bring in players we feel have leadership skills," Levine said. "It could help accelerate the development of some of our young players. We've been dependent on LaTroy Hawkins, Torii Hunter and Michael Cuddyer to help us identify which players have leadership talent and abilities. I think any moves we make from this point forward will have an eye toward that."

Falvey and Levine also went to Fort Myers to visit the club's Spring Training complex for the first time last week, and they held a summit with their entire scouting department and a two-day hitting summit with new Major League hires James Rowson and Jeff Pickler and all of the club's Minor League coordinators and coaches.

"We had a little bit of an opportunity to talk about our process and how we want to operate," Falvey said. "We also got both groups together. I know there's been a joke we've used the word collaborate a lot, but it's at the core of how we'll operate going forward."

St. Peter added that a record 78 current, former and future Twins players are scheduled to appear at TwinsFest this weekend, and the club is expecting a turnout of roughly 15,000 fans over the three days, although no days have sold out yet.

The Twins have also sold more than 1 million tickets this year and are looking to exceed last year's attendance of 1,963,912. They had roughly a 75-80 percent renewal rate among season-ticket holders after last year's 103-loss season.

But the Twins will make another upgrade to Target Field, as they're adding more efficient LED lights to the ballpark much like the Mariners did at Safeco Field in 2015.

Other tidbits from the luncheon

• Hall of Famer Rod Carew continues to make good progress after receiving a heart transplant in mid-December. He could be released from the hospital as early as this weekend, but he is under travel restrictions so he won't be able to make it to Spring Training or Opening Day. But the Twins do plan to honor him at some point during the season, especially considering it's the 40th anniversary of his American League MVP season in '77.

• The Twins also plan to honor the 1987 World Series champions with a special 30-year anniversary celebration at Target Field in mid-July.

• In addition to the Billy Joel concert, the Twins are in talks with several promoters and are expected to host one additional concert this summer, St. Peter said.

• The Twins will receive an official list of players on World Baseball Classic rosters on Feb. 6. Catcher Jason Castro is on the preliminary roster for Team Mexico, according to Levine.

• Tickets for Opening Day went on sale on Friday at 4 p.m. CT. Tickets for the rest of the games go on sale on Feb. 25.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.