Levine answered just about every single question he was asked, and he gave insightful responses. Among the ones that stood out to us were his admission that the team uses Twitter for trade ideas.
From his AMA:
Q. How difficult has social media made it to keep trade or signing negotiations private? Has this impacted your approach to these things?
A. You identified one of our biggest challenges. This has impacted us unfortunately quite negatively. Used to be that we could tell all the players involved in trades before it became public. Now, that is extremely difficult to do. Last year, Ian Kinsler found out through the media that he had been traded. We felt awful, but someone called the media literally before we were able to complete a call to Ian.
That being said, at the trade deadline, we are all on twitter, because you may be surprised how many trade discussions are inspired or refined by tweets
A lot of times Twitter can be an effective tool because it’s such a good marketplace for information. Execs can use it to find out what players supposedly are available, who’s talking with whom, and what the latest rumors are. Don’t forget — an MLB.com reader predicted the Ian Kinsler for Prince Fielder trade, so you can never discount crowd sourcing as an effective tool.
In addition to Twitter, Levine also says the Rangers use popular baseball sites Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference as resources.
Q. How much information do teams have access to beyond what we have as fans through sites like B-Ref, Fangraphs, and so on?
A. We scour the entire sites, and several others. We are not too proud. If there is cutting edge information out there, we want to know about it.
Those sites, and others, have done such a phenomenal job. I believe that is why you see so many clubs hiring their employees. Really the only thing that we have access to that they do not is an extensive database from our scouts. We use those sites extensively in our analysis.
In addition to those revealing responses, Levine shared some other insight about the club. He said he believed a lot of Josh Hamilton’s success with the Rangers had to do with the outfielder’s relationship with manager Ron Washington.
“Truth be told, a large part of his success here can be attributed to how open he was with Ron Washington and how much chemistry the two had.”
He also said this of relief pitcher Neftali Feliz, who used to be one of the hardest throwers in the game before injuring his arm.
“Feliz continues to regain arm strength, but i do not anticipate him returning to throwing 96-100 mph.”
Warning to any teams: if you get a call from the Rangers saying they’re looking to deal you Feliz, now you’ll know why.