Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Life after Gardy

Ron Gardenhire at Monday's press
Ron Gardenhire didn't go kicking and screaming when fired Monday, He took part in the press conference, made a few jokes, and even said removing him from the managerial job might be the best thing for the team: "A different voice, a different face."

Meanwhile, Terry Ryan emphasized that the next manager may not be a current Twins employee. When Gardenhire was hired in the wake of Tom Kelly's retirement after the 2001 season, the known candidates were on the coaching staff: Gardy, Paul Molitor and dark horse Scott Ullger.

There's no shortage of legit in-house candidates this time around, starting with current coaches Molitor and Terry Steinbach. Ullger is known to want to manage but probably has no chance at the job. From the minors, there's Doug Mientkiewicz. (Jake Mauer is also racking up an impressive resume in the farm system, but the presence of his younger brother on the roster probably precludes Jake as a serious candidate in Minnesota.) I've seen Gene Glynn and Jeff Smith mentioned, but I can't believe either would rate above Mientkiewicz.

If Ryan and Company go outside the organization, a name to be aware of is Dave Martinez, currently bench coach for the Tampa Bay Rays. Martinez, as Joe Maddon's understudy/protege, figures to be more openly attuned to the analytic approach to running a team than was Gardenhire (who was, I am convinced, more aware of the numbers than he wanted us to believe.) There are plenty of other outside possibilities being floated -- Torey Lovello from the Red Sox, Chip Hale (former Twin form the Tom Kelly era) from Oakland, Jose Oquendo from the Cardinals -- and almost all come from more openly sabermetric operations than the Twins.

I do not take the Ozzie Guillen chatter seriously; that's just talk radio nonsense. I do want the revamped coaching staff -- and there are likely to be changes -- to include at least one native Spanish speaker. There are just too many young Latin players of importance in this organization to allow things to get lost in translation.

My guess right now is that Molitor and Mientkiewicz are the two most likely choices, but that sense stems in part from past practice. My personal preference would be Mientkiewicz, who would be the most likely to have a decade-plus tenure. But I think it's more likely that Molitor would be the pick with Mientkiewicz added to the coaching staff.


  1. A significant feature of Gardenhire managed teams is that they did not embarrass the Twins or MLB off the field.

  2. They saved that for ON the field the last four seasons...

  3. I won't be too surprised if the new manager comes from outside the organization. Ryan will likely interview a lot of people, and some one could blow him away. Mientkiewicz might actually be the choice, in the sense that he profiles more like Gardy then the other in house candidates. I don't think being Joe's brother should disqualify Jake Mauer, He may be the most likely be a great manager rather than just a good one, like Gardy was. He also might be viewed as needing more seasoning.

    Like you, I can't imagine that Guillen is a realistic choice. He might be the kind of guy you bring in with a veteran team that needs a kick in the butt, I don't know you want him around a real young team that is going to take some lumps, most probably. They don't need to take them from the manager. I do think other Latin guys will/should be interviewed. expect that a Latin speaker will be on the staff, just like now.

    Personally, I don't expect that changing the manager will change things much overall. Unless Ryan gets lucky and finds someone like Tom Kelly or Gene Mauch. He is likely to end with a good manager replacing another good manager, which means that with the good players filtering up thru the system, we will eventually have a good team. It isn't too often even great managers can make that much of a difference.

    I don't know the real reason that Gardy was fired, I expect that it was owner driven. I doubt if the new voice thing was it. The only players around long enough to be tired of Gardy's voice are Mauer and Perkins.
    On top of that, the young players were improving (Dozier and Plouffe) or playing pretty well like Santana and others.