|Ron Gardenhire at Monday's press|
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.