|Ron Gardenhire during his last game as Twins manager.|
I'm not celebrating.
The suspicion here is that Gardy got ousted for the wrong reason: To appease the columnists, talk radio loudmouths and critical Internet voices, none of whom have any responsibility for anything in the Twins organization.
It's possible that the ax dropped for a good reason, such as the possibility that Gardenhire and the front office were at cross-purposes on how certain players should be used.
The most likely case would appear to be Danny Santana. Gardenhire was reluctant to play the rookie at shortstop, even when he had two other center field options in Aaron Hicks and Jordan Schafer. Both Terry Ryan and his assistant GM, Rob Antony, said repeatedly this month that Santana is viewed as a long-term shortstop, even as Gardy persisted in using Santana in center.
My sense on this possible source of friction is that Gardenhire is more correct. I don't think Santana is going to be a quality shortstop. If Santana has a future as a one-position player, I think that future is at a spot he has yet to play in the majors (left field).
But we've seen signs that Gardenhire and Ryan had different views on the talent before -- see Gardenhire's similar reluctance to play Jason Bartlett in 2005-early 2006 -- and they've worked it out.
We'll see who the Twins fill the job with -- and how his approach to the game differs from Gardenhire's. My sense is that this might be akin to what happened when Ted Turner fired Bobby Cox after the 1981 season. Somebody asked Turner at the press conference, "What kind of manager are you looking for?" Turner replied: "Someone like Bobby Cox."
If the Twins are looking for someone like Gardenhire, they probably shouldn't have fired the real one.