Thursday, June 9, 2011

On firing managers and coaches

It is, apparently, that time of year.

The Texas Rangers and Florida Marlins fired their hitting coaches this week. This morning the Oakland Athletics fired their manager, Bob Geren.

Bob Geren was 334-376
in four-plus seasons as
Oakland's manager.
Even though the Twins have to be the most disappointing team in baseball, I would be flabbergasted if  any of the coaches got the ax midseason, or if Ron Gardenhire got fired at any point. The Pohlad-era Twins don't operate that way.

Minnesota last fired a manager in 1986 (Ray Miller). Coaches have come and gone, some on their own volition, some because their bosses wanted a change — but those moves always came in the cool of the offseason, not in the heat of competition.

Geren got the ax, it appears, partly because of the losing and partly because he was losing the clubhouse. While there are plenty of outside critics of Gardenhire, I see little reason to think the players no longer trust or respect his leadership or decisions.

But it occurs to me that since Al Newman was jettisoned, the Twins coaching staff has not had a former middle infielder directly responsible for working with that aspect of the game. Gardenhire was an infielder, but he's got other duties; Joe Vavre played infield in his minor league days, but his job is working with hitters, not refining double play pivots. Jerry White was an outfielder, Scott Ullger a first baseman, Rick Anderson a pitcher, Steve Liddle and Rick Stemaszek catchers.

No true infield coach -- and the quality of the team's infield play has slipped over time. Coincidence, or correlation?

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