Monday, October 20, 2014

Competing inferences from a prolonged managerial search

Ron Gardenhire was ousted as Twins manager on Sept. 29. Three weeks and at least eight candidates later, Terry Ryan is apparently still not ready to make a hire. With the World Series starting Tuesday and the usual pressure from the commissioner's office to avoid significant moves during the series, it seems likely there will be no hire before November. 

This is, presumably, not a good sign for the internal candidates, who were the first to be interviewed. Ryan pledged a wide-ranging and diverse search, but we might reasonably infer that, at this point, Ryan still hasn't found what he's looking for.

Or there's this possibility: Ryan is using the opportunity to grill prospective managers from outside the system to gain new ideas and insights more than to actually select the next skipper. The Twins have been criticized in some quarters as too ingrown and rooted in its own culture. 

All the known outside candidates -- Sandy Alomar Jr., Chip Hale (out of the running), Demarlo Hale, Torey Lovullo and Joe McEwing -- come from American League teams. They may be telling Ryan things about the Twins that he hasn't heard from within, giving him an outside perspective on his operation -- knowledge that may be useful even if he hires one of the insiders. 

Even if Ryan waits until November to make his selection, it will still be faster than the process that resulted in Ron Gardenhire getting the job. That hire didn't come until January 2002.

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