Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Molitor stays, Allen departs

Neil Allen will
not return as
pitching coach.
The Twins announced Monday that Paul Molitor had accepted a three-year extension as manager. Also Monday, pitching coach Neil Allen told reporters that he had been fired.

I can imagine that Derek Falvey relented on salary and/or contract length for Molitor but not on replacing Allen. Remember, Falvey's area of proported expertise at Cleveland was developing pitchers, and he now has opened up probably the two most important positions in the organization in that field, major league pitching coach and minor league pitching coordinator.

Reusse has a point about the raw material Allen had to work with. Coaching goes only so far. Talent matters, and the Twins ran out a number of pitchers who really have no business on a major league roster in this high velocity era. (Of the 36, 14 had worse Fielding Independent Pitching ratings than catcher and blow-out specialist Chris Gimenez.)

My sense, which may be mistaken, the past three years was that Allen was overly determined to make every pitcher work his way. I remember hearing an in-game interview with Allen during spring training in which he made a sarcastic wisecrack about Kyle Gibson reworking his mechanics and routine over the offseason. I don't know what worked for Gibson and what didn't, what he kept and what he jettisoned, but I know that:

  • what Gibson had been doing didn't work for him physically or on the field in 2016;
  • he had a strong August and September this year; and
  • Falvey's former organization seems quite open to individual experimentation with programs, with Trevor Bauer being an obvious example.

The improvement in the Twins in run prevention this year can be attributed not to the pitching or even the emergence of Jose Berrios, but to the improved defense (and even the improved team defensive metrics appear to be almost entirely Byron Buxton in center).

Mike Berardino listed several in-house possibilities for Allen's former post, but I expect Falvey to reach outside the organization. One interesting question is how much input Molitor will have on the selection.

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