Who Should Manage the Twins in 2019?
Zeke Fuhrman | Oct 4, 2018 AT 9:15 am
PHOTO / Getty Images
In a move that was shocking, yet unsurprising at the same time, the Minnesota Twins relieved manager Paul Molitor of his duties earlier this week. Molitor, the reigning AL Manager of the Year, was 305-343 in four yo-yo seasons with the Twins. The Twins finished second in the AL Central three times in four years under Molitor. They made a Wild Card game appearance in 2017...a year after losing a franchise record 103 games.
Even in 2018, a season where literally everything that could go wrong for the Twins did (injuries, bullpen issues, players under-performing) Molitor and the "Triple-A Twins" only finished four games below .500 despite trading key players like Brian Dozier, Eduardo Escobar, Zach Duke, Fernando Rodney, Lance Lynn and Ryan Pressley mid-season and losing valuable pieces like starting catcher Jason Castro, Gold Glove winner Byron Buxton and All-Stars Miguel Sano and Ervin Santana to injuries.
With Molitor's departure from the dugout comes the need for a new manager. Twins executives Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have the opportunity to hire a manager that will fit their philosophy to work with the players that they bring in. The Twins are one of five teams looking for a manager for 2019 (Baltimore, LA Angels, Texas, Toronto).
Joe Girardi, former manager/current broadcaster : Obviously one of the top manager candidates out there for teams that will be filing a void. Twins fans may remember Joe Girardi's Yankees beating up on the Twins from 2008-2017 (50-21 record including 7-0 in the playoffs). Girardi was the NL Manager of the Year in 2006 with the Florida Marlins prior to joining the Yankees, then won the 2009 World Series with New York. He was fired after last season. He did interview with the Cincinnati Reds for their coaching vacancy before they hired Jim Riggleman, and spent 2018 in the broadcast booth with MLB Network. While Girardi will be one of the marquee names out there to fill a vacancy, but don't expect the Twins to get him.
Doug Mientkiewicz, minor league manager: The former Twins first baseman was a finalist for the Twins manager job after they let Ron Gardenhire go following the 2014 season. The job ultimately went to Molitor. Mientkiewicz was managing the Single A affiliate Fort Myers Miracle at the time. He was promoted to Double-A affiliate Chatanooga in 2016 before returning to Fort Myers the next season After Falvey and Levine took over in 2017, they fired Mientkiewicz. If they saw him as a potential manager of the future for the big league club, they probably would have kept him in the organization...especially considering the success he had managing in the minors. He's currently managing the Detroit Tigers Triple-A affiliate in Toledo.
Brad Mills, Cleveland Indians bench coach: Mills is 61 years old and that might be older than the Twins would like (hey, Cubs manager Joe Maddon is 64...), but he's a Derek Falvey guy. Mills is currently the bench coach for the Cleveland Indians. Mills has MLB manager experience, managing the Houston Astros to a couple 100-loss seasons prior their World Series turnaround. Falvey hired Mills to be a coach in Cleveland in October 2012.
Jayce Tingler, Texas Rangers assistant GM,: Tingler has been with the Texas Rangers organization since 2005, where he played as a minor leaguer before making the transition to a manager and coach. Thad Levine knows him pretty well from is time in Arlington. In fact, Levine taking the Twins GM job opened the door for a Tingler promotion to assistant GM for the Rangers. Tingler managed the Ranger's Rookie ball team in 2010 before becoming a roving instructor (like Molitor was before managing the Twins) in 2011.
John McDonald, Cleveland Indians coach: If John McDonald's name sounds familiar, it's because he was the player who's knee collided with Justin Morneau's head while Morneau was sliding into second base in a game in Toronto in 2010. It was an accident, but Morneau's recurring concussions became an issue after that play. The 44-year old McDonald is a defensive specialist who spent 16 years in the major leagues. He is currently the defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Indians and is another Falvey guy.
Brandon Hyde, Chicago Cubs coach: Hyde was a manager in the Marlins organization from 2005-09 before joining the big-league club in 2010. He has one game of managerial experience: June 9, 2011 after manager Edwin Rodriquez resigned (2-1 loss to Tampa Bay). Hyde accepted a position with the Chicago Cubs in 2013 under Rick Renteria but was moved to first base coach when Joe Maddon took over in 2015. The Mets tried to hire Hyde away from the Cubs last year as their bench coach but stayed with the Cubs after Maddon promoted him to the same position.
Sandy Alomar Jr, Cleveland Indians coach: Yup. Another Cleveland Indian. The former All Star catcher has put together an impressive resume since retiring as a Met in 2007. He stayed on with the Mets organization as a coach from 2008-09 before returning to Cleveland, where he won the AL Rookie of the Year award, a Gold Glove and earned six All-Star appearances as a player from 1990-2000. He was Cleveland's interm coach for the final six games of the 2012 season follow the firing of Manny Acta (the Indians went 3-3). He was one of two candidates to replace Acta permanently, but the job went to Terry Francona. Alomar spent 2013 as Francona's bench coach before moving to first base coach in 2014. In addition to the managerial job with the Indians, he's also interviewed for openings with the Cubs, Red Sox and Blue Jays.
Derek Shelton, Twins bench coach: Shelton was one of the guys that Falvey brought on to Paul Molitor's staff last year, replacing Joe Vavra. Shelton brings 13 years of major league coaching experience to the table, serving as as the quality control coach for Toronto in 2017 and 12 seasons as hitting coach for Joe Maddon's Tampa Bay Rays teams (2010-2016) as well as the (surprise) Cleveland Indians from 2005-09, which is where his connection to Falvey comes. MLB Network has reported that Shelton is likely the leading in-house candidate for the position.
Jeff Pickler, Twins coach: Picker is both a coach and the coordinator of major league development with the Twins. He was hired by the Twins by Falvey and Lavine in 2017 after working for a Dodgers front office that had won five consecutive NL West division titles. Pickler floated around the minors for eight seasons before becoming a scout for the Arizona Diamondbacks organization. He was also an assistant coach with the University of Arizona before joining the San Diego Padres as a scout for four seasons. One of Pickler's strengths is his background in analytics...a direction that most major league teams seem to be trending.
Joe Mauer, retired (?) MLB player: lol