With another 90-plus loss season looking like a certainty, even after Tuesday night’s 18-9 drubbing of the Chicago White Sox, it’s fair to say some changes will be coming for the Minnesota Twins as the 2013 season nears.
A slight stir was perhaps caused by the news that Triple-A Rochester manager Gene Glynn will join the Twins’ coaching staff for the rest of the season starting with this coming weekend’s series against the Cleveland Indians now that his team’s season is over. The conspiracy theorists among Twins’ fans may start to think that means Glynn is in line to replace manager Ron Gardenhire after the season, but I think all it means is Glynn may find his way on to to the major league coaching staff next season. That does assume the Twins’ brass wants to give him the opportunity after he led Rochester to a 19-win improvement over 2011 this season (72-72 record).
But that may also lead to a closer examination of Gardenhire’s job status after this his 11th season as Twins’ manager. Gardenhire goes back to 1988 as a manager in the Twins’ farm system, and was a long-time coach on Tom Kelly’s staff before being named Kelly’s successor prior to the 2002 season. Over his nearly 11 seasons as manager, Gardenhire has a 922-835 record (.525 winning percentage) and has led the Twins to six division titles (2002-2004, 2006, 2009-2010) in that span. A successful track record for sure, but the last two seasons have definitely taken a lot of bloom off that rose.
I feel like the Minnesota Twins problems do not start in the manager’s office, and the problems that exist in the minor league system, on the pitcher’s mound and at times other spots on the field are the fault of poor scouting and player development over the last few years. The “Twins Way” that became the envy of plenty of other teams around baseball when they were winning division titles now seems to be long gone. That is not Gardenhire’s fault, at least not outwardly, but it’s possible a new voice is needed in the dugout if things are to turn around anytime soon. The bigger problem in my view is the overall nepotism that has permeated the organization, and recycling coaches through various roles (including Gardenhire himself) is the first thing that needs to change.