For the first time since Minnesota Twins’ manager Ron Gardenhire took the job over a decade ago, he is sitting squarely on the hot seat. It has been a dismal few seasons in Minnesota and, fair or not, we all know the manager is the first to go. The Twins followed up 2011, a year in which they had 99 losses with an equally unimpressive 2012, where they lost 96 of 162 games.
Since taking over for Tom Kelley in 2002, Gardenhire has had much success. Even with those two ugly seasons he still holds a respectable 932-851 career record. In Gardenhire’s tenure, he has led the Twins to the playoffs six times, the most in MLB with the exception of the New York Yankees. Although leading your team to the playoffs more than half the time is certainly a success, Gardenhire has been historically bad in the playoffs. He owns a 6-20 playoff record and has lost 12 straight, which dates back to 2004 (One shy of the all-time record of 13, held by the Boston Red Sox). Surely, in a larger market, this type of futility would have led to Gardenhire’s dismissal.
GM Terry Ryan has not given his manager a playoff-caliber roster over the last few years, but he also hasn’t given him a roster that should be losing close to 100 games. And now Gardenhire is in a tough position: He’s heading into the last year of his contract and has a roster full of young, unproven position players and old, over-the-hill pitchers. For better or worse, it appears Gardy will have to take arguably the worst roster of his career and coach for his job.