MLB Minnesota Twins

Five Coaches Who Could Replace Ron Gardenhire as Minnesota Twins’ Manager

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Five Coaches Who Could Replace Ron Gardenhire as Minnesota Twins’ Manager

Five Coaches Who Could Replace Ron Gardenhire as Minnesota Twins’ Manager
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

All off-season—and throughout stretches last year—you heard rumblings that Minnesota Twins’ management has shortened the leash for Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire. Back to back losing seasons will sour a fan base and ignite a frenzy within an organization and that is exactly what has happened with the Twins. It isn’t as if Gardenhire has all-of-a-sudden forgotten how to coach in the big leagues, but the talent pool that has been at his disposal has—for lack of a better term—dried up.

Injuries over the past few seasons to stars Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer and players leaving via free agency such as Joe Nathan have left the resources very bare for Gardenhire to manage effectively. Couple that with a once promising farm system that hasn’t produced many capable prospects—and now finally is on the upswing—and you have a recipe for disaster within the organization. Gardenhire has had his fair share of mishaps throughout his tenure as manager of the Twins, but I believe it isn’t fair to pin the losing all on him. Certainly a manger is the one most likely to receive the brunt of the criticism if things go astray, but the Twins must not make a knee-jerk decision to cut ties with a quality manager when the real problem is a lack of talent.

For what it’s worth, Gardenhire has taken these rumors and rumblings in stride and continues to manage with the same vigor and style that made him effective when he was winning division championships as recent as three years ago. If it so happens that the Twins decide to part ways with their long-time skipper, a few names pop up as possible replacements in my mind. As a result, I have compiled a list of the top five candidates that would be the best fit for the Twins if they should choose to get rid of Gardenhire.

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5. Terry Steinbach

Terry Steinbach
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Terry Steinbach is currently on the Minnesota Twins’ coaching staff as a bench coach this season. Steinbach—like former Twins' player and current instructor Paul Molitor—is a homegrown coach who grew up in New Ulm, MN and would be welcomed as a popular choice among fans in Minnesota. Whether or not Steinbach could be an effective big league manager or not remains to be seen; however, the Chicago White Sox hired Robin Ventura as their manager with little or no prior coaching experience and it seemed to work out just fine for them. Who knows, maybe it would work out with Steinbach as well. Steinbach would be a calming influence on a young and inexperienced team and also would bring championship experience to the club as well after winning a World Series ring in 1989 as part of the Oakland Athletics.

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4. Bob Brenly

Bob Brenly
Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh of signing a five year contract as the TV analyst of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Bob Brenly would be a difficult person to lure away to manage the Minnesota Twins. Brenly won a World Series championship with the Diamondbacks back in 2001 and was fired in 2004; he has been out of managing ever since. Brenly has the credentials to be a very good candidate for any vacant Twins job and he may want another chance at managing at the big league level. Another person I considered in this position was Bert Blyleven of the Twins broadcast team, but I figured he would not be interested in the long-term gig as manager. This sentiment and feeling is unfortunately the same feeling that Brenly likely shares so although he would be a great coach, it likely isn’t going to happen.

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3. Jamey Carroll

Jamey Carroll
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

If you are looking to go the player manager route—which hasn’t been seen in some time and could provide nice publicity for the Minnesota TwinsJamey Carroll would be an excellent hire. Outside of Mike Redmond—who was hired by the Miami Marlins as a manger earlier this off-season— or Jim Thome, there hasn’t been a player in recent memory who has played on the Twins and demonstrated such a great knowledge of the game as Redmond and Carroll have. Carroll—as a player—embodies all of the attributes that you want to instill in an organization and its younger players. This is the most illogical and unlikely of all of the possibilities I have suggested, but I believe it could have some of the best long-term benefits of all of the mangers available. It would be cheap, exciting and interesting to see, all at the same time.

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2. Paul Molitor

Paul Molitor
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Paul Molitor has received rave reviews for the work he has done with Minnesota Twins’ hitters in the minor league system and was a candidate for the vacant hitting coach job this past off-season. A home grown prospect of the state of Minnesota, Molitor would receive a hero’s welcome to Twins’ Territory and could garner the respect and attention from players of all ages upon arrival. If the Twins are looking for a sexy hire with a lot of fan appeal, Molitor would definitely be the choice. The question remains—however—as to whether or not Molitor would even be interested in becoming a manager at the big league level for anyone, let alone the Twins.

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1. Don Baylor

Don Baylor
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Don Baylor is another manager with ties to Minnesota as he played on the Minnesota Twins’ World Championship team in 1987. Baylor also has some managing experience at the big league level when he managed the Colorado Rockies from 1993-98 and won National League Manager of the Year in 1995. Baylor would bring instant credibility and experience to the managerial position and it is possible he may be hungry for another opportunity to coach at the big leagues. Baylor is currently a hitting coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Baylor would be a great hire for a team full of young talent as Baylor has experience working with young teams when he turned around the expansion Rockies when they first became a franchise. Given time, Baylor could be a very successful coach in the majors once again.