The Minnesota Twins put a quick end to speculation over the status of manager Ron Gardenhire on Monday, announcing that he has agreed to a two-year contract extension and his entire coaching staff will be invited back for next season. The team just ended a third consecutive season with close to 100 losses on Sunday, but general manager Terry Ryan has clearly put the onus on himself to give Gardenhire and his staff better players to work with this offseason.
While I think it’s true the team’s failings since 2011 have little to do with Gardenhire’s ability as a manager, bringing him back without any thought (at least publicly acknowledged) about other candidates is foolish. Even within the Twins’ organization there are viable managerial candidates, in particular roving minor league instructor Paul Molitor, but a steadfast refusal to consider ideas that may contradict their own has become the new “Twins’ Way” and the results on the field have reflected that.
It doesn’t shock me that Gardenhire wanted to come back to the Twins for a 13th season as manager in 2014, and that loyalty should not be disregarded even if I personally think it is misplaced in the grand scheme of things. I also think he would not have been unemployed for long had he wanted to consider other options and had a desire to continue managing, but that does not make the decision to bring him back the right one.
The Twins are unlikely to be a playoff contender next season, and there are no guarantees beyond that even with some promising talent in the minor league pipeline. Some fresh and innovative thinking from the major league dugout would be good for the players that will remain next season as well as those that will come to the big leagues soon, and perhaps drive a revival of the entire organization from top to bottom. I have nothing against Gardenhire, but he does not fit that bill and his return points to a level of nepotism and satisfaction with maintaining the status quo in the Twins’ organization that should not exist at this point.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.