On Monday morning, the Minnesota Twins made it official that Michael Cuddyer, Torii Hunter and LaTroy Hawkins were coming back
to the organization. No, they aren’t going to come out of retirement. Though all three could probably still contribute in some way on the field, they are going to attempt to help the Twins off the field and in the front office.
I’m not sure when the “bringing back the gang” saying became a negative thing. I believe it was when the Twins decided to bring back Jason Kubel and Matt Guerrier on minor league deals before the 2014 season. Both were veterans who had solid MLB careers but were both coming off of injuries. The Twins took a chance on both, hoping they might be back at 100% and able to contribute. In both cases, it really didn’t work.
A year later, the Twins brought Torii Hunter back for one more season. He had his ups and downs on the field that season, but few can question the impact he had in the clubhouse, even if you struggle to believe in the value of veteran leadership.
The negative tone some chose to take for such signings went to a ridiculous level in the last year or so. When the Twins were looking to hire a manager, some didn’t want Paul Molitor. Maybe those people were right, but if the reasoning was because of his previous time with the Twins, then that just isn’t right.
Even worse, Chip Hale was also considered a candidate early in the process. Some didn’t like that because he played for the Twins, about 20 years ago. Or, when the Twins were looking for a pitching coach two years ago, some said that Frank Viola shouldn’t be considered because he played for the organization, 25 years ago. Forget that he helped develop the likes of Matt Harvey, Jacob DeGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and the like.
How about when the Twins were looking for a new GM (which became a new GM and Chief Baseball Operator)? I remember reading somewhere that the Twins probably shouldn’t consider someone like Randy Bush because he played for the Twins for several years in the 1980s and was on two championship teams. It would be Bringing Back The Gang, right? Again, ignore the fact that he hasn’t played in the organization for 25 years, and he’s not only coached in college but has been an assistant GM with the Cubs since long before the Theo Epstein reign began.