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Players Speak About Paul Molitor

This morning, the Twins will announce Paul Molitor as the organization’s 13th manager since coming to Minnesota in 1961. We hear and read so much about how high his baseball IQ is, but we also hear about how well he worked with players in the minor leagues. I thought I would contact several players that Molitor has worked with in his tenure with the Twins and get their feedback on Molitor. I think it’s fair to say that there are some recurring themes. (This article may be updated with more quotes throughout the day)
Image courtesy of Steve Buhr
Outfielder Denard Span spent over a decade in the Minnesota Twins organization before being traded to the Washington Nationals after the 2012 season. He spent a lot of time working with Molitor.

"The main thing that stuck out to me about Paul was that he was always even keel. I think that's important for a manager, especially during a long season."


Right-handed reliever AJ Achter was drafted by the Twins in 2010 and reached the big leagues this last September. :

“I’m very excited for him and our organization. As a pitcher, I didn’t work with him as much as the position guys. But any time I got to talk to him, I found out very quickly his knowledge and passion for the game. He is, by far, the best baseball mind I’ve ever had the pleasure of talking to. The things he picks up on, added to his experience as a player make him extremely knowledgeable and very well respected in the clubhouse. I’m looking forward to seeing all the positives he brings as manager.”


AJ Pettersen was drafted by the Twins in 2011 and believes that Molitor can be a great manager because of how well he treats people. That he’s a fellow Minnesota Gopher alum probably doesn’t hurt his opinion either.

“Moli will make an excellent manager. He has the ability to connect with people of every background. I have seen him effectively communicate with Latin players just as well as he does with former Gophers. His most knowledgeable areas are base running and defense. He knows an insane amount about the game, but you would never know by the way he acts. He is the kind of guy that is continually learning, not just to advance as a manager and coach, but because he genuinely loves baseball and loves teaching players to be better. He is a calm presence in the dugout, which is very helpful through a long, stressful season. He will be an excellent manager for the Twins and with the right group around him, he will help to get the ship headed in the right direction. Plus, he is a Gopher! Ski-u-mah! Go Twins!”


Jorge Polanco signed with the Twins as a 16-year-old in 2009 and has worked many times over the year with Molitor:

“I have a lot of experiences. You know he is a Hall of Famer. He knows a lot about the game. Everything you ask him for, he knows it, like base runner, hitting, stealing.”


Cole DeVries was in the Twins system for about eight years. Although he is a pitcher, there are still things that Molitor could help with:

“I didn’t have a ton of interaction with him in the minors, outside of him helping me because I was tipping pitches. I would also ask him to tell me how he thought I did after some outings. I think it is going to be a great addition for the Twins because there aren’t too much who know as much about the game of baseball. He is also familiar with the players in the minor league system. I think he will do a good job of getting himself up to speed with being a manager and getting all the new young players up to the big league playing standards.”


Adam Brett Walker has been in the organizations just a couple of years and hasn’t had a lot of time with Molitor.

“But, from the small about I’ve been with him, he seems like a great guy. He has talked to me about base running, but I have heard him talk to more of the infielders about the game more. He seems like he has a lot of knowledge for the game, and I hope he does a great job.”


Cedar Rapids middle infielder Ryan Walker spent time with Molitor a year ago in the Instructional League.

“He was there teaching and instructing in basically every area of the game. It was quickly obvious why he’s in the Hall of Fame. His knowledge and understanding of how everything in baseball works isn’t matched by very many. There were a couple of times he even talked about things that I had never heard of in my life – which is really rare considering how much we play and study the game. He seemed like the kind of person that truly knows every aspect of baseball, in and out, and I can’t imagine a better qualification for the position.”


Chris Colabello came to the Twins organization in 2012 after years in independent ball. He speaks more to the type of person that Molitor is:

“Obviously I am thrilled for him. His resume and background speak for themselves and based on that alone, he is more than qualified. What I think will make him most successful as a manager is how quality of a person he is. Since the day I met him in my first minor league camp, he was as kind and willing to chat as anyone I met that first year. He is a student of the game and is always looking to share information that he is gaining on a day-to-day basis to help guys do their job. I would be honored to play for him.


Like Molitor, Nate Hanson played for the University of Minnesota. He recently re-signed a minor league contract to stay with the Twins, his hometown organization and the team he has played for since being drafted in 2008.

“The way Moli sees the game is unlike anyone else I have been around. I have learned so much from him in all facets of the game. His hiring is a great thing for the organization. His humble and steady demeanor should make him a great leader in the clubhouse and on the field.”


Logan Darnell signed with the Twins in 2010 after being drafted out of college. He debuted with the Twins in 2014.

“I think it’s a great thing. He is one of the best baseball minds I’ve been around. He’s been a rover and even last year when he was a bench coach, he was helpful on how I was tipping pitches. Just things like that he picks up on well, I feel. But, I’m excited for him, and he’s a good guy!”


Danny Rams signed with the Twins in 2007 after being selected in the 2nd round out of high school. He remained in the organization through the 2012 season.

“(Molitor) was real quiet but extremely humble considering all his accomplishments. Any question I ever asked him, he gave me his honest opinion, good or bad. Molitor is going to make a great manager because he has a master mind. He is one of the smartest guys to ever play the game. Molitor’s brain is on another level, above a catcher’s instincts.”


Aderlin Mejia, who spent 2014 between New Britain and Ft. Myers, understands the greatness of Molitor.

“The experiences I had with him were very good because it was with a baseball legend and a Hall of Famer. His teachings helped me to improve in the field, both defensively and also with base running.”


Steve Singleton was drafted by the Twins in 2006 and remained in the organization into the 2012 season. He played everywhere between rookie ball and AAA.

“Molitor is awesome! He was the best baseball guy in that system during my entire career. In all aspects. Situations, mechanics, hitting, defense, relating to the guys, etc. He will do a great job, and I can’t really imagine a better hire around the league. I’d much rather see him there than Maddon.”


As I said, if I get more responses throughout Tuesday, I’ll be sure to add them. So be sure to stop back from time to time and discuss.


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30 Comments

Would love to hear from bigger MLB level guys than Colabello but both here and other places I have read a lot of people saying "best baseball mind" I ever met

Obviously a lot of respect for him personally as well as for his baseball mind.

 

Should be fun to see how it all translates over the season.

NO ONE is going to publicly say anything negative about him, especially those that will potentially play for him so most of these endorsements are pretty banal.  Would like to see what AJ, Hunter, Hardy, Revere and Cuddyer have to say about him but that would probably be pretty milquetoast as well. I have often said there are probably thousands of guys that could do a good job and that Hitting and pitching coaches are probably more relevant. I have endorsed Denis Denning or Bob Karn as candidates but I guess since Molitor played for Denning that is a plus. Emphasize fundamentals, accountability and work ethic.  I am confident Molitor can handle the in game managing. I am 100% positive he will be criticized and 2nd guessed for it.

    • h2oface likes this

I'm happy for Molitor, and called for this hiring years ago.What remains to be seen isn't how knowledgeable he is about all aspects of the game, but can he handle the players thru the day to day grind.What drove me nuts about Gardy was he seemed unable to deal with a young player with attitude.They'd end up in the dog house quick, and stay there.I hope Gardy can get the young guys focused, having fun, and playing hard, even with little owies.What remains to be seen is if Moli knows how to handle these guys; when to coddle, and when to kick butt. 

Would love to hear from bigger MLB level guys than Colabello but both here and other places I have read a lot of people saying "best baseball mind" I ever met

 

How about Denard Span?

    • Mike Frasier Law and goulik like this
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Brock Beauchamp
Nov 04 2014 09:48 AM

Anyone else find it curious that two different pitchers talked about how Molitor told them they were tipping pitches?

 

That's a plus for Molitor and kind of damning to the rest of the coaching staff. Molitor was a roving instructor. It seems to me that he shouldn't be the one catching tipped pitches and correcting the issue.

    • birdwatcher, nicksaviking, Dantes929 and 1 other like this

Anyone else find it curious that two different pitchers talked about how Molitor told them they were tipping pitches?

 

That's a plus for Molitor and kind of damning to the rest of the coaching staff. Molitor was a roving instructor. It seems to me that he shouldn't be the one catching tipped pitches and correcting the issue.

 

that definitely stood out to me and reiterates how much he knows and his ability to see things that few others are (Tom Kelly being one of them). 

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TheLeviathan
Nov 04 2014 10:38 AM

Great read and the more I hear about Molitor the more I'm won over by this choice.  This was the right guy, questions about the process or anything else be damned.

    • Carole Keller likes this
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ashburyjohn
Nov 04 2014 11:01 AM

How about Denard Span?

His quote might be the most tepid, of those offered. 

Shocking, shocking that players whose livelihood is largely controlled by Molitor would say positive things about him in the press. I'm not saying they aren't true, but I am saying I am taking them with a HUGE grain of salt.

His quote might be the most tepid, of those offered. 

Yeah.  Span is an outfielder too, which suggests less interaction with Molitor (Walker mentioned that as well).  And Span really only would have worked with Molitor in the minors immediately after his failed Seattle gig when he returned to the Twins as a roving minor league instructor, and logic suggests that perhaps Molitor was not as active in that role initially as he would have been later, when he jumped to a MLB coaching spot.

tipping pitches ? I wonder if it was real or a figment of Moli's imagination?

Reporter:"What do you think about Molitor being named the next Twins manager?"

 

Twins Player: "It's great!""I used to go over to Mr. Molitor every day and 'pick his brain', so this change

                         is super good!"

 

Reporter:  Another endorsement from the clubhouse.It seems Ryan "nailed it" with the Molitor selection.

 

 

Audience:"Of Course!"

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ashburyjohn
Nov 04 2014 12:22 PM

Reporter:"What do you think about Molitor being named the next Twins manager?"

 

Twins Player: "It's great!""I used to go over to Mr. Molitor every day and 'pick his brain', so this change

                         is super good!"

 

Reporter:  Another endorsement from the clubhouse.It seems Ryan "nailed it" with the Molitor selection.

 

Audience:"Of Course!"

Ashburyjohn: What would you like to have seen from this dialogue? :)

    • luckylager likes this
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Hosken Bombo Disco
Nov 04 2014 12:53 PM

Anyone else find it curious that two different pitchers talked about how Molitor told them they were tipping pitches?
 
That's a plus for Molitor and kind of damning to the rest of the coaching staff. Molitor was a roving instructor. It seems to me that he shouldn't be the one catching tipped pitches and correcting the issue.

Just a hobby of his. Something he does in his spare time.
    • big dog likes this

Anyone else find it curious that two different pitchers talked about how Molitor told them they were tipping pitches?

 

That's a plus for Molitor and kind of damning to the rest of the coaching staff. Molitor was a roving instructor. It seems to me that he shouldn't be the one catching tipped pitches and correcting the issue.

You are right, of course.

 

But to me it is not surprising that one of the best base-stealers (and hitters) in the history of baseball is able to detect subtle flaws quicker than other coaches. 

    • highlander likes this
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nicksaviking
Nov 04 2014 02:08 PM

His quote might be the most tepid, of those offered. 

 

I have to say though, I don't think I ever heard a Denard Span interview that wasn't tepid.He might be robot.

    • ashburyjohn and Don't Feed the Greed Guy like this
In rereading the comments, I do like how specific they are.
    • ashburyjohn likes this
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nicksaviking
Nov 04 2014 02:14 PM

tipping pitches ? I wonder if it was real or a figment of Moli's imagination?

 

As in: "There is no possible way a MLB pitching staff can be this bad.Eureka! The only explanation for why this staff looks like they belong in the Appelacian League is that they are tipping their pitches!"?

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nicksaviking
Nov 04 2014 02:16 PM

You are right, of course.

 

But to me it is not surprising that one of the best base-stealers (and hitters) in the history of baseball is able to detect subtle flaws quicker than other coaches. 

Liriano + Worley + Molitor = WS

 

I'm not a math wiz, but that formula looks accurate does it not?

Moli = big brain = paralysis by analysis

Moli = NIce & approachable = paralysis by analysis

Moli = Why has he not been a manager before this ??????????

I'm totally stoked that Molitor has been named manager.In fact, I was disapointed when Gardy got it over him a decade ago plus.When you listen to him over the years it's been obvious he has insights that most other people in baseball don't have.He's an athourity in his field, communicates effectively and respect flows to him.His colleagues and contempoaries rave about his baseball IQ.Oh, and he's a HOF and has experience in four different orginizations in different roles.  I'm not sure you can be more pre qualified than he is.Is he going to be perfect?Nope, he's new to his job and like anyone else with a new job he won't be.He has every single pre-requisite you could possibly want in a manger other than he has never managed and has been overplayed as if he's spent the last 10 years on the dark side of the moon. 

Liriano + Worley + Molitor = WS

 

I'm not a math wiz, but that formula looks accurate does it not?

Sorry, I don't understand what you are getting at. I thought you were expressing displeasure with the quality of our minor league coaches because Molly could pick up a 'tell' much faster than they could. I certainly think this is a valid opinion.

 

However, I was just trying to make the point that I, personally, am not surprised Molly is better... he could probably coach circles around each and every one of them!

Molitor said he will play Santana at short. He is one for one in my book.
    • JB_Iowa and Mike Sixel like this

This is good stuff, because it comes from minor leaguers and from people outside the organization.

 

But.

 

I'd love to hear what they had to say about Gardenhire in the same sentence, to see how much validity to give to those opinions.


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