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Article: Offseason Blueprint: Bargain Bin Shopping (Part 1)

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Your Turn: What Do You Want From A Manager?

As the 2018 World Series is set to start tonight in Boston, indications would seem to be the the Twins are down to just a couple of final candidates for the next team manager. Twins bench coach Derek Shelton, Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde, and Rays Major League Field Coordinator Rocco Baldelli appear to be the favorites, though it is entirely possible that there are other candidates that we just aren’t hearing as much about.

So instead of dissecting each candidate, let’s take a moment to consider what we, as fans, would want to see from the next Twins manager. What traits do you think are important, and why?
Image courtesy of Peter G. Aiken, USA Today
Instead of regurgitating old, tired discussions about why the Twins needed to fire Paul Molitor (or Ron Gardenhire before him), let’s be a little more productive. Let’s not jump to hyperbole and automatically bash everything about the Twins brass. Like all of us, there is good and not-so-good in everybody. People have strengths and areas for improvement. What are the areas of strength that you find most important for a manager?

So, for the sake of important, meaningful discussion, let’s limit this discussion to the manager role. Today, I’m going to post several qualifications that I think are either important for an MLB manager or that come up often in discussions. Feel free to discuss the qualifications in the comments, but mostly, use this article to start thinking about who you would like to see replace Paul Molitor.


MANAGERIAL EXPERIENCE (BACKGROUND)

Do the Twins need to hire someone with experience as a big league manager? If so, does it need to be a manager who has put together World Series championships, or could you consider a candidate who wasn’t good in his first manager job but meets many other requirements? (Note that none of the three men generally presumed to be the Twins finalists have any major league managerial experience.)

How about minor league managerial experience, and if so, how much? Do you prefer a candidate who has been second-in-command in a winning organization, for instance, a respected bench coach? Can the candidate be a former player, or would the negate him as a possibility for you? While they probably couldn’t officially ask, does age factor into the decision?


ANALYTICS

This is one that people think that the Twins are so far behind on, but with Derek Falvey on board, it’s now known as an organization that embraces analytics. So what level of analytical skill or curiosity is enough, or maybe even too much?

And how do you evaluate that? A manager may not always go by the analytic book. A manager has to go by the gut sometimes, based on factors that we as fans may not see or ever know about. Players need rest. Players may have other things going on.


COMMUNICATION

Which leads to a pretty important topic; how does the manager communicate?

How should the manager communicate with the front office? How much voice should he have in the conversations about any number of topics?

How should the manager communicate with his coaching staff?

How should the manager communicate with the players? We often hear the term “lose the clubhouse.” That didn’t happen with Paul Molitor, but it is always a topic when a team loses. How much screaming and yelling do you want from a manager? Or do you prefer a manager be more laid back and professional in his communication? In other words, do you want someone with "fire in his belly" like Ron Gardenhire, or someone generally more calm and collected like Paul Molitor?

While less important than the above, what would your expectations be for a manager with the media? Ron Gardenhire was great, gave good, fun answers, and often didn’t say much. Paul Molitor was terrific with the media as well, very smart and thoughtful in his responses. As fans, we want to know everything and we want to know the real reasons for whatever situation, but that’s not always best for the team. So, what would you want?


PLAYER DEVELOPMENT

How much input should the major league manager have in the development of philosophies on the minor leagues and player development?

How can the manager be helpful in the transition from minor league baseball to the big leagues? How much of this is delegated to the coaching staff?

How can a manager help players continue to develop once getting to the big leagues, and how do you evaluate that? Player development is rarely linear. For example. Miguel Sano came up in July of 2015 and played so well that he was named the Twins MVP. In 2016, he took a step backward. But then in 2017, he played well in the first half and was an All Star. And then he got hurt, and 2018 was a mess. How much of that is on the manager? Every manager (and hitting coach, and pitching coach) will have his successes and failures, so how should it be evaluated?


BULLPEN USAGE

Bullpen usage has been a topic as it relates to Ron Gardenhire and Paul Molitor. Both were often accused of not being very good at it. How do you expect bullpen arms to be used? How much usage is too much usage? How much negativity would come up when a top reliever is given an extra day off and a secondary reliever comes in instead and gives up a lead? But over the long haul, was it the right thing? How is it evaluated when there are only three or four reliable options in the bullpen? How do the manager and the pitching coach share responsibility in this?


WINS AND LOSSES

At the end of a day, Wins are what any manager will be evaluated by, right or wrong? What are the expectations for Win total in 2019, and how does that change if the Twins front office makes more July deadline deals, or if a couple of major contributors get hurt?

How long are you giving a manager to ‘Win”? Two years? And does that mean winning an AL Central title, or are you talking about a playoff series, or even a game? Or, a World Series title?


MISCELLANEOUS

How do you define “Success” with the next manager?

What should the clubhouse atmosphere be like under a new manager?

What should the atmosphere between the manager and the front office personnel be?

How does the managerial candidate feel about building from within?

How does that manager candidate create a culture of accountability with his players, coaches and himself?

Which current major league and minor league coaches would be let go, and who would you bring back?

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

All right, now it’s your turn? What are the most important qualities that a Manager can bring to an organization? I brought up a lot of topics, and how do you go about acquiring those kinds of players?

Put yourself in the shoes of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine. You need to decide which manager will lead your vision. What does that look like, and how embodies that?

Again, I appreciate this thread not turning into yet another negative, bashing thread, but instead, let’s be productive and each of us jot down our thoughts on what makes a good manager, and what type of candidate we would support for the Twins.

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49 Comments

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ashburyjohn
Oct 23 2018 08:46 AM

Leadership: Some of the items Seth raised tie into it, but I'm thinking of something a little hard to describe - just that "it" quality that you see in a leader and immediately recognize. More than just charisma although that is usually part of it. Even without a job title, he's the guy people always came to.

 

Intelligence: I don't mean book-larnin', of course, but the ability to rapidly synthesize information coming from all angles and turn it into a plan of action in the moment - both big-picture strategy and small-detail tactics. Baseball IQ is probably another term for it, which Molitor was reputed to have in spades and is necessary for the job. Baseball IQ can sometimes be replaced by just tons of experience so that the manager has seen it all before; but even by age 35, some minor league lifers will have seen an awful lot and if they have the intelligence they will have a vast database in their head to work from.

 

Heart: the ability not to get rattled under pressure. This is hard to demonstrate, until the moment comes. So the people deciding whom to hire will have to infer.

 

Humanity: You've got 25 human beings on your active roster, and the decisions you make as manager have to be cold-blooded in terms of what's best for the organization while never losing sight that the players aren't just the numbers on their baseball cards.

 

Toughness: Some players will pose an unsolvable challenge and yet must be dealt with. This overlaps with decisiveness so I won't open a separate bullet item for that.

 

Results: Our new manager doesn't necessarily have to have prior experience in the role, but should have a track record of finding answers.

    • Seth Stohs, birdwatcher, Blake and 5 others like this
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TheLeviathan
Oct 23 2018 08:47 AM

Embrace analytics, steady personality.(What type...I don't care)

 

Beyond that...throw a dart.

    • Seth Stohs, LaBombo and ChrisKnutson like this

I've followed baseball most of my 51 years.With the game in a state of major change, I now know less than I ever have about what it takes to be a successful manager.I'll admit, I WOULD like to see a manager that sees that in this analytics-driven age, there still is a time when a sacrifice bunt IS a good idea! There still is a time when stealing a base is worth the risk and that sometimes it's not ok to strike out with a runner on 3rd and less than two out!...lol.

If I had to make a call here, I think it's a combo of Shelton and Baldelli as manager/bench coach.Not sure who fills which seat.  

I think this is a hard question, given that I've never been in a clubhouse......

 

I think the most important factor is leadership, off the field leadership. These guys are together for more than half the year, and making sure that everyone is in the best possible mental state to succeed is key, imo.

 

After that? I'd like someone that is open to new ideas, but has ideas of his/her own and will stand up for the ones that matter most to her.

 

A willingness to play rookies, even if there is a vet around. Knowledge that players aren't done in terms of development when they come up, so put them in situations to help them succeed. 

 

Seth's list is great, btw.....

    • birdwatcher, gunnarthor, Twins33 and 5 others like this

Leadership, of course. Ability to work with both young players and veterans. A personality to deal with the media and public. Someone who looks not only at analytics, but also how the player fits into the lineup and the team as a whole. And someone who has a say in the overall field staff of the team and works closely with management on the new Twins Way.

 

It's a new world for the Twins. Considering that there might be only half-a-dozen holdovers from the 2017 team and maybe a couple more from the 2018 team in the grand scheme of things go forward towards 2020 and beyond, the manager will be able to put their own leadership stamp on the Twins.

Not a one year deal for sure.

 

Be interesting to see how the overall coaching staff pans out.

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RaymondLuxuryYacht
Oct 23 2018 09:08 AM

At a bare minimum, I hope he does at least one thing that we can all grouse about.Would get boring otherwise.

 

And I am not convinced the ability to speak Spanish is a "must have" - more like a "nice to have"

    • Mike Sixel likes this

I think the manager has to be able to relate to the players and that probably requires him to understand their backgrounds. 

 

Molly was baseball smart and he managed every game as a must win, blowing out his pen in the process and not given enough rope to the young guys. 

    • Mike Sixel and Twins33 like this

There is only one qualification according to Jim Pohlad: “If I had to pick one requirement for somebody going forward, it’s someone that’s lovable. The only way you can be loved is if you’re lovable. We want someone that can ultimately be loved."

I want a manage that Free agents want to play for.

    • BBAM likes this
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diehardtwinsfan
Oct 23 2018 10:44 AM
  • Motivator 
  • Good strategist (in game management as well as using analytics)
  • Good bull pen management. 
  • Good at player development. It's a young team, that has to come into play. 

This guy is the field general. He's got to have a lot of those traits. 

    • USAFChief likes this

If we had a team of well-established professionals that were ready to compete for a championship, I'd over-weigh in-game attributes (lineup construction, in-game bullpen/hitting/defensive moves).And a strong motivational approach.

 

Sadly, I don't think we have that team.So, we probably need to lean more to communication, leadership, teaching.Not sure those guys are the most likely to win world championships, though.

    • Minny505 likes this
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Brock Beauchamp
Oct 23 2018 11:32 AM

I want everything Rocco Baldelli offers plus some actual managing experience.

 

Minus that, I'll take Rocco Baldelli.

    • Mike Sixel, nicksaviking, TheLeviathan and 3 others like this

 

I want everything Rocco Baldelli offers plus some actual managing experience.

 

Minus that, I'll take Rocco Baldelli.

 

All these threads, and I still can't tell who you want as manager.....

    • Brock Beauchamp likes this
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Brock Beauchamp
Oct 23 2018 11:44 AM

 

All these threads, and I still can't tell who you want as manager.....

Really, I couldn't care less who they hire based on merit. I'm only angling for the nickname "Rocco's Rascals" for the day the Twins go deep into the postseason under his tutelage.

    • Mike Sixel, gunnarthor, Twins33 and 1 other like this

Innovative - I want someone who can pull together all of the data, analysis, and experience to create a strategic advantage. All the information in the world doesn't mean diddly if you don't do something with it. Something creative that no one else has done before.

 

Bullpenning, Launch Angles, Money ball, all things that are readily accessible to the media and fans. What are the tactics and strategies to be implemented from new learning?

    • Minny505 likes this
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tarheeltwinsfan
Oct 23 2018 12:48 PM

 

There is only one qualification according to Jim Pohlad: “If I had to pick one requirement for somebody going forward, it’s someone that’s lovable. The only way you can be loved is if you’re lovable. We want someone that can ultimately be loved."

What? Someone who is "lovable"? I served in the 2nd Infantry Division in and around the Korean DMZ in 1968 & 1969. Do you think I wanted to go on night ambush patrol in the Korean DMZ led by someone who was chosen to be patrol leader because he is "lovable"? I think not. I wanted someone who has been there before, someone who knows infantry tactics, someone who will lead by example and not order me to do something he would not do, someone who will communicate with the others on patrol, but will make the hard decisions...it is not a democracy on patrol, someone who is able to make decisions when all hell is breaking loose, and someone who will stand up for his men. 

 

If—
BY RUDYARD KIPLING
 

If you can keep your head when all about you  
  Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,  
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
  But make allowance for their doubting too;  
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
  Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
  And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;  
  If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;  
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
  And treat those two impostors just the same;  
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
  Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
  And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
  And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
  And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
  To serve your turn long after they are gone,  
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
  Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,  
  Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
  If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
  With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,  
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,  
  And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

    • AlwaysinModeration likes this
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tarheeltwinsfan
Oct 23 2018 01:06 PM

 

 

 

 

 

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
  With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,  
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,  
  And—which is more—you’ll be a Manager, my son!

 

    • ashburyjohn likes this

My perfect manager would be someone who can simultaneously

 

1. Believe in every single member of the 25 man roster. 

 

and

 

2. Hold every single member of the 25 man roster accountable for their performance. 

 

I also want the next manager to have the ability to unburdened himself from any thoughts that a new idea will never work because it wasn't done that way for the past million years. I want manager who can blur the old baseball conventions line. If the manager thinks a 5 man starting rotation is the only possibility because it is how it's been done for a million years... I don't want that guy to be the manager.

 

I don't want a manager who has to lock down players in assigned roles such as Matt McGill isn't going to pitch much this month because he is now the assigned long man or Astudillo won't catch because he is a utility player and then later Astudillo won't be a utility player because he is now the catcher. 

 

I want a manager who is creative enough to deal with the problem of having 4 outfielders kicking ass and have the ability to find playing time for all 4 and I want a manager who is creative enough to solve the problem of having only 2 outfielders performing decently. 

 

I don't want a manager who thinks that Brandon McKay can only be a pitcher or 1st baseman but he can't be both at the same time. 

 

And perhaps most importantly... I want the manager on the exact same page that the front office is working on. If a manager doesn't believe in the players that are being provided to him... that's a huge dysfunctional issue. 

 

The Cubs and Rays are one of 3 (maybe 5) organizations that operate the way I'd like to see teams operate. I have no idea what any of the candidates think or feel so I don't have a strong opinion about any of them but I'm certainly OK with where all 3 of them have been training. 

 

 

    • nicksaviking, kenbuddha and Original Whizzinator like this

I want a manager who just gets along with ownership and upper management and who is not all wrapped up trivia like wins and losses. I especially want a manager who is concerned about the players' personal lives and their day to day activities off the field and who wants the players to consider him (or her) to be a friend above all. On the field I want a manger who shows no emotion in the dugout and who rarely protests a call or the opposition's antics. The manager should remain stone faced in the dugout and concentrate on the lineup card, not action on the field.

Post game press conferences should always emphasize that the players are trying hard and there is no issue with effort on the field. Losses are simply part of the game and the result of a bad break here or a bad pitch there.

Finally, the manager should consider club house relationships to be far more important than what happens on the field.

I hope the Twins are fortunate enough to find such a manager for 2019 and far into the future as the year 2030 it will all come together.

1) Know what a tired pitcher looks like.

2) Know how to play matchups.

3) Put the players recently called up from the minors in the lineup and at their natural position.

4) Communicate with players so there are no unnecessary surprises for them, esp. when the front office has a "lapse" in communication.

5) Know the profile for a leadoff hitter.

6) Coach proactively. If the front office has to step in to solve a problem, you lose that player to the minors, a release, or a trade.

 

This feels all like basic stuff that I shouldn't have to mention.

Note that analytics isn't anywhere on this list. If you can't do the basic stuff nothing else matters.

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ashburyjohn
Oct 23 2018 02:04 PM

I don't want a manager who thinks that Brandon McKay can only be a pitcher or 1st baseman but he can't be both at the same time.

This is going to make pickoff throws problematic.

 

 

/ I'll see myself out

    • USAFChief, Mike Sixel, diehardtwinsfan and 7 others like this
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ashburyjohn
Oct 23 2018 02:06 PM

 

I want a manager who just gets along with ownership and upper management and who is not all wrapped up trivia like wins and losses. I especially want a manager who is concerned about the players' personal lives and their day to day activities off the field and who wants the players to consider him (or her) to be a friend above all. On the field I want a manger who shows no emotion in the dugout and who rarely protests a call or the opposition's antics. The manager should remain stone faced in the dugout and concentrate on the lineup card, not action on the field.

Post game press conferences should always emphasize that the players are trying hard and there is no issue with effort on the field. Losses are simply part of the game and the result of a bad break here or a bad pitch there.

Finally, the manager should consider club house relationships to be far more important than what happens on the field.

I hope the Twins are fortunate enough to find such a manager for 2019 and far into the future as the year 2030 it will all come together.

220px-A_Modest_Proposal_1729_Cover.jpg

 

/ Swiftian satire, this

    • nicksaviking and Sconnie like this
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Brock Beauchamp
Oct 23 2018 02:59 PM

 

I want a manager who just gets along with ownership and upper management and who is not all wrapped up trivia like wins and losses. I especially want a manager who is concerned about the players' personal lives and their day to day activities off the field and who wants the players to consider him (or her) to be a friend above all. On the field I want a manger who shows no emotion in the dugout and who rarely protests a call or the opposition's antics. The manager should remain stone faced in the dugout and concentrate on the lineup card, not action on the field.

Post game press conferences should always emphasize that the players are trying hard and there is no issue with effort on the field. Losses are simply part of the game and the result of a bad break here or a bad pitch there.

Finally, the manager should consider club house relationships to be far more important than what happens on the field.

I hope the Twins are fortunate enough to find such a manager for 2019 and far into the future as the year 2030 it will all come together.

Funny, literally not a single person on this site has argued any of these points in the capacity you're laying them out.

 

Nice strawman!

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Winston Smith
Oct 23 2018 03:54 PM

I want a manager who will post an intro for the game thread with witty informative BS (ala Riverbrian) and is good at math (analytics) but not in the game thread.

Being nice to Seth would be a plus.

    • USAFChief, Mike Sixel, Riverbrian and 1 other like this
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theBOMisthebomb
Oct 23 2018 03:56 PM
I don't want a manager. I want a momager.
    • Mike Sixel and less cowbell more neau like this

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