Over the years, on balance, Gardy has been regarded by the industry as being a very good manager. Does he have weaknesses? Absolutely! And some notable strengths, with clubhouse management and bullpen management most often cited.
My own opinion is that he's gotten burnt out a bit. I think he had a lousy year in 2012, and unless he bounces back in 2013, I'm going to welcome a change.
I'm in the he's "stale" camp -- and it actually doesn't have a lot to do with Gardenhire himself. I believe (and believed this long before Gardenhire was hired) that most leaders have a "shelf life" of about 7-10 years, maybe a little longer. There is a reason for term limits in politics. There is a reason that the Methodist Church used to rotate ministers about every 7 years. I've seen it happen with school superintendents, hospital administrators and a number of other "leadership" positions. After a period of time, they seem to lose their effectiveness. It isn't that they are doing anything "wrong". It just becomes time for a new voice, new energy and a different leader. Sure there are exceptions but given the performance of this team the last 2 years, a leadership -- and culture -- change is needed.
I also get the "go outside the organization" mentality, and I get that... but that isn't going to change the culture. Only way the culture changes is if everyone from Terry Ryan to Mike Radcliff to the manager to the minor league staffs get changed, which I know many reading think should happen, but it won't. That's also not the topic of this forum.
When Ron Gardenhire was handed the reins as manager, he didn't have a very impressive managerial track record either (0-0, I believe). Same as those other guys you mention. The Twins could try to bring in Bobby Cox but I don't think he'll want to come out of retirement.
Good points made by all on both sides of the argument. I think that there is one key factor missing from all of your points though; the Twins do not make non-player moves in-season. If Gardy is going to go, it will be at the end of the season.
MWW brought up that this may be a good time to start fresh, and I agree, but it won't be before November.
For the record I'm not saying Gardy should stay, change inevitably happens, as it should. If one of the main arguements for firing him is that he has never delivered a championship, then I say that's pretty short sighted and too convenient.
Well, I went back and looked at the records of many of the long term coaches named in twinsnorth49's post. 2 things jumped out at me: 1. most (if not all) did not have the same mid to late-career abysmal failure that Gardenhire has had the last 2 years (they were some downward trends but nothing like the win-loss % Gardenhire has had); and 2. Many of them did not have significantly more than Gardenhire's current 11 seasons with one team. And when they did have several consecutive down seasons, it looks like many of them either resigned or were fired.
Problem is, the Yankees do the big things well. They hire pitchers that mow down your bunters. They hire hitters that bash baseballs past your contact pitchers and your diligent fielders. And of course, their fielders do most of the "little things" well, too.
Maybe our problem is we just hear what we want or expect to hear from our middle market team. Truth is, if you want to win pennants and championships, you need a team with a lot of guys that can do the little things well, plus do the big things well. If you're wondering why the Twins installed Trevor Plouffe at 3B and now are trying to install Brian Dozier at 2B rather than Jaime Carroll, it's because the young guys hopefully can learn "little things" like consistent fielding at the same time they drive baseballs farther than Carroll ever will.
I just can't see blaming Gardenhire for managing a team that's transitioning from an indoor small-ball club to an outdoor club in a bigger park, while at the same time trying to find a winning roster that keeps changing, too. It's a very stressful task, and frankly my biggest concern is if Gardenhire still has the physical endurance to put up with it.