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Article: Is Paul Molitor the Right Man to Lead the Twins?

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#21 Strato Guy

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 07:08 AM

A very thoughtful and well written article, Nick. 

 

Baseball fans love to speculate and put themselves in the manager's or FO shoes. We are a fickle bunch, sometimes, because of our love of the game. 

 

The baseball season is long and much can and will change over the course of a year. The baseball gods have seemingly been against us so far this year. The FO has done a good job improving the pitching staff. IMO, the pitching have produced about what we could expect so far this year. The hitting is a completely different story. We only have two hitters batting better than expected, Rosario and Escobar. Maurer has been ok, but has missed a month. Sano, Buxton, Dozier, Morrison and Kepler have all preformed well below what we would have predicted. Add to that, Polanco has not even played yet this year and Castro being out for the year has all added up to a dismal offensive showing thus far. Things often even out and I think that we will see a much improved offense in the second half of the year. I don't blame Molitor for the offense underperforming. He will look like a better manager when the offense comes around like I think it will.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Strato Guy, 19 June 2018 - 07:11 AM.

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#22 TheLeviathan

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 07:14 AM

In my opinion the vast majority of the impact a manager makes is beyond our ability to see. We can criticize bullpen management and some other aspects of their job but for the most part what they do is behind the scenes. I'm not sure Molitor is the problem but this is at least a valid attempt at some criticism. Too often the manager gets all the blame for things going wrong and none of the credit for things going right.

Personally, I put the vast majority of the blame for Sano and Buxton on the previous FO and their criminal neglect of the development process. And those two guys (And Dozier going pumpkin) are the biggest culprits for this mess.

Edited by TheLeviathan, 19 June 2018 - 07:16 AM.

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#23 Mike Sixel

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 07:42 AM

I never would have hire someone with no managerial experience to this level. It has often showed. While it would be great to hope the minors finish all the teaching, they don't anymore. Other managers have said as much. So, yes, some of the blame for their issues with fundamentals does fall on his shoulders.

I didn't like the hire then, and haven't really seen any reason to change my mind.
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#24 nicksaviking

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 07:45 AM

Had the Twins hired Lovullo and had he put up the same kind of sketchy track record there'd be much less resistance to replace him. 

 

It looks like the team is starting to do it now, but this is the biggest reason why they should usually be looking to hire people from outside; people without built up organizational equity and emotional attachment. These guys should be earning that equity with their current role, not with what they did for the organization in past roles.

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#25 Number3

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 08:24 AM

Reply to curt1965 who posted ...."I think his conclusion that Molitor bears some degree of criticism for the Twins play this season, or maybe he doesn’t, is spot on. There is something missing from this team...."

 

So no conclusion is spot on? As often is the case there is way too much analysis or lack thereof in this whole thread. The conclusive answer to the thread title is NO. The biggest single individual on any big time sports team is the coach/manager. With all of the injuries and turnover the glue and the game to game attitude has to come from the coach/manager. Molitor provides neither.

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#26 USAFChief

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 08:32 AM

"I do know this: It takes some contorting not to see him as part of the problem."

 

Bingo.

 

My personal opinion: His baseball IQ actually works against him. He takes things for granted--when/how to take an extra base for example--because they are second nature to him, and always have been. He just assumes others view things as intuitively as he does. The result is, details get ignored, and it shows in the quality of play. And I don't think it's unfair to say the quality of baseball this team plays is not upper level MLB. 

 

Also my opinion: really poor at pitching decisions. Reactive, rather than proactive. Removes pitchers immediately after disaster, rather than anticipating it and reacting before disaster strikes. No manager can avoid having his pitcher give up runs. But when a starter is obviously tiring, and you watch a lead disappear, over and over again...well, that's on the manager, not the pitchers. I also think it's fair to say he overuses certain relievers, and ignores others. 

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#27 Platoon

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 08:39 AM

Wow. The comments. 
 
Let's take a step back here and look at what's happened in 2018:
 
1. His biggest power threat spent the offseason recovering from surgery on his shin and getting investigated for sexual assault and has been terribly ineffective all year;
2. His No. 1 starter had offseason surgery and still hasn't thrown a slider;
3. His shortstop was busted for taking drugs and is out until July;
4. His catcher is out for the season;
5. His otherworldly centerfieldThe injuries are a valid point, but so is the 103 loss season, and a hot finish last year mainly driven by weeks of lousy competition. er has been injured, is currently at rehab, and has been ineffective when he's been in.
 
As I count it, that's five -- FIVE! -- starters that are currently out of the lineup. Add to that the ineffectiveness of Logan Morrison and Addison Reed, two big free-agent signings, and you have a recipe for a team that is not doing well.
 
Hit the brakes on the bad manager talk. For crying out loud I think it's a wonder they're close to first place as it is. 
 
And for those of you yearning for Doug Mientkiewicz just stop. Stop.

The injuries are a factor in his evaluation, as is the 103 loss season and the lousy start to last year, needing an incredible streak of lousy competition to eek in the last WC spot. No one want Molitor fired simply based on this year.
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#28 The_Phantom

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 08:49 AM

It's hard for me to agree that he's got a high baseball IQ when every game, no matter what the situation, he goes on auto-pilot and pulls the starter at 100 pitches. There's no thinking to it. If a pitcher gets to 100 pitches during an AB (or 99), that's it for their day. If he's got a high baseball IQ, he really needs to learn how to use it. Because it comes across as daft and not knowing how baseball actually works to always pull a pitcher out based on a magic number.

 

Additionally, remember when he completely butchered a double switch...

 
Also, the time that he let Odorizzi hit. And then pulled him before the next inning started...

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#29 wsnydes

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 09:05 AM

 

"I do know this: It takes some contorting not to see him as part of the problem."

 

Bingo.

 

My personal opinion: His baseball IQ actually works against him. He takes things for granted--when/how to take an extra base for example--because they are second nature to him, and always have been. He just assumes others view things as intuitively as he does. The result is, details get ignored, and it shows in the quality of play. And I don't think it's unfair to say the quality of baseball this team plays is not upper level MLB. 

 

Also my opinion: really poor at pitching decisions. Reactive, rather than proactive. Removes pitchers immediately after disaster, rather than anticipating it and reacting before disaster strikes. No manager can avoid having his pitcher give up runs. But when a starter is obviously tiring, and you watch a lead disappear, over and over again...well, that's on the manager, not the pitchers. I also think it's fair to say he overuses certain relievers, and ignores others. 

This is why, I believe, that great players make for terrible coaches/managers.HoF type players have so much come naturally to them that it's difficult for them to understand that some things need to be taught.Even if they understand that things need to be taught, they need to actually teach it in a way that players with less talent can understand and accomplish.

 

The best coaches/managers, in my view, are those that are borderline major league caliber players that must get by with doing the little things correctly to get every ounce of talent they have out.They have to figure things out on their own to maximize their own abilities and that background helps others in the same situation when it comes to coaching them up down the road.

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#30 PDX Twin

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 09:30 AM

Just a thought that hasn't been mentioned:

 

Having a three-man bench makes it really difficult to "manage" a lineup. In the "old days," you could sit a slumping player down for a few days to get his head together. If a player commits a bonehead play due to lack of concentration, he could be benched. But now, with one spot necessarily reserved for the backup catcher, there is practically no bench to sit him on. Sano had options, so we could send him out. But Dozier, Morrison, etc. could have more "mental-health days" if they had a 5-man or 6-man bench as they did a few decades ago.

 

I'm not sure how this affects Molitor in relation to other managers. But if his skills at "managing" his team's mental approach are not strong, this takes away one potential tool.

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#31 tarheeltwinsfan

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 09:42 AM

 

 

I do feel that the Latinos on this club wear there emotions on their sleave 

I'm not so sure about this. Polanco is Latino. He seems to show absolutely no emotions. Sano also seems to hold it in in games. Remember both of them suffered the loss of close family members last year. It was an extremely tough year for them. If you looked at Pressley's face after the recent home run hit off him, you would have seen the face of agony. I believe some individuals, no matter where they may be from,are more demonstrative that others. Eddie is just being Eddie. Who would want to stifle that personality? I feel the Twins have many players, Latino, German, African American, "good ole southern" , and "upper-midwest stoic" who are not very demonstrative individuals. But as Gardy used to say, "It's a long season". I understood, but did not like that saying, because he always said it after a loss. I look at it this way: We live one moment at a time. Each moment is a gift. That is why it is called the present. Play today's hand (game) to the best of your ability and give it all you have. Be a leader by example first, then by words. If Paul Molitor,with his back ground told me something, I would be foolish not to listen. He wouldn't have to yell at me, nor cuss me, nor throw bats into the shower. He earned it, plus he is the manger and I am the player.The Twins may have had the perfect storm of injuries and suspensions the first 2 and a half months of this season, but that is in the past and the Twins have a game today. Go Twins! Beat the ever living ___ out of the Red Sox! (Sorry, I got carried away there.)

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#32 David HK

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 09:43 AM

No.

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#33 bighat

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 09:57 AM

 

A slightly different point but.... I don't understand why, in 2018, the Twins haven't put more emphasis on bilingual (English/Spanish) major league coaches. They currently have Rudy Hernández (who's not allowed to be on the bench for games), Eddie Guardado and the MLB mandated translator.

 

No matter what happens with Molitor, I'd like to see the Twins bring in some coaches who can connect better with the Spanish-speaking players. And, if they do fire Molitor, they should absolutely put a high priority on hiring someone who can speak Spanish and make meaningful connections will all the players on the roster.

 

Completely agree, I think this should be a huge priority after Molitor's gone.

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#34 Dave The Dastardly

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 09:58 AM

This Twins Fan Ain't Satisfied.

 

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=nrIPxlFzDi0

 

 

Flavey and Levine. The pair in the Front Office. Although they both can’t be in there because there’s usually only one front office otherwise it wouldn’t be in front of the other offices. But let’s just say there’s two front offices and no back office. Which of course will make it hard to make a deal because the best deals are always made secretively; in the Back Office.

 

Maybe they got a hallway they can use for cutting a deal. Hell, use the executive bath room if you have to, just make a deal. And not just a deal, a deal-deal. It’s time to stop being cute, time to stop trying to prove you can find a gem in other teams’ junk just because you read a book on analytics. In short, it’s time for the pair of you to grow a pair; swing for the damn fences! Do or Die!

 

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=ZcXpKiY2MXE

 

 

 

Bite the bullet. Give Molitor and the hitting coach a train ticket to Clarksville. Molly’s got a MOY Award and a nice three year contract to help him ease into retirement. He’ll probably thank you for it.

 

Now get a manager with fire in his eyes and a proven track record for getting the most out of young players.

 

Pick up the phone and call the Tigers. Throw yourselves at their feet. Everybody knows you’re desperate anyway. Just look at the standings. Look at the batting averages if you have the stomach for it. So put all pretenses aside. Tell the Tigers Front Office up front, preferably while they’re in their Back Office waiting to make a deal, that you want Dougie back. Tell them they can have anybody off the major league club but Berrios, Romero, Rosario, Escobar, Pressley and Hildenberger in trade. Make that two anybodies. Tell them they can have three current Twins if they throw Brian Harper in on the deal to be the new Twins hitting coach. Hell, tell the Tigers they can have six Twins off the major league club if they take Goodman, Wilson and LoMo off your hands. Maybe even throw in Sano if you have to. If they can find him down there in Single A. Just make the deal.

 

Then once you get ink on paper, steal your wives’ lipstick and start kissing Dougie’s... whatever. Throw yourselves at his feet, confess your idiocy. Admit you were getting all uppity, trying to prove your high-and-mighty analytic smartness when you dismissed Dougie, forgetting that the best “analytic” for a manager is how many games he wins, not how he wins them. Offer him a three-year contract equal to whatever the highest paid manager in the Bigs is getting. Throw in a few incentives; use of the Pohlad’s private jet so he can fly home on off-days to see his family, tell him he can select whatever minor league players he wants for the Twins roster no questions asked, no moaning about starting the clock, or losing options or any of that happy equine fecal matter that makes front office type sound smart but keeps talent down on the farm until they’re old enough to retire. And promise, carve it in a big frigging stone on Twins Plaza, you will not in any way shape or form claim major league cast-offs off the waiver wire, or screw around with Rule Five sucker bait or in anyway add any players to the 40-man or 25-man roster without Dougie’s prior approval.

 

Then stay out of Dougie’s way and let him build us a winning team. You can get in the team photo when he wins the Division. And when the Twins are in the World Series and the TV cameras are on the owner/front office box, you can nod wisely and knowingly when the announcers pronounce you geniuses.

 

So swallow your pride and make the deal. What have you got to lose? Your last ten fans?

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#35 mazeville

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 10:22 AM

 

The injuries are a factor in his evaluation, as is the 103 loss season and the lousy start to last year, needing an incredible streak of lousy competition to eek in the last WC spot. No one want Molitor fired simply based on this year.

 

The injuries are a massive factor this year. Not just "A" factor. This team has four members of its starting lineup our in some form or fashion and its No. 1 starter. Please explain to me what team would not be reeling from losing more than half of the starting nine from the opening day roster. Please.

 

And keep in mind that three of those five are supposed to be the players who form the core that would lead this team to the promised land. Two of those three were the two single biggest factors that led to that run to the wild card last year.

 

And now you're blowing off last year's wild card simply to shoehorn last year's strong performance into your thesis that Molitor sucks. That was a strong improvement with relatively little help in the way of players from the front office. If you're going to hammer him for the 103 loss season you have to give him credit for the strong season last year. 

 

I will not argue that Molitor is perfect. But I sure as hell am not going to suddenly turn on a manager who helped get this team to the playoffs last year after the sheer number of problems the Twins have faced.

 

Beyond that, please explain where he's the problem. 

 

 

 

 


#36 Sconnie

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 10:28 AM

It's hard for me to agree that he's got a high baseball IQ when every game, no matter what the situation, he goes on auto-pilot and pulls the starter at 100 pitches. There's no thinking to it. If a pitcher gets to 100 pitches during an AB (or 99), that's it for their day. If he's got a high baseball IQ, he really needs to learn how to use it. Because it comes across as daft and not knowing how baseball actually works to always pull a pitcher out based on a magic number.

Additionally, remember when he completely butchered a double switch...

Also, the time that he let Odorizzi hit. And then pulled him before the next inning started...

there’s a difference between baseball strategy and tactics. It’s clear he’s not effective at communicating or implementing the tactics. That doesn’t take away from his intelligence.

I firmly believe (with no solid proof of my own) that Molitor is a rocket scientist of baseball that may not relate very well to his players and gets paralyzed at times by overthinking the outcomes and not making the timely moves.

It also seems that Molly wears out bullpen arms and trots out injured players that he trusts and takes their word for it.

He’s not my guy, and I agree with the posters looking for relatable and bilingual

Edited by Sconnie, 19 June 2018 - 10:30 AM.

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#37 Platoon

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 10:45 AM

The injuries are a massive factor this year. Not just "A" factor. This team has four members of its starting lineup our in some form or fashion and its No. 1 starter. Please explain to me what team would not be reeling from losing more than half of the starting nine from the opening day roster. Please.
 
And keep in mind that three of those five are supposed to be the players who form the core that would lead this team to the promised land. Two of those three were the two single biggest factors that led to that run to the wild card last year.
 
And now you're blowing off last year's wild card simply to shoehorn last year's strong performance into your thesis that Molitor sucks. That was a strong improvement with relatively little help in the way of players from the front office. If you're going to hammer him for the 103 loss season you have to give him credit for the strong season last year. 
 
I will not argue that Molitor is perfect. But I sure as hell am not going to suddenly turn on a manager who helped get this team to the playoffs last year after the sheer number of problems the Twins have faced.
 
Beyond that, please explain where he's the problem.

Injuries:

Santana: injured and so far well replaced. Off season decisions might have turned out quite differently if on hand. Quite possibly worse.
Polanco: suspended
Sano: sent down due to performance and ???
Buxton: mysteriously sent for rehab, injured, back, DL, rehab. And no production at any time.
Mauer. Good performance, out a month.
Castro: injured, but was really not making any difference, offensively.

When you get down to it, the end result is a pitch framing catcher, and Joe Mauer for a month, and Buxton defense. Polanco from late last year is likely missed, as is Buxton from late last year. Bottom line, the only known loss of consequence was actually Mauer for a month. The rest are "but what if's"
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#38 wsnydes

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 11:08 AM

 

The injuries are a massive factor this year. Not just "A" factor. This team has four members of its starting lineup our in some form or fashion and its No. 1 starter. Please explain to me what team would not be reeling from losing more than half of the starting nine from the opening day roster. Please.

 

And keep in mind that three of those five are supposed to be the players who form the core that would lead this team to the promised land. Two of those three were the two single biggest factors that led to that run to the wild card last year.

 

And now you're blowing off last year's wild card simply to shoehorn last year's strong performance into your thesis that Molitor sucks. That was a strong improvement with relatively little help in the way of players from the front office. If you're going to hammer him for the 103 loss season you have to give him credit for the strong season last year. 

 

I will not argue that Molitor is perfect. But I sure as hell am not going to suddenly turn on a manager who helped get this team to the playoffs last year after the sheer number of problems the Twins have faced.

 

Beyond that, please explain where he's the problem. 

Yet, injuries can't be blamed for the lack of situational awareness, prevalent base running gaffes, defensive gaffes and poor bullpen management that have plagued the entirety of his managerial tenure.The first three take no level of talent to understand or execute - it's simply being aware of what is going on in the game.So simply saying that Molitor has been handcuffed with injuries or a lack of talent and should get a pass because of it is missing where the dissatisfaction stems from.  

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#39 DocBauer

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 11:12 AM

In my opinion the vast majority of the impact a manager makes is beyond our ability to see. We can criticize bullpen management and some other aspects of their job but for the most part what they do is behind the scenes. I'm not sure Molitor is the problem but this is at least a valid attempt at some criticism. Too often the manager gets all the blame for things going wrong and none of the credit for things going right.

Personally, I put the vast majority of the blame for Sano and Buxton on the previous FO and their criminal neglect of the development process. And those two guys (And Dozier going pumpkin) are the biggest culprits for this mess.


I'm not going to disagree with this a bit. I think for both of them, things came so easily that flaws in their game...and developmental time lost here and there to injury...was ignored.
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#40 KirbyDome89

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 11:22 AM

 

This is why, I believe, that great players make for terrible coaches/managers.HoF type players have so much come naturally to them that it's difficult for them to understand that some things need to be taught.Even if they understand that things need to be taught, they need to actually teach it in a way that players with less talent can understand and accomplish.

 

The best coaches/managers, in my view, are those that are borderline major league caliber players that must get by with doing the little things correctly to get every ounce of talent they have out.They have to figure things out on their own to maximize their own abilities and that background helps others in the same situation when it comes to coaching them up down the road.

I've always pushed back against the notion that great players make poor managers because the game came naturally to them. I think that reasoning cuts both ways. Couldn't we just as easily say that great players should make great managers because they're able to perceive/understand aspects of the game that are beyond the scope of the average player? For the record I don't subscribe to either school of thought. 

 

IMO teaching is a skill, and some are just better at it than others. I don't think success during a playing career necessarily grooms or precludes anybody from being a great manager. 

 

I certainly agree that managers who were fringe players may have an advantage in relating to current players in a similar position, especially since a good chunk of every roster is made up of guys who have to wring out every ounce to stick in the big leagues. I would file that under interpersonal skills, and reiterate that success during a playing career isn't and indicator one way or another of an individual's ability to communicate. 

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