With the Buxton turmoil recently and much of the negative eye on the FO, there hasn’t been much talk about Baldelli. However, Baldelli has received just as much heat from this site over the past 7 months as the FO has. I’ve touched on Baldelli before in this thread, but that was incredibly one sided toward Baldelli and I never really talked about some of my criticisms toward Baldelli. Also, that was written in May. It is now November. Time has passed and we have more to look at. Baldelli now has his first losing season.
I’m going to look at some of the things I think make Baldelli the right guy for this team and I’m also going to look at some of the things I think make Baldelli not the right guy for this team.
Why he’s the right man for this team
The Twins had a real clunker of a season in 2018. Paul Molitor was fired as a result, and Baldelli was hired. Many other changes were made to the coaching staff as well. In 2019, the team looked much better and played really well throughout the year, en route to 101 wins. The team simply played much better under Baldelli, which implies good things about the manager. Even if you include the awful 2021 season, the team has averaged 88.6 wins per season (162 games) throughout three years under Baldelli. That’s better than any season they had from 2011-2018.
This might not look like much in terms of the things going for Baldelli, but the case here is that it doesn’t need much explanation.
Why he’s not the right man for this team
My first critique of Baldelli is that his team, particularly in 2021, looked poorly prepared. IMO, it hasn’t been talked enough how much this team struggled with the fundamentals of baseball. Failing to make the most basic of plays. I watched every game through late May (after May not every game, but most games) and I saw this team fail at the fundamentals, comedically at times. This could be attributed towards a coaching staff as a whole, but Baldelli is a pretty big part of that.
I talked about how the team performed better under Baldelli in the Pros section, but there are times where I wonder if Baldelli is getting less out of his team than the sum of its parts. To me, the biggest example of this is the 2020 Wild Card Series against the Astros. The Twins were favored to win, but they didn’t even show up to the ballpark. They lost the series without a single victory. Many on this site lamented about poor relief work, and while I agree that the bullpen was not good, you can’t overlook the fact that this team scored 2 runs in 2 games against a pitching staff composed entirely of Zack Greinke, Ryan Pressly, and a bunch of rookies. The Twins offense was underwhelming in 2020, but they were at least competent, especially at home. This is not a case of an incapable lineup being exposed, this is a case of everyone performing well below their talent level in a situation of high magnitude. It’s been obvious since January of 2020 that Mike Zimmer would consistently get less out of his Vikings than the sum of their parts, and I’m wondering if the same thing is happening with Baldelli. The 2020 Wild Card Series isn’t the only example of this, I also think that parts of the 2021 season are an example. This team had dog**** offensive performance after dog**** offensive performance for much of the beginning of the season, with the occasional 12-run blow-up.
All and all, those are my thoughts about Baldelli. What do I think his future should be on the Twins? As of right now, IDK. I want to say he would be on the hot seat for 2022 but right now, next season is on the FO. They need to untangle themselves with the Buxton situation and fill out a pitching staff. If they can do that, Baldelli should then be on the hot seat at the start of the season. But if they can’t and decide to punt 2022, it wouldn’t be Baldelli’s fault if the team doesn’t do well.
That was a lot. I think I’m going to go eat a cookie now.