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  • Could Mientkiewicz Be The Next Twins Manager?


    Nick Nelson

    On Monday night, the Ft. Myers Miracle won the Florida State League Championship for the first time in team history, with manager Doug Mientkiewicz leading at the helm. In his two seasons since taking over the High-A affiliate, Mientkiewicz has guided a club that had finished below .500 in three straight seasons to a 161-113 record.

    The impressive results, in combination with a few other factors, lead to an interesting question -- one that fellow Twins Daily writer Seth Stohs has been drumming up for a while now: Is Mientkiewicz the right man to succeed Ron Gardenhire and usher in the next wave of young talent for the Twins?

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    Earlier this week, we discussed potential changes on the Twins coaching staff. To me, moving on from pitching coach Rick Anderson is essentially a no-brainer, as his contract is up and the unit he's directly in charge of has been unacceptably bad for too long now.

    Gardenhire is a different case. His contract extends to 2015, so a dismissal would require firing him as opposed to simply passing on a new deal. Still, as many people pointed out in the comments section on Monday, there's a decent chance that Gardy will be gone after this season.

    The Twins could decide to clean house, giving Gardy the axe while also letting Anderson go. That seems unlikely, especially in light of Terry Ryan's recent vote of confidence. But Gardy could also opt to resign on his own if the team parts ways with Anderson, a longtime friend. Or the manager might just step down after four straight tumultuous seasons.

    So, if Gardy goes, who replaces him? Paul Molitor is a popular choice among fans, for some reason. But unlike Molitor, Mientkiewicz has earned the opportunity by performing well in a managerial role. Sure, the Twins have good players in the minors, but his immediate success with this Miracle team has been nothing short of astounding.

    Mientkiewicz wouldn't necessarily be a conventional choice. At 40, he'd be the youngest manager in baseball and his experience essentially amounts to two years at Single-A. However, his path would closely mirror that of former Twin Mike Redmond, who jumped straight from A-ball to the majors last year at the age of 41. Redmond's Marlins endured 100 losses in his first season, but have taken a huge step forward this year and are currently just three games below .500.

    Let's take a look at some reasons why Mientkiewicz might make sense as the next Twins manager:

    * He's familiar, yet fresh. Since the Twins have a long history of promoting from within, it stands to reason that the next manager will be someone who's currently in the organization, so this fits. Yet, Mientkiewicz is disparate enough from the current regime, and young enough, that he'd bring a distinctly different flavor to what is unaffectionately referred to as the "Old Boys' Club."

    * He has worked extensively with the top prospects expected to be the lifeblood of a turnaround. Mientkiewicz managed Miguel Sano in Ft. Myers for the first half of the 2013 season, and Byron Buxton for the second half. Mientkiewicz has also coached Kennys Vargas, J.O. Berrios, Eddie Rosario, Jorge Polanco, Adam Walker and others.

    * He's got attitude. It's something that many believe has been missing in the Twins clubhouse. Gardenhire isn't without fire -- as illustrated by his numerous ejections -- but his teams have often been accused of lacking in that department. Mientkiewicz would bring swagger. Last year he actually got in a brawl with an opposing manager on the field. Kind of awesome.

    What do you think? Does Mientkiewicz appeal to you as a candidate to be Gardenhire's successor?

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    I hardly ever post here mostly lurk, but since I've always been a huge fan of Dougie Baseball I figured I would throw my two cents in. I completely agree that he would be a nice fit for being the manger of the Twins. I think he would bring just enough fire to the team. As a player he had some swagger so I think he would bring that too. He already has the respect and working relationship with the top prospects listed in the article.

     

    So in short I agree with everything that was said! Think Doug would be a perfect fit.

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    I've gone back and forth on Molitor, never being quite completely sold. I wouldn't be upset if that's the way the Twins decided to go, but Mientkiewics would be my first choice. While yes, it would be a 'promote from within' route, I still think it represents a much-needed younger, energetic winning outlook and I get very enthused with the thought of it. While Molitor has shown he's willing to embrace some of the more 'new-fangled' ideas and technologies available, in my mind he still seems like that 'older expected safe standard' that I think is now the time to move away from. Not that age should be a factor, but Molitor is older than Gardy. I think the new manager should be able to 'run with the kids' for years to come. I've stated before I think it's time for change, but I wouldn't be irate if Gardy were allowed to finish out his contract sans Anderson. If he wants to resign before his contract is up, then so be it and let's usher in the era of Dougie Baseball. (Btw, I am not in agreement of a manager starting a brawl as being some kind of awesome but that's perhaps a different discussion.)

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    I think it would be very out of character for the Twins to hire a new manager from outside the organization.  Both Dougie Baseball and Jake Mauer seem to have managerial chops that they will want to keep in house and continue grooming (either at The Show or somewhere in the system).  Molitor would also clearly be on the short list. 

     

    How much does this conversation change if Terry Ryan is also let go in a housecleaning?  (Granted, that really seems like a stretch at this point.  I only think that happens if Ryan leaves for health/personal reasons.)

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    * He's familiar, yet fresh....

     

    * He has worked extensively with the top prospects expected to be the lifeblood of a turnaround. ...

     

    * He's got attitude. ...

     

     

    Mientkiewicz has all these qualities, but essentially all the current farm managers do. Jake Mauer, Jeff Smith, Gene Glynn, as well as Molitor. I'm not sure the Twins operate in a way to promote a guy ahead of most of those names.
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    I would like Mientkiewicz. I don't know as much as I could about his philosophies, but his results are admirable. Mauer might be too young, but he also seems to have that look about him. Whoever it is, I hope he is more proactive than Gardy. It's just been my impression that he has always been afraid to take a chance here and there. That's what managing is about. They don't all work, but it's the sum of them that counts. A little bird in my head is telling me that somewhere I heard that Jim Pohlad is a huge fan of Molitiors? If that's the case, the rest of this discussion could be mute. But if it is Mientkiewicz, then we need a nickname. Because I am not typing that every time I think he should have bunted the runner over. Lol. How about "Minty" ?

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    Consider this too...

     

    The Twins announced Tom Kelly has an interim manager in 1986. He was the 3B coach previously, but before that he had managed many of the Twins young core in the minor leagues.

     

    Fast Forward to 2001. The Twins hire Ron Gardenhire. He had been a long-time 3B coach, but he had also spent time managing in the minor leagues. His coaching staff had been managing the crop of players who became that Twins starts from 1998-2006. 

     

    I think that familiarity is important. Mientkiewicz has managed many of the top prospects. He has won. He has won with ever-changing rosters. 

     

    I should also say this, a lot of what Doug Mientkiewicz is now is a lot of what Ron Gardenhire was in 2001. He was in his low 40s. He was very firy. I think there are a lot of similarities between Gardenhire and Mientkiewicz. 

     

    Redmond is a great example of something like this happening. Consider Tigers manager Brad Ausmus had never managed before getting that job this spring. Robin Ventura was manager of the year in his first year after having no previous managerial experience.

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    I have several thoughts here....

     

    Reason I don't want him here: if everyone keeps up with this "Dougie Baseball" bit I'm going to go nuts.  Its old already and he is still in Ft. Myers.

     

    Reason I want him here: his wife is defintely worth a camera shot or 10.

     

    On a serious note: do we know he is any more forward thinking about sabrmetrics, etc. than Gardy?  Just because he's younger doesn't necessarily mean anything.  What we know for sure is that he's won but he has also really good players.  My guess is that Jeff Smith is suddenly going to turn into a managerial genius the next year or so in New Britain.

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    I think Gardy could have a job such as the Rangers waiting for him if he decides to step down. I think TR stays though. We need radical change in the stale clubhouse and I think Dougie would bring it. It would be interesting to see what kind of staff he could assemble. I think Gene Glynn as a bench type coach would bring some experience. I'm fine going all young on the staff though

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    I doubt Doug would be named manager of the Twins. What I could see is Gene Glynn becoming a coach taking over for Ullger, Doug going to AAA and Jake Mauer moving to Ft Myers, with Molitor being named manager. Doug would have a couple years with guys he's already had, and gain more experience at a higher level managing.

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    A situtation that has been this bad, this long screams for a new coaching staff from the outside of the Twins organization!

     

    Henry Blanco as manager!!  Can relate to the South/Central American players on a more personal level and one of the top defensive catcher of our generation.  That, and I really like catchers as managers.  Back him up in the dugout with Molitor, who has the deep knowledge of the game, but not the flash.

     

    Pitching coach?  How about player/coach?  LaTroy Hawkins!  Look at his history:  A failure as a starter, when finally convinced to try middle relief became one of the best in the game.  When finally given a chance to close fulltime, continued to be successful AT AGE 42!  If he don't know pitching [and success], who does?

     

    The only thing I'd keep from the past is Bruno.  By all reports, he's been successful teaching the finer points of hitting to the Twins young sluggers.

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    I doubt Doug would be named manager of the Twins. What I could see is Gene Glynn becoming a coach taking over for Ullger, Doug going to AAA and Jake Mauer moving to Ft Myers, with Molitor being named manager. Doug would have a couple years with guys he's already had, and gain more experience at a higher level managing.

     

    I think that would be move too. Promote everyone up a level, let Mientkiewicz get more experience (bonus - he'd effectively be managing the same group of guys through each level) while Molitor holds things down for a few years. Assess again in 2 to 3 years.

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    The first question should be whether the Twins want to move forward with Gardy? If that answer is "no" the next question has to be "from within" or "from outside" rather than just picking our favorite from the presently anointed group.  

     

    For Twins fans who like what the Twins have been and stand for in the Kelly-Gardy era and want to continue that track from within, Mientkiewicz makes sense, probably more than Molitor/Steinbach, because of the age and having managerial experience. On the other hand, if you want a whole new direction don't assume that cadre is the answer. Then we need to look at a totally new group.

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    In the minors, it isn't necessarily a promotion or demotion to move up or down a level. For instance, Jake Mauer was the manager at Ft. Myers. When Buxton and that talented group were going to Cedar Rapids for their first full seasons, the Twins wanted Mauer to be the one with them. His personality was perfect. His charisma was perfect. His discipline was perfect. So despite moving "down" a level, I think that was a sign of confidence from the organization. 

     

    Gene Glynn - I like that he has been given few prospects and a lot of guys who are AAAA types, and he has won. He has kept the locker room in a place where that's difficult to do (AAA). He has kept players interested by playing them all over. And they've won. He's got a lot of great characteristics.

     

    I also think that Jake Mauer would be a very good big league manager for reasons above, plus he's just got a great baseball mind. Like all good managers, he's thinking situations 2-3 plays ahead. 

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    I doubt Doug would be named manager of the Twins. What I could see is Gene Glynn becoming a coach taking over for Ullger, Doug going to AAA and Jake Mauer moving to Ft Myers, with Molitor being named manager. Doug would have a couple years with guys he's already had, and gain more experience at a higher level managing.

     

    This is pretty much what I was thinking as I read through all of the posts.  I'd like to see Glynn come up and work with Molitor.  Molitor could use his experience on the bench.  Promote Doug to AA or AAA to continue working with our top prospects.  Saying that, I also wouldn't be opposed to Doug being hired. 

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    Consider this too...

     

    The Twins announced Tom Kelly has an interim manager in 1986. He was the 3B coach previously, but before that he had managed many of the Twins young core in the minor leagues.

     

    Fast Forward to 2001. The Twins hire Ron Gardenhire. He had been a long-time 3B coach, but he had also spent time managing in the minor leagues. His coaching staff had been managing the crop of players who became that Twins starts from 1998-2006. 

     

    I think that familiarity is important. Mientkiewicz has managed many of the top prospects. He has won. He has won with ever-changing rosters. 

     

    I should also say this, a lot of what Doug Mientkiewicz is now is a lot of what Ron Gardenhire was in 2001. He was in his low 40s. He was very firy. I think there are a lot of similarities between Gardenhire and Mientkiewicz. 

     

    Redmond is a great example of something like this happening. Consider Tigers manager Brad Ausmus had never managed before getting that job this spring. Robin Ventura was manager of the year in his first year after having no previous managerial experience.

     

    For all of the positive similarities between Gardy and Mientkiewicz, I especially like the differences even more.  Like:

     

    Dougie's high school team won a National Championship.

    His college team @ FSU won its first-ever ACC title in his junior year, with him as the leader and best player.

    He had the game-winning HR in the semi-finals for the US Team that won the Gold Medal at the Olympics.

    He was on the World Series winner that broke the Bambino jinx in Boston, coming back from seemingly impossible odds.

    He won the Twins first FSL title in Ft Myers, without the Twins' super-prospects on the team.

     

    The guy's been a winner at a variety of levels, playing and coaching.  But I think it's going to take some friendly persuasion for him to be willing to give up the South Florida lifestyle

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    Even in a story advocating for Mientkiewicz, you can't come up with a single reason Molitor might be qualified to be the next manager?

    I can come up with reasons he'd be qualified. He knows the game. He's familiar with the personnel. He's a highly touted coach.

     

    I just don't get why he's such a widely popular choice given his lack of experience and tangible results.

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    I don't think it's awesome at all that he got into a fight on the field.  I think it's immature and irresponsible, especially for someone in a position of authority over some of the youngest and least mature players in the organization.  I don't care if "boys will be boys" and "there's a different culture" and bla bla bla.  It reflects very poorly on his character.

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    I don't think it's awesome at all that he got into a fight on the field.  I think it's immature and irresponsible, especially for someone in a position of authority over some of the youngest and least mature players in the organization.  I don't care if "boys will be boys" and "there's a different culture" and bla bla bla.  It reflects very poorly on his character.

     

    Not to excuse what happened, but you are aware of all of the tragedy and tumult that was going on in his life that season, right?  If Terry Ryan was willing to get past the incident, I would guess that his character in the whole is greater than that one big mistake.

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    Not to excuse what happened, but you are aware of all of the tragedy and tumult that was going on in his life that season, right?  If Terry Ryan was willing to get past the incident, I would guess that his character in the whole is greater than that one big mistake.

     

    I don't care.  You don't do that.  In any other occupational walk of life besides professional sports, he would have been canned for that.  I'm not a fan of the double-standard that exists in regards to sports vs. the real world.

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    I don't care.  You don't do that.  In any other occupational walk of life besides professional sports, he would have been canned for that.  I'm not a fan of the double-standard that exists in regards to sports vs. the real world.

     

    But it does exist, professional sports isn't the real world   What is real and common in both occupational realms is that this country is the land of both opportunity and the chance for redemption.  Would you prefer he be banned for life from baseball?

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    But it does exist, professional sports isn't the real world   What is real and common in both occupational realms is that this country is the land of both opportunity and the chance for redemption.  Would you prefer he be banned for life from baseball?

     

    No, I would have preferred he be fired for it.  And saying "professional sports isn't the real world" is ridiculous, because it is the real world, and these are grown men we're talking about, not little leaguers.

     

    And that'll be my last post on the subject.

    Edited by Boom Boom
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    Consider this too...

     

    The Twins announced Tom Kelly has an interim manager in 1986. He was the 3B coach previously, but before that he had managed many of the Twins young core in the minor leagues.

     

    Fast Forward to 2001. The Twins hire Ron Gardenhire. He had been a long-time 3B coach, but he had also spent time managing in the minor leagues. His coaching staff had been managing the crop of players who became that Twins starts from 1998-2006. 

     

     

    Ladies and gentlemen, the next Twins field manager will be Joe Vavra!

     

    jk

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    Ladies and gentlemen, the next Twins field manager will be Joe Vavra!

     

    jk

    Boy would it be fun to read the vitriol in here were that to happen :)

     

    There are some interesting internal candidates to replace Gardy, no doubt.

     

    Mint would be perhaps the most radical choice of the from-runners mentioned here, and for that reason I would like to see it happen.

     

    Wake-up call for the Twinkies.

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    I can come up with reasons he'd be qualified. He knows the game. He's familiar with the personnel. He's a highly touted coach.

     

    I just don't get why he's such a widely popular choice given his lack of experience and tangible results.

     

    So he's widely popular for the same reasons that you're touting Dougie.  Dougie's AA results as a manager don't mean much to me good or bad given the huge number of factors that go into managing there as opposed to the big leagues.

     

    Frankly, his won-loss record there matters less to me than how players develop as they stay with him.  So far that's a positive trend as well, so in my eyes Molitor and Dougie would both make fine choices.

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    No, I would have preferred he be fired for it.  And saying "professional sports isn't the real world" is ridiculous, because it is the real world, and these are grown men we're talking about, not little leaguers.

     

    And that'll be my last post on the subject.

     

    Ridiculous yes, but please recall it was your analogy placed in use for this discussion:

     

     

    I don't care.  You don't do that.  In any other occupational walk of life besides professional sports, he would have been canned for that.  I'm not a fan of the double-standard that exists in regards to sports vs. the real world.

     

    And there are literally 1000s of professional players and coaches, in all of the various sports over the years, many in the Halls of Fame, who have acted out similarly, or much, much worse.  The physical nature of sports inevitably involves the strategic usage by coaches of elements of physical intimidation, it's seems inevitable that that reality can sometimes get out of hand and be taken to occasionally reprehensible extremes.  Lest we forget, brawling is basically inscribed in the strategic DNA of professional hockey.  Legendary football coach, Woody Hayes, punched an opposing player during the Gator Bowl, and Brett Favre is just the one "bounty" killing that became public knowledge, it's a widely accepted, yet craven aspect of the game, even Favre acknowledged that fact.  Bill Musselman's actions as coach led to an ugly and horrifically bloody assault on Ohio State basketball players... I myself was involved in an international college tournament, when the home team's legendary coach saw that it was going to be difficult to defeat us in the championship game, he put his worst player into the game with the sole intent to start a brawl with our best player, in order to get him ejected from the game- despite the embarrassing international incident, the legendary coach is still coaching the national team.  Doug Mientkiewicz himself, was "assaulted" by Mark Buehrle with a thrown ball, as some form of physical "retributive justice" directed from White Sox management, just days after Doug had criticized that same White Sox management for the lack of security after a fan assaulted an umpire at Comerica.  

     

    Some roughneck professional athletes pass away as bitter old men, like Ty Cobb, others do some soul-searching and find redemption and end up leaving their mark on the sport in a more positive light.  Terry Ryan obviously feels that Doug has enough redeeming and redeemable qualities to his character, to continue on with another chance to make amends and make it right,and so far, he has done so.

    Edited by jokin
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    If you look at what's coming for the future.  If Gardy leads the Twins to winning seasons for the next 8 seasons or so ....and that is possible with he talent coming up the pipe the Gardy could end his career with over 2000 managerial victories and potentially make the hall of fame as a manager.  Why would he walk away from that?  Just because Kelly did doesn't mean Gardy does.  And its not like Gardy has forgotten how to manage.  I say he'll be here another 10 seasons or so till he's close to 70 and walks away as a top 5 manager of all time.

     

    Though Meintkiewicz is definitely a future managerial candidate somewhere if not here. 

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