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  1. LAST NIGHT’S GAME RECAP Twins 3, Cleveland 1: Bullpen Dominates as Twins Take Series TODAY Twins vs. Pittsburgh, 7:10 pm CT Betting Lines: MIN -1.5, -230, 9.5 O/U Twins: Lewis Thorpe, LHP 2020: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K Thorpe last worked on July 30, finishing the final two innings of the game against the Cleveland Indians. In that one Jose Berrios gave up the 2-run homer to Francisco Lindor, but Thorpe was part of a bullpen that kept the deficit where it was. He’s thrown 42 and 20 pitches in his two outings respectively, and while he’s not entirely stretched out, this shouldn’t be a bullpen game either. It’s an extremely small sample size thus far, but Thorpe has seen success in 2020 by missing barrels. His 14.3% hard hit rate is outstanding, and while both his chase and whiff rates are down, he’s keeping hitters off balance. The repertoire doesn’t include high velocity stuff, but he’s featured his slider substantially more this season and it’s been a focus for multiple Twins arms. Pittsburgh: Derek Holland, LHP 2020: 5.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K Holland has made just one start in 2020 and it came against the Milwaukee Brewers. He was nothing short of awful in 2019 but sandwich a nice 2018 campaign for the San Francisco Giants in between that and another terrible season in 2017. Mediocrity across the board is what defines Dutch Oven, and there’s nothing that jumps off the page in terms of his numbers. Showcasing a very similar pitch mix to the Twins Thorpe, Holland does not have nearly the same positives in 2020 action. He has always been susceptible to the long ball, and he started his campaign with one in the debut outing as well. Holland has given up 2.0+ HR/9 twice in his career, and Minnesota’s righties should be licking their chops at that opportunity. LINEUP https://twitter.com/tlschwerz/status/1290356134180790273 TRANSACTION Another day, another transaction. Needing arms, the Twins brought back Caleb Thielbar. When he gets in a game, it'll be the first time since 2015 that he's been in the big leagues. NEWS & NOTES - Tonight will be the return of former Twins bench coach, Derek Shelton. He took over as manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2020. - Bad news for the Angels and Shohei Ohtani. He made it through just 1.2 IP in his second start since returning from Tommy John surgery and underwent an MRI yesterday. https://twitter.com/FabianArdaya/status/1290095415832883200 - The Phillies and Marlins have both had another day of no positive tests. Philadelphia resumes tonight against the Yankees while Miami is back in action tomorrow. - After playing in Minnesota the St. Louis Cardinals had some positive tests and there were postponements. They now appear to be in the outbreak category with a handful more. https://twitter.com/markasaxon/status/1290369901815791616 AROUND THE AL CENTRAL CIN 4, DET 3 (G1) CWS 9, KCR 2 CIN 4, DET 0 (G2) 1. MIN 7-2 (+22) 2. CHW 5-4 (+5) 3. CLE 5-5 (+1) 4. DET 5-5 (-11) 5. KCR 3-7 (-14) SEE ALSO Week in Review: Winning and Wondering Twins Bullpen: Ready When Needed Which 3 Twins Have Started the Strongest?
  2. After the Minnesota Twins put starter Homer Bailey on the Injured List due to biceps tendinitis, they needed to come up with another starting option for Monday night’s tilt with Pittsburgh. Despite being Rich Hill’s normal day of work, they’ll turn to the left-handed Aussie Lewis Thorpe.LAST NIGHT’S GAME RECAP Twins 3, Cleveland 1: Bullpen Dominates as Twins Take Series TODAY Twins vs. Pittsburgh, 7:10 pm CT Betting Lines: MIN -1.5, -230, 9.5 O/U Twins: Lewis Thorpe, LHP 2020: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K Thorpe last worked on July 30, finishing the final two innings of the game against the Cleveland Indians. In that one Jose Berrios gave up the 2-run homer to Francisco Lindor, but Thorpe was part of a bullpen that kept the deficit where it was. He’s thrown 42 and 20 pitches in his two outings respectively, and while he’s not entirely stretched out, this shouldn’t be a bullpen game either. Download attachment: Thorpe.PNG It’s an extremely small sample size thus far, but Thorpe has seen success in 2020 by missing barrels. His 14.3% hard hit rate is outstanding, and while both his chase and whiff rates are down, he’s keeping hitters off balance. The repertoire doesn’t include high velocity stuff, but he’s featured his slider substantially more this season and it’s been a focus for multiple Twins arms. Pittsburgh: Derek Holland, LHP 2020: 5.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K Holland has made just one start in 2020 and it came against the Milwaukee Brewers. He was nothing short of awful in 2019 but sandwich a nice 2018 campaign for the San Francisco Giants in between that and another terrible season in 2017. Mediocrity across the board is what defines Dutch Oven, and there’s nothing that jumps off the page in terms of his numbers. Download attachment: Holland.PNG Showcasing a very similar pitch mix to the Twins Thorpe, Holland does not have nearly the same positives in 2020 action. He has always been susceptible to the long ball, and he started his campaign with one in the debut outing as well. Holland has given up 2.0+ HR/9 twice in his career, and Minnesota’s righties should be licking their chops at that opportunity. LINEUP TRANSACTION Another day, another transaction. Needing arms, the Twins brought back Caleb Thielbar. When he gets in a game, it'll be the first time since 2015 that he's been in the big leagues. NEWS & NOTES - Tonight will be the return of former Twins bench coach, Derek Shelton. He took over as manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2020. - Bad news for the Angels and Shohei Ohtani. He made it through just 1.2 IP in his second start since returning from Tommy John surgery and underwent an MRI yesterday. - The Phillies and Marlins have both had another day of no positive tests. Philadelphia resumes tonight against the Yankees while Miami is back in action tomorrow. - After playing in Minnesota the St. Louis Cardinals had some positive tests and there were postponements. They now appear to be in the outbreak category with a handful more. AROUND THE AL CENTRAL CIN 4, DET 3 (G1) CWS 9, KCR 2 CIN 4, DET 0 (G2) 1. MIN 7-2 (+22) 2. CHW 5-4 (+5) 3. CLE 5-5 (+1) 4. DET 5-5 (-11) 5. KCR 3-7 (-14) SEE ALSO Week in Review: Winning and Wondering Twins Bullpen: Ready When Needed Which 3 Twins Have Started the Strongest? Click here to view the article
  3. According to ESPN's Jeff Passan, the Miami Marlins are set to hire Twins hitting coach James Rowson. According to the Passan tweet, Rowson will be named the Marlins bench coach and offensive coordinator.Twins hitting coach James Rowson has earned a lot of praise for his work as the Twins hitting coach over the past few seasons. In particular, he led the 2019 Twins offense which set the all-time single-season home run record. The assumption as the season went on is that the Twins organization, specifically Rocco's Baldelli's coaching staff, could lose several key members during the offseson, and Rowson's name was often mentioned. Early on Thursday evening, Jeff Passan tweeted the news: He followed with a tweet to attempt to explain the role of "Offense Coordinator." So while the title is different, it is a role that he is quite familiar with. It certainly is a promotion for Rowson, but he was hired by the Twins in large part due to his work as a hitting coordinator with the Yankees and Cubs organizations. It is certainly a big loss for the Twins organization. He will not be easy to replace, but this front office has found lesser known names (like Rowson when he was hired) for several jobs already. One option may be assistant hitting coach Rudy Hernandez who has been in the organization nearly two decades and has a great working rapport with many of the Spanish-speaking hitters in the organization . Earlier this week, it was announced that Twins minor league hitting coordinator Peter Fatse had been named the assistant hitting coach of the Boston Red Sox. Fatse joined the Twins organization last offseason. He had replaced Rick Eckstein who became the hitting coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Not registered? Click here to create an account. To stay up to date, follow Twins Daily on Twitter and Facebook. Related Content: Will Minnesota Get Raided This Offseason? The Making of Max Power Let's Talk About Byron Buxton's Swing Click here to view the article
  4. Twins hitting coach James Rowson has earned a lot of praise for his work as the Twins hitting coach over the past few seasons. In particular, he led the 2019 Twins offense which set the all-time single-season home run record. The assumption as the season went on is that the Twins organization, specifically Rocco's Baldelli's coaching staff, could lose several key members during the offseson, and Rowson's name was often mentioned. Early on Thursday evening, Jeff Passan tweeted the news: He followed with a tweet to attempt to explain the role of "Offense Coordinator." https://twitter.com/JeffPassan/status/1187508170215841793 So while the title is different, it is a role that he is quite familiar with. It certainly is a promotion for Rowson, but he was hired by the Twins in large part due to his work as a hitting coordinator with the Yankees and Cubs organizations. It is certainly a big loss for the Twins organization. He will not be easy to replace, but this front office has found lesser known names (like Rowson when he was hired) for several jobs already. One option may be assistant hitting coach Rudy Hernandez who has been in the organization nearly two decades and has a great working rapport with many of the Spanish-speaking hitters in the organization . Earlier this week, it was announced that Twins minor league hitting coordinator Peter Fatse had been named the assistant hitting coach of the Boston Red Sox. Fatse joined the Twins organization last offseason. He had replaced Rick Eckstein who became the hitting coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Not registered? Click here to create an account. To stay up to date, follow Twins Daily on Twitter and Facebook. Related Content: Will Minnesota Get Raided This Offseason? The Making of Max Power Let's Talk About Byron Buxton's Swing
  5. New Twins manager Rocco Baldelli has talked since he was hired that he felt that hiring his coaching staff would be his first big decision. On Friday, they announced most of his staff. Previously, they had announced that hitting coach James Rowson and assistant hitting coach Rudy Hernandez would return to their roles. When Derek Shelton finished runner-up to Chris Woodward for the Rangers job, it was clear that he would return as the bench coach. On Thursday, Dan Hayes from The Athletic broke the news that the Twins were hiring long-time college pitching coach (most recently at the University of Arkansas), Wes Johnson for that role with the Twins, his first job in professional baseball. https://twitter.com/SethTweets/status/1063188348582408193 Later Thursday afternoon, Derek Wetmore broke the news that Jeremy Hefner would be added to the coaching staff as well. He had been an advanced scout for the Twins in 2018. Friday the Twins announced that he will be the assistant pitching coach. On Friday, the Twins announced that Tony Diaz will be their third base coach. He has spent the last 20 years managing and coaching in the Colorado Rockies organization. Most recently, he was the first base coach in the big leagues.The Dominican Republic native authored a book called Practical English for Latin Players. Tommy Watkins will be their first base coach. Watkins was the Twins 38th round pick in the 1998 draft out of high school in Ft. Myers. He slowly worked his way up the organizational ladder, and in 2007, he played nine games in the big leagues. In fact, he was hitting .357 (through nine games) and had become the starting third baseman. Unfortunately, he was injured and missed the rest of the year. He spent another year in the organization before retiring as a player and becoming a coach. He was the hitting coach in Beloit and then also when the Twins moved their Midwest League affiliate to Cedar Rapids. He moved up to Chattanooga for a year as their hitting coach, but then became the manager back in Cedar Rapids. In 2018, he was the Lookouts manager, and on Saturday, he will lead the Salt River Rafters into the Arizona Fall League championship game. Watkins has worked very closely with the core of young Twins players through their minor league careers. Watkins said that he was "stunned" when he found out the news yesterday and is excited for the opportunity. In an interview with Ft. Myers News Press writer David Dorsey, he said, "I’m excited for the opportunity, I can tell you that. It’s what we all work for. We can’t all play in the big leagues, and we can’t play forever. The next best thing would be to coach in the big leagues." The Twins also announced that they will be hiring one more coach. Baldelli talked about putting together a collection of talented coaches who can teach. He talked about the importance of diversity. Hernandez is the oldest coach at 50. Derek Shelton is 48. Rowson is 42 while Johnson and Diaz are both 41. Tommy Watkins is 38, and Jeremy Hefner is just 32 years old. Is it possible that the staff is too inexperienced, or is this group of coaches with a vast array of experiences, strong people skills and willingness to be open-minded exactly what they need right now?
  6. On Friday afternoon, the Twins announced most of their 2019 coaching staff. While they are still looking to fill one spot on Rocco Baldelli's coaching staff, they did make seven of their coaches official.New Twins manager Rocco Baldelli has talked since he was hired that he felt that hiring his coaching staff would be his first big decision. On Friday, they announced most of his staff. Previously, they had announced that hitting coach James Rowson and assistant hitting coach Rudy Hernandez would return to their roles. When Derek Shelton finished runner-up to Chris Woodward for the Rangers job, it was clear that he would return as the bench coach. On Thursday, Dan Hayes from The Athletic broke the news that the Twins were hiring long-time college pitching coach (most recently at the University of Arkansas), Wes Johnson for that role with the Twins, his first job in professional baseball. Later Thursday afternoon, Derek Wetmore broke the news that Jeremy Hefner would be added to the coaching staff as well. He had been an advanced scout for the Twins in 2018. Friday the Twins announced that he will be the assistant pitching coach. On Friday, the Twins announced that Tony Diaz will be their third base coach. He has spent the last 20 years managing and coaching in the Colorado Rockies organization. Most recently, he was the first base coach in the big leagues.The Dominican Republic native authored a book called Practical English for Latin Players. Tommy Watkins will be their first base coach. Watkins was the Twins 38th round pick in the 1998 draft out of high school in Ft. Myers. He slowly worked his way up the organizational ladder, and in 2007, he played nine games in the big leagues. In fact, he was hitting .357 (through nine games) and had become the starting third baseman. Unfortunately, he was injured and missed the rest of the year. He spent another year in the organization before retiring as a player and becoming a coach. He was the hitting coach in Beloit and then also when the Twins moved their Midwest League affiliate to Cedar Rapids. He moved up to Chattanooga for a year as their hitting coach, but then became the manager back in Cedar Rapids. In 2018, he was the Lookouts manager, and on Saturday, he will lead the Salt River Rafters into the Arizona Fall League championship game. Watkins has worked very closely with the core of young Twins players through their minor league careers. Watkins said that he was "stunned" when he found out the news yesterday and is excited for the opportunity. In an interview with Ft. Myers News Press writer David Dorsey, he said, "I’m excited for the opportunity, I can tell you that. It’s what we all work for. We can’t all play in the big leagues, and we can’t play forever. The next best thing would be to coach in the big leagues." The Twins also announced that they will be hiring one more coach. Baldelli talked about putting together a collection of talented coaches who can teach. He talked about the importance of diversity. Hernandez is the oldest coach at 50. Derek Shelton is 48. Rowson is 42 while Johnson and Diaz are both 41. Tommy Watkins is 38, and Jeremy Hefner is just 32 years old. Is it possible that the staff is too inexperienced, or is this group of coaches with a vast array of experiences, strong people skills and willingness to be open-minded exactly what they need right now? Click here to view the article
  7. According to The Athletic, Garvin Alston won't be back for 2019. Surprising to say the least.
  8. It's clear that Minnesota's front office is placing an emphatic priority on optimizing this unit. "In my opinion, a staff is not just a manager and a bunch of guys," GM Thad Levine told The Athletic. "We hope to put together the best staff we possibly can." The Twins reportedly vetted up to two dozen candidates in their managerial search, so there's no question they'll turn over every stone in surrounding him with the right pieces. Let's get up to speed on what the coaching staff currently looks like, and who to keep an eye on for the open spots. MANAGER Last Thursday, the Minnesota Twins formally introduced Rocco Baldelli as the franchise's 14th manager. He brings with him many likable traits and attributes, but not a lick of experience. At 37, Baldelli is the youngest man in MLB to hold the job, and he has never managed at any pro level. (His titles with the Rays after retiring from playing: roving minor-league instructor/special assistant to baseball operations, first base coach, major league field coordinator.) As such, it makes sense to offset this deficiency, so we'll presumably see the Twins bring in seasoned perspective with at least some of their coming hires – especially at bench coach, where the front office is envisioning a highly collaborative, almost symbiotic relationship. BENCH COACH Incumbent Derek Shelton was a finalist for the manager nod before falling short of Baldelli, who must have blown away Falvey and Levine because the two top execs raved about Shelton's performance while interviewing. Shelton now appears to be one of the top choices for Texas' managerial opening, but if he misses out, Falvey and Levine are clearly hoping he'll return to his previous gig. And while the 48-year-old may not be jazzed about returning to bench coach duties after coming so close to the top job. twice, the Twins are trying to make it as appealing to him as they can. Said Levine: "The analogy we presented to (Shelton) that we truly believe in is, (Falvey) and I are tackling the role of general manager together. We are hopeful that he would be open-minded about tackling the leadership in our clubhouse with Rocco Baldelli.” Baldelli's bench coach will be instrumental in helping the rookie skipper acclimate to a new organization and a new world of responsibility. Shelton, who managed for three seasons in the minors before coaching in various capacities for three major-league teams, is ideally suited for the task, especially because of his existing relationships in the locker room (not to mention with Baldelli, from their days in Tampa). I think the odds are strongly in favor of Shelton remaining as bench coach. But if the Rangers pluck him away, the Twins will need to pivot elsewhere. HITTING COACH Both James Rowson and assistant hitting coach Rudy Hernandez were kept on, as perhaps the only ones to survive this exodus (pending Shelton). Rowson interviewed for the manager job so evidently the front office views him highly. Hernandez has strong rapport with the Spanish-speaking players on the team. In terms of on-field results, the instructional duo doesn't have a ton to show; Minnesota took significant steps backward in key offensive categories this year. But in so many cases – Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Jorge Polanco, Jason Castro, Brian Dozier, etc. – there were deeper issues at play. And we did see some successes, most notably rookies Jake Cave and Mitch Garver. So, I'm good with these two being kept on. They'll have plenty of new colleagues. PITCHING COACH Garvin Alston's tenure with the Twins lasted just one season. The team is quickly changing gears after bringing in the former A's bullpen coach one year ago, even though the pitching staff was altogether solid in 2018. It sounds like the new manager will have significant influence over this decision. Per Dan Hayes of The Athletic, a "source suggested that Baldelli might want to bring in his own guy at pitching coach, a position he will likely rely upon heavily in his first season as the club’s manager." One name that's been brought up (again, by Hayes, who's been very tuned in and is a must-follow on Twitter) is Charles Nagy. He brings the experience, both as a pitcher (he spent 14 seasons in the majors) and as an MLB pitching coach (three years with the D-backs, three years with the Angels). He has recent ties to Falvey, having spent the 2015 season as Special Assistant to Player Development for Cleveland. Nagy spent the last three seasons in Anaheim before being ousted along with manager Mike Scioscia in a purge of the Angels coaching staff. But he has a solid reputation around the game. He's credited with helping left-hander Patrick Corbin (a potential Twins offseason target) develop during his time in Arizona. Considered a laid-back type and an excellent communicator, Nagy seems stylistically similar to Rowson, and his breadth of experience would surely be invaluable to Baldelli. This match would make a lot of sense. But if it doesn't happen, another name to keep in mind is Carl Willis, who has twice interviewed for Twins pitching coach vacancies (losing out to Alston and Neil Allen). The Cleveland connection is present there as well, obviously. In terms of people with connections to Baldelli, Stan Boroski is the Rays bullpen coach and has been for seven years. BULLPEN COACH After four years in the position, Eddie Guardado is out. It's anyone's guess where the Twins might go now. As the nature of major-league bullpens evolves before our eyes, presumably Minnesota will opt for a new-school mind, capable of preparing his staff for experimental usage patterns and non-traditional roles. Stu Cliburn seems most likely among internal candidates. Currently the pitching coach at Triple-A Rochester, Cliburn is a well-known commodity in the organization with nearly three decades of tenure. But despite his entrenchment, the 62-year-old is not closed-minded. In his feature for the Offseason Handbook, Parker Hageman described how Cliburn helped sell Rochester's pitchers on the merits of the "Opener" strategy. This quotes from the piece feels relevant: “Routine adjustment is going to be big,” Cliburn said regarding what the biggest challenge is for his players. “Sometimes routines can get disrupted for different reasons, rain and whatnot, but you just have to learn to adjust your program.” He'd be a solid anchor of familiarity on a staff that figures to be crowded with newcomers. Pete Maki, the former Duke pitching coach who took over for Erik Rasmussen as minor-league pitching coordinator a year ago and led the charge with implementation of the opener method, is another possibility from within. A potential sleeper to watch: Matt Belisle, who was essentially serving as pseudo-bullpen coach for much of this season. 1B/3B COACHES The Twins are moving on from both first base coach Jeff Smith and third base coach Gene Glynn. If you're looking within, Tommy Watkins stands out as a great option. He managed the Double-A team this year and is currently managing the Salt River Rafters in the Arizona Fall League. "I am humbled that the Twins trust me with this role," Watkins told our Seth Stohs last month. While the Twins have severed ties with holdovers at almost all levels, Watkins just continues to rise. He is extremely well liked within the organization. One thing to consider is that first and third base coaches tend to have specializations in terms of player instruction. Smith often worked with the catchers, and – given the rawness of Garver – it's only logical the Twins will seek out an individual who can teach at that position. I've got a feeling about clubhouse favorite Chris Gimenez. Another consideration in this search: Baldelli stated during his introductory presser that he's "looking for a very diverse staff." "One of my best friends, who was just named manager of the Blue Jays [Charlie Montoyo], I’ve seen him relate to players in ways that I can’t. Although I would try very hard in some ways, I see him just step up and do things." The Twins will have at least one Spanish-speaker on the staff in Hernandez. But it wouldn't be surprising to see them add another in one of these important roles. Jose Molina, currently the minor-league catching coordinator for the Angels, would check both of the last two boxes mentioned. If the front office is aiming for experience and elder statesmanship, they could look toward Edwin Rodriguez. The 58-year-old started his post-playing career as a scout with the Twins back in 1989. He's managed all over in the minors and is currently doing so at San Diego's Class-A affiliate. Rodriguez was interim skipper in Miami for a spell back in 2010. Oh, and he was also manager of the Appalachian League's Princeton Devil Rays in 2000, when a teenager by the name of Rocco Baldelli was breaking into pro baseball for the first time. QUALITY CONTROL COACH This is a relatively new position around the league, and it doesn't technically exist on the Twins' staff, but seems to be the rough equivalent of what Jeff Pickler was doing under the bland title of "Major League Coach." Pickler won't be back in that capacity, though there are rumblings he'll land in Minnesota's front office. It's not clear the Twins will fill this position, but I'm guessing they will. The choice could very well end up being someone most of us have never heard before. One name to keep an eye on is Mark Kotsay, currently the quality control coach for an Oakland team that blew everyone away with its quality this year. Kotsay and Baldelli were teammates in Boston back in '09. (Big shout-outs to Seth Stohs, Tom Froemming and John Bonnes for helping chip in ideas and names to mention in this rundown.)
  9. When the Twins dismissed manager Paul Molitor at the end of the season, it set into motion a major overhaul of the coaching staff that's still underway. Read on for a comprehensive breakdown of who's still in, who was sent out, and which names are worth monitoring for the newly vacant roles.It's clear that Minnesota's front office is placing an emphatic priority on optimizing this unit. "In my opinion, a staff is not just a manager and a bunch of guys," GM Thad Levine told The Athletic. "We hope to put together the best staff we possibly can." The Twins reportedly vetted up to two dozen candidates in their managerial search, so there's no question they'll turn over every stone in surrounding him with the right pieces. Let's get up to speed on what the coaching staff currently looks like, and who to keep an eye on for the open spots. MANAGER Last Thursday, the Minnesota Twins formally introduced Rocco Baldelli as the franchise's 14th manager. He brings with him many likable traits and attributes, but not a lick of experience. At 37, Baldelli is the youngest man in MLB to hold the job, and he has never managed at any pro level. (His titles with the Rays after retiring from playing: roving minor-league instructor/special assistant to baseball operations, first base coach, major league field coordinator.) As such, it makes sense to offset this deficiency, so we'll presumably see the Twins bring in seasoned perspective with at least some of their coming hires – especially at bench coach, where the front office is envisioning a highly collaborative, almost symbiotic relationship. BENCH COACH Incumbent Derek Shelton was a finalist for the manager nod before falling short of Baldelli, who must have blown away Falvey and Levine because the two top execs raved about Shelton's performance while interviewing. Shelton now appears to be one of the top choices for Texas' managerial opening, but if he misses out, Falvey and Levine are clearly hoping he'll return to his previous gig. And while the 48-year-old may not be jazzed about returning to bench coach duties after coming so close to the top job. twice, the Twins are trying to make it as appealing to him as they can. Said Levine: "The analogy we presented to (Shelton) that we truly believe in is, (Falvey) and I are tackling the role of general manager together. We are hopeful that he would be open-minded about tackling the leadership in our clubhouse with Rocco Baldelli.” Baldelli's bench coach will be instrumental in helping the rookie skipper acclimate to a new organization and a new world of responsibility. Shelton, who managed for three seasons in the minors before coaching in various capacities for three major-league teams, is ideally suited for the task, especially because of his existing relationships in the locker room (not to mention with Baldelli, from their days in Tampa). I think the odds are strongly in favor of Shelton remaining as bench coach. But if the Rangers pluck him away, the Twins will need to pivot elsewhere. HITTING COACH Both James Rowson and assistant hitting coach Rudy Hernandez were kept on, as perhaps the only ones to survive this exodus (pending Shelton). Rowson interviewed for the manager job so evidently the front office views him highly. Hernandez has strong rapport with the Spanish-speaking players on the team. In terms of on-field results, the instructional duo doesn't have a ton to show; Minnesota took significant steps backward in key offensive categories this year. But in so many cases – Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Jorge Polanco, Jason Castro, Brian Dozier, etc. – there were deeper issues at play. And we did see some successes, most notably rookies Jake Cave and Mitch Garver. So, I'm good with these two being kept on. They'll have plenty of new colleagues. PITCHING COACH Garvin Alston's tenure with the Twins lasted just one season. The team is quickly changing gears after bringing in the former A's bullpen coach one year ago, even though the pitching staff was altogether solid in 2018. It sounds like the new manager will have significant influence over this decision. Per Dan Hayes of The Athletic, a "source suggested that Baldelli might want to bring in his own guy at pitching coach, a position he will likely rely upon heavily in his first season as the club’s manager." One name that's been brought up (again, by Hayes, who's been very tuned in and is a must-follow on Twitter) is Charles Nagy. He brings the experience, both as a pitcher (he spent 14 seasons in the majors) and as an MLB pitching coach (three years with the D-backs, three years with the Angels). He has recent ties to Falvey, having spent the 2015 season as Special Assistant to Player Development for Cleveland. Nagy spent the last three seasons in Anaheim before being ousted along with manager Mike Scioscia in a purge of the Angels coaching staff. But he has a solid reputation around the game. He's credited with helping left-hander Patrick Corbin (a potential Twins offseason target) develop during his time in Arizona. Considered a laid-back type and an excellent communicator, Nagy seems stylistically similar to Rowson, and his breadth of experience would surely be invaluable to Baldelli. This match would make a lot of sense. But if it doesn't happen, another name to keep in mind is Carl Willis, who has twice interviewed for Twins pitching coach vacancies (losing out to Alston and Neil Allen). The Cleveland connection is present there as well, obviously. In terms of people with connections to Baldelli, Stan Boroski is the Rays bullpen coach and has been for seven years. BULLPEN COACH After four years in the position, Eddie Guardado is out. It's anyone's guess where the Twins might go now. As the nature of major-league bullpens evolves before our eyes, presumably Minnesota will opt for a new-school mind, capable of preparing his staff for experimental usage patterns and non-traditional roles. Stu Cliburn seems most likely among internal candidates. Currently the pitching coach at Triple-A Rochester, Cliburn is a well-known commodity in the organization with nearly three decades of tenure. But despite his entrenchment, the 62-year-old is not closed-minded. In his feature for the Offseason Handbook, Parker Hageman described how Cliburn helped sell Rochester's pitchers on the merits of the "Opener" strategy. This quotes from the piece feels relevant: “Routine adjustment is going to be big,” Cliburn said regarding what the biggest challenge is for his players. “Sometimes routines can get disrupted for different reasons, rain and whatnot, but you just have to learn to adjust your program.” He'd be a solid anchor of familiarity on a staff that figures to be crowded with newcomers. Pete Maki, the former Duke pitching coach who took over for Erik Rasmussen as minor-league pitching coordinator a year ago and led the charge with implementation of the opener method, is another possibility from within. A potential sleeper to watch: Matt Belisle, who was essentially serving as pseudo-bullpen coach for much of this season. 1B/3B COACHES The Twins are moving on from both first base coach Jeff Smith and third base coach Gene Glynn. If you're looking within, Tommy Watkins stands out as a great option. He managed the Double-A team this year and is currently managing the Salt River Rafters in the Arizona Fall League. "I am humbled that the Twins trust me with this role," Watkins told our Seth Stohs last month. While the Twins have severed ties with holdovers at almost all levels, Watkins just continues to rise. He is extremely well liked within the organization. One thing to consider is that first and third base coaches tend to have specializations in terms of player instruction. Smith often worked with the catchers, and – given the rawness of Garver – it's only logical the Twins will seek out an individual who can teach at that position. I've got a feeling about clubhouse favorite Chris Gimenez. Another consideration in this search: Baldelli stated during his introductory presser that he's "looking for a very diverse staff." "One of my best friends, who was just named manager of the Blue Jays [Charlie Montoyo], I’ve seen him relate to players in ways that I can’t. Although I would try very hard in some ways, I see him just step up and do things." The Twins will have at least one Spanish-speaker on the staff in Hernandez. But it wouldn't be surprising to see them add another in one of these important roles. Jose Molina, currently the minor-league catching coordinator for the Angels, would check both of the last two boxes mentioned. If the front office is aiming for experience and elder statesmanship, they could look toward Edwin Rodriguez. The 58-year-old started his post-playing career as a scout with the Twins back in 1989. He's managed all over in the minors and is currently doing so at San Diego's Class-A affiliate. Rodriguez was interim skipper in Miami for a spell back in 2010. Oh, and he was also manager of the Appalachian League's Princeton Devil Rays in 2000, when a teenager by the name of Rocco Baldelli was breaking into pro baseball for the first time. QUALITY CONTROL COACH This is a relatively new position around the league, and it doesn't technically exist on the Twins' staff, but seems to be the rough equivalent of what Jeff Pickler was doing under the bland title of "Major League Coach." Pickler won't be back in that capacity, though there are rumblings he'll land in Minnesota's front office. It's not clear the Twins will fill this position, but I'm guessing they will. The choice could very well end up being someone most of us have never heard before. One name to keep an eye on is Mark Kotsay, currently the quality control coach for an Oakland team that blew everyone away with its quality this year. Kotsay and Baldelli were teammates in Boston back in '09. (Big shout-outs to Seth Stohs, Tom Froemming and John Bonnes for helping chip in ideas and names to mention in this rundown.) Click here to view the article
  10. 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?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. Click here to view the article
  11. 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.
  12. Derek Shelton Current Role: Twins Bench Coach Qualifications: He spent seven seasons as hitting coach under Joe Maddon in Tampa Bay. Also, he spent five seasons as hitting coach in Cleveland. He managed in the Yankees minor league system for multiple years. The 2018 season was his 14th season as a coach at the big-league level. Jeff Pickler Current Role: Twins Major League coach Qualifications: This past season was his second season as a professional coach. His roles this season included instructing the outfielders, advising coaches and players on game preparation, and communicating with the player development side of the baseball operations department. He served as a scout with the Diamonbacks and Padres organization. He also served in a front office role with the Dodgers. James Rowson Current Role: Twins hitting coach Qualifications: He has coached professionally for 17 seasons. Had multiple tenures with the Yankees organization as their minor league hitting coordinator. He spent a couple seasons in the Cubs organization as their minor league hitting coordinator and big-league hitting coach. Minnesota has already interviewed him for the job. Joel Skinner Current Role: Twins Triple-A manager Qualifications: He spent six seasons managing in the Indians minor league system. He moved up to Cleveland’s big-league staff in 2000 and even served as the interim manager in 2002. At the time, he was the youngest manager in baseball. He remained on the coaching staff until 2009 and then moved on to become Oakland’s bench coach. This past season was his first in the Twins system. How do you view the internal candidates? Do any of them have a leg-up on the job? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
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