After a second consecutive 90+ loss season, the Twins' front office decided to shake things up by releasing or reassigning six of seven coaches. On the surface this appears to be a reasonable response to another embarrassing season. However, the Twins missed the mark on who they actually fired or moved.
This article suggests who the Twins should have kept, reassigned, and fired.
The biggest surprises to me were the firing of Jerry White and Rick Stelmaszek.
White has been the Twins' first base coach since 1998. He's consoled countless MLB greats and Twins' greats in his time with the Twins. Logically, if you are retooling a team, why would you fire the first base coach?
Other than telling players to dive back to first or take second base, they aren't going to necessarily make or break a game like a third base coach could.
Stelmaszek has been coaching with the Twins 1981, served under five different managers, and won two World Series with the team. Like White, how much negative impact did Stelmaszek have?
As bullpen coach, Stelmaszek answered a phone and told players to warm up. Obviously, there is more to it than that, however, he's also not making pitching changes at inopportune times like a pitching coach might. The bullpen also has been much more reliable than the starting pitching has been.
This being said, others should have been fired before Rick Stelmaszek and Jerry White.
Rick Anderson and Joe Vavra.
Anderson's starting pitching staff has been arguably the most inconsistent and ineffective AL rotation of the last two years. Pointless pitch counts and removing pitchers at terrible points in the game are what I think about when I hear Rick Anderson.
Prior to the embarrassment of 2011, Twins starting pitching was never incredible. They had some good years and some okay years. I'd say that eight years of pretty good and two years of horrendous is worth being fired over.
When Joe Vavra became Minnesota's hitting coach, he was unknown to most Twins fans. Since Vavra took the helm, the Twins have had the most inconsistent* hitting and scoring offense from 2005 to 2012, notably ranked as high as first for team batting average and as low as 13th.
Though Vavra is still with the organization, at least he won't be the Twins' hitting coach. Tom Brunansky should bring some consistency.
As sweet as an all out firing of Ron Gardenhire sounds, they'd be letting him off too easy. Gardenhire should either be demoted to AAA or demoted to bench coach. Why? He needs to see how a team should be run, perhaps by Paul Molitor or any other capable player turned coach.
Whatever happens, let's hope that this "shake up" helps get the Twins back to winning.
*Note: Consistency is based on seasonal ranks of team BA and team R via standard deviation for both categories.
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