The Minnesota Twins are cleaning house. But apparently, they missed a spot.
Despite going 129-195 and finishing dead last in the American League the last two seasons, 2010 Manager of the Year Ron Gardenhire has kept his job, as has pitching coach Rick Anderson, whose pitchers have a league-worst 4.67 ERA the last two seasons.
Coaches Steve Liddle, Jerry White and Rick Stelmaszek and athletic trainer Rick McWane were all fired, and hitting coach Joe Vavra and Scott Ullger will be reassigned to infield and outfield instructors, respectively.
And, with predicted futility for the club in 2013, Gardenhire and Anderson will likely be next.
The Minnesota Twins have a long history of promoting from within or hiring players who have been with the franchise, beginning all the way back to the Washington Senators when Hall of Fame players Walter Johnson and Joe Cronin each managed the team (Cronin led the team to the 1933 World Series, which was the last time a Washington-based MLB team was in the playoffs prior to the 2012 Washington Nationals.)
Since moving to Minnesota, 8 of the eleven Twins managers have had some form of history with the team, either as a player or a bench coach.
The team's first managerial hire after moving to Minnesota in 1961 was Sam Mele, who played for owner Calvin Grifiith's Senators from 1949 until he was traded to the Chicago White Sox in 1952. The next manager, Cal Ermer, signed with the Senators in 1943 but didn't play until 1947 due to military service.
Next in line was Billy Martin, who played for the Twins in 1961. Frank Quillici played at Metropolitan Stadium for five seasons. Johnny Goryl played under Mele in the early 60s before taking over as manager in 1980.
Billy Gardner also played under Mele.
Minnesota native Tom Kelly played for the Twins in 1975 before managing the single-A Visalia Oaks and AA-affiliate Orlando Twins and being promoted to Gardner's staff in 1982 and ultimately taking over the team in 1986.
Ron Gardenhire played in the Twins minor league system for one season at the end of his playing career, then spent three seasons managing in the Twins system before being promoted to third-base coach in 1991, and stayed there until being named manager in 2002 when Kelly retired.
Gardenhire is entering the final year of his contract, and the big question will be if he'll make it that long.
The next man in line could be Minnesota native Gene Glynn, the current manager of the Twins' AAA-affiliate Rochester Red Wings.
There is no manager switch in Minnesota...for now. But with Glynn likely to fill a coaching vacancy with the big league club, he could be the manager-in-waiting for the Twins.
Glynn is a graduate of Waseca High School and Mankato State University and was the first ever Mr. Basketball award winner in 1975. NBA Hall of Famer Kevin McHale won it the next year.
Glynn signed as an undrafted free agent with the Montreal Expos in 1979. He spent seven seasons in the minors for the Expos before becoming a Short Season-A baseball team. His .499 winning percentage over five seasons included a Northwest League championship in 1990 with the Spokane Indians, a San Diego Padres affiliate.
He was hired by the expansion Colorado Rockies as a minor league coach in 1992, and got his first taste of the big leagues in 1994 when he was promoted to bench coach for Don Baylor's staff in 1994 and stayed until 1998.
He returned to the Expos in 1999, and from there spent time with the Chicago Cubs (2000-2002) and San Francisco Giants (2003-2006) as the third-base coach. He joined the Tampa Bay Rays as a scout in 2007.
Tom Nieto was fired as the manager of the Rochester Red Wings at the end of the 2011 season after back-to-back 90-loss seasons and after management was dissatisfied with overall baseball knowledge from their call-ups from Rochester. Many prospects were missing basic fundamentals.
Glynn, who has a reputation as a great teacher, was hired and the Red Wings won 22 more games in 2012 than they did in 2011 as a result.
With the termination or reassignment of five coaches, Gene Glynn appears to be the leading candidate for third-base coach, his first major league coaching job since 2006. He was added to the Twins dugout when the Red Wings season ended.
Former Twin and current Red Wings hitting coach Tom Brunansky is the front-runner for the vacant Twins hitting coach position, and Red Wings pitching coach Bobby Cuellar—who has coached for the Montreal Expos, Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners and Pittsburgh Pirates—will likely be promoted to the bullpen coach position that Rick Stelmaszek had held for the past 32 seasons.
Look for Glynn to be the one that is handed the reins someday.
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