The winds of change are blowing in Minnesota (and damn are they cold!).
After losing 195 games in the last two seasons, Minnesota Twins GM Terry Ryan has made sweeping changes in the coaching staff.
Out are bullpen coach Rick Stelmaszek, third base coach Steve Liddle, first base coach Jerry White and head trainer Rick McWane.
Reassigned are hitting coach Joe Vavra and bench coach Scott Ullger will oversee infield and outfield instruction, respectively.
In is Terry Ryan as a permanent GM, for the time being, and manager Ron Gardenhire and pitching coach Rick Anderson on one-year deals.
Ostensibly Ryan will not renew either of their contracts at the end of the season if this team loses 90-plus games in 2013.
Heads will roll when a team sits in the cellar of their division for two years in a row—especially a division as weak as the AL Central—and there’s that old adage that says you can’t fire all the players, but you can always can a coach.
Having said that, the Twins management has to find a balance between bestirring complacency and creating chaos.
Successful teams are loyal to their coaches. Overwhelming change hampers the development of players due to changes in philosophy and style. Player development is paramount for a team like the Twins that has relied on drafted-and-developing players to win five division championships since Gardenhire took over for Tom Kelly in 2002.
At the same time, a coach’s job is to win and if they aren’t winning they are going to be shown the door sooner or later.
The argument for keeping Gardenhire was that he couldn’t have won with the players he had so let’s shift our focus from the coaching staff to the people playing the game.
The following are grades for all notable players that wore a Twins uniform this year.