Ron Gardenhire and the Minnesota Twins have back to back to back seasons of 90+ losses. With that in mind, many thought the second-longest tenured manager in baseball was at risk of being fired come season’s end — however, reports have confirmed the Twins and Gardenhire have reached a two-year extension.
I’m sure most Twins fans will greet this news with disgust — I can’t say I’m in that boat, though I have been extremely disappointed with the team recently. The Twins have been a joke for three straight seasons. It’s hard to argue for a manager leading a ball club as unsuccessful as the Twins lately. But also keep in mind that a lot of the mess the Twins are currently in has to do with Bill Smith. The former general manager was fired from the position in 2011 after only four years on the job. The roster has been in shambles over the years in large part to Smith’s decisions. Terry Ryan has been left to pick up the pieces and is only two years into that huge undertaking.
It’s a bit critical to blame Gardenhire for losing when his everyday starters for 2013 are names like Vance Worley, Mike Pelfrey and Liam Hendricks. The pitching staff heaved “batting practice” for the opposition all season, same for the past two years. Not to mention promising names like Scott Diamond, Kyle Gibson, and Alex Myers never rising to the top of the rotation as expected.
The Twins are said to have $40-something-million to spend this offseason — many scoff thinking about how the Twins never spend money in free agency, but that is simply not the truth. Back in those competitive seasons of the past, we put some coin into names like Jim Thome, Orlando Hudson and Matt Capps to name a few.
With hopefully at least a few arms filling up the rotation or the bullpen via free agency, and prospects like Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano blossoming nicely, the Twins should be improved in the coming seasons. Gardenhire’s deal is only a two year extension — if he can’t make at least a notable turnaround when actual talent is on the big league club, then get rid of him. But it’s hard to argue against a guy who brought Minnesota six division titles. Gardenhire has done more than enough to earn the right to try and rebuild the club again like he and Terry Ryan did in the early 2000’s, starting with pitching.
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