Ron Gardenhire has been managing the Twins since 2002. Despite the terrible record the Twins have put up the past two years, he still has a .526 winning percentage, and more often than not has led the Twins to a first place finish in the American League Central. Gardenhire certain;y has not had the post season success that Tom Kelly enjoyed as his predecessor, but Gardenhire has at least gotten the Twins to the postseason and a couple of thrilling game 163s.
Over the past two seasons the Twins are 114-169, good for a .403 winning percentage, but outside of a 79-83 blip on the radar in 2007, Gardenhire has presided over winning baseball teams. Still, with the Twins losing 99 games a year ago, and on pace to lose 90+ games again in 2012, it is surprising that there has not been more clamoring from the fans and the media for Minnesota to start looking for someone else to perform the managerial duties.
Organizationally, the Twins have had only two managers since 1986, so changing managers after a couple losing seasons, or even eight consecutive losing seasons from Tom Kelly (1993-2000) does not fit with Minnesota’s managerial philosophy. Furthermore, the Twins ran into a plethora of injury issues in 2011 that ultimately derailed that season, and in 2012 the Twins’ starting pitching has been terrible and Gardenhire has not had the roster depth or payroll flexibility to really deal with either of those issues.
However, if the Twins go out and grab a couple of free agent starting pitchers this offseason to go along with the position players they signed this past winter, and Gardenhire still cannot get the Twins playing winning baseball, he’ll likely be feeling a lot more heat at this time in the 2013 season.
So keep enjoying Ron Gardenhire. Keep battling your tail off. And keep picture Gardy dressed up as Santa Claus.