The Future of Ron Gardenhire

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.


7 Replies to “The Future of Ron Gardenhire”

  1. Gardenhire is under contract for 2013. Usually this off-season is the time to extend him and his coaches. I doubt that would happen and it should not happen.
    I’d rather see the inevitable sooner than later, but I don’t think he will be around in 2014. He will probably retire and given a special advisor position.

  2. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him get a contract extension. However, that wouldn’t preclude the scenario thrylos sets forth in his comment from occurring. I think there’s a good chance 2013 could be his final year of managing, as well. If the Twins can muster the talent to get back to some level of respectability next season, with a decent crop of younger players arriving, it might be a good time for Gardy to step off the stage the way Kelly did. That said, if 2013 is another disaster, I wouldn’t assume Terry Ryan wouldn’t force Gardenhire out. Ryan was part of the decision to remove the previous GM and, despite his public comments of support, I believe he’ll only go so long without applying his “no scholarship” approach to the manager and his staff.

    Gotta be careful what you wish for, though. There’s no assurance that his replacement will necessarily be an improvement.

  3. I’m just terrified that when his replacement is eventually put in place, it will be Scott Ullger. Even though I LIKE him and think he does a great job (despite some flaws), Gardy won’t be there forever. Will Mike Redmond be ready for Big League management by 2014?

  4. I’m not a Gardy fan, and in the past I’ve thought that maybe some of his better teams might have accomplished more with a different manager, but right now the dugout manager doesn’t seem like one of the Twins’ more important concerns. Changing the manager in the next year isn’t going to make any difference, as long as the talent on the roster is what it is.

    Whenever he’s replaced, though, I also hope that the next manager isn’t Scott Ullger. (But why would you be terrified that he’ll get the job, Babs, if you LIKE him?) I’ll never understand how Al Newman, who coached the infielders and directed traffic at 3B, somehow became the one Twins coach in the Gardy Era to get axed, while the hitting coach, who was responsible for the league’s worst offense and failed to help David Ortiz and Justin Morneau reach their potential, somehow just got shifted into the 3B Coach job and seems to remain a candidate to manage the team, someday.

  5. I was just chatting with Babs in the GameChat, and what I’d like to see is that when Gardenhire has finally run his course with the Twins, that the management brings in a new manager from outside the organization. If the Twins really want to end the system of player scholarships, then new blood would put everyone back on a level playing field in regards to their new coach.

  6. It always cracks me up when people want to fire a manager simply because the team isn’t winning. The Twins aren’t winning simply because the starting pitching is no good for the most part. Last year the offense was on the DL. In both cases a manager can do nothing. When he has a decent team Gardy wins game.