The Runner Sports

Paul Molitor To Return As Manager

Even before the Minnesota Twins lost to the New York Yankees on Tuesday night, the attention of many fans turned to next season. The biggest question for the offseason was whether Paul Molitor would get a new contract to manage the Twins again.

We now have our answer: the organization has confirmed that Molitor will return for 2018.

Now fans can focus their stress on the on-field product.

There are obviously haters out there –the Twins are a professional sports team after all– but they are in the minority. Molitor has managed the Twins for three years and has produced a winning season in two of them. At this point, it may be more appropriate to say that the terrible 2016 was the unexpected season and not the two winning campaigns on either side of it.

Molitor clearly has the respect of his players, and his ability to rally the team when intermittent losing streaks made the season look lost is admirable. Had Molitor been replaced, there likely would have been an outcry from the clubhouse, which would have been bad for the front office.

Derek Falvey and Thad Levine, the men brought in to extract the franchise from the 100-loss depths, had lost a lot of favor from fans and players alike, when they traded Jaime García and Brandon Kintzler before the trade deadline. It was the very next week when the Twins started their best stretch of the season and put themselves in playoff position.

At the heart of that month was a feeling that the team was better than their bosses gave them credit for.

Halfway through September, the front office made another questionable decision when they fired minor league manager Doug Mientkiewicz. This was upsetting enough to fans who remembered him as the exciting first baseman from the great playoff teams of the early 2000s, but it was more upsetting for the players that played under him on their way through the farm system. Multiple players spoke out in frustration at the firing and the disrespect they felt Falvey and Levine had shown him.

That was two significant instances of Twins players feeling betrayed by their bosses in a two-month span. Molitor getting fired would have made things much worse. Brian Dozier was quoted as saying, “I, 100 percent — and I speak for everyone in here — I want him back.” Going against the team’s best player of the past five years, and apparently every other player on the team, is a bad idea. One they wisely avoided.

Some fans are going to be upset with every move the front office makes, but you know something is wrong when the players are consistently annoyed. It seems steps have been made to acknowledge this, but some damage has still been done. Hopefully, the decision to keep Molitor in the dugout is the first of many that show Falvey and Levine appreciate the team they have.

And hopefully, they also improve the bullpen and the rotation.

Charlie Gillmer

Charlie Gillmer

Charlie Gillmer is a lifelong Twins fan who spends most nights dreaming of learning a knuckleball and pitching them to a World Series victory.
Charlie Gillmer

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