The Twins have narrowed their search for a new manager to three to five finalists, and have begun conducting second interviews with them. One of the candidates summoned back to Minnesota knows the Twins’ landscape very well already.
Derek Shelton, who spent 2018 as Paul Molitor’s bench coach, “was very impressive” in his initial interview with Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey and General Manager Thad Levine, according to a major league source, and survived the initial cut from the team’s large list of potential managers. Shelton, 48, was in the Twin Cities for a second round of interviews Thursday, though it’s not known if he met with Twins owner Jim Pohlad.
Falvey and Levine hope to conclude their search and reach a decision next week, another source with knowledge of the process said, though Major League Baseball discourages teams from making major announcements during the World Series, which begins Tuesday in Boston. The fact that the Red Sox eliminated the Astros on Thursday might speed up the search, since Falvey and Levine were unable to meet face-to-face with Houston bench coach Joe Espada while the ALCS was underway.
The Twins met with several other candidates last week, including Giants bench coach Hensley Meulens and Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde. Both have also been contacted about other vacancies, including the Los Angeles Angels, Texas and Toronto.
One apparent similarity between candidates: None have major league managerial experience. The Twins have shown no interest in former managers such as Joe Girardi, Mike Scioscia or former Twins catcher Mike Redmond, one source said. The Twins haven’t hired a manager with major league experience since Gene Mauch in 1976.
Shelton and Twins hitting coach James Rowson interviewed for the promotion in the days immediately following Molitor’s firing, and Shelton obviously made an impact. He has the advantage of familiarity with Falvey, Levine and the Twins roster, having been hired last November to serve as Molitor’s chief aide in the dugout. He managed the Twins for two games at Boston in July when Molitor left the team to attend the Hall of Fame induction ceremony for fellow St. Paul native Jack Morris.
Shelton, a minor league catcher in the Yankees system whose playing career was cut short by an elbow injury, managed in the minors for the Yankees from 2000 to ’02, leading the Class A Staten Island Yankees to the best record in the New York-Penn League. The Gurnee, Ill., native has been a coach in the AL for 14 years with the Indians, Rays, Blue Jays and Twins, and served as Tampa Bay’s hitting coach for seven seasons.