The Twins confirmed Monday that Paul Molitor will be named the team's new manager. He has agreed to a three-year contract that runs through the 2017 season.
A press conference is scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday at Target Field.
Molitor, 58, is considered one of baseball’s most cerebral thinkers, and has been employed by the Twins organization almost continuously since 2000. He has no previous managing experience, having been a coach under former manager Ron Gardenhire last year and for Tom Kelly in 2000 and 2001 -- as well as a roving minor-league instructor for the organization before that, focusing on base running and infield play.
He was Seattle's batting coach in 2004.
The other fimalists for the job were Doug Mientkiewicz, a former Twins infielder who has managed the Class A team at Fort Myers, and Torey Lovullo, currently the bench coach for the Boston Red Sox.
General manager Terry Ryan has said that he wanted a manager in place by the start of baseball's free-agent signing period, which opens at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.
Molitor is the 13th manager in the club's history, but only the third dating back to 1986, when Kelly replaced the fired Ray Miller late in that season.
Molitor finished his playing career with a three-season stint with the Twins. He had one of the best seasons of any player in Twins history during his first season with the club in 1996, batting .341 with 113 RBI and 99 runs scored and leading the league with 225 hits. He collected the 3,000th hit of his career during that season with a triple during a Sept. 16 game at Kansas City.
“I was never one to go out and try to prove things, but I remember people writing that the Twins have all this promise and all they can do is go out and sign an old Minnesotan,’’ Molitor said at the time. “I understood that. I could have gone home and hit .270 and played in 130 games. It was so rewarding to come home and play well and have my family and friends at the games.’’
Molitor played 21 major league seasons, and is one of only six players – Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Eddie Collins, Lou Brock and Rickey Henderson are the others – to have at least 3,000 hits and 500 stolen bases. Molitor finished with 3,319 hits, 504 stolen bases and a .306 career batting average.
Molitor was raised in the same Midway area of St. Paul as another Hall of Famer, Dave Winfield. Molitor as a youngster and throughout college summer baseball frequently competed against pitcher Jack Morris, a teammate on the 1993 Blue Jays.
Molitor, who played for the University of Minnesota, was a first-round pick (third overall) by Milwaukee in 1977. He spent only one year in the minors (at Class A Burlington) before winning job with the Brewers during spring training 1978. Molitor spent 15 seasons with Milwaukee before signing as a free agent with Toronto in 1993 and then finishing his career with the Twins.
He won a World Series with Toronto in 1993, and played in another Series with Milwaukee in 1982. He set a record with five hits in Game 1 of the 1982 World Series, was MVP of the 1993 Series with Toronto and gained national attention with a 39-game hitting streak in 1987.
Molitor was not always on the positive side of national attention as a player. He admitted to abusing marijuana and cocaine after the 1984 trial of a Milwaukee cocaine dealer revealed that Molitor had been a customer. Molitor said he experimented with drugs because of his frequent injuries and accompanying pain.
“It was really just bad judgment on my part,’’ he said in the late 1980s. “It’s really very much in the past.’’
He will become only the third manager in major league history to be hired at the start of a season after his selection to the Hall of Fame. The previous two were Ted Williams and current Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg.