Hall of Famer Paul Molitor will meet with the Twins on Wednesday to discuss their managerial position, according to a person with direct knowledge of the club’s search. Molitor will meet with General Manager Terry Ryan and, possibly, other members of the organization.
It’s evidence of how quickly Ryan wants to move in his search to replace Ron Gardenhire, who was let go Monday after 13 seasons. Molitor is part of a coaching staff that is in limbo until a new manager is hired.
Molitor never has managed in the majors or minors but has extensive experience coaching at the major league level. It will be the second time he has met with Twins officials about the managing job, the first coming in 2001 after two years as Twins bench coach. Ryan ultimately selected Gardenhire to replace Tom Kelly, who had retired. Molitor had preliminary discussions with the club in 2001 before taking himself out of the running. Ryan also interviewed Tony Pena, Lynn Jones and Fredi Gonzalez before naming Gardenhire as manager.
Molitor was the Twins minor league baserunning/infield coordinator in 2003 before spending 2004 as the Mariners’ hitting instructor. He returned to the Twins, and the minor league coordinator role, from 2005 to ’13. He spent last season on the major league staff, focusing on bunting, baserunning, in-game strategy and infield instruction before taking over as the first base coach when Joe Vavra injured a hip.
Molitor, from St. Paul, played 21 seasons in the majors and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004.
Molitor has been praised for his ability to articulate the game, with players such as Brian Dozier crediting him for helping take their games to another level.
Ryan, when reached on Tuesday, would not comment on whom he’s interviewing. “I’m going to move as quick as I can on the process,” he said.
Ryan will continue his managerial search later this week in Florida, where he will check in on prospects during the annual instructional league. Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo and White Sox third base coach Joe McEwing are two possible candidates the Twins reportedly are considering.
Another possible candidate could be former Twin Doug Mientkiewicz, who says he would be interested if contacted. Mientkiewicz just completed his second season at manager of the Class A Fort Myers Miracle, leading the team to an 82-57 record and the Florida State League title.
“I would obviously listen,” Mientkiewicz said. “At the end of the day, I’m still a Twins employee, and we want the best man for the job. If Terry and [Twins owner] Jim Pohlad and everyone else who is involved thinks that I’m worthy of an interview, of course I would take it.”
Kelly and Gardenhire were the managers as Mientkiewicz broke in and developed as a major leaguer. And Ryan and Gardenhire supported him when he joined the organization as a minor league manager.
“It made my transition easier because I knew what it was supposed to look like at the league level, from what they wanted,” he said.
He said he had more high-end prospects on the 2013 team, but the 2014 team was deeper and should have a handful of players who reach the majors. He had to learn how to deal with two different types of teams.
“I love what I’m doing,” Mientkiewicz said. “I took this job for one reason, I care about this organization. I care about the people in Minnesota, I care about the guys I work with, I care about the players I get a chance to coach. We all want what is best for the city. I had a lot of opportunities to go to other places, but this is where I want to be.
“I’ve had two completely different personalities, as far as teams go. One, you didn’t have to say anything to. The other, you had to prod a little bit. Every day is a learning experience. You have to learn how to deal with the new generation of player.’’