Gardenhire will return as Twins manager

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 29, 2014 - 12:18 PM

The Twins gave manager Ron Gardenhire a new two-year deal, a validation of GM Terry Ryan’s vision for the future of the ballclub.

By awarding him a new two-year contract Monday, the Twins demonstrated their unwavering faith in one man — one conspicuous, charismatic, old-school, occasionally grumpy baseball lifer — to rescue their increasingly hapless team. But it’s the executive who tendered the contract, not the manager who signed it, whose power was validated by the controversial decision.

Ron Gardenhire survived the Twins’ third consecutive dismal season and, along with his entire coaching staff, will return to the dugout for a 13th season in 2014. And while the team’s principal owner and president were consulted about the choice, certain to be unpopular among a vocal portion of the fanbase impatient for change, it was clear the real vote of confidence was reserved not for Gardenhire, but for General Manager Terry Ryan.

“Terry’s recommendation was to move forward with Ron Gardenhire, and [owner] Jim Pohlad and I accepted that and supported it,” team President Dave St. Peter said. “We put a great deal of respect and, frankly, trust in Terry’s approach. … Today, if anything, maybe it’s a referendum on Terry. I can tell you, we’re very pro-TR.”

And Ryan is very pro-Gardenhire, or at least, pro-continuity. His manager has held his job since 2002, won six AL Central championships in his first nine seasons, and was not, Ryan decided, culpable for 99, 96 and 96 losses the past three seasons. Or at least, Ryan saw no advantage to changing, though he admitted many, perhaps most, franchises might have. By coincidence, the Chicago Cubs — who finished 2013 with an identical 66-96 record to the Twins’ — fired Dale Sveum, their manager for only two seasons, a few hours before the Twins’ announcement.

That sort of change in direction didn’t appeal to Ryan, under whose leadership the Twins have had only two managers in the past 27 seasons. Ryan, who revealed his decision to Gardenhire on Saturday, cited practical reasons for it — Gardenhire knows the team, its ballpark, the minor league system, the scouting staff and the demands of the job — and also philosophical ones.

“I have beliefs and values and thoughts. I’m not going to do something to get out of my beliefs,” Ryan said, making it clear that stability is one of them. “We’ve been here 30 years, for gosh sakes. Gardy’s been here 30 years, I’ve been here for 30 years. Maybe people think we’re stale. I don’t think we’re stale.”

No, “comfortable” was the word Gardenhire chose, and the reason that, after hearing his name mentioned as a potential candidate in other dugouts, he never was tempted to abandon this listing ship.

“It was a no-brainer for me, a pretty easy thing. I love it here. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” said Gardenhire, who fell two victories short of his 1,000th career win when the Twins lost 10 of their final 11 games. “I know there was a lot of talk about other ballclubs. This is where I’m comfortable.”

An angry fanbase

A segment of Twins fandom is no longer comfortable with him, however, not after 291 losses in three years, and St. Peter said he already had heard from dissenters via e-mail and Twitter.

“I’ve always been a believer that a baseball decision made for public-relations reasons is a recipe for disaster,” St. Peter said. “Some [fans are] angry with the Twins, and people want a scapegoat. But we believe organizationally — and I think most Minnesotans would agree — Ron Gardenhire isn’t the problem. We’ve got to get better players.”

That’s what Gardenhire wants, too. This season was a terrible one, with the worst starting pitching in the majors, and an offense that shattered franchise records for futility at the plate.

“I don’t know if you had put Casey Stengel in the dugout if you would have had more success this year,” said Tom Kelly, Gardenhire’s predecessor and mentor, invoking the Hall of Fame Yankees manager. “There wasn’t enough starting pitching, and then you lose a Joe Mauer and a Josh Willingham [because of injuries], and you’ve got problems in your lineup, too. … There’s a lot of work to be done.”

While the team’s fans might blame a manager for losing seasons, Kelly said: “Terry has always been honest about what sort of team he gives the manager. I mean, Las Vegas had us down for what, 68 wins? Everybody understands what [Gardenhire] was working with.”

Even the players, actually.

“I’m glad they are coming back. They as a staff can only put us out there. It’s our fault as players if we don’t get the job done,” reliever Brian Duensing said. “[Pitching coach Rick Anderson] and Gardy are all I know, so I am excited they are back. I believe Andy does a great job of taking care of us in the pen, and as a whole staff.”

Roster overhaul expected

Ryan agreed enough to offer all six coaches new one-year contracts, and a seventh coach probably will be added. Ryan said replacing Tom Brunansky because of all the strikeouts wouldn’t be fair, because he has had only one year.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Philadelphia 24 FINAL
Washington 27
San Diego 38 FINAL
San Francisco 35
Minnesota 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 2:30 PM
Toronto
Memphis 3:30 PM
Cleveland
Boston 5:00 PM
Miami
Detroit 5:00 PM
Brooklyn
LA Lakers 5:00 PM
Sacramento
Philadelphia 5:00 PM
Orlando
Phoenix 5:00 PM
Washington
Indiana 6:00 PM
Minnesota
New Orleans 6:00 PM
Oklahoma City
Colorado 5:00 PM
Detroit
Dallas 5:00 PM
Edmonton
Buffalo 6:00 PM
Boston
Carolina 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Toronto 6:00 PM
Chicago
Philadelphia 8:00 PM
Winnipeg
Harvard 4 1st Half 8:58
Virginia 22
Maine 12:00 PM
Army
Ferris State 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
San Francisco 12:00 PM
Cleveland State
Oregon State 12:00 PM
Quinnipiac
Coastal Carolina 12:30 PM
Central Arkansas
Holy Cross 1:00 PM
Canisius
Southern Miss 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Western Carolina 1:00 PM
UNC-Asheville
Creighton 1:00 PM
North Texas
Maryland 1:00 PM
Oklahoma State
Cornell 1:00 PM
Radford
Vermont 1:00 PM
Saint Louis
Loyola-Maryland 1:00 PM
Stony Brook
Reinhardt 1:00 PM
Winthrop
Ark-Little Rock 1:00 PM
Green Bay
TX-Pan American 1:00 PM
Nebraska Omaha
Alabama State 1:05 PM
Evansville
FIU 1:30 PM
Hartford
Goshen 1:35 PM
Valparaiso
Bryant 2:00 PM
Denver
Austin Peay 2:00 PM
Lipscomb
Tennessee St 2:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
South Dakota 2:00 PM
Montana
ULM 2:00 PM
Samford
Coker 2:30 PM
South Carolina
USC 3:00 PM
Boston College
Northern Ariz 3:00 PM
Hampton
SD Christian 3:00 PM
San Diego
UC Irvine 3:30 PM
Bradley
Troy 3:30 PM
Nicholls
Seton Hall 5:00 PM
Georgia
Appalachian St 5:30 PM
Alabama
North Dakota St 6:00 PM
Kent State
San Jose St 6:00 PM
Washington St
Alcorn State 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Sacramento St 9:00 PM
Seattle
Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 21 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 FINAL
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 24 FINAL
Air Force 38
South Alabama 28 FINAL
Bowling Green 33
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Cal-Irvine 15 1st Half 10:11
Denver 19
St Marys-CA 14 1st Half 11:11
George Washington 13
TX-San Antonio 11 1st Half 9:50
Nicholls 9
Portland State 8 1st Half 12:16
Columbia 13
Tenn Tech 18 1st Half 6:26
Morgan State 15
SMU 5 1st Half 13:26
Auburn 13
Quinnipiac 23 1st Half 10:19
Hartford 13
Hofstra 10 1st Half 12:37
Boston College 3
Eastern Washington 20 1st Half 7:56
Georgia Southern 11
Rhode Island 12:00 PM
Bryant
Liberty 12:00 PM
(1) South Carolina
Fairleigh Dickinson 12:00 PM
Brown
Buffalo 12:00 PM
Long Island
Bucknell 12:00 PM
Mount St Marys
Stony Brook 12:00 PM
Wagner
FIU 12:00 PM
Wofford
Duquesne 12:00 PM
Providence
Maine 12:00 PM
William & Mary
Alabama State 12:00 PM
Samford
TX-Pan American 12:00 PM
VA Commonwealth
South Dakota St 12:00 PM
Marist
Saint Josephs 12:00 PM
(5) Notre Dame
Radford 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
(3) Texas 12:30 PM
(4) Texas A&M
South Florida 1:00 PM
Penn State
Sam Houston St 1:00 PM
TCU
Evansville 1:00 PM
IUPUI
(14) Maryland 1:00 PM
Coppin State
Mercer 1:00 PM
Coll of Charleston
NC A&T 1:00 PM
Chattanooga
Princeton 1:00 PM
Monmouth
Eastern Illinois 1:00 PM
Lehigh
Rider 1:00 PM
Binghamton
SC State 1:00 PM
Clemson
Fairfield 1:00 PM
Iowa State
Richmond 1:00 PM
Eastern Kentucky
Cleveland State 1:00 PM
Morehead St
Kent State 1:00 PM
Colgate
South Alabama 1:00 PM
UAB
Saint Peters 1:00 PM
Navy
Youngstown St 1:00 PM
Pittsburgh
NJIT 1:00 PM
Lafayette
Davidson 1:00 PM
Charlotte
Indiana State 1:30 PM
St Johns
Southern U 1:30 PM
Florida
Wright State 1:30 PM
Purdue
(19) Oklahoma St 2:00 PM
USC
Houston 2:00 PM
Texas Tech
Ark-Little Rock 2:00 PM
Tulsa
Dayton 2:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Northern Ariz 2:00 PM
New Mexico
UNC-Asheville 2:00 PM
USC Upstate
North Dakota 2:00 PM
South Dakota
Western Ill 2:00 PM
Marquette
Elon 2:00 PM
(6) North Carolina
Ball State 2:00 PM
Western Ky
(8) Kentucky 2:00 PM
(13) Duke
New Orleans 2:00 PM
Alabama
Chicago State 2:00 PM
Milwaukee
Bowling Green 2:00 PM
Bradley
Ill-Springfield 2:00 PM
SE Missouri St
Northern Ill 2:00 PM
Northern Iowa
(23) Iowa 2:05 PM
Drake
Central Michigan 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Western Carolina 2:30 PM
North Florida
Wyoming 3:00 PM
Colorado
Portland 3:00 PM
Boise State
Cal Poly 3:00 PM
Colorado State
No Dakota State 3:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Albany 3:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Oklahoma 3:00 PM
Arkansas
Idaho State 3:00 PM
Seattle
(18) Michigan State 3:00 PM
(19) Syracuse
Northwestern 3:30 PM
Arizona State
TX-Arlington 3:30 PM
North Texas
Fresno State 4:00 PM
Oregon
St Francis-PA 4:00 PM
Coastal Carolina
UNLV 4:00 PM
CS-Bakersfield
UCLA 4:00 PM
(2) Connecticut
(10) Louisville 4:00 PM
(24) California
Howard 5:00 PM
Virginia
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
(21) Miss State
Illinois-Chicago 8:30 PM
Old Dominion

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings do Sunday against Miami?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close