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TwinsCentric: Lame duck Gardy good as gone?

Posted by: Nick Nelson Updated: December 12, 2012 - 12:34 AM

For the first time in his tenure as manager, Ron Gardenhire will enter the 2013 season without a contract extension in place that carries him beyond the coming year. Lacking job security, Gardenhire spoke openly last week about the possibility of moving on.

"If I don't make it through this year, I'll be OK," Gardenhire told reporters during the Winter Meetings. "I've had a great opportunity here, I love the Minnesota Twins, I love where I'm at and hopefully I stay there for the rest of my career, however long that may be. We all know what happens in this game -- you're held accountable and I'm held accountable. I'm not worried about a contract extension. That's not up to me."

For his part, Terry Ryan has tried to steer the microscope away from Gardy, stating that responsibility for the product on the field falls more onto his shoulders than the manager's. Still, one can't ignore the realities of a disenchanted fan base that will grow all the more irate if forced to sit through another non-competitive season in this young ballpark, and it's obvious that Gardenhire is ahead of Ryan on the chopping block.

If the Twins are truly prepared to evaluate the long-time skipper based on the upcoming season and make a change if things don't improve significantly – a respectable stance given that the club has sunken to the bottom of the American League under his watch – it's starting to look like they might be setting him up for failure.

I want to believe Ryan's claims that the team isn't ready to punt in 2013, but players like Kevin Correia won't help much and with the Royals emphatically making their push by acquiring a legit ace in James Shields, the division gets that much tougher. Ryan has balked at the market for legitimate free agents and his recent trades of Denard Span and Ben Revere for young pitching, along with statements that he's willing to listen on Josh Willingham and Justin Morneau, suggest that the true aim is to field a contending club in 2014 at the earliest.

That's dandy for the long-term health of the franchise, but it's not so dandy for the manager whose job is on the line in the short-term. If Gardenhire enters the 2013 campaign with a roster that closely resembles this year's -- plus a few mediocre starting pitchers and minus a couple quality outfielders -- it'd be tough to expect much improvement in the W/L column. And another 90-loss season would almost certainly spell the end for Gardy, right? Even if the Twins are internally committed to a rebuild, managers just don't survive three consecutive last-place finishes often.

In his live chat at Twins Daily last week, ESPN 1500's well-connected Doogie Wolfson said he's been getting the sense that the team is prepared to go through another down year and then make a managerial switch. He brought up Paul Molitor's name, which would help explain Gardenhire's reluctance to add Molitor to the staff this season.

All in all, it seems like a raw deal for Gardy. Barring an unforeseen spending spree to add immediate impact talent, the manager will need to pull off the improbable by making this rebuilding roster competitive or quite possibly lose his job.

It's no wonder he grumpily complained to reporters during the Winter Meetings that the front office was "trading my whole damn team." Even if he believes that these moves are for the betterment of the franchise in the long haul, they do him very little good.


Tons of new content on Twins Daily today, including:

* Seth goes through 12 questions with Twins prospect Nate Roberts. He also takes a look at the latest week in the Winter Leagues.

* Parker takes an in-depth look at Trevor May, the pitching prospect acquired in the Ben Revere trade.

* Make sure to stop by the site later tonight, when Aaron Gleeman of will host a live chat and answer your Twins-related questions after a busy week of hot stove action.


Detroit «00100002X340
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:D.Price(15-12) L:K.Gibson(13-12) S:J.Nathan (35)
HR: MIN- None DET- I.Kinsler (17)


San Francisco - LP: J. Peavy 2 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: K. Herrera 7
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Houston 90 FINAL
Orlando 89
Brooklyn 86 FINAL
Boston 100
Washington 100 FINAL
New York 103
Cleveland 92 FINAL
Memphis 96
Minnesota 110 FINAL
Milwaukee 91
Atlanta 117 FINAL
San Antonio 107
Portland 86 FINAL
LA Lakers 94
Phoenix 105 FINAL
LA Clippers 108
Toronto 0 Postponed
Ottawa 0
Philadelphia 5 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
Washington 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Buffalo 1 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Arkansas State 40 FINAL
Louisiana 55
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Chivas USA 0 FINAL
Real Salt Lake 2
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
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