Paul Molitor was honored as the AL Manager of the Year after the 2017 season.
On Tuesday, the Twins fired him after a disappointing 2018 season.
The Twins new brain trust of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine got it wrong with this decision. They made Molitor a scapegoat for a season in which many things went wrong, including a number of their own personnel decisions.
I argued in my Tuesday column that Molitor deserved to return based on all the factors that contributed to this ugly season. Miguel Sano showed up to spring training out of shape at nearly 300 pounds. Staff ace Ervin Santana (finger surgery) and shortstop Jorge Polanco (drug suspension) missed the first half of the season. Falvey and Levine mostly whiffed on veteran pickups Logan Morrison, Lance Lynn, Addison Reed, Zach Duke and Jake Odorizzi.
Those factors sabotaged this season and weren't the fault of Molitor, who signed a three-year contract last offseason and had two more seasons left on his deal.
Molitor's job looked in jeopardy when owner Jim Pohlad declined to give him a vote of confidence during an interview with the Star Tribune last week.
It's fairly common for new management to make coaching changes when they take over a team. Executives like to hire their own coaches. That's part of the sports business. Falvey and Levine basically had no choice but to extend Molitor's contract after he guided the Twins to the one-game playoff last season.
Molitor didn't become a bad manager in one season. He didn't lose his clubhouse. He adapted his managerial style to mesh with the new-age principles of Falvey and Levine in terms of analytics and defensive shifts.
Unless there were personality clashes behind the scenes that we're not privy to, this move doesn't make sense to me, other than Falvey and Levine wanted their own hand-picked manager.
The pressure on them increases in a major way with this decision. Their next choice of manager is a critical hire for the direction of the organization. This will be a total house cleaning. They have to get it right because they just fired a man who was recognized as the Manager of the Year one year ago.