Ron Gardenhire expected to have a couple opportunities to return to managing, and he was right.
Gardenhire is in the running to take over at San Diego and Washington, according to a source with knowledge of his search. Gardenhire spent Monday interviewing with the Padres, then was spotted on a plane this week headed to Washington, D.C. He was to interview with the Nationals for their managerial vacancy either today to tomorrow.
Indications are that Washington is working on a smaller list of candidates than San Diego. Whether that means the Nationals will end their search sooner is not clear. A report has Dusty Baker as a candidate as well.
That suggests that the Nationals are seeking a veteran skipper who can be a calming influence in the clubhouse for a team that saw its lack of harmony spill into the dugout late in the season when Bryce Harper scuffled with Jonathan Papelbon.
Gardenhire, 57, was 1,068-1,039 in 13 seasons as manager. He won six division titles and was 2010 AL manager of the year. But he presided over four straight seasons of at least 92 losses, which led to his dismissal following the 2014 season. He's also 6-21 in the postseason, with four of those wins coming in his first year, in 2002.
Still, Gardenhire is well-respected in the game and, after taking a year off, is ready to get back into the game.
Gardy landing in Washington would make for an interesting backdrop. The Twins will play at Washington on Apr. 1 and 2 for their final two exhibition games before heading up the road to Baltimore to start the 2016 season.