Not to spoil the surprise, but the history of the 12 men who have managed the Minnesota Twins makes it perfectly obvious who the 13th will be.
Sometime late this month, expect Gene Glynn to be put in charge of the major-league team.
No? OK, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine, who will choose next year’s skipper, have made it clear they intend to consider nontraditional factors as they comb through a long initial list of candidates.
It’s not known whether Glynn, third base coach under Paul Molitor for four years and the Twins’ former Triple-A manager, will be a candidate, though the Waseca native is believed to be interested in returning to the coaching staff in 2019.
But the history of Twins’ managerial hires is a remarkably consistent one. Almost uniformly, the appointments have gone to candidates with certain traits in common. They are:
• White. The Twins are one of four major-league franchises — the A’s, Cardinals and Phillies are the others — that has never put a person of color in charge of the team.
• Ex-infielders. Ten of the 12 managers were infielders during their playing careers, with pitcher Ray Miller and outfielder Sam Mele the only exceptions.
• Inexperienced. Only two Twins managers had ever held the job at the major-league level before, and they were decades ago: Bill Rigney, hired in 1970, and Gene Mauch, hired in 1976.
• Already a Twin. Five of the past six Twins managers, Molitor among them, were on the team’s coaching staff when they were promoted, and seven of the 12 overall, with five of them coaching third base like Glynn.
In addition, Cal Ermer and Billy Martin, the latter of whom had already served as a Twins coach, were managing the team’s Triple-A team when summoned to the majors.
Shake things up
Falvey, the chief baseball officer, and Levine, the general manager, were brought in to shake up the Twins’ long-established ways of doing business, however, so don’t expect the next hire to fall in line with the previous 12.
“We’re proud of our stability over time. But we went through a leadership change in terms of the transition from [former General Manager] Terry Ryan to Derek, and here we are two years later with a discussion about the manager,” said Twins president Dave St. Peter.
“The way we evaluate managers has changed. Perhaps the standards have changed. I can tell you it’s tremendously important to the Pohlad family [owners of the Twins] that we are doing everything possible to instill and generate a winning culture inside of our franchise.”
Focus on using data
So what qualities, what background, will Falvey and Levine emphasize in their search? They’ve discussed a few, Levine said Tuesday, though they’re not ready to articulate them publicly. But some factors are clear; the ability to turn information mined by the team’s research and scouting departments into advantages on the field will be one.
“We have new data coming in. We all have to find ways to adapt and use that to make this team the best it can be,” said Falvey, who emphasized that Molitor satisfied that requirement, too.
“Whoever the manager is … understanding how to use information will be a big part of that.”
Age could be a factor, too, or at least an ability to handle what St. Peter called “the modern ballplayer.” The biggest reason for the Twins’ decline in 2018 was the failure of several key young players to improve, and there were hints of front-office disenchantment with how they were handled.
“We went into the season with a certain expectation around continued growth and development. We believe we’re in a slightly different spot now around continue to grow these players,” Falvey said.
“We just feel like … a change in voice and potential style with some of those younger players could be of benefit to us.”