Twins bench coach Derek Shelton was hired to manage the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday, the third member of Rocco Baldelli's staff to leave the club since the end of the regular season.
Shelton takes over for Clint Hurdle, who was fired after the team finished last in the National League East. He's been a candidate since the offseason began, but the Pirates search was put on hold when General Manager Neal Huntington was dismissed a month ago. Once Ben Cherington was tabbed as Huntington's replacement, the managerial search continued.
Shelton impressed the Pirates from the beginning, earning a second interview.
"My family and I are thrilled to have the opportunity to join the Pittsburgh community and are humbled to be a part of this storied franchise," Shelton said in a statement. "One of the most exciting things for me during the interview process was just how evident the passion for Pittsburgh and the desire to succeed was with everyone I interacted with."
Matt Quatraro, Tampa Bay's bench coach, was the other finalist for the Pirates job.
Shelton, 49, had been the Twins bench coach the past two seasons. He also was the quality control coach for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2017 and spent seven years as a hitting coach with Tampa Bay. He was hitting coach for Cleveland from 2005 to '09.
"We are thrilled to get to work with Derek and continue building toward a winning team in Pittsburgh," Cherington said in a statement issued by the Pirates.
Shelton was Paul Molitor's bench coach in 2018, drawing raves from the club for his organizational skills and communication.
"He's just a tremendous person to do this job," Baldelli told the Pittsburgh Press Gazette. "This job entails a lot of different things, and he's really good at all aspects. He's a tremendous communicator. He's wonderful with people. He's got a very talented baseball mind, too."
Shelton was Toronto's hitting coach when Cherington was a Blue Jays vice president.
"I have known Derek for more than 15 years, and have great admiration for his passion for the game and players, work ethic, curiosity and desire to learn," Cherington said.
"He has worked and learned from some of the best in the game and in turn has helped players and colleagues learn and improve during his 20 years of coaching and managing."
Shelton had been a managerial finalist for the Rangers and Twins positions before the 2019 season and the Mets job this fall. The Twins hired Baldelli instead. Shelton was crushed at not getting the job, but he agreed to remain in his same role under Baldelli, with whom he worked with in Tampa Bay.
The Twins won 101 games and the American League Central title in 2019, and they set a major league record with 307 home runs.
"I very much look forward to developing a strong partnership with Ben and the baseball operations staff," Shelton said in the statement. "It is going to be an exciting change of culture in our clubhouse. It is going to be a fun environment in which we will all be held accountable to each other."
In addition to Shelton, the Twins are losing hitting coach James Rowson, who became the bench coach for the Miami Marlins, and assistant pitching coach Jeremy Hefner, who is the Mets' new pitching coach.
Rowson was replaced by Twins minor league field coordinator Edgar Varela.