Off-Season Day Two

The dust is beginning to settle a little after the tumultuous day of changes on the Twins staff. Terry Ryan, along with Dave St. Peter and Jim Pohlad, met with media this afternoon to talk about the changes in the coaching staff and head trainer.

It is clear that two years of last place in the American League finishes are unacceptable. Whether or not these changes and the coming search for pitching will be enough to produce a winning season in 2013 remains to be seen, but for now, the Twins appear to be ready to make significant changes in order to win.

The Twins organization has not been known for knee-jerk reactions. Loyalty has been a hallmark of the Pohlad era. Changes in so many positions are a signal of that changing. The Target Field era is different. There are no revenue excuses anymore. It also appears that the Pohlad sons, particularly Jim, are much more interested in winning or at least not fielding an embarrassing team anymore, than their father, Carl, was. Loyalty is no longer the dominant theme. Accountability is.

Ron Gardenhire has been retained – he has one more year on his contract – but he has not been offered an extension. Now all of the coaches are on one-year contracts. 2013 must be a turn around year, or there will be even more changes at the helm.

With the shuffling of roles (Vavra & Ullger) and retention of Gardenhire and Rick Anderson, three of the allowable six major league coaching positions are filled. That leaves three positions (as well as head trainer) to be filled. Much local media and blogger speculation is going on right now and Gene Glynn, Tom Brunanski and Bobby Cuellar are identified as the likely candidates. Paul Molitor, though he indicated interest, is not going to be in the mix.

I suspect within a couple of weeks, perhaps sooner, these positions will be announced and the promotion of current organization coaches are going to be the choice. With no inside information at all to bolster my view, I believe the staff will be settled before the organizational meetings so the focus can be on planning rather than filling of positions.

We shall see.

Off-Season Day One

Today is the first day of the 2012-13 off-season and it started out with a bang for the Twins. Terry Ryan is doing what he hinted not long ago in interviews and the meeting with the season ticket holders – making changes that are designed to put the team in a better position for future success.

Significant changes in the major league coaching staff were announced today. Details are available on the various Twins Cities media sites, so I will not reiterate any of that here, but what I will say is the moves are both expected and surprising. They are expected because the Twins cannot afford to continue another year as if all is well and Ryan and Ron Gardenhire said there might be changes in the coaching staff. The are surprising in the number of changes and in some cases individuals that many observers would not have identified as problems.

Tomorrow there will be a meeting where more detail and perhaps more changes will be announced.  I look forward to hearing more as the media reports today are rather sketchy.

The Twins Web site already reflects the changes announced today. Interestingly, Scott Ullger and Joe Vavra were listed as minor league assignments which contradicts what local media have reported so far.

Attracting less attention than the major coaching changes is the release (non-renewal?) of the head trainer. I see that as a significant event in that the Twins have had several issues with injuries and apparent dissatisfaction of some players related to injury diagnoses the past two years. It remains to be seen if they promote from within or hire from outside the organization, but I am encouraged by this situation be addressed.

Day Two, tomorrow, promises to be as interesting as Day One.