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Returning Gardenhire, Twins coaches want to ‘try and make it better’

REUTERS/Rebecca Cook
Ron Gardenhire

Here’s what it came down to with Terry Ryan and Ron Gardenhire. Ryan, the Twins general manager who has known Gardenhire for more than 20 years, took responsibility for saddling Gardenhire with lousy players. And Gardenhire thought it would be lame to bail on Ryan and owner Jim Pohlad if the Twins wanted him back.

That’s why the Twins offered, and Gardenhire agreed, to a two-year contract through 2015 to remain as the club’s manager. The Twins confirmed it this afternoon via email about an hour before a Target Field news conference. Gardenhire’s coaches have been invited back, too, on one-year deals.  Gardenhire insisted on two years for his job to avoid repeated questioning about his future.

“I know there was a lot of talk about other ballclubs,” Gardenhire said. “My father was a military guy. He said, ‘The easy thing to do is walk. The hardest thing is to stay and try and make it better.’ That’s what I’m going to try to do here. I want to make it better.”

Ryan called it “a good day for the organization,” an opinion that might not be universal among Twins fandom.

Major league teams usually don’t retain managers after three consecutive 90-loss seasons, even ones like Gardenhire who have won nearly 1,000 games and six division titles. According to research by Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, only one manager who kept his job after three 90-loss seasons ever posted another winning record with that same club — Minnesota’s Tom Kelly, in 2001. Kelly then retired and Gardenhire took over. Ryan, of course, was the general manager then, too.

“I don’t think the Pohlads ever got any credit for sticking with Tom Kelly and Terry Ryan,” clubPpresident Dave St. Peter said. “I hope history repeats itself.”

The close relationship between Gardenhire and Ryan, detailed in a post this morning, held sway here. Owner Jim Pohlad said he left the decision to Ryan, while privately hoping Gardenhire would be kept. “This is certainly the way I wanted it to happen,” he said.

Pohlad has given Ryan the financial leverage to find better starting pitching through free agency and trades. Gardenhire wanted pitching coach Rick Anderson more involved in the scouting process, and Ryan agreed.

“My pitching coach knows every pitching coach in baseball,” Gardenhire said. “If we’re looking at somebody as a free agent, it’s nice to have as much information as possible about a guy. We need Terry to trust Andy more on some of these guys.”

Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Neal Gendler on 09/30/2013 - 08:14 pm.

    Keeping Gardy’s coaches

    Loyalty is lovely, but what the Twins need is a batting coach (or manager) who will order his players to swing at the ball!

    No team wins games when batters don’t try to hit the ball. Watching Twins stand still at the plate as strike after strike sailed by and the team set another strikeout record was almost painful to watch.

    Patience at the plate can be a virtue, but if you’re gonna strike out, it might as well be swinging, not standing. And who knows — one of those swings just might accidentally contact the ball.

  2. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 10/01/2013 - 10:34 am.

    Now there’s your proof

    The only thing the Pohlads care about is the bottom line. Only someone as feeble as Gardy would accept 3 seasons of 90+ losses (with at least 2 more on the way) and not complain. So instead we build a Taj Mahal stadium and fill it with minor leaguers. And we wonder where the Orchestra Board came up with it’s game plan?

    • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 10/01/2013 - 11:32 am.

      It seems the players the Pohlads traded away to save…

      …money are doing…well, not so bad & in some cases, excellent. Put it this way – if these players were still in Twins uniforms, the team probably would not have lost so many games this year, and certainly would have been more entertaining !!

      You have to wonder if their calculations portended a better revenue picture with a poor-performing team that costs a lot less.

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