One of the several managerial openings across the league was with the Minnesota Twins. The Twins were candidates to be a sleeper team in 2018 after they posted an 85 win season in 2017 and finished 2nd in the AL Central. While the team did finish second again this past season, the wins column left something to be desired as they fell back to 78 wins.
The team was obviously not happy with this development and it ultimately cost Paul Molitor his job at the helm. The Twins were linked to several candidates for their open manager position, but one name that continued to come up was former major league outfielder Rocco Baldelli. It appears that those rumors were true as as Baldelli will be the team’s manager in 2018.
Baldelli spent a big portion of his big league career with the Rays and that is where he got his start as a coach as well. After starting off as a minor league hitting and outfield instructor, Baldelli then became the Rays’ first base coach before getting promoted to major league field coordinator in 2017.
Baldelli inherits an interesting Twins team that has promising young players including Jose Berrios, Stephen Gonsalves, Miguel Sano, Max Kepler, and Willians Astudillo. The team played well at home last season and showed flashes of competing at times, but the roster needs some more pieces to truly compete for the playoffs. There is also the question of what the team will actually do with Byron Buxton and how much he will actually contribute to the team as he is an defensively gifted outfielder but has struggled at the plate and with injuries in recent years.
On the plus side, Baldelli’s experience in player development could prove useful as not only do the Twins have several young players on their roster, but they also have some really interesting players in the minor league pipeline with Royce Lewis, Alex Kiriloff, Trevor Larnach, and Brent Rooker among others that are on the way.