Yes, it is another article about Ron Gardenhire's firing! Come on, cut us some slack, we're not used to these types of things.
With Gardy's firing, the Twins are now looking for his replacement. Many names have been bounced around, from those that make sense in Paul Molitor, to those that many are wishfully thinking in Ozzie Guillen, to those that no one is talking about, like Joe Torre. Just kidding, there really is literally no one talking about Torre being the next Twins manager.
I haven't really given much thought to who I want to step into Gardy's shoes. Now, there's definitely a specific type I want. Someone who is more sabermetrically inclined, not necessarily to the degree of Joe Maddon but someone that's at least a little more accepting. With Paul Molitor's devotion to more defensive shifts this season, he might fit the bill.
However, there's no way to know yet if Molitor will be a successful manager. Yeah, he was briefly a hitting coach in Seattle and that lasted only one season, but giving out hitting tips is much different from running an entire baseball team. The same is true for any other person that becomes the new skipper, we have no idea how he will perform.
This reminds me of the Minnesota Timberwolves and their futility since the first stint of Flip Saunders. He is statistically the best head coach the Wolves have had in their history, though he was also gifted with an in-his-prime Kevin Garnett. Ultimately he lost his job for having one of the same issues as Gardy, which was his inability to succeed in the playoffs. In between Saunders' firing in 2005 and his rehiring this year, there were 5 coaches with Kevin McHale having two stints himself, and one of them was Dwane Casey.
McHale closed out the 2004-2005 season for the Wolves and then was replaced by Casey the next season. His first year was a mediocre 33-49 record, but the next year the Wolves were off to a decent start at 20-20. Nevertheless, it wasn't good enough and Casey was fired, getting replaced by Randy Wittman. From there, the Wolves spiraled out of control and they're still working on digging themselves out of that hole.
Wittman went 38-105 in just under two seasons. McHale coached his second stint and went 20-43. The T-Wolves gambled and lost with Kurt Rambis, an assistant under coaching guru Phil Jackson with the Lakers that put together a horrid 32-132 record as he attempted to run the complicated triangle offense to a bunch of youngsters. Finally, the Wolves got smart and hired a proven coach in Rick Adelman, and although he also struggled to a 97-133 record, it was the best win percentage since Dwane Casey seven years earlier. Now, Saunders is back and he hired himself as head coach after finding no other options fit for the squad.
That was an awful lot of basketball history, but I promise that it ties back to the Twins. I do not disagree that Gardy had his faults and perhaps a breath of fresh air was needed. However, I am fearful that Gardy would have still been better than any other man that would replace him, just like how Dwane Casey was statistically the best coach the Wolves had in between the two Saunders stints. Remember, a .500 record was what got Casey fired.
Unfortunately, I'm not smart enough to know how the Twins can avoid the same fate. Terry Ryan and the rest of the organization needs to make a good decision with hiring the next skipper, especially since this team now has a foundation to build a contender in 2016, perhaps even next season if they get a bunch of breaks going their way. Finding the new manager for 2015 will be interesting, but I just hope that down the road we don't learn that Gardy was the Twins' version of Dwane Casey.