Hours after Ron Gardenhire was removed as manager of the Minnesota Twins, we reviewed who I believe to be the organization's top three internal candidates: Paul Molitor, Gene Glynn, and Doug Mientkiewicz. A couple of you also mentioned Terry Steinbach, and you're absolutely right; I doubt an internal hire would come from anywhere but that group of four players.
The rumblings surrounding the external candidates have revealed a plethora of names already. Here's what we know.
Source close to Ozzie Guillen tells me he would have interest in managing the #MNTwins: "Hell, yes, he would."— Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) September 29, 2014
Source close to Ozzie Guillen on #MNTwins job: "Very interested ... very open ... knows division ... hungry and wants back in."— Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) September 29, 2014
That's as far as this rumor has gotten, as nobody from the Twins' organization (nor their beat writers) have mentioned Ozzie in any capacity as an actual candidate for the role. It's worth noting that he was ejected 29 times as a manager.
Ozzie is known as a passionate player motivator (and yes, that's a diplomatic way of putting it) who at times both spurred his players on and completely lost their support. He won American League Manager of the Year in 2005 and came fifth in 2008, compiling a 678-617 (.524) record for the White Sox between 2004 and the first 160 games of 2011. He made two trips to the post-season in those eight years, winning the World Series once (2005) and losing in four games in the Divisional series in 2008 (the year they topped the Twins in Game 163).
He also managed the Marlins for one season (2012), leading them to a 69-93 record.
The fans of hiring Ozzie tend to like his excitable approach, pointing to the success he had with a younger team. They also believe that a manager that speaks Spanish would be of benefit to the hoards of prospects that the Twins boast from countries like Venezuela, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. The detractors of putting Ozzie into the conversation believe he's too brash and not a good long-term solution. Both arguments have merit, but for the time being Ozzie doesn't actually appear to be in the conversation.
Don't overlook John Russell as name on Terry Ryan's managerisl list— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) September 30, 2014
Russell is currently the bench coach for the Baltimore Orioles. His managerial experience spans from 2008 to 2010 with the Pirates, where he led them to three consecutive last-place finishes in the National League Central Division (combined record: 186-299, .384).
The Sporting News did name him their Minor League Manager of the Year in 2006, for what that's worth. Russell certainly matches the Gardy-type: a former-player-who-wasn't-very-good-at-all-turned-manager. Much like Gardenhire these last few seasons, Russell probably didn't deserve the blame he receives for the terrible Pittsburgh teams he managed, but I've yet to see anything that leads me to believe he'd actually be something different.
The Minnesota Twins need different. Internal or external, the manager needs to bring something new to the table.
Lovullo was Toronto's first base coach in 2011 and 2012, before moving to Boston to become their bench coach in 2013 and 2014. He's been a key piece of both a first place, World Series-winning team as well as a last-place team for John Farrell with the Red Sox.
As a Major Leaguer, Lovullo spent parts of eight seasons with seven clubs between 1988 and 1999. Suffice it to say he never really found a home. As a minor leaguer he wasn't much better, although he did hit better once he'd been around a while.
I don't want to dismiss Lovullo out of hand, because I don't really know anything else about him. But the Twins wouldn't be the only team with him on their list: he's interviewing with the Rangers and Astros.
Another former player, McEwing has been the White Sox' third base coach for the past two seasons. He's been cleared to interview with the Diamondbacks. He did have one good season as a player, in 2001 for the Mets, but other than that he fits the bill as another ex-player getting into the managerial game. (It's worth noting that Arizona already has Tony LaRussa and Dave Stewart in place - could Steinbach join them?)
Of the non-Guillen options we've presented so far, Oquendo has by far the most experience. He was a bench coach with the Cardinals in 1999, and since has been their third base coach. That's 15 years of coaching experience, and while it has to be tempting to stay with an organization that's as well put-together as St. Louis has been over the last decade or so, no doubt Oquendo would like to have his own managerial role at some juncture.
Fun fact: Oquendo once played every position in the same game. No wonder the Twins like him.
Martinez seems to be the most popular choice amongst this external group, if for no other reason that his affiliation with the relatively successful and metric-employing Tampa Bay Rays. He was Tampa's first base coach in 2007 before shifting to bench coach, and he's been there for the last seven seasons. We mentioned earlier that the Twins need something different, and a new mentality is just as (if not more) important than the concept of "new blood." If Martinez does embrace the concepts that Joe Maddon employs, then Martinez would check both boxes.
None of these guys jump out as great choices, but I do like Martinez and - at the very least - Guillen is intriguing. Ryan himself, in the press conference the other day, announced that the team needed "a different voice." We don't know how completely any of these guys fit the bill in terms of how the organization would like.
How do you feel about these six guys - do you like any of them, do you still prefer one of the internal options, or is there somebody else you hope the team casts their net over?