Terry Ryan said that the Twins would be casting the net wide when it came to potential managerial candidates for the Twins in 2015. We knew who the top internal candidates would be and we had early clues as to who the external ones were, and yet you could argue that the two guys rumored to be ahead of the pack should come as no surprise. Particularly in light of these tweets from over the weekend.
Doug Mientkiewicz has emerged as the favorite, ever so slightly over Paul Molitor, as the next #Twins manager.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) October 3, 2014
Paul Molitor has had multiple interviews with the Twins— LaVelle E. Neal III (@LaVelleNeal) October 4, 2014
Between Molitor and Mientkiewicz, the Twins appear to be narrowing their search; both guys are coming from within the organization. Molitor, who played for the Twins from 1996 to 1998, has spent years coaching for the organization in a quasi-unofficial capacity until becoming Ron Gardenhire's bench manager roughly a year ago. Mientkiewicz, meanwhile, played for Minnesota from 1998 to 2004 before managing the Fort Myers Miracle in 2013 and 2014.
It's en vogue to dismiss any internal candidate right now, simply by virtue of said candidate being internal. The desire for "new blood" overrides the idea that the best man for the job may actually already be within the organization, epitomizing one of my favorite logical fallacies.
Fans desiring an external candidate solely for the sake of the candidate being "new blood" need look no further than most of the men the Twins are allegedly looking to: Baltimore's John Russell, Boston's Torey Luvollo, Chicago's Joe McEwing. Going external for its own sake does not guarantee better choices. Jose Oquendo and Dave Martinez, at least, have something quantifiable in their favor: longetivity in a well-run organization for Oquendo and experience with an organization that embraces more of a new-school philosophy in Martinez.
Neither of those things dictate that either Oquendo or Martinez would be better than Molitor or Martinez, however. "New blood" is not nearly as important as having a new voice. The new manager has one job: be different than Gardenhire. That's not a knock on Gardy, although some people might like it to be, it's simply the truth - when you get rid of one person and want to bring in someone else, you don't bring in someone who's likely to get you the same results as the person you just jettisoned. The question is what "different than Gardenhire" means to ownership and the front office.
The only way that the Twins can screw up the managerial appointment is to continue to make the mistakes that led them to these last four miserable years in the first instance: to be too inward-looking, to be hesitant to blaze a new trail, to hire a guy who has the exact same principles and philosophies that the last manager held.
Minnesota needs to be willing to change and go in different directions. That means looking hard at external candidates like Oquendo and Martinez, but it also means giving a fair shake to the internal options that will give the organization a new twist on a tired recipe.
Neither Mientkiewicz nor Molitor have managed a Major League baseball team. Molitor hasn't managed at all. Neither guy has been a member of the organization's coaching structure for a long time. Mientkiewicz is cocky and excitable in ways the organization may not have embraced in the past; Molitor is a guy who would be willing to shift his defense and, by extension, could be more likely to engage in platoons and playing percentages.
Is that enough? Are either of those guys enough of a deviation from what's come before? The Twins seem to think so. I just hope they're right.