The Twins still have a couple roles to fill on the major league coaching staff, and it looks like they may have found their guys. Rhett Bollinger is reporting on the team’s official website that they are set to hire Jeff Pickler for an unknown coaching role and Jeff Smith to coach first base.
Smith has been around. He’s managed and coached for various minor-league Twins affiliates over the past 12 years, spending the last two years as the manager for the Ft. Myers Miracle. He’ll be in charge of overseeing outfield instruction, advising coaches and players on game strategy, and coordinating communications between the major leagues and player development.
As for Jeff Pickler... if that name isn’t ringing any bells, don’t worry: He’s never played nor coached in the majors.
Before you freak out about that, let me explain.
Pickler has been working in the Dodgers front office as a special assistant for pro scouting and player development, a job that reportedly included some on-field work. Though he did play and coach in college, and spent some time in the minors, Pickler is basically an analytics guy. His role on the coaching staff, reportedly, will be to “serve as a conduit” between the front office and coaching staff.
That seems a little weird to me, since why wouldn’t the front office have direct communications with Paul Molitor or the rest of the coaching staff? As I’m sure they will and/or do, I suspect that Pickler’s role will be specifically related to a certain area like analytics or video. He has been credited with helping the DBacks expand their video technology used to evaluate minor league players, but no saying if that will be his role with the Twins./ He hasn’t been given a more formal title yet.
Smith and Pickler are the second and third new coaches hired by the Twins new front office. The new leadership hired James Rowson earlier this month to serve as hitting coach, in case you forgot.
The new coaches are replacing old friends Tom Brunansky and Butch Davis, who were hired after the season ended.