The Worst Case: No Leadership


When it comes to projecting a "worst case" for the 2017 Twins, I don't think it centers on statistics (e.g. who can put up what numbers). I really think that a lack of leadership could be the death knell for another season, were it to occur.

When Ron Gardenhire was let go as manager of this team, it was clear that he had fallen behind the times as an MLB manager. We had to move on. One of Gardy's greatest skills as a skipper, however, was getting all the players to "buy-in" to what he was preaching. This led to many division titles and really only stopped working when it became clear that Gardy's approach just wasn't working anymore.

So far in the Molly Era, he's shown much more proclivity to rely on stats/metrics, but I have yet to see the kind of leadership that Gardy provided. I thought I did in 2015, but I think we know now that much of that credit can be given to Torii Hunter and a team playing over its head in a lot of ways.

I've said it many times and I'll say it again here: I don't think this Twins team has a talent problem (especially on offense). It will just take a great leader to get the best possible performance out of these young players. Is Molly that leader? He got his third year to prove the point.

I just see a lot of scenarios where strong leadership is needed on this team:

-Developing Buxton to his full potential

-Getting Eddie Rosario to always keep his head in the game

-Making sure Sano keeps his head at a normal size

-Not jerking around Polanco anymore (e.g. giving him an opportunity as an everyday player)

-Making sure that Joe Mauer is utilized correctly

Part of the reason I liked the Molitor hire at the time is that during the late Gardenhire years, it was always Molly on the top step directing the players on the field while Gardy sat on the bench with his arms folded. Since being promoted, I haven't seen that Molly as much (if at all).

So, I think that the worse thing that could happen to the '17 team would be to have a leadership vacuum. A young team needs to be molded into a unit much like the Twins of the early and late 2000's were. Will the coaching staff be up to the task? The W-L record is counting on it.