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Hensley Meulens, Joe Espada among top candidates in Twins managerial search

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The front office in Minnesota is moving quickly, and has reportedly narrowed their list down to the top candidates.

San Francisco Giants Photo Day
I can speak more languages than you.
Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

Since the Twins made the somewhat surprising decision to dismiss manager Paul Molitor back on October 2nd, the team has been looking for a new manager. As of now, they have reportedly interviewed at least two internal candidates: current hitting coach James Rowson and current bench coach Derek Shelton. Based on previous coaching hires, however, we know CBO Derek Falvey and GM Thad Levine aren’t as incestuous as their predecessors, and will likely be looking outside of the organization for new blood.

“We’re looking for someone who is truly open-minded,” Falvey told Brandon Warne and other beat reporters on a recent press conference call. “We’re looking for a leader. Someone who will partner with us. Someone who is looking to move this organization forward, not just the 25-man roster.”

It also sounds like the front office is looking to move quickly. “I think we owe it to ownership and our fanbase to be expedient and nimble,” Levine told reporters. “There are six teams that are currently looking for managers. There’s certainly an overlap of some of the candidates. We need to be nimble enough such that if we interview somebody who their timeline gets pushed up, we don’t intend to necessarily stand on ceremony and be rigid to our timeline.”

The other teams currently looking for managers include the Reds, Mets, Rangers, Blue Jays, and Angels.

According to Dan Hayes of The Athletic, the Twins front office began with a list of 20 to 24 candidates, and have narrowed that list down to 6 to 10 candidates. Here’s a rundown of the external candidates who have been named so far:

  • Hensley Meulens is said to be one of the leading candidates for the Twins’ managerial position, per Jon Heyman of FanCred. “Bam Bam”, as he’s affectionately known, served as the Giants bench coach last year and was among the finalists for the Yankees’ managerial opening last year. Among his notable qualities is the fact he can speak FIVE languages (English, Spanish, Dutch, Papiamento, and Japanese), which I find truly amazing since I took Spanish for seven years of my life and all I can really say now is, “¿dónde está la biblioteca?” If you pay any attention to the World Baseball Classic, Meulens was the guy who managed the Netherlands surprisingly far into the “honkbal” tournament several years ago. The Twins are not the only team seeking Meulens’s talents, however, as he’s already interviewed with the Cincinnati Reds, and likely others as well.
  • Another leading candidate is Astro’s bench coach Joe Espada, according to Heyman and many others. Espada has only been bench coach for one year, filling the void left when Alex Cora became manager of the Red Sox last offseason. Prior to 2018, Espada served as the third base coach for the Yankees and the Marlins, and once served as a special assistant to Yankees GM Brian Cashman. At 43 year’s of age, Espada is still relatively young for having over ten years of coaching experience.
  • The Twins are said to be doing their “due diligence” on Rays coach Rocco Baldelli, according to Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500. Baldelli had a promising MLB career going for him before he was diagnosed with some rare metabolic/muscular disorder that caused him to get injured a lot. Hence, Baldelli was forced to retire at the age of 29 and went right into coaching. Over the past two years he’s served as the Rays major-league field coordinator, and was the Rays first base coach for three years before that. Dan Hayes says he’s already had his first round of talks with Falvey and Levine.
  • Another name being mentioned in connection with the Twins is David Ross. Ross, who just retired after winning the World Series with the Cubs in 2016, has no managerial or coaching experience, but he was runner up on Dancing With the Stars.
  • Brewers bench coach Pat Murphy is also on the Twins’ list, per Wolfson. Murphy served as the interim manager for the Padres in 2015, having previously served as a minor league coach in their organization. Murphy was also previously head of the Arizona State University and the University of Notre Dame baseball squads, even coaching Brewers manager Craig Counsell in college. Although he has a lot of experience, at 59-years-old, Murphy is among the older candidates on this list.
  • Mark DeRosa. You probably already heard he’s on the Twins’ list. If you watch MLB Network or have watched baseball for more than five years, you’re familiar with him. Despite having no coaching experience, DeRosa has previously interviewed for positions with the Mets and Marlins, and is rumored to currently be on the Rangers’ radar as well.
  • Unsurprisingly, given CBO Derek Falvey’s previous work in Cleveland, the Twins have been connected to a number of Indians personnel, the first being minor league defensive coach John McDonald. And... yeah, I’m sorry. I know it was inadvertent, but it’s still too soon.
  • Indians bench coach Brad Mills is also supposedly on the Twins’ list. The 61-year-old has extensive experience coaching, including 11 years in the minors, plus stints as the Phillies first base coach, the Expos bench coach, the Red Sox bench coach, manager of the Houston Astros (back when they sucked), and coaching at third base and bench for the Indians. Mills is close with and has often worked alongside Terry Francona, who is widely considered one of the best managers in the game.
  • Last but not least, in terms of Indians coaches, is Sandy Alomar Jr. Alomar has been coaching since 2008, first as the catching instructor for the Mets, and then as a first base coach and later bench coach for Cleveland. He’s seen as a pretty desirable guy, having been the finalist for several managerial openings over the years, including the Blue Jays, Cubs, Red Sox, and even the Twins back in 2014. The Rangers have reportedly already interviewed him, as I’m sure pretty much every team looking for a manager will.
  • According to Rhett Bollinger, Jayce Tingler has also been linked to the Twins, which is interesting because he’s currently working in the Rangers front office. In fact, he’s assistant to the GM, meaning he took over Thad Levine’s old job. Tingler does have some previous experience coaching, having done so in the Dominican Winter League and Rookie Ball, and he also served as both the Minor League Field Coordinator and Major League Field Coordinator for the Rangers. Tingler is 37 year’s old, and seems like he would definitely be open to Falvine’s analytical leanings.
  • A name that has come up at least once is Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde. Hyde managed in the minors for the Marlins organization from 2005 to 2009, and served as the minor league field coordinator in 2010. In the middle of 2010, the Marlins fired half their major league coaching staff (as they are wont to do), and Hyde became the Marlins bench coach, where he served until he escaped and became the Cubs bench coach in 2013. The Rangers have already interviewed Hyde, and the Mets requested to interview him, but Hyde noped the hell out of that.

Falvey told reporters they plan to conduct in-person interviews over the next week or so, but there is no set timeline for when the front office will make a decision.

Poll

Who do you want the Twins to hire as their new manager?

This poll is closed

  • 81%
    Hensley Meulens
    (2772 votes)
  • 3%
    Joe Espada
    (125 votes)
  • 1%
    Rocco Baldelli
    (63 votes)
  • 3%
    David Ross
    (122 votes)
  • 0%
    Pat Murphy
    (8 votes)
  • 0%
    Mark DeRosa
    (28 votes)
  • 0%
    John McDoanld
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Brad Mills
    (13 votes)
  • 3%
    Sandy Alomar Jr.
    (122 votes)
  • 0%
    Jayce Tingler
    (13 votes)
  • 0%
    Brandon Hyde
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    James Rowson
    (24 votes)
  • 0%
    Derek Shelton
    (12 votes)
  • 3%
    Other
    (108 votes)
3418 votes total Vote Now