Since the Twins fired manager Paul Molitor right after the Twins season ended, the team has been looking for a new manager. Giants bench coach Hensley Meulens and Astros bench coach Joe Espada were rumored to be front runners for the job at first, but both have since been ruled out. According to many rumors, the Twins have narrowed their candidates down to three or five choices.
Among those is Rocco Baldelli, 37, who was the major league coordinator for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2018. According to the Star Tribune, he had his second interview with the Twins on Monday.
Baldelli isn’t the only candidate left, of course. The Twins have said to be impressed with their own bench coach Derek Shelton, their hitting coach James Rowson, and potentially one or two other mystery candidates. Baldelli, however, interviewed for five of the six managerial positions open so far this offseason, so he’s clearly a desirable guy. Two of the five teams Baldelli has interviewed with — the Angels and Reds — have already chosen other managerial candidates.
Baldelli’s popularity seems somewhat peculiar considering he has no managerial experience — not in the minors, and certainly not in the majors.
However, maybe the fact Baldelli hasn't managed a team is part of what makes him attractive? It’s been a recent trend in baseball to hire managers with no previous experience. Just look at the Red Sox’s Alex Cora — he had no managerial experience, and the Red Sox are in the World Series. Aaron Boone similarly had no experience before the Yankees hired him for this season, and they won 100 games. Not to mention, if you really want to push this idea, Paul Molitor had no previous managerial experience when the Twins hired him for the 2015 season.
So what makes Badelli an attractive candidate? Since I’m unfortunately not a fly on the wall in any of these interviews, it’s hard to say, but we can read between the lines.
Having served in front offices and as a major league field coordinator, Baldelli is probably an attractive manager for a team looking to implement more analytical strategies. Baldelli is no doubt aware of them, and as a former player and field coordinator, most likely already has awareness about how to bring them to the field. His youth helps too — not only is he young enough to connect with players, but he’s also not entrenched in the “old way” of doing things, which this front office seems to like. Baldelli, of course, actually did have a very promising major league career going for him before a rare muscular disorder.
“We’re looking for someone who is truly open-minded. We’re looking for a leader,” Derek Falvey told Brandon Warne earlier this offseason. “Someone who will partner with us. Someone who is looking to move this organization forward, not just the 25-man roster. I think that’s important. I think we want a partner who crosses all aspects of the organization to invest in the Minnesota Twins across the board.”
It seems like Baldelli checks a lot of those boxes, doesn’t it? Baldelli has worked in a front office, so it wouldn’t be hard to seem him thinking about the organization beyond the 25-man roster. He’s also a relatively young, former MLB player who could get on in the clubhouse. From everything I’ve heard, he seems open to new ideas and new ways of thinking. Heck, he’s even worked with current Twins bench coach and former Rays coach Derek Shelton.
Baldelli just might be the next manager of the Minnesota Twins.
What do you think?
This poll is closed
Rocco Baldelli is it.
Twins will go with Derek Shelton.
James Rowson has proven he’s the guy.
Falvey and Levine are going to surprise us with someone else.