Coaching Staff Shakeup
Many of us have been focused on the wild card games the past two days, but the Twins front office has gotten busy with it’s offseason work. Yesterday, we learned about planned adjustments to the major league coaching staff that will result in three open positions to be filled in the next few weeks.
Kevin Morgan had been the #MNTwins minor-league field coordinator at the start of the season. He was elevated to the same role with the MLB club.— danhayesmlb (@DanHayesMLB) October 6, 2021
Very likely could work in a hybrid role between the majors and the minors w/in player development.
These changes, in addition to Bill Evers’ retirement and the death of Bench Coach Mike Bell in April, leave the Twins with openings at Hitting Coach, Bench Coach, and another Major League coaching role. The rest of the current coaching staff is expected to return in their roles next season. The Twins have signaled they might also look to add some additional coaching positions this off season, particularly on the pitching side.
Making a change at hitting coach is something that some in the fanbase have clamored for at times over the past two seasons. Varela had a tough act to follow when he replaced the popular James Rowson after the 2019 Bomba Squad season. By most measures, the Twins offense has produced in the range of league average during Varela’s tenure, but the stalled development and decline in performance of some key players — Max Kepler and Miguel Sanó in particular — likely played a role in the Twins looking for a new hitting leader.
Colina claimed on waivers
Edwar Colina was claimed off waivers today by the Texas Rangers. Not only did he have an arthroscopic debridment of his right elbow in May, Derek Falvey said he recently had an additional procedure for the same area. #MNTwins— danhayesmlb (@DanHayesMLB) October 6, 2021
Colina missed the entire 2021 season with elbow troubles and had been on the Twins 60-day IL. Our own community member CG19 pointed out in a recent FanPost that the Twins will need to clear a lot of 40-man roster spots this offseason, because they ended the season with 49 players on their 40-man roster thanks to the large number of injured players on the 60-day IL.
Choosing to try to sneak a younger pitcher with a fastball that touches 100 miles per hour and a good slider through waivers is a curious place to start, though. There are many candidates to remove from the roster that would make sense to choose before a player of Colina’s ilk and talent. Of course, the elbow injury concerns complicate that risk decision and may be a bigger issue than we know, but it’s fair to question what the front office is thinking here.
It might be easy to let a small move like this go by without scrutiny, but every move and decision — big and small — matters this winter as the franchise comes off a terrible season (especially if they relate to pitching, the biggest culprit of the Twins last place finish). Pitching remains the biggest question mark for the organization going into 2022 and it’s hard for me to see the logic of choosing to place a young hurler with premium stuff on waivers while maintaining roster control of any number of the veteran journeymen the team brought on board to soak up innings down the stretch of the season.
There’s a good chance this move turns out not to come back to haunt the Twins and we’ll forget all about it. But there is also a reasonable chance that it might backfire and we will get to watch Colina pitch in the playoffs for another team like we will do with J.T Chargois, Liam Hendriks, Matt Wisler, and Zack Littell (and others) the rest of this month.
There will be several more of these smaller moves to come and we won’t know the full picture for several months — but this move does not give me a signal the Twins offseason is off to a great start.
Arizona Fall League Rosters announced
#MNTwins headed to Arizona Fall League:— Do-Hyoung Park (@dohyoungpark) October 6, 2021
LHP Zach Featherstone
LHP Kody Funderburk
RHP Cody Laweryson
LHP Evan Sisk
INF Andrew Bechtold
INF Michael Helman
OF Matt Wallner
Simeon Woods Richardson was originally on the list but Twins decided to give him rest after a long season.
The 2020 AFL was cancelled due to the pandemic and will get ramped back up in the coming weeks. Of the players Minnesota is sending, Wallner is ranked the highest on prospect lists. He is currently listed as the Twins 14th best prospect on MLB Pipeline.
That said, the AFL has been a proving ground for some lesser known prospects to draw some attention and raise their stock over the years and the Twins will be hoping that turns out to be the case for some or all of the players they are sending to the desert.
Tonight, at 8pm eastern time, the top-seeded Rays will host the Red Sox inside the cozy and modern confines of Tropicana Field. Left hander Shane McClanahan will start the pitcher parade for the Rays and lefty Eduardo Rodriguez will take the ball for Boston.
For the discussion below: What are your thoughts about the Twins coaching staff and roster moves? Who are you rooting for in the ALDS? I’m supporting the Astros in the first series for obvious reasons and just hoping for great playoff baseball games in the second.
Have a great Thursday and enjoy the games!
John is a staff writer for Twinkie Town with an emphasis on analysis. He is a lifelong Twins fan and former college pitcher. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnFoley_21.