It was announced this morning that the Minnesota Twins have been granted permission to interview Boston Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo for their open manager position. For the Twins this will be their first true “outside the organization” interview as all previous interviews were with current staff in the organization (Molitor, Mientkiewicz, & Gene Glynn) or former player with the organization (Chip Hale).
Luvullo not only represents a candidate separate from the organization, but also is a departure from the infamous “Twins Way”. A believer in sabermetrical analysis, he shies away from many of the tenents that have defined the Minnesota Twins the past 13 years such as advancing baserunners via the sacrifice bunt and giving up outs. As he stated in an interview with FanGraph’s David Laurila:
Regarding bunting and baserunner advancement:
"“At times, it can work to advance a guy into scoring position, but by and large, I’ve learned over the years that the sacrifice bunt can be a rally stopper. Every out is precious. You’re playing with 27, so if you give up two or three a game, you’re playing with 24 or 25. You’re giving up an inning’s worth of outs to sacrifice guys into scoring position, and the law of averages shows that just because you’re at second base doesn’t mean you’re going to score.”"
Regarding using sabermetrics and data analysis:
"“I don’t think my views on using data have really changed. I think maybe I’d be a little more specific on what I’d ask for and what I’d acquire. Match-ups and all the basic stuff is very accessible. There are certain projections that programs can now produce. They’ll give you percentages as to what the outcome may be, and I would utilize that to the best of my ability. Five or six years ago, when you and I first talked about this, I think it was more raw data. It was kind of an upstart idea that has come closer to being perfected today. Things have gotten very specific and that’s information I pore through…”"
Lovullo was the leading candidate to replace Dale Sveum for the open Chicago Cubs manager position in 2013, but an agreement between the Cubs and the Red Sox blocked him from interviewing for the position. He is a current candidate for the Texas Rangers opening, so he is a man in high demand. What becomes of the interview with the Twins is yet to be seen, but General Manager Terry Ryan is following through on his proclamation that the managerial search will be a thorough process.