Minnesota Twins: A Turnaround Season Brings Changes to Twinkietown

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 27: Paul Molitor /
CLEVELAND, OH – SEPTEMBER 27: Paul Molitor /

Just days after being eliminated in the Wild Card, the Minnesota Twins begin making changes to the coaching staff.

The Minnesota Twins have a skipper. When Paul Molitor’s 3-year contract expired after the season-ending Wild Card loss to the New York Yankees, there was much speculation that the Twins would move in a new direction. It was certainly a wild ride for Molitor. In his first season at the helm, the Twins won a respectable 83 games. The 2016 season was, as Twins fans well know, a disaster. Nothing went right. The team lost its first 9 games and finished a depressing 35.5 games out of first. They also set a franchise record with 103 losses, but we were redeemed in 2017.

When Ervin Santana took the mound on Opening Day in Kansas City, Twins fans had high hopes. When he pitched 7 scoreless, we were ecstatic. At the All Star break, when 3 players represented Minnesota, it was almost too good to be true. Although the season didn’t end quite like the fans or Molitor wanted, the 2017 Twins were the first team in MLB history to make a post season appearance after losing 100 or more games the prior season. On Monday, Molitor was rewarded with a 3-year extension through 2020.

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Neil Allen out as Pitching Coach

The news on Monday was not as good for pitching coach Neil Allen. The team parted ways with Allen hours after announcing Mollie’s contract extension. Under Allen’s tutelage, the Twins pitching staff improved 4 spots from last year in ERA and despite losing closer Brandon Kintzler at the trade deadline, Kintzler and Matt Belisle combined for an impressive 37 of 43 in save chances. In Allen’s 3 years in the role, the Twins went through a staggering 36 pitchers, with 16 of those in starting roles. Despite that, the Twins had the fourth-best walk rate in the league at 7.9. For the first time since 2006, the Twins sent 2 pitchers (Kintzler and Santana) to the All Star game. As impressive as those numbers are, the front office determined it was time for a change.

Next: Preview of Twins Free Agents

It remains to be seen if other members of the Twins staff are safe or will find themselves looking for work. Despite the turnaround from 2016, the Twins seem committed to making changes this off season. When pitchers and catchers report in February, Mollie’s staff could look drastically different.