The Minnesota Twins shake up their minor league coaching staff. Simply the latest in a series of moves for the Twins this offseason.
The Minnesota Twins continue to make adjustments to the overall leadership of the team, from the front office to on the field coaches. That continued Friday as the Twins made some changes to their minor league coaching staff, one of which just seems very un-Minnesotan.
The Mauer name is entrenched as part of Minnesota culture at this point. Joe Mauer has clearly been a cornerstone player for the Twins for a little more than a decade. Even with his struggle with concussions in the middle of that time, he is a beloved Twin. Then there is Mauer Chevrolet, owned by Joe’s brother Bill, that takes residence in Inver Grove Heights not far off of Interstate 494. And we mustn’t forget brother Jake Mauer who both played for the Twins in the minor leagues and had been coaching several successful seasons of minor league baseball.
That “had” wasn’t a slip of a finger on the keyboard, as rumors had been pointing to, Friday we learned that Jake Mauer would no longer be coaching within the Twins minor leagues. Mauer coached across the minors for the Twins dating back to 2008, seeing time with the Gulf Coast League Twins, Fort Meyers, Cedar Rapids, and last season coached the Southern League Co-Champion Chattanooga Lookouts.
It is hard to watch Mauer leave the system after his managerial skills have been spoken so highly of and many wondered how long it would be until he would get a shot in the majors. If managing or coaching in the majors in the short-term is Mauer’s goal, it is very possible he looked at Molitor’s 3-year deal and just didn’t see a path to the majors for him in the current Twins system. Which, in pure speculation, could have been enough reason for Mauer to make the decision on his own accord to part ways with the Twins.
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What may be hard for Twins fans is that this is another beloved minor league coach with major league potential that has left the Twins system. Doug Mientkiewicz was dismissed from the team earlier this year. We then also learned Mike Quade wouldn’t be returning to coach the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings but would move into a roving instructor role (this reportedly at his request).
To cover the openings created by some of these moves we also learned Friday that Tommy Watkins will be moving from Cedar Rapids to Chattanooga to take Mauer’s spot in managing the Twins Double-A affiliate. And Toby Gardenhire, son of former Twins skipper Ron Gardenhire, will be taking Watkins place at Single-A Cedar Rapids.
We may never know the exact reasons for some of this shuffling around in the minor league ranks. Someday Mauer may come out and let us know it was simply his desire to leave and pursue an MLB level position. Reasoning aside, it is clear this offseason the Twins front office has been able to start building the franchise in their vision for a successful club when we also include in the hires of guys like Bob McClure (Senior Pitching Advisor) and former Duke pitching coach Pete Maki (Minor League Pitching Coordinator). Now we await changes to the on-field roster as the Winter Meetings begin this coming week.