Minnesota Twins: Baldelli and Shelton frontrunners in manager search
By Nate Palmer
The Minnesota Twins are entering into their second round of interviews with potential managers as Rocco Baldelli and Derek Shelton emerge as frontrunners.
The Minnesota Twins had Sunday and Monday as windows to announce a managerial signing before the World Series begins on Tuesday. While we know who the new lead guys will be for the Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Angles, we are still waiting on an announcement from the Twins. The best we have to be excited about is the news that has trickled out which helps us to at least know who the front office is zeroing in on.
The two names that continue to rise to the top of the conversation have one unique commonality, the Tampa Bay Rays. Rocco Baldelli and current Twins bench coach Derek Shelton appear to be the current front runners. Both Baldelli and Shelton have spent chunks of their career in Tampa Bay and worked together at one point as well.
Darren Wolfson tweeted out Monday that the buzz around the Twin Cities was that Baldelli was back in town for a second interview.
Baldelli’s experience with the Rays gives him some experience with a team that has a tradition of squeezing the most out of the talent it brings in. Baldelli was not on the major league coaching staff, but was around the Rays when Joe Maddon was manager. Maddon is highly regarded as one of the best when it comes to moving pieces around in a lineup to promote production from players and team wins. That contact with Maddon, even if likely limited, could provide valuable for Baldelli moving forward.
Uniquely, the man who Baldelli currently is most officially duking it out with for a chance to manage the Twins is former colleague Shelton. I have said it before, and will state it again, hiring Shelton will be a hard reality for many fans to swallow likely based on the way this past season went.
We must remember that a bench coach ultimately has a limited sphere of influence in contrast to the manager. I for one think Shelton would be a good hire based on his track record of being with some great teams in the Rays and Cleveland Indians as well as his approach to coaching/managing seem to make him a great fit.
There are other names such as Brandon Hyde (who is receiving a second interview according to Dan Hayes at The Athletic), David Ross, and likely others that continue to be linked to the Twins managerial position. Interestingly enough, both Hyde and Ross also have a connection back to Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon. As this posts on Tuesday, we will have to wait until at least Thursday to know who the Twins hire at the earliest due to the World Series schedule. Stay tuned to see who the Twins front office chooses.