The Minnesota Twins have reportedly come to a decision in their managerial search and are set to hire Tampa Bay Rays Rocco Baldelli.
The Minnesota Twins look poised and ready to take advantage of the World Series off day on Thursday. Late Wednesday night news began to trickle out that the Twins have made their decision and are set to hire Rocco Baldelli from the Tampa Bay Rays.
After a 78-84 season and a somewhat surprising firing of manager Paul Molitor, once names started to be floated in connection to the Twins manager position, Baldelli’s name was often at the top of the list. Other men considered for the position were reportedly Twins bench coach Derek Shelton, Chicago Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde, as well as Houston Astros bench coach Joe Espada.
Baldelli does not have any previous managing experience but does bring plenty of baseball experience to the table as the Twins new skipper. He most recently served as the Rays major league field coordinator and previous to that was the teams first base coach for three seasons. Baldelli was also a Special Assistant for Baseball Operations for four years before coaching in the organization.
Without direct access to the Twins front office it is hard to know exactly what the Twins liked about Baldelli. As we try to make assumptions, Baldelli has likely learned to use analytics in the on-field game in a way the Twins front office would like to see done in Minnesota. As the Rays major league field coordinator, it sounded like Baldelli needed to be the glue to connect a lot of pieces of the organization. Something that will certainly come in handy as a manager. His background as a former first round pick as a player would seem to help him when it comes to relating to the players in a way the front office was hoping for as they started their search for a new manager.
It does seem clear at this point there is something the Derek Falvey and Thad Levine like about what is going on in Tampa Bay. This is now their second hire with ties back to Rays. With fellow finalist Shelton being the other. It will be interesting now to see what freedoms Baldelli has with bringing in any of his own coaching staff as Shelton and others remain on the Twins staff currently.
One thing can be said, the new front office stuck to their pattern of how they find and hire coaches. Baldelli was again a name, like Shelton, James Rowson, and Garvin Alston before him, that were not necessarily hot commodities when the search to hire began. From everything we are hearing this sounds like a good hire for the organization. Welcome to the Twins Rocco Baldelli!