Minnesota Twins: Could the Twins endure a “brain drain” this offseason?
By Chris Schad
The Minnesota Twins’ coaching staff could be purged this winter as bench coach Derek Shelton is already a candidate for the Pittsburgh Pirates job.
When a team like the Minnesota Twins has the type of success they’ve had this season, other MLB teams are going to take note. While teams can jot down how they take care of their business or maybe tweak a thing here or there, often the best way to replicate a team’s success is by taking one of their important pieces of the equation and making it their own.
Last winter, that’s exactly what the Twins did while trying to replace Paul Molitor. As Molitor represented the old regime and “Twins Way,” Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey and General Manager Thad Levine wanted to put their own stamp on it and went to the Tampa Bay Rays organization to tab Rocco Baldelli as their new manager.
No matter what you thought of Molitor’s job working with an injured and thin roster in 2018, you can’t argue with the job that Baldelli has done this season. The Twins won the second-most games in franchise history (101) this season and that effort tied the most number of wins by a rookie manager.
In addition, the Twins just seem transformed from where they were a year ago. As a club that was focused on doing the little things right a year ago, Baldelli’s arrival spawned confidence to let players do what they do best and several free-agent signings including Nelson Cruz and C.J. Cron helped turn this team into the Bomba Squad.
As the Twins head to their first American League Divisional Series on Friday night, a looming question could be which teams come calling for their coaches. Each addition to the staff has had a big part on the Twins’ success and one name that has generated buzz recently is bench coach Derek Shelton.
The 49-year old Shelton was brought over from the Rays staff in 2018 and stayed aboard with the arrival of Baldelli this season despite being a finalist for the Twins and Rangers managerial openings last season. While he’s been Baldelli’s right-hand man, his own time could come as Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi reported that the Pirates will consider hiring Shelton to be their next manager this offseason to replace Clint Hurdle.
Should the Pirates make this move, it could begin a domino effect within the Twins’ organization that could see other coaches leave for greener pastures. According to Dan Hayes of The Athletic (subscription required), hitting coach James Rowson interviewed for a pair of managerial openings last winter before sticking with the Twins.
As a crucial part of a lineup that smashed an MLB-record 307 home runs this season, Rowson’s name figures to be in high demand as well as others within the lower levels of the organization as they look to find a piece of what made the Twins so successful.