The Minnesota Twins coaching staff is one step closer to being complete after the team officially named two new coaches to the staff on Monday:
The big news here is Jayce Tingler, who was the bench coach for the Texas Rangers before being hired as the manager of the San Diego Padres after the 2019 season. Tingler led the Padres to a 37-23 record and a spot in the playoffs in 2020, before a disastrous collapse led to his firing at the end of this year.
Despite this, Tingler is still held in fairly high regard throughout baseball, but it seems like he just wasn’t ready to manage a team with as many personalities as the Padres. The 40-year-old will have a far easier task ahead of him working in the low pressure situation of Minnesota Twins bench coach.
The news of David Popkins being hired as hitting coach was first broken by Jon Heyman on October 28th and came as a bit of a surprise, considering that Popkins had never held a position higher than High-A hitting coach before.
With that being said, Popkins was very successful at High-A Great Lakes in the Dodgers system, with his team finishing first in slugging %, OPS, triples, and homers, while second in batting average, OBP, runs, RBI and hits in the High-A Central last year.
Both moves also signify a desire to build a younger staff around manager Rocco Baldelli and pitching coach Wes Johnson. Tingler replaces the late Mike Bell, who was six years his senior, while Popkins, 32, will take over for Edgar Varela, 41, as Varela shifts to be the team’s major league field coordinator.
The new coaching staff now looks like this (so far):
Rocco Baldelli (Manager), Jayce Tingler (Bench Coach), David Popkins (Hitting Coach), Rudy Hernandez (Hitting Coach), Wes Johnson (Pitching Coach), Pete Maki (Bullpen Coach), Edgar Varela (Major League Field Coordinator), Tommy Watkins (First Base Coach), Tony Diaz (Third Base Coach), and Nate Dammann (Quality Control Coach).
This leaves the staff with just one position remaining, as the team needs to fill the Major League Coach position that was left after Bill Evers retirement. Hopefully these changes help improve the Twins record in 2022.