Paul Molitor deserves to be back as Minnesota Twins manager

DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 11: Manager Paul Molitor (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 11: Manager Paul Molitor (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /

Molitor has earned his stripes, but his future now rests in the hands of the new Twins brass.

Paul Molitor, the St. Paul native, world champion and Hall of Famer was a multi-faceted player, who brought talent, an admirable work ethic, a high level of smarts and class to the ball diamond. During his 21 year career, he was highly respected by fans, peers, managers and executives within the game. His role as a manager was expected to come a few short years after his playing career ended. But, the reticent Molitor was in no rush, and chose to pursue his selected position at his own pace.

I had always hoped Molitor would end up managing the Minnesota Twins and was optimistic when he was given the opportunity back in 2015. In his initial season, the Twins finished a few games over .500. Last season was a disaster with deplorable pitching, particularly out of the bullpen. This year the expectation was to improve a handful of games, but Molitor currently has them in prime position to snag a wildcard spot.

To date, during his tenure of two-plus campaigns now with the club, he has compiled a .460 winning percentage. This is not an acceptable mark, but he has not had quality rosters to enable the team to prosper. However, somewhat of a young core seems to have developed this year with Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Jose Berrios and possibly Eddie Rosario.

New commanders quite often prefer to hire staff and personnel with whom a previous working relationship has already been established. However, when Derek Falvey and Thad Levine were entrusted last offseason by ownership to mastermind the Twins overhaul, it was with the stipulation that Molitor stay to manage at least one more year.

Levine recently commented on 1500 ESPN that he is very upbeat about Molitor’s performance this year and they will address his contract status in the off season. As Levine mentioned, a significant portion of a manager’s role is cultivating relationships. Much of on field baseball management is fostering and developing an upbeat clubhouse through peaks and valleys over six months. Assessing the personalities and points of emphasis with individual players, particularly leaders and how to respond or not through fitting communication skills is paramount.

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Quite often in pro sports, the hall of fame caliber players do not evolve into high level coaches or managers. Seek out Magic Johnson, Wayne Gretzky and Michael Jordan amongst others. Molitor was an upper tier performer with more than 20 years of playing experience. However, ability and or time spent on the field  simply do not translate to an effective manager. But, unlike most others in his stratum, Molitor seems to have the ‘it’ factor to lead a team and a group of men.

The Twins seemingly now have quality leadership with Levine and Falvey. They place much of their emphasis on sabermetrics to assist them with their day to day baseball decisions. They will no doubt stockpile the farm system and organization with quality prospects and acquisitions in the upcoming years through informed decisions. This will position the Twins to become a consistent contender and my money is on ‘Molly’ to lead them to their next championship.

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