Minnesota Twins: Is manager Paul Molitor on his way out?


The Minnesota Twins’ spectacular season came to an end against the New York Yankees in the American League Wild Game. Now, attention turns to what they do with manager Paul Molitor.

In most cases, I’d assume that a manager that takes his team from a 100 loss season to the playoffs is a good bet to return next year. Yet, there’s really no proof that’s the case considering it’s NEVER happened until the Minnesota Twins did it this season.

Basically, the Minnesota Twins are in unexpected and uncharted territory.

With Paul Molitor‘s three-year contract coming to an end, first-year chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and general manager Thad Levine are faced with a huge decision on the future of the Minnesota Twins skipper. Some, like Pioneer Press reporter Mike Berardino, are suggesting that keeping him isn’t a foregone conclusion even after a historic season.

Over the course of the season, Falvey and Levine have been silent concerning Molitor’s future with the Twins, only stating that it’d be taken care of after the season. In other words, they were going to let it play out, but most likely hire a manager of their own choice after the season.

Contrary to what Falvey or Levine could have thought, Molitor led the team to the playoffs, making a decision to let him walk a whole lot tougher.

To many, this feels like an easy decision. Molitor took a team from the cellar of the MLB and made them into a playoff team. Not to mention, improved them by 26 wins from last season.

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Yes, he wasn’t alone in this. This Twins roster consisted of a tough-minded bunch of players.

After a disastrous road trip before the trade deadline, resulting in management trading away closer Brandon Kintzler and the newly acquired Jaime Garcia, no one expected the Twins to stay in the playoff hunt, let alone make it. Yet, they did, even when front office management seemed to have no belief in them.

In fact, I’m not sure Molitor and his staff thought they’d make the playoffs. I even remember the manager discussing the trades after the deadline, admitting that it was likely for the betterment of the organization moving forward.

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Even so, Molitor didn’t give up on the season, worked with what he had, and instilled confidence in his guys. The result paid off in the end.

On the other hand, there were many questionable decisions throughout the year. Whether it was constantly mixing up his lineups, sometimes resulting in Chris Gimenez batting clean up. Yikes. Or overthinking pitching changes, regardless of who the hot hand was at the time. He was given a fair share of criticism based on some of his managerial moves.

Although there were short comings, nothing can overlook the improvement of young players such as Byron Buxton, Jorge Polanco and Eddie Rosario. The fact Joe Mauer had his best season since 2013, largely due to receiving consistent rest. The way the defense improved from 29th to fourth in the league, while also playing great baseball down the stretch without All-Star Miguel Sano.

Altogether, the good outweighed the bad as the Twins made their first playoff since 2010.

In my opinion, there’s not a great case for letting Molitor go. He brought this club to new heights and Twins players seem to highly regard their manager.

Nevertheless, the fact there’s even a discussion concerning the uncertainty of his future isn’t a great sign for the skipper’s chances to return for a fourth year.

While I may not agree with it, I see the front office regime hiring one of their own. There’s been no commitment to Molitor, even following their playoff berth, so there’s no reason to believe that’s changed now.

If there has been a change of heart, there’s a good chance that a proposed deal would only be for two or three years. That way, Falvey and Levine can make a change sooner than later if they have to. In that case, does Molitor want to return considering the lack of long-term security?

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Bottom line, there’s much uncertainty surrounding Molitor, meaning there’s a real chance that he could be on his way out. This is definitely a situation to monitor as the Twins direct their attention to next season and beyond.