It has been a heck of a year for the Minnesota Twins organization as they bounced back from a 59-103 season in 2016 to a 83-76 season todate and became the first team in MLB history to make the play-offs after losing 100 or more games.
No one saw this coming, if they said they did they are BSing you. I though they would improve to an 80-82 mark and I thought that was optimistic on my part. The team has had a heck of a season but there is still plenty of room for improvement.
The guys at the top, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine with a few minor exceptions have sat back, watched, and learned in their first year at the helm of the good ship Minnesota Twins. Yes, they did make some trades at the deadline that indicated the Twins were out of playoff contention but maybe that turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it seemed to rally the team and gave them a “we will show them” attitude.
Manager Paul Molitor found himself in a strange situation as he had just finished year two of a three-year deal when Falvey and Levine came on board with an edict from owner Jim Pohlad that Molitor stays as the Twins manager in 2017. I don’t think it was that big a deal for Falvey or Levine to have Molitor stay around for one more season as it appears that they had planned to sit back and watch in 2017 plus they had some don’t raid their previous organizations for one year stipulations they were abiding by. They sure weren’t expecting the Twins to make the playoffs in 2017 so they had to figure they could dump Molitor when the 2017 season ended with no problem.
But now with the Twins heading for the playoffs and expectations even higher for the future, the pressure is going to be on Falvey and Levine to bring Paul Molitor back, after all, how do you fire a manager that took your team from 103 losses to the playoffs? A lot I think depends on the relationship that Falvey and Levine have with Molitor and I am not in a position to know how good or bad that relationship really is. But like everyone else, I have an opinion, and from where I stand, it seems that relationship is one of tolerance, as long as no one throws the first rock, the relationship will continue to co-exist.
The problem is that everyone in management wants to put their own people in positions that have an impact on their future employment. Who wants to stake their future on someone who you didn’t select for the job in the first place? On the other hand, if they send Molitor packing and the team doesn’t take the next step forward, then Falvey and Levine will find themselves with the creek rising and more rain predicted.
If Falvey and Levine decide to keep Molitor they need to give him a longer term deal after forcing Molitor to manage in his least year of a three-year contract. At least that is what I would ask for if I was Molitor. Having said, that I recently read a book by Ron Simon who was Molitor’s agent when he was a player and he stated in his book that Molitor was a very easy-going individual who was not necessarily all that confident in his ability (at least outwardly) and preferred to avoid conflict.
So what will happen? Falvey and Levine find themselves in a damned if they do and damned if they don’t situation and we will just have to see what they do. It will be much easier to keep Molitor at the helm than it will be to fire him, that will tell us a lot about what these guys are made of. This duo has said all along that the number of wins will not be the decision maker but when it comes right down to it, what is more important than win and losses? Don’t they play this game to win?