Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ron Gardenhire: Is he the right manager for the Twins?

According Twins CEO Jim Pohlad, Ron Gardenhire will get a contract extension to stay with the Twins (Pohlad: Gardenhire will get extension).  Gardenhire is signed to manage the hometown team for next season so there are good odds that he will be at the helm of the Twins squad at least through the 2013 season.

There have been many during this season that have questioned Gardenhire's ability as a manager.  Some have gone as far as to say that Gardenhire should be fired.

Gardenhire's regular season resume is very impressive.  In his first nine seasons as manager he has guided the Twins to six division crowns.  There could have been a seventh title if the Twins could have found a way to win Game 163 in 2008.  He has had his team in position to win the division in 78% of the seasons he has been manager.  The only season he has had a losing record was 2007.  He has been runner up for manager of the year multiple times and he has a good shot to win the award this season.  That is quite a run in the regular season.

One of the major problems for Gardenhire has been his lack of postseason success.  In his first season with the team he took the Twins to the ALCS.  Other than that the Twins have trounced in the ALDS.  Since that 2002 season the Twins have only won two playoff games.  Both in a stadium that no longer exists, the original Yankee Stadium.

So the question remains, is Ron Gardenhire the right manager for the Minnesota Twins?

The Top Reasons to keep Ron Gardenhire:

1.  He leads the team to the playoffs almost every season.
There is only one way to win the World Series and that is to be in the playoffs.  Gardenhire's results speak for themselves.  He can get the Twins into the postseason tournament almost every season.  It doesn't matter who he has for pitchers, infields, or outfielders.  The Twins are going to be in the playoffs or have themselves in position to make it.

2.  He is a very player friendly coach.
Twins players, for the most part, tend to get along with and respect Ron Gardenhire.  Gardenhire has dealt with all of the players that have been difficult to deal with, even some hot headed players in the past.  His ability to manage personalities and lead them to success on the field has been one of the best in the American League over the past decade.

3.  He fits with the style of play that the Twins have developed successfully over the years.
The Twins have tended to follow the same philosophy as the team has been winning division titles.  Defense has been more important than offense.  Gardenhire has shown that he will play higher caliber defensive players over players with stronger offensive stats that are weaker defensively.  Also having pitchers throw strikes is another philosophy that has succeeded. Gardenhire and his coaches have made lower level pitchers succeed because they throw the ball over the plate and make the batter make the mistake.

The Top Reasons to fire Ron Gardenhire:

1.  He can't win in the playoffs.
This is very simple.  The Twins haven't been able to win a World Series while he has been manager.  They have had teams that were capable of being champions but they have all fallen short of that goal.  The Twins have made the playoffs time and time again.  It is time to make a statement that says we are not satisfied with what we have done.  We want more.

2.  His in game management is questionable.
Throughout the season there are always questionable decisions that a manager makes.  In the postseason those mistakes are magnified even more.  One example from Game 1 of the ALDS is written about here at CBS SportsLine (For change's sake, Gardenhire should have changed pitcher).  Many argued that his line-up needed a change for Game 3 of the ALDS.  His only change was to move Jason Kubel up in the batting order.  That plan failed miserably with Kubel going 0-4.

3.  He doesn't seem to be able to fire up his players. 
The team has looked defeated when the get behind.  He often gets thrown out of games to fire up the team but even that doesn't work sometimes because he does it so often.  The team looks scared in the playoffs.  Scared to make a mistake, scared to make a play, and scared to find a way to win.  That falls back on the manager and his ability to motivate his players.

My Take on Ron Gardenhire:
     The Twins have already said that Ron Gardenhire will be manager of their team for years to come.  I think that this is the right decision.  Gardenhire continues to lead the team to the playoffs almost every season.  The only way to win the World Series is to make the playoffs.  Once you reach the playoffs anything can happen.  Look at the Rays and Rangers series that ended last night.  The Rays were the number one seed entering the AL Playoffs and they got knocked out in the first round.  A perfect example of how anything can happen in the playoffs. 
      Gardenhire's coaching style has been very conducive to the players that have come through the Twins organization.  There have been many players that have succeeded while with the Twins and then gone on to be less successful in other settings.  This is a direct reflection of the style of play that the manager has used.  Defense and pitching have been the strong point for the Twins during Gardenhire's years at the helm.  They will continue to be important as the Twins go forward with Gardenhire


Robgratefultrip said...

enough is enough! time for a change the twins looked pathetic and had no motivation!

NoDak Twins Fan said...

You share the same opinion as many other Twins fans. The hard thing would be filling his spot on the team. If Gardy is gone, most of the rest of the coaching staff would be gone. What would the next step be? Who is ready to coach this team?