First managerial moves made as offseason begins
Twins dismiss Gardenhire while Astros hire Hinch
One day after the regular season ended, the first managerial moves were made on Monday as the Twins dismissed Ron Gardenhire after 13 seasons on the job and the Astros named A.J. Hinch their next manager.
And there figures to be more changes in the upcoming days and weeks. After all, coaches are usually the first casualties following disappointing seasons.
There are now three teams looking for managers, with the Twins joining the D-backs and Rangers.
The Rangers are hoping to hire a new manager by the World Series, general manager Jon Daniels said Sunday. Among the candidates under consideration are interim manager Tim Bogar, Triple-A manager Steve Buechele and pitching coach Mike Maddux, in addition to a few candidates from other clubs. Daniels has yet to formally request permission to interview anyone outside of the organization.
The D-backs' search for a manager began Friday, when they let go of Kirk Gibson. Arizona has a new general manager in Dave Stewart and a new senior vice president of baseball operations in De Jon Watson. It did not take long for the club to hire Stewart and Watson when those positions opened, so that could mean a new manager is not far away.
The Twins' search for a new manager will include candidates from both inside and outside the organization. The remainder of the coaching staff will be put together by the new manager and general manager Terry Ryan. The contracts of Minnesota's seven coaches are all set to expire at the end of this year.
Gardenhire had one year remaining on a two-year contract he signed before the season. He became the Twins manager in 2002 and led the team to six American League Central division championships in his first nine years. But the Twins have finished last in the division in three of the last four seasons.
"This is a little bit of a difficult day for a lot of us," Ryan said during a news conference at Target Field on Monday. "We've been together with Ron for a long time. ... I think it was mutually agreed upon that we're going to go in this direction."
"I'm gone. I'm out of here because we didn't win," Gardenhire said. "That's what it gets down to in baseball. That's what it should get down to -- you have to win on the field. These last four years have been tough on us."
The Astros, meanwhile, are looking ahead to the future with Hinch at the helm.
Hinch managed Arizona from May 2009 to July 2010 and had a 89-123 record. After that, he served as the vice president of professional scouting for the Padres for four years. Hinch, 40, played 350 games over his Major League career with the A's, Phillies, Royals and Tigers.
"I am extremely excited to bring in A.J. as our new manager," said Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow. "Throughout our process, we searched for a person with previous Major League experience who could effectively lead our young, growing nucleus of talented players. I have no doubt that A.J. is the right person to do that. He brings experience as a Major League player, Major League manager and player development executive. His skill sets and leadership abilities will be enormous assets in our clubhouse and to our entire organization."
"I couldn't be more excited to be the manager of the Houston Astros," said Hinch, a catcher who won a bronze medal with the United States at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. "We have a lot of work to do to bring winning back to the city of Houston and Astros fans everywhere. I can't wait to get started toward that goal today."
Moving forward, there could also be some extensions for current managers. The Marlins extended Mike Redmond's contract through 2017, finalizing the deal on Sunday. Redmond was set to enter the final season of the contract he signed when he took over after the 2012 season.