Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Inbox: When will Twins fill out coaching staff?

Beat reporter Rhett Bollinger answers Minnesota fans' questions
MLB.com @RhettBollinger

MINNEAPOLIS -- It's been more than two weeks since the Twins officially hired Paul Molitor as manager, and the rest of his staff still has to be filled.

The Twins have hired Tom Brunansky as hitting coach, Gene Glynn as third-base coach and Rudy Hernandez as assistant hitting coach, leaving four spots left to fill.

MINNEAPOLIS -- It's been more than two weeks since the Twins officially hired Paul Molitor as manager, and the rest of his staff still has to be filled.

The Twins have hired Tom Brunansky as hitting coach, Gene Glynn as third-base coach and Rudy Hernandez as assistant hitting coach, leaving four spots left to fill.

Those positions should be filled shortly, which leads right into the first question of this week's Twins Inbox:

When will the Twins announce the rest of the coaching staff? And how much say does Molitor have compared to general manager Terry Ryan?
-- Nick S., Minneapolis

Click here to submit an Inbox question.

Ryan has said that he expects to have the rest of the staff hired by the Winter Meetings in early December. The Twins need to hire a pitching coach, a bench coach, a first-base coach and a bullpen coach.

The Twins are believed to be coming close to naming a new pitching coach, as it makes sense to have that position filled before signing free-agent starting pitchers. The club has been quiet about potential candidates, but it would make sense to bring in an experienced pitching coach given that Molitor has no background working with pitchers.

As for the process, Molitor has plenty of say, as he submitted a list of his ideal coaching staff while interviewing for the manager position and has been working with Ryan throughout the coaching search process.

Will Eddie Rosario be a legitimate contender for the starting left field position for the 2015 Twins?
-- Toad A., Mesa, Ariz.

Rosario had an impressive showing in the Arizona Fall League, hitting .330/.345/.410 with four doubles, two triples, 18 RBIs and 10 stolen bases in 24 games before going 4-for-5 with a homer in the championship game to help lead the Salt River Rafters to the title.

Video: PER@SRR: Rosario hits a solo blast deep to right

It helped him regain his prospect status after a down year at Double-A New Britain, as he hit just .237/.277/.396 after being suspended for 50 games to open the season for violating the Minor League drug agreement for a second time.

Rosario, 23, is expected to be invited to Major League camp in Spring Training, but isn't likely to compete for the starting job in left field to open the year. He's much more likely to open the year at Double-A, but could move up quickly if he swings the bat like he did in the AFL. Rosario has a chance to make his Major League debut in 2015, but it seems more likely it'll come in '16.

If Molitor does move Danny Santana back to shortstop from center field, who will replace Santana in center until Byron Buxton is ready to take over?
-- John T., Edina, Minn.

It's an interesting question, as moving Santana back to his natural position makes sense, but it also does open up a hole in center field, which is more of a pressing need than shortstop. The Twins already have a capable shortstop in Eduardo Escobar, who hit .275/.315/.406 with 35 doubles in 133 games last year. Santana's move back to shortstop would likely move Escobar into a super utility role.

Video: MIN@DET: Santana swipes second for 20th stolen base

That's why the Twins could look to trade for a center fielder in the short-term such as Peter Bourjos from the Cardinals. The free-agent market for center fielders is thin, with Colby Rasmus the top name.

If the Twins decide not to look for outside help, they could decide to patch that position in-house until Buxton is ready, as Jordan Schafer and Aaron Hicks could share time in center. Schafer, a left-handed hitter, would sit against lefties, while Hicks, a switch-hitter, would start against lefties and get occasional starts against righties based on matchups.

Would the Twins be smart to part with Trevor Plouffe now and start Escobar or Joe Mauer at third base until Miguel Sano joins the team? Moving Mauer to third base would allow them to play Kennys Vargas full-time at first base.
-- Josh R., St. Paul

This question ties into the last one, as another solution to moving Santana back to shortstop would be to trade Plouffe and start Escobar at third base until Sano is ready to take over at third.

But I think the Twins will be patient on this one because Plouffe had a breakout season in 2014, and Sano is coming off Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, so there's no guarantee he'll make his Major League debut next year. The Twins remain confident Sano will stick at third base, but that's also not set in stone after the surgery.

Video: CLE@MIN: Plouffe hits a walk-off single in the 10th

Plouffe, 28, hit .258/.328/.423 with 14 homers and 80 RBIs in 136 games, and also broke the club record for doubles in a season by a third baseman with 40. His defense also improved as advanced metrics all rated him as at least average to above average.

Plouffe finished the year with a 3.5 WAR that ranked second on the team among position players after Brian Dozier's 4.6. Plouffe's WAR was the ninth-best mark among third basemen and ahead of notable players such as Evan Longoria, Pablo Sandoval, Aramis Ramirez and David Wright. So the Twins seem more inclined to keep Plouffe as a part of their plans than to trade him away, especially because he does have versatility from his time as a utility player before taking over as full-time third baseman in '12.

As for the second part of the question, the Twins have no plans to move Mauer to third next year. It's something Ryan has downplayed every time he's been asked about it. The Twins like Mauer's ability at first base, and Vargas still has a ways to go until he's a serviceable everyday defender at first base. So it makes sense to start Vargas at designated hitter and mix him in at first base, even though it's rare for a 24-year-old to essentially be a full-time DH.

Do you see the Twins going after Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas to fill in the outfield corner spot?
-- Brandon M., Valley City, N.D.

The Twins have done their due diligence and have scouted Tomas, but a deal seems very unlikely given his hefty price tag. The Twins are more likely to allocate their free agency funds toward starting pitching, as evidenced by the club's recent interest in free-agent right-hander Justin Masterson.

Minnesota has a better chance of a reunion with Torii Hunter to fill a corner outfield spot than to sign Tomas, but it seems Hunter is more likely to sign with a club closer to contending.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Minnesota Twins