MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins have officially begun their search for a new manager, as they've already interviewed internal candidates in person and have begun conducting initial phone interviews with outside candidates, Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and general manager Thad Levine said Tuesday.
Falvey and Levine are still in the early stages of finding a replacement for Hall of Famer Paul Molitor, but said they're confident they'll find the right person for the job. There's no timetable for making a decision, as it's expected to take several weeks.
"We are certainly reaching out to some people who we have vetted and have targeted," Falvey said. "We also have heard from a number of different people across the game who have interest in this position. I'm not terribly surprised by that. As we've said all along we feel this is a job that stacks up there with any in baseball in terms of candidates who want to be here. This is a supportive ownership group, a good environment, an opportunity to impact some young players and a growing team."
Internal candidates include bench coach Derek Shelton, Major League coach Jeff Pickler and Triple-A manager Joel Skinner. External candidates who have been linked to the Twins include Indians bench coach Brad Mills, Indians Minor League defensive coach John McDonald, Indians first-base coach Sandy Alomar Jr., Rangers coach Jayce Tingler, Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde and Astros bench coach Joe Espada.
The Twins, though, will also be competing with other clubs for manager candidates, as the Angels, Orioles, Blue Jays, Rangers and Reds are also looking to make a new hire.
"We would like to balance being as thorough as we can in the vetting process and the reference-checking and the interviewing," Levine said. "I think we owe it to ownership and our fanbase to be expedient and nimble. There are six teams that are currently looking for managers. There's certainly an overlap of some of the candidates. We need to be nimble enough such that if we interview somebody who their timeline gets pushed up, we don't intend to necessarily stand on ceremony and be rigid to our timeline."
The Twins appear to be looking for an analytically inclined manager, as Falvey shared what traits they find important in a new skipper.
"We're looking for someone who is truly open-minded," Falvey said. "We're looking for a leader. Someone who will partner with us. Someone who is looking to move this organization forward, not just the 25-man roster. I think that's important. I think we want a partner who crosses all aspects of the organization to invest in the Minnesota Twins across the board. We have every expectation, early conversations that we've had with internal and external candidates, that we are going to find that person here who's of high character and a work ethic that we believe a championship-caliber organization puts together."
Twins third baseman Miguel Sano will avoid criminal charges for his traffic accident involving a police officer in the Dominican Republic early Sunday, and Levine and Falvey said they've been in contact with him since the incident.
"We were able to speak with some people who were associated with this and inclusive of Miguel's lawyer and otherwise and gathered additional information," Falvey said. "Miguel has taken steps to help throughout this process. He has certainly complied with anything that has been asked of the police and otherwise. At this stage, this is ultimately viewed as an accident and something we want to make sure that we are doing what we can to help both Miguel and the officer down there to make sure this has a resolution."
As for Sano's left knee, the Twins believe it's a minor injury, and he should be able to have a healthy, normal offseason that's expected to include some time playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic. They'll also continue to monitor his weight and conditioning throughout the offseason.
"We know he's at an important crossroads in his career," Falvey said. "He had a tough offseason last year; this is now an opportunity with what we expect a fully healthy offseason to take meaningful steps forward. He knows that's important."
No winter ball for Buxton
Center fielder Byron Buxton, who only played in 28 games with the Twins in 2018 because of injuries and offensive struggles, will not play in winter ball like Sano. But Buxton's left wrist is healthy and he's been in contact with the front office since the decision to not bring him up as a September callup.
"I feel really good about the conversations with Byron," Falvey said. "All of the conversations with him were about the future, and I feel good about where he's headed with us going forward."
Adrianza undergoes surgery
Utilityman Ehire Adrianza underwent surgery on his left, non-throwing shoulder on Tuesday. It had been bothering him late in the season The surgery repaired a labral tear, and the recovery time is three to four months, so he's expected to be ready for Spring Training.
Video: [email protected]: Mauer laces a double to left center in 7th
No decision for Mauer
First baseman Joe Mauer is spending time with his family after the conclusion of the regular season and still hasn't communicated whether he intends to retire or return for one more year. Mauer, a six-time All-Star during his 15-year career, is expected to retire, but Falvey said they'd welcome him back if he decides he wants to play. It appears Mauer, 35, could wait until the postseason ends to make his announcement.