After 13 seasons with the Minnesota Twins, Ron Gardenhire was fired on Monday. The Twins skipper led the team to six division titles during his reign, but this was the fourth straight season they finished with 92 losses or more. The ghost of Casey Stengel wouldn't have gotten away with that.
Instant reaction: The move feels just a touch unfair. Call it the Lousy Team Paradox: What would another manager have done with the roster Gardenhire was given? Bruce Bochy, Tony LaRussa, Earl Weaver ... pick the manager of your choice and give him an Opening Day roster with Pedro Florimon on it. The Twins decided to spend on free agents this year and came away with Ricky Nolasco. That's going to hose them for the next three years. That's not Gardenhire's fault.
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On the other hand, there's something to be said about continuity unintentionally promoting a culture of losing, and it's not like Gardenhire was a tactical genius. From Aaron Gleeman, who recently asked if Gardenhire should be fired:
Forget for a moment how much responsibility for four consecutive 90-loss seasons should fall on Gardenhire's shoulders versus the front office. Forget for a moment whether you think a different manager could have coaxed these awful teams to slightly less awful records. Here is the far more important question: If and when the Twins re-emerge as contenders, is Gardenhire the manager you want at the helm to get the most out of that new core of young talent?
When you put it that way ...
The Twins have had two managers over the last 29 seasons, so they obviously value continuity. There might not have been anything Gardenhire could have done differently this season to save his job this season, though, which is a pretty good sign that everyone needed to move on.