MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Twins say they’re going in a new direction in 2019, and have fired Paul Molitor as the club’s manager.
The St. Paul native was just named American League Manager of the Year last season. But after a losing season, it seemed management wanted to make some changes.
“I would like to thank Paul for his tremendous dedication to the Minnesota Twins over his last four years as manager of this club,” Twins executive vice-president Derek Falvey said. “Paul’s roots here run deep and his commitment to the organization, his staff, and the players is special. I have every hope and desire that he remains a part of this club for many years to come.”
WCCO’s Mark Rosen said that this move might have been made after last season, but the Twins made a late-season surge to get into the one-game Wild Card playoff. After that, Molitor was named AL Manager of the Year.
Now, there was no question the management team of Thad Levine and Derek Falvey wanted to go in their own direction, which means they really have their work cut out for them this offseason.
“I was informed today that the Twins will seek a new manager for the 2019 season and I fully respect that decision,” Molitor said. “I will forever be grateful for the opportunity they gave me to serve in the role as manager for these past four years. I’m going to consider their genuine offer to serve in a different capacity to positively impact the Twins from a different role. Special thanks to my coaches and players I have had a chance to manage, and I certainly appreciate the tremendous support I received from all of Twins Territory.”
Molitor signed a three-year contract extension and is owed over $3 million through 2020. Rosen said Molitor did a better job managing this multi-flawed team to 78 wins this year than he did a year ago with the 85 wins.
He had expressed his desire to return, but those flaws this year included the disappearances of Byron
Buxton and Miguel Sano, their All-Star pitcher Ervan Santana unable to come back from finger surgery, shortstop Jorge Polonco suspended the first 80 games, a bevy of unproductive free agent signings, and now the expected retirement of Joe Mauer.
Molitor has been manager with the Twins for four seasons. He previously played for the team from 1996 through 1998, as part of his Hall of Fame career.