After nary a whisper about a contract extension all season long, Twins manager Paul Molitor finally was rewarded with a new three-year contract on Monday.
But is this the deal that Falvey & Co. — Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey and General Manager Thad Levine — really envisioned? I don’t think it is. After all, Falvey & Co. jettisoned two key players mid-season, effectively telling Twins fans that the team would win later, not now.
And if the Twins had continued to play like they did in July, none of us would be writing about Molitor’s new deal.
Yet Molitor, apparently finding inspiration in Bruce Springsteen, rallied the Twins to 20 wins in August en route to the team’s first postseason playoff berth since 2010. And then there were the obvious accomplishments: 26 more wins in 2017 than the previous year, and the Twins became the first team in major league history to make the playoffs after losing 100 games the season before. Based on that performance, Molitor is more than likely to be named the American League Manager of the Year.
It’s tough to fire a guy who had a season as good as Molitor’s, and so it feels as if Falvey & Co. were backed into a corner, perhaps wanting to avoid the backlash created by the firing of former Twin and minor league manager, Doug Mientkiewicz.
I think this comment on MLB Trade Rumors sums up my feelings about Monday’s announcement:
I’m not sure how to read the behavior of the Twins front office. Are they just playing it cool and close to the vest as is the case in many contract negotiations, or is there genuine ambivalence on their part? Seems like they see Molitor more as a bridge to the next manager rather than their field general going forward.
-Molitor got a new deal, but pitching coach Neil Allen did not. He was fired Monday. Yet Allen had helped the Twins improve, too. The team’s ERA went from 5.39 in 2016 to 4.73 in 2017.