Rocco Baldelli is the current manager of the Minnesota Twins. But for how much longer? I must admit that was the first thing that popped into my mind — and I can’t be the only one thinking this — after the Twins announced they had hired former San Diego Padres manager, Jayce Tingler, to join Rocco in the dugout as bench coach. Everyone is saying the right things after the announcement was made, of course, but I have a feeling Rocco’s seat is just a tad warmer.
Tingler comes to the Twins after leading the Padres for two seasons. They finished 37-23 in 2020 and made the postseason, then expectations soared for 2021 as the club loaded up on pitching to join sluggers Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado. All went as planned during the first half of the season as the Padres went 53-40. Fourteen of those days were spent in first place, and then the wheels not only came off, they disappeared, the Padres going 26-43 to end the season, including a dismal 7-21 in September and October.
Still, Tingler was 116-106 over his two seasons, but it wasn’t enough to save his job amid reports that he had lost the respect of players and the clubhouse, according to MLB Trade Rumors. Things that work in Tingler’s favor: He speaks Spanish fluently, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported, which may endear him to the number of Latin American ballplayers on the club, and he’s an old chum of current Twins general manager, Thad Levine. Tingler spent 13 years in the Texas Rangers organization when Levine was there, working as a minor league manager, in player development positions and as assistant general manager, MLB.com reports.
Although Rocco’s job will certainly be in jeopardy if the Twins have a repeat of 2021, it’s not like he’s going to be pushed out at the first opportunity. He’s 210-174 over his three seasons with the Twins, including 101 wins in 2019 and back-to-back appearances in the postseason. He also was named AL Manager of the Year in 2019.
-Left-handed pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez of the Boston Red Sox is off the free-agent board after he agreed to a five-year deal with the Detroit Tigers. I had hoped the Twins would go after him.
-If you thought there was a chance that right-handed pitcher Jose Berrios might return to the Twins, think again. He has been locked up by the Toronto Blue Jays for a reported $131 million over seven seasons.
-Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash is your AL Manager of the Year in back-to-back seasons. I thought Tigers manager A.J. Hinch would finish higher than he did. He was not a finalist and attracted only three third-place votes. The cheating scandal has not been forgotten.
-And then there was this…
If you’re not wearing a Buffalo Braves blazer and a pair of plaid trousers today, do you really care about looking your best? I say not. pic.twitter.com/vwTRmLiwV3
— Super 70s Sports (@Super70sSports) November 15, 2021
Rest in peace, Jack Ramsay. You are missed.