The Twins suggested this week that their search for a new General Manager may leak into the offseason. Whenever the new GM is hired, given that the Twins are 394-532 since the beginning of 2011, he will be placed right in the middle of a disastrous era for the Twins. Undoubtedly, the new hiree should not be afraid to be bold, and sometimes cruel. It is the only way that the Twins will get back into contention! Here are three dramatic suggestions as to where he could start.
The incoming GM must let hitting coach Tom Brunansky and pitching coach Neil Allen go. Brunansky joined the Twins for the 2013 season, leading the team to just a .242 batting average that year. It was a little better in 2014, however it actually dropped seven points to .247 in 2015. Surprisingly, the batting average is back up to .257 so far this year, but the team has struck out 990 times with 365 walks. Brunansky was supposed to get the offense rolling and the fire power is still not where it needs to be.
Allen, joining Paul Molitor’s staff in 2015, has been credited in turning around Tampa Bay before moving north. Allen somewhat turned the Twins pitching staff around that year, as pitchers had a 4.07 ERA with 1,046 strikeouts. The staff this year has a 4.94 ERA, but disturbingly has given up 1,157 hits while recording 160 strikeouts. Of course in May, Allen was suspended for just over 45 days because of a DWI arrest before resuming his duties. He said that his five-week treatment at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation “saved his life.” Although Allen had a rough year and Brunansky has been trying, I feel that it is time to give new voices to the batters and pitchers. If you are wondering, I want to see Molitor return for at least one more year.
The most radical idea for the newbie that I have is that they should restructure Joe Mauer’s contract. When the new GM is hired, the 33-year-old will have 2 years, $28 million left on his contract. In recent years, Mauer’s stats have dipped since his August 2013 concussion. Since 2014, Mauer has never batted higher than .280 after having been above .305 for the most part of his career. His power performance has dipped as he has just 23 home runs and has struck out 282 times during that three-year time span. During spring training this season, Mauer said that his blurred vision is due to his concussions, but did not use that as an excuse about his performance.
Tweaking Mauer’s contract would free up money to sign actual top-tier pitchers. I would not mind at all if Mauer changes positions since Kennys Vargas and Byung Ho Park could handle first base. Mauer has not played up to his contract, and it would only make sense to find more money by offering Mauer less. Maybe like a three-year, $18 million contract remodel starting in 2017, perhaps?
If the new GM goes bold, it will show the fan base that he is serious about changing the Twins organization. It should be mentioned that the Twins have hired a search firm, Korn Ferry, to help out with the search and that Rob Antony in still in the running to be the permanent replacement. What do you want the new GM to tackle first?
Written by: Michael L. Sack