Unlucky 13: Ron Gardenhire Out as Twins Manager

The 13-year tenure of Ron Gardenhire as manager of the Minnesota Twins came to an end Monday. Gardenhire's tenure can be described as a roller coaster as he helped rescue the organization from disarray and guided them to six postseason appearances. However, the team has lost at least 92 games in each of the last four years. The move ended the second-longest active tenure in the big leagues. Gardenhire had one year left on his most recent contract.

Gardenhire was the 2010 AL Manager of the Year and finished with a record of 1,068-1,039 overall. Although the Twins clinched their division six times they won only one playoff series under Gardenhire. They are 2-15 in their last 17 playoff games. Gardenhire has the most division championships and playoff appearances as a Twins manager.

Gardenhire has been with the organization since 1987. He led the Twins to an AL Central title in his first year on the job in 2002. They would repeat in 2003 thanks to a July trade for Shannon Stewart. Gardenhire was never able to translate that success to the playoffs going 6-21 overall despite having a knack for developing players in the major leagues. 

Gardenhire is the fall guy for poor decision making in the front office. He is only the fourth manager in the history of baseball to reside over four straight 90-plus losing seasons. However, the Twins pitching philosophy of guys that just throw strikes no longer works. They do not have pitchers that strike guys out. They are rebuilding and have made some questionable decisions in the front office, but a change had to be made somewhere. It would not be a surprise if Gardenhire has another job very soon. 

This makes the Twins the fourth team looking for a manager so far this offseason. Paul Molitor is one of the first names mentioned as a possible replacement. Terry Steinbach is already in Minnesota and is also a top candidate. The Twins have had only two managers over the past 28 years.