Paul Molitor says if Miguel Sano is ready next year, 'bring it on'
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MINNEAPOLIS -- On the heels of the third consecutive season with 90-plus losses, the discussion surrounding Ron Gardenhire's job security appears to be coming to a head. Many fans have called for a change at manager, but as yet there is no certainty to the skipper's future.
Gardenhire needs two wins to reach career win No. 1000 and has four games left this season to reach the milestone. The Cleveland Indians are in town Thursday night for a four-game series, as they try to lock up a playoff spot as an American League Wild Card team.
One name floated around by fans to replace Gardenhire if in fact he does not have his contract extended, is Hall of Famer Paul Molitor.
Molitor spoke to 1500ESPN's morning host Judd Zulgad, and while he wouldn't address speculation directly, he did have some pretty loaded comments.
First, Molitor was asked: Would you take any other manager job if it opens with another team?
"I don't believe so," Molitor said. "I think there's going to be some musical chairs. How it's going to unfold, I'm not sure. ... But no, I'm not sure what's going to happen around [Minnesota]. We all know there's been a lot of things up in the air but I think a lot of that stuff's going to come clean here in the near term. But no I can't imagine any scenario that would entice me to go somewhere else."
So if Gardenhire is let go and they offer you the job, would you take it?
"I'm not really comfortable answering that," Molitor said. "I'm a huge Gardy fan and I'm not sure where that's going to go. Before we get into any discussion about that let's see how that unfolds."
For those curious, Molitor had some electric comments on how the organization should handle one of its top prospects, Miguel Sano. Does Molitor think, regardless of the manager, that Sano will be the third baseman in 2014?
"I'd give him at least a 50 percent chance of being there. I've got a feeling that, give the last three seasons - yes, we have to have a plan that goes beyond 2014 - but for me, it's open season," Molitor said. "I want to put a clubhouse there that even if it loses, it's going to have a new look to it. Some kind of feeling of excitement and something the fans can rally behind. If Sano is ready to grab onto that, bring it on."
And how about Byron Buxton, should he be accelerated in his development or is it better to play it slowly with him?
"I think this guy's got that internal thing that separates him from a lot of guys with high-level skills. That's going to allow him to expediate his journey to the Major Leagues. I would love to see him up here next year, whether it's a September call-up or before that," Molitor said. "A lot of people might cringe when I say that in the organization, but I think it's time to start opening our minds to the possibility of moving some of these guys along that have this top-level talent."