Twins notes: Is pitching coach Rick Anderson's job on chopping block?
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MINNEAPOLIS -- If the Minnesota Twins make any changes to the management personnel this offseason, it would be a safe bet that the decisions and announcements on those moves would come quickly, if not as soon as Monday.
The Twins play their season finale Sunday afternoon with a 1:10 start time against the Indians.
The club hasn't officially set a time when it will address Ron Gardenhire's status with the team -- his contract expires after the season -- but a press conference could potentially come as early as Monday as well.
With a veritable plethora of rookie coaches on the current staff, it's truly hard to read what direction Terry Ryan will take when he makes end-of-year assessments on the jobs that each coach has done.
The one coach who managed to escape wide sweeping firings and reassignments last season was pitching coach Rick Anderson. But with the pitching staff appearing headed to a third-straight season with an ERA above 4.50, it's fair to wonder if Anderson is on the chopping block.
Anderson has been the pitching coach for Gardenhire's entire tenure, and it's clear the manager really doesn't want to see his friend and confidant move on.
"That's kind of a no-brainer," Gardenhire said. "Andy and I have been doing it together forever. We started together and we've been together."
Gardenhire's voice softened for a brief second.
"No. Andy and I have been together a long time."
If keeping Anderson is a no-brainer, Gardenhire made it sound like hiring his former Mets teammate was every bit as obvious of a decision.
"That was pretty simple, too," Gardenhire said. "We were teammates, we lived together, trusted each other...it was pretty simple. He was our Triple-A pitching coach. On the rise. Very good, very well liked. Had all the pitchers (as students in the minors). It was a simple move."
Bringing Anderson onto the staff wasn't a part of Gardenhire cleaning house when he took over for Tom Kelly though. In fact, that decision was out of his hands.
"I was really close with Dick Such, being a coach under TK with him," Gardenhire said. "I wanted to keep Suchy on my staff if I was going to get the manager's job, but that was past me. The staff had been changed before I even interviewed. But I was real close with Suchy, and I thought he was a really good pitching coach too. I would have made him my bench coach if I had the opportunity. But Andy was definitely the obvious choice as the pitching coach, and basically Terry hired him, and it was pretty simple with me."
Clearly, there's a lot of history between these two. But if last offseason was any indication, this Twins front office isn't afraid to fire an arrow across the bow to show it's willing to make staff changes.
Reading between the lines the past month or so, it has felt as though Gardenhire is at peace with what his fate will be. The true barometer may come next week, as his loyalty to Anderson may be tested.
• Jamey Carroll's fourth inning double off Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale Friday evening was the 1000th hit of his career. The hit makes for a good story in an otherwise trying tenure in Kansas City, as Carroll has gone 4 for 36 (.111) in 14 games since coming over from the Twins on Aug. 11.
• The Twins continued one of their finer parts of fan appreciation weekend Friday night, as players each threw a ball they had autographed into the crowd prior to taking the field against the Indians.
An interesting wrinkle the Twins added in 2012 and enhanced this year was players and staff treating groups of seatholders to concessions. For instance, the entire Legend's Club was treated to peanuts, while Terry Ryan treated an entire seating group to steak sandwiches. Caleb Thielbar gave out Cracker Jacks, while Brian Duensing and Trevor Plouffe gave out pizza and mini donuts. These giveaways will continue all weekend.
The club is also doing a "shirts off their back" promotion on Sunday, where every player and coaches game-worn jersey will be given away as part of a raffle in which tickets will be given to everyone 14-and-under who comes to the game. No additional purchase will be necessary.
• In team history, Joe Mauer holds the top five, and six of the top seven seasons by Twins catchers in terms of Fangraphs WAR (Wins Above Replacement). This season is his fifth-best (5.2) by that measure.
• Brian Dozier's 2.7 WAR is 16th-best in team history among second basemen. Eleven of those marks were achieved by either Rod Carew (six) or Chuck Knoblauch (five).
• Only Joe Nathan (three times) and Juan Rincon (2004) have posted higher strikeouts per nine innings (K/9) in Twins history than Glen Perkins' 11.1. Casey Fien is eighth in team history at 10.5 (minimum 50 innings).