With Twins on pace to lose 90, should Gardenhire be expected back?
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The Twins entered Friday 56-70, which is a .444 winning percentage and puts them on track to lose 90 games for the fourth consecutive season under manager Ron Gardenhire.
In Sid Hartman's column for Friday's Star Tribune, general manager Terry Ryan is quoted as saying that he would say Gardenhire will be back as manager of the Twins next season.
There's some innuendo in the story, but here is an excerpt from Hartman's column:
Ryan was asked if he wants to come back next season.
"Let me get through the year," [Ryan] said. "Like everything around this organization, we usually wait until the end of the year before we make any decisions."
What about Gardenhire?
"Same stuff. He is signed for next year, so you don't have to worry about him."
He'll be back?
"Yeah, yeah, I would say he'll be back," Ryan said.
Ryan has ramped back up to full-time work after he had surgery this winter to remove cancerous squamous cells from his neck. He has not made it clear that he'll be back next season as GM of the Twins, but he also hasn't suggested that he won't be. Twins owner Jim Pohlad has said in the past that Ryan will be GM as long as he wants to be.
It would be surprising if Gardenhire had that same level of security.
In my opinion, Ryan telling Hartman in August that Gardenhire will be back in 2015 does not ensure Gardenhire will be back. It's not to say that Ryan is lying, but I personally would be surprised if the decision already has been made that Gardenhire will return as manager.
Gardenhire has another year left on the two-year deal he signed in late September. And what is Ryan supposed to say in that situation?
Here are three things to consider when trying to figure out the likelihood of Hartman's column becoming prophetic.
1. Will Ryan decide he'll be back as GM?
2. If he does, will he be given final say on the manager? Or will other arms of the Twins organization intervene this time and have input?
3. If Ryan returns and has full autonomy, will he back Gardenhire another season?
Whether the team loses 90 games or, say, 88 shouldn't change the assessment of 2014 as an unsuccessful season. It would be an exaggeration to say that's entirely the fault of the manager.
But it's fair to wonder, even after Friday's report, whether or not Gardenhire will get a chance to finish his contract.
What do you think, Twins fans? How would you respond if Gardenhire is the Twins manager on Opening Day 2015?