Seeking a fresh voice for their underachieving young players, the Minnesota Twins have made Rocco Baldelli the youngest manager in the major leagues.
The Twins hired the 37-year-old Baldelli on Thursday, bringing the former Tampa Bay player, assistant and coach to Minnesota for his first job as a manager. He replaces Paul Molitor, who was fired after four seasons with a 305-343 record. Baldelli will be the first major league manager born in the 1980s.
Baldelli spent the last four years on the staff of Rays manager Kevin Cash, the first three as first base coach. His role for 2018 was a newly created position called major league field coordinator, helping Cash and bench coach Charlie Montoyo with in-game strategy, working with the outfielders and focusing on the continued development of the team’s young players.
Those were the magic words in Baldelli’s bio for Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and general manager Thad Levine. They were effusive with their praise of Molitor for his acumen, character and flexibility, but the closest Falvey and Levine came to articulating a specific reason for Molitor’s dismissal when they announced it a little more than three weeks ago was a desire for deeper connections with millennial players in hopes of more productivity on the field.
“Today’s player is increasingly demanding on coaches and managers relative to relationships and motivation and those sorts of things,” Levine said then. “We need to continue to try to put the resources around them that can service them, in this new generation of player.”
Baldelli will be the 14th manager for the Twins since the franchise relocated from Washington in 1961, only their fourth manager since 36-year-old Tom Kelly took over in 1986 and their first managerial hire outside the organization since Ray Miller in 1985.
McGwire won’t return as Padres bench coach
Padres manager Andy Green says Mark McGwire won’t return as San Diego’s bench coach next season in order to spend more time with his family.
McGwire, who hit 583 home runs during his big league career, spent three seasons on the Padres’ staff.
“He wants to watch his two boys play high school baseball,” Green said in a text to the Associated Press. “We talked about it a lot before the season ended.”
McGwire lives in Irvine. He joined the Padres after spending three seasons as the Dodgers’ hitting coach. Before that, McGwire was hitting coach of the St. Louis Cardinals for three seasons following a hiatus after his steroid-tainted playing career ended.