When the Twins report to spring training in Fort Myers, Fla., next week, they will begin what could turn out to be manager Ron Gardenhire's final year with the club.
Gardenhire is entering the final year of his contract, and the Twins have lost 195 games the last two seasons. He enters 2013 with only one member of his coaching staff -- pitching coach Rick Anderson -- in the same role as 2012. And after the 2012 season, general manager Terry Ryan and Gardenhire agreed the manager didn't deserve a contract extension.
That puts the 12th-year manager under possibly more scrutiny than he has faced during his tenure with the Twins. But Gardenhire said recently he understands why he's on a short leash.
"I don't even worry about that. Really, I don't," Gardenhire said. "We only talk about it because that's the way the business goes. I've managed, what, 11 going on 12 years? I think my predecessor (Tom Kelly) went a year at a time. I don't think he ever signed more than a one-year deal. I don't have a problem with it at all."
If the Twins get off to a slow start, it could lead to questions about Gardenhire's job security, but Ryan said at the Winter Meetings in December that Gardenhire will be judged on more than just wins and losses.
Ryan, who promoted Gardenhire from the Twins' third-base coach to manager in 2002, put the onus on himself to give Gardenhire a more talented roster, and Ryan said he will weigh the manager's entire performance when evaluating his future.