Twins name Rocco Baldelli their new manager

Former major leaguer Rocco Baldelli becomes the Twins’ 14th manager. (AP)
Former major leaguer Rocco Baldelli becomes the Twins’ 14th manager. (AP)

The Minnesota Twins have their man.

Rocco Baldelli, who spent seven seasons playing in Major League Baseball for the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox, has been hired as the franchise’s 14th manager.

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Baldelli was the first manager hired by the Twins from outside the organization since 1984, when Ray Miller took over the club. Miller was succeeded by Tom Kelly, who served as a Twins coach before leading the franchise to two World Series titles during his 16-season tenure.

Ron Gardenhire coached under Kelly until taking over the job in 2002. Paul Molitor, who was fired earlier this month, worked in the organization for 10 years before replacing Gardenhire following the 2014 season. The Twins won a disappointing 78 games in Molitor’s final season. In 2017, the Twins reached the AL wild-card game, but lost to the New York Yankees.

Baldelli, 37, served as the Rays’ major league field coordinator in 2017. His playing career ended in 2010 due to complications from a muscular disorder. Since then, Baldelli has worn several different hats in the Rays’ organization, including spending time in the front office and four seasons as first-base coach.

The Twins clearly aren’t worried about Baldelli’s lack of managerial experience. That he’s seen the game from virtually every other angle is seemingly a plus. The Star Tribune report also cites Baldelli’s acceptance of analytics and his ability to connect with young players as two big factors working in his favor.

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