October 05, 2017 08:23 PM
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Although nothing was official as of Thursday evening, it appears likely Paul Molitor will return as manager of the Twins in 2018. A source told 1500 ESPN that an agreement was getting closer.
The Star Tribune was the first to report that Molitor is expected back.
Molitor, 61, managed this season in the third and final year of his contract and new chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and general manager Thad Levine declined to discuss Molitor's status during the season. That led to speculation that Molitor would not be retained.
Molitor, though, led the Twins from a franchise-worst 103-loss season in 2016 to a turnaround this year that saw the Twins win 85 games and qualify for the second wild card spot in the American League. That made it the first time a team went from 100 losses to the playoffs in big-league history.
Molitor met with Falvey and Levine after the Twins lost to the Yankees in the AL wild card game on Tuesday.
The Star Tribune reported that indications are Molitor's coaching staff will return intact. The Twins have not issued an official statement regarding Molitor's status.
Molitor, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame after a playing career with Milwaukee, Toronto and the Twins, was hired to replace Ron Gardenhire after the Twins went 70-92 in 2014. Molitor led the Twins to an 83-79 record in 2015 as the Twins stayed in the playoff hunt before being eliminated in the final weekend of the season.
That success was forgotten last year as the Twins got off to an 0-9 start en route to a 59-103 finish that resulted in Terry Ryan being fired as general manager in July. It was expected Molitor would be in trouble as well once the season ended, but Twins owner Jim Pohlad told Falvey and Levine that the one person they could not fire last offseason was Molitor.
Molitor rewarded Pohlad for his faith by helping the Twins rebound in 2017. He is a leading candidate to be named American League manager of the year.
Despite the Twins' success, Pohlad gave Falvey and Levine the ability to make a managerial change after this season. It now appears that won't happen.
Updated: October 05, 2017 08:23 PM
Created: October 05, 2017 06:10 PM
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