On Friday, Twins president of baseball operations Derek Falvey shut down all speculation about manager Rocco Baldelli’s job security.
The Twins will almost surely miss the playoffs this season. They are 73-77, have played 10 games in American League Central and 9 1⁄2 out of the Wild Card race with 12 games left, including Friday night against the Angels at Target Field. And although it’s the second straight season without a playoff appearance, Baldelli is expected to manage a fifth season in 2023.
“Rocco is our manager. He’s been my partner all along. It never even crossed my mind, quite frankly,” Falvey said. “…Rocco is a big part of our future. Not just next year, but beyond.”
Falvey acknowledged that the team “didn’t play as well” as anyone would like, so questions about personnel changes are natural. But in assessing what went wrong — a conversation that included Baldelli — coaching didn’t appear to be the root of the problem.
In Baldelli’s four seasons with the Twins, his most successful were his first two: the 101-win 2019 season and the pandemic-shortened 2020 season with a .600 winning percentage at 36-24.
Baldelli, who turns 41 on Sunday, set a 283-251 record (.530 winning percentage) in this weekend’s series. In two playoff appearances under Baldelli, the Twins are 0-5. Three of those playoff losses have come to the Yankees, a team that is 15-5 against the Baldelli Twins in the regular season.
Falvey said while injuries aren’t a “single excuse” for this year’s woes, they are a reason the Twins faltered in the final month of the season. They lack big names like Byron Buxton, Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler.
“There are a lot of areas where we could be better. And ultimately, if we don’t come to the end of the season thinking about how we can be better next year, they should probably decide that someone someone else should be doing those jobs at that time,” Falvey said. “It’s our job. And so Rocco feels the same as me. We’re trying to think of ways to improve.”
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