MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota Twins are bringing back Paul Molitor as manager after he led a historic turnaround.
The Twins announced Monday that Molitor is getting a new three-year deal that keeps him under contract through 2020. They went 85-77 this season, becoming the first team to make the playoffs after losing at least 100 games the previous year. They lost to the New York Yankees in the AL wild-card game last week.
New executives Derek Falvey and Thad Levine never addressed Molitor’s future during the season. That led to some uncertainty about whether they would retain a manager they inherited when they took over.
But the two sides reached agreement on a new deal less than a week after the season ended.
Molitor spent the entire season in the final year of his initial three-year contract signed in 2014. New executives Derek Falvey and Thad Levine never addressed the manager’s future during the season, which saw a 26-game improvement from 2016. That led to some uncertainty about whether they would retain a manager they inherited when they took over.
But with Molitor among the front-runners for AL manager of the year, the two sides reached agreement on a new deal less than a week after the season ended.
A St. Paul native who spent the final three seasons of a Hall of Fame career with the Twins, Molitor has earned the loyalty and respect of his players with an even-keeled demeanor and impressive grasp of the game. Prior to being hired as manager, he served as a roving instructor in the Twins’ minor league system, forging strong bonds with players like Brian Dozier, Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton that laid the groundwork for this season’s renaissance.
“He’s our skipper. He’s our leader,” Dozier said after the Twins were eliminated by the Yankees. “He does so much, having his hands on every single thing. … When you’ve got a guy like that, we feel lucky.”
Molitor was hired to replace longtime manager Ron Gardenhire for the 2015 season. The Twins were coming off of their fourth straight season of 90-plus losses, but Molitor spearheaded a surprisingly competitive 83-79 year that kept them in the playoff conversation deep into September.