Much has been said and written about Paul Molitor’s messy breakup with the Milwaukee Brewers back in the early 1990s, but the organization retired his No. 4 in 1999 and he remains a well-respected icon of the franchise to this day. Of course, he’s been mostly affiliated with the Minnesota Twins for the last decade, the team with whom he played his last years in the big leagues as well as the team that represents his hometown of St. Paul. Last offseason there was a big shakeup in the Twins’ coaching ranks. Manager Ron Gardenhire and pitching coach Rick Anderson were retained, but a number of coaches were fired and new people brought in as Wisconsin-native GM Terry Ryan pivoted towards the future. Interestingly, Molitor, who was a candidate for the Twins’ manager job when Tom Kelly retired more than a decade ago, did not receive an offer from the Twins organization at that time after many people thought he would be a great fit for Gardenhire’s coaching staff in 2013. Molitor himself said he would ‘probably be open’ to interviewing for a position in October of 2012 and said then that coaching at this point in his life might be a fit. ‘Timing-wise for me, I might have an interest’, he said. Perhaps there was a stigma attached to Molitor’s candidacy for a coaching position on the Twins in 2013, in that Gardenhire would have Molitor sitting there as the heir apparent in case the Twins got off to a bad start.
Well, the Twins got off to an OK start, but have since faltered badly, and are currently on an eight-game losing skid. Their 18-25 record is still better than the woeful Brewers, though, who are at 18-27. The Twins and Brewers have a lot in common and I’ve sometimes thought that in some parallel universe the teams could be combined to form a regional superpower (or if, say, history had been different and Wisconsin and Minnesota were somehow one big state called, I dunno, Wissota). Anyway, Ron Gardenhire’s hot seat is about as hot as Brewers manager Ron Roenicke’s. In the case of Gardenhire, he’s not signed beyond this season but he’s been the manager of the Twins since 2002, and he’s guided the team to a lot of success. There’s been little indication from the Twins’ front office that they plan to fire Gardenhire regardless of how this season plays out. That would seem to mean Molitor would have little chance of hooking on with the Twins as manager or coach in the near future.
On the other, the Brewers are in a downward spiral that few teams could match in terms of the breadth and depth of ugly, horribly played baseball. This is just my speculation, but my guess is that Molitor would probably only agree to manage in three places, were he inclined to take such a job: Minnesota, Milwaukee and Toronto. Those are the three teams he played for in his brilliant, Hall of Fame career. Molitor has spent time as a hitting coach with the Seattle Mariners and also has served as a roving instructor for the Twins for many years. It’s unclear how strong his desire is to shed the freedom and flexibility of an instructor’s role for the pressure and shackles of a big-league manager’s job, but with the winds of change possibly, though not likely, swirling around the Brewers these days, I wonder if Molitor could end up as manager of the Milwaukee Brewers one day. It’s unclear how good of a manager Molly would be, given that he has little experience in the role. Surely, having the guy known as ‘The Ignitor’ calling the shots couldn’t hurt a team that often appears uninspired and lethargic.