The always perceptive Aaron Gleeman sizes up the situation well:
Gardenhire's firing was justified, but it has little to do with whether another manager could have avoided four consecutive 90-loss seasons with sub par talent and a lot to do with whether Gardenhire is the manager the Twins want leading them for the next 5-10 years when the talent improves.I think that's right. The larger question is whether this supremely insular organization will look outside of the organization. You're already seeing some very familiar names being surfaced -- Paul Molitor and Terry Steinbach, who were both on Gardenhire's staff this season, and former Twins players Chip Hale and Doug Mientkiewicz. You're also seeing Ozzie Guillen, the longtime White Sox manager/lovable villain who often served as the foil for the Twins during the previous decade. While those would be easily understood choices, I think it's time to look outside the organization entirely.
And it will improve. This team will be better in 2015 than it was in 2014 and better in 2016 than it was in 2015. They have too much high-end talent in the minor leagues--and some high-end talent already faring well in the major leagues--for that not to happen, so even though the next manager may have to deal with low payrolls and shaky front office decision-making the combination of an impending influx of young talent and minimal expectations should make it an appealing gig.
The two guys I'd be looking at are Dave Martinez, currently the right-hand man of Joe Maddon at Tampa Bay, and Jose Oquendo, the longtime third base coach of the Cardinals. The obvious advantage is that you want someone who speaks Spanish well, since some of the key youngsters in the organization are from Latin America -- Danny Santana, Kennys Vargas, Oswaldo Arcia and Miguel Angel Sano are all going to be part of the future of this team. It will be interesting to see if the Twins are willing to bring in a new set of eyes.