Molitor was a tremendous player and HOF time performer, despite injuries that robbed him at times. When he joined the Twins family as an instructor, there were many positive reports of his workings with young talent on the farm, and his evaluations. In 2015, his rookie year as a ML manager, the Twins seemed to overachieve. And were it not for some questionable moves…May to the pen over Pelfrey…and some late and not enough bullpen moves…that team may have made the playoffs, at least. Molitor was the man at the helm for that season.
He was also the man in charge, on the field at least, for the abysmal 2016 season. Then, even now in retrospect, many questions arise as to how that team was handled. To this day, I’m not sure any of us know how much blame should be laid at the feet of Molitor, or Ryan, or just bad luck. Molitor himself, at times, has referenced comments as to mistakes made in 2016. Personal blame or a shot to the then FO?
The one condition given to Falvey and Levine when they took over for 2017 was that Molitor must be kept on as manager. Despite a limited roster, though it also included a ton of young talent, the Twins have surprised in 2017 right up until, and just past, the all star game. Tough competition, a string of losses, and now the acceptance of not making the layoffs and subsequent trades, has left our beloved Twins, and their manager, in an interesting, intriguing and frustrating position. There is something to play for still, a .500 record, building for 2018 and beyond, and further auditions for young talent. But Molitor is now denied his closer, and a nice rotation piece who was here for all of one game.
I don’t envy the position Molitor is in, and has been since the season began. There is a lot of talent and potential to like here. Some of it has developed as hoped, some is coming on, some hasn’t met hope or expectation. At least not yet.
One could argue he has embraced analytics, worked towards matchups, and experimented with his lineups to find options that work. One could also question such constantly juggling, falling in love with performing relievers and over using them, and putting on plays that seem questionable. But, with a young and developing lineup, and serious questions as to his pitching staff, we have to ask ourselves as to how much Molitor may lay at the foundation of blame vs working with what he has at the moment.
So I have to ask, and put it to all of you for your input, is Molitor a guy stuck in the middle the past 2+ season’s trying to make a difference the best he can? 2015 and the first half of 2017 suggest his may be the case. Or is he to, at least partially, blame for 2016 and some questionable play and options in 2017?
Is it time to DFA Molitor? Or, betw÷n 2015 and the first half of this season, do we see a guy who can do things right, with some additions and help, that can keep this team moving forward in 2018?