UPDATE: It’s official — the Twins have named Rocco Baldelli their new manager. A press conference is scheduled for 4PM this afternoon. Baldelli, 37, will be the youngest manager in baseball.
7:51 AM: Jon Heyman reports that the Twins will name Rocco Baldelli their new manager. This follows a report from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune late last night which suggested that the Twins were leaning in that direction.
Baldelli, 37, has emerged as a hot managerial prospect in recent weeks. In addition to the Twins, he also interviewed for the Blue Jays and Rangers vacancies. At present Baldelli is the Tampa Bay Rays Major League Field Coordinator and spent the previous three seasons as their first base coach. He, of course, is known for his eight-year big league career, mostly with the Rays.
Baldelli would replace Paul Molitor, last year’s Manager of the Year, who was dismissed after the Twins finished with a 78–84 record, coming in 13 games behind the Cleveland Indians.
Part of the reason the Cleveland Indians could trade away a pitcher like Trevor Bauer in the middle of a playoff race is because they have reinforcements on the way. The primary reinforcement is Corey Kluber, who has been out since May 1 with a broken arm. Based on what happened yesterday it’s possible that the Tribe will have to wait a bit longer for that particular reinforcement to arrive.
Kluber was the starter in yesterday’s game between Triple-A Columbus and Charlotte. He managed only one inning, however, walking two and not allowing a run before being lifted due to abdominal tightness. It was said that he was removed for precautionary reasons, so it may not be an injury as opposed to everyone simply being spooked. He’ll be reevaluated today.
It’s unclear whether this will delay his return to the Indians, though it obviously isn’t a good development. As it stood before yesterday, Cleveland had hoped Kluber could make big league starts in September and be ready for the postseason.