Twins hire ex-Rays player, coach Rocco Baldelli as manager

Rocco Baldelli

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He will be the youngest manager in the Major Leagues.

A former outfielder, Baldelli retired in 2011 while battling a rare muscular disorder, and has spent the past four seasons as a coach with the Tampa Bay Rays. He replaces Paul Molitor, who was sacked after four seasons with a 305-343 record.

They have since settled on their next skipper, with the team announcing Rocco Baldelli as the 14th manager in franchise history on Thursday.

The Minnesota Twins' youth movement officially extends to their manager.

The Twins clearly aren't anxious about Baldelli's lack of managerial experience.

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Of course, Baldelli also played in parts of seven big-league seasons, mostly with the Rays, amassing 10 career Wins Above Replacement before his body forced him into retirement. Baldelli checked that box and many more.

It's a radical shift for a Twins organization that has previously opted to hire from within the organization.

Ron Gardenhire coached under Kelly until taking over the job in 2002. Gardenhire, in turn, held onto the Twins' managerial post until 2014 and was replaced by Molitor, who'd served on his own coaching staff. He was born in 1981 to be exact and now many fans across baseball suddenly feel old. Hiring the 37-year-old Baldelli is the next step in that effort.

Minnesota finished second in the American League Central this season with a 74-84 record.

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