On Wednesday, before the team lost for the ninth time in 12 September games, the Blue Jays officially announced the hiring of ex-Red Sox GM Ben Cherington as their new vice president of baseball operations. He'll focus primarily on player development after producing that young core in Boston.
Soon after the Blue Jays announced the Cherington hire, word got out he declined to interview for an executive position with the Twins. They fired longtime GM Terry Ryan a few weeks ago and have been looking for a new head baseball operations person since. Cherington's reportedly not the only candidate to decline an interview with Minnesota either.
Sources: Ben Cherington isn't the only exec who has turned down interview with Twins. Multiple GM types have rebuffed their interest so far.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) September 14, 2016
The Twins have not necessarily been looking for a new GM. They're looking for a president of baseball operations, which is a relatively new front office fad. The president of baseball operations oversees everything and the GM reports to him. Theo Epstein, Dave Dombrowski, and Andrew Friedman are among the current presidents of baseball operations around the game.
The larger issue here is candidates declining to interview with the Twins. These jobs are in high demand. There's only 30 of them, remember. That Cherington turned down the opportunity to run the Twins and instead took a second or third-in-command position with the Blue Jays is pretty telling. The Minnesota job isn't very appealing, apparently.
This reminds me of the Orioles a few years ago. Andy MacPhail stepped down as GM of the O's in 2011, and the team had a hard time finding candidates willing to interview for the job. That's why they wound up hiring Dan Duquette, who had not worked in a front office in nearly a decade. Folks outside the organization saw the Baltimore job as an undesirable one.
I'm guessing the Twins are having trouble getting interviews for two reasons. One, ownership has already said manager Paul Molitor will remain next season. The new head baseball operations honcho won't be able to bring in his or her own manager. And two, the Twins are said to be very behind the times analytically. Whoever they hire will have to build a stats department (and who knows what else) from the ground up.
Of course, there are a lot of reasons to like the Twins job too. The team's farm system is strong, most of their big contracts will expire soon, the ballpark is excellent, and it's a chance to start fresh. President of baseball operations jobs are in demand, and eventually the Twins are going to hire a very qualified individual. Right now, folks are passing on this opportunity, and that has to be disappointing for Minnesota.