Jon Heyman: Meulens among leading candidates for Twins job

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Former Giants hitting coach Hensley Meulens, Astros bench coach Joe Espada and Rays coach Rocco Baldelli are among candidates in play for the vacant Minnesota Twins managerial role.

Twins bench coach Derek Shelton is also expected to be considered, as are other potential candidates. Meulens, currently working in the Giants front office, managed the Netherlands to a surprisingly strong finish in the World Baseball Classic and was well known before that when he earned World Series rings as the Giants' affable, hard-working hitting coach.

Espada has served as coach in a wide variety of places including with the Yankees and Marlins. The Astros bench job under A.J. Hinch is becoming a springboard as Alex Cora preceded Espada in that job.

Baldelli, who was first mentioned as a candidate by Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500, is a respected member of the Rays hierarchy that’s easily outplayed its payroll. All three — and Shelton too — fit the new mold as all are bright youngish minds who have yet to manage in the majors.

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The Twins job should be an attractive one for all those candidates. The team is just one year removed from a playoff appearance (they fell in the Wild Card game in Yankee Stadium) and there is plenty of young talent up and down the roster. That the position is opening now is thought to be in part because Paul Molitor — who was fired shortly after the end of the season — saved his job in 2017 by piloting the Twins to that Wild Card game, winning AL Manager of the Year in the process. 

Now Twins higher-ups get to appoint their man, whoever that proves to be. 

Jon Heyman is Fancred's baseball insider. He publishes his weekly Inside Baseball column each Thursday on the App and FancredSports.com. You can download the App here and interact with Jon by following him right here.

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