One day after the final game of another losing season, the Minnesota Twins announced they are parting ways with longtime manager Ron Gardenhire.
"You lose this many games, you've got to do something. He (General Manager Terry Ryan) called me in this morning, I said, 'Terry, you don't have a choice here; do what you have to do.'"
The Twins sent a letter to season-ticket holders today explaining the decision.
"As the organization prepares for 2015, we have spent a great deal of time with Terry Ryan re-evaluating every aspect of our baseball operation," the statement from owner Jim Pohlad and team president Dave St. Peter says. "This comprehensive evaluation, which is ongoing, led us to collectively determine a managerial change is in the best interest of the franchise. Rest assured, this was not an easy decision, especially considering what Ron Gardenhire has meant to the Minnesota Twins."
In a press release from the team, the Twins said they will "immediately begin their search for a new manager, internally and externally." Gardenhire and Ryan will be at a press conference at 3 p.m. today.
The rest of the coaching staff will remain in limbo until a new manager is hired. Their fates will be decided at that point.
Aaron Gleeman of NBC Sports notes that only two managers have avoided being fired following four straight 90-loss seasons. The first was Connie Mack, who owned his team and the second is Tom Kelly, who lost 90 or more games four seasons in a row with the Twins from 1997-2000.
The past four seasons have all resulted in 92-plus losses, putting Minnesota's winning ways in the rearview mirror. Gardenhire and the Twins won six division titles over a nine-year stretch of the 2000s, but haven't been to the postseason since 2010.
After Kelly stepped down from managing in 2001, Gardenhire took over in 2002. He guided the Twins to 94 wins and a division title as a rookie manager and followed that campaign up with division titles in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2009 and 2010. He owns a career managerial record of 1,068 wins and 1,039 losses.
He finished in the top three of voting for American League Manager of the Year seven times, was a runner-up five times and won the award once in 2010.