Rays Rocco Baldelli appears headed to Twins as manager

Rocco Baldelli is moving from first-base coach to field coordinator. [WILL VRAGOVIC / Tampa Bay Times]
Rocco Baldelli is moving from first-base coach to field coordinator. [WILL VRAGOVIC / Tampa Bay Times]
Published October 25 2018
Updated October 25 2018

BOSTON -Rocco Baldelli appears headed to the Twins as their next manager.

That is the word from several baseball people at and around the World Series on Wednesday, and that an announcement may come as soon as Thursday.

Additionally, Minneapolis Star-Tribune beat writer Lavelle E. Neal III reported late Wednesday there were "strong indications" Baldelli had "emerged as the leading candidate" for the job. Neal also reported that Derek Shelton, the former Rays hitting coach who spent 2018 as the Twins bench coach, was no longer in contention. Cubs bench  coach Brandon Hyde was the other reported finalist to replace fired Paul Molitor.

RELATED: Why Baldelli has been such a hot name among teams

Baldelli has declined comment throughout the managerial search process, having also interviewed with the Blue Jays and Rangers, who still were interested, and the Angels and Reds, who hired others. The earliest the Twins could make an announcement is Thursday morning as teams are not allowed to conduct such business on World Series game days. Thursday is an off day in the Series.

Baldelli, 37, is a former Rays outfielder who spent four years after retiring early due to medical reasons as a special assistant in the Rays front office and the last four years as a coach.

He spent three seasons at first base, then moved this year to a newly created position as major-league field coordinator, where he splits time working with outfielders, coordinating development and serving as sort of an assistant bench coach to Charlie Montoyo and manager Kevin Cash.

Though Baldelli has no experience managing, he is the kind of young, communicative, intelligent, analytics-embracing leader teams are hiring, all evidenced by the interest from the five teams.

Also, Rays senior VP Chaim Bloom had his second interview as a finalist for the Mets GM job, and is expected to have a conference call Tuesday to discuss his interest.

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