Minnesota’s Paul Molitor not done with baseball just yet

FORT MYERS Fla. — Paul Molitor isn’t exactly sure what he was doing in mid-February when pitchers and catchers reported to Twins camp.

Probably shoveling snow, he guessed.

“I picked a bad year to get fired,” he quipped. “It was a rough winter.”

Molitor eventually made it down to spring training to check in and catch some baseball with his 12-year-old son, Ben, who is on spring break. Monday, March 18, he spoke in depth with reporters for the first time since his firing in early October.

The former Twins manager is looking forward to having some flexibility this summer but hasn’t ruled out a return to the game in some capacity when the time is right. At 62, the St. Paul native said he still feels there are ways he can contribute and he isn’t quite ready to be “done done.”

“There’s been multiple conversations about where we might go down the road with a little bit of a break in between, and Derek (Falvey) and Thad (Levine) have both been very open-minded about it,” Molitor said. “…I think they know that I’m looking forward to having a little bit of a different pace this summer.”

After four seasons managing the Twins, Molitor was fired days after leading the Twins to a 78-84 record in 2018. In his four seasons, Molitor’s Twins went 305-343 with one trip to the playoffs.

Molitor caught up with his successor, Rocco Baldelli, before Monday’s game, and said he’s been impressed by the young manager. Baldelli, who sung Molitor’s praises in return, said he could learn a lot from Molitor.

“I thought it was great that he was here. Paul means an incredible amount to this organization and to the area, and my conversations with him have been phenomenal,” Baldelli said. “He’s a great baseball man. Truthfully, at some point I think it would be great if he were part of the Twins organization again in almost any fashion that he would like to take part in. I mean that.”

Molitor said he holds no grudges towards the Twins — his appearance in Fort Myers evidence of that — and he doesn’t feel his firing was personal.

“When it first happens, the emotion plays a larger role in maybe how you look at it, and over time you can kind of understand better what their thought process was behind where they want to go and just kind of how the game is transitioning in that way,” he said.

He’s been keeping tabs on the Twins throughout the offseason, following the moves they made this winter. It’s hard not to follow, he said, because after all, he has plenty of friends in the clubhouse.

As for managing again, he’s not quite sure that’s in his future.

“I think that’s fairly unlikely,” Molitor said. “Very rarely do you slam doors, but given my situation, let’s be real, the trend of the game is not to go out and hire an old manager these days.”

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