Ex-Twins manager Gardenhire ready — but in no rush — to manage again
Ron Gardenhire wants to manage again. But he doesn’t seem in any particular hurry to take another job.
"I’m not actively pursuing it," the former Twins manager told FOX Sports on Thursday. "I’m pretty comfortable right now, to tell you the truth."
Gardenhire, 57, can afford to wait — he had one year left on his contract when the Twins fired him at the end of last season.
However, Gardenhire recently hired an agent, John Boggs, to monitor possible managerial openings, saying that he is willing to consider virtually any position.
“He’s perfectly happy where he is right now, but I think he’s going to get the itch,” said Boggs, who also represents the Twins’ current manager, Paul Molitor. “He’s a baseball guy.”
And the baseball landscape often changes quickly, especially for managers.
At least two jobs could open sooner rather than later, though the Marlins eased the pressure on Mike Redmond by routing the Phillies in their last two games, and the Brewers say they do not intend to act on Ron Roenicke anytime soon.
Gardenhire, who managed the Twins from 2002 to ’14, said he was "excited" to hire Boggs, noting that he has not had an agent since he retired as a player after the 1987 season.
However, Gardenhire said he has too much respect for the 30 current managers to openly campaign for a job.
"Total respect," Gardenhire said. "I hope they all have great years and make it through the season. I was on that side, too. I was listening to it (the speculation). It’s no fun. I would never want to be a part of anything like that."
Gardenhire, a member of the Twins organization for 27 years, led the team to six AL Central titles in his first nine seasons. But the Twins averaged 96 losses in his final four, going a combined 78-148 (.345) after Aug. 1 during that time.
General manager Terry Ryan found it painful to dismiss Gardenhire, telling reporters on the day he announced the move, "I feel like he’s my brother, not my manager."
Gardenhire, however, acknowledged then that a change might be best for the club, saying, "Sometimes people need to hear a different voice."
He has not wavered in that opinion.
"I liked what I was doing. I loved it there," Gardenhire said. "But I was getting to the point where it was uncomfortable because we weren’t winning. I know the fans deserve more.
"I understood totally about going in a new direction. It didn’t bother me a bit. No one wants to get fired. But I was comfortable with their decision if that’s what they felt. That was their decision, and I left it at that."
The Twins, under Molitor, are fourth in the AL Central with a 6-9 record.
"I did it a long time," Gardenhire continued. "I don’t know if I was worn out or maybe just worn down a little bit. But I was as frustrated as Twins fans, I can tell you that.
"We won for a long time around here, had a lot of success, then all of a sudden it turned south. It wasn’t fun for me or anyone else. That was very stressful."
As opposed to his current lifestyle in Lake Elmo, Minn., which Gardenhire described as "kind of stress-free."
He played golf Thursday morning, then said he was "fixing to go mow the lawn." This will be his first summer without baseball since high school. He said he was excited to see the actual water in the Minnesota lakes, as opposed to ice during the offseason.
"I’m just kind of relaxing, regrouping, watching from afar," Gardenhire said. "I’m enjoying that. I’m enjoying the heck out of it.
"I’m going to take it easy. If someone is interested in me as we go along, I’ll listen to just about anything. I owe that to baseball."