Twins announce Paul Molitor won't return as manager

The Minnesota Twins have relieved Paul Molitor of his duties as manager but plan to keep him with the organization in a different role next season.

Molitor, 62, compiled a 305-343 record over four seasons as manager. The Twins went 78-84 this season and finished 13 games behind the first-place Cleveland Indians after entering spring training with expectations of competing in the American League Central.

"I would like to thank Paul for his tremendous dedication to the Minnesota Twins over his last four years as manager of this club," Twins executive vice president and chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said in a statement. "Paul's roots here run deep and his commitment to the organization, his staff, and the players is special. I have every hope and desire that he remains a part of this club for many years to come."

The sources said the Twins have had "productive conversations'' about keeping Molitor with the organization in another, undisclosed capacity and expect that he will accept the team's offer. Molitor has two years left on the three-year contract extension he signed with the Twins in October 2017.

Molitor, a Minnesota native, was a seven-time All-Star who amassed 3,319 career hits over 21 seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers, Toronto Blue Jays and the Twins. He made the Baseball Hall of Fame with 85.2 percent of the vote in 2004 in his first appearance on the ballot.

While Molitor had expressed confidence that both he and his staff would return in 2019, team owner Jim Pohlad did not give him a vote of confidence when asked late in the season, only saying they would meet with chief baseball officer and general manager Thad Levine after the season ended to talk about the future.

"The importance and contribution of Paul Molitor to the Twins, our community and Major League Baseball cannot be diminished," said Pohlad via statement. "On behalf of our family, I offer thanks to Paul for his four years as Twins manager and look forward to the continuation of our relationship with him."

The Twins were one of the surprises of the 2017 season, finishing 85-77 for their highest victory total since they won 94 in 2010. They made the playoffs as a wild-card team, falling to the Yankees 8-4.

Minnesota couldn't carry any of its momentum from the 2017 regular season into 2018, winning just nine games in April. The offense took a step back, with injuries to  Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton part of the problem.