According to Mike Berardino of the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, the Minnesota Twins have hired former Major Leaguers Torii Hunter, Michael Cuddyer, and LaTroy Hawkins as special assistants to baseball operations. They will “be responsible for serving as a resource for players and coaches in the mental and fundamental aspects of the game.”
According to Berardino, the three will be in uniform during Spring Training then helping out with the minor league affiliates during the season. The 2015 retirees are certainly good choices to help develop Twins’ players, as they have all had illustrious careers.
LaTroy Hawkins pitched for the Mets in 2013, and left his mark by introducing their relievers to the quick pitch when there are no runners on base. In his 20-year career, he went 75-94 with a 4.31 ERA, saving 127 games along the way. He was drafted by the Twins and played with them from 1995 to 2003.
Two-time All Star and Batting Champion Michael Cuddyer was also hired by the Twins. Cuddyer, who played for the Mets in his final season (2015), had a solid 14-year career during which he hit .277/.344/.461 with 197 home runs and 794 RBIs. He was drafted by and played for the Twins from 2001-2011 before he went to Colorado where he won his batting title, hitting .331 in 2013.
The last former player hired by the Twins had the most impressive career of the three, even though he was never a Met. Torii Hunter, who was inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame this summer, played for the Twins from 1997-2007 before going to the Angels from 2008-2012, the Tigers from 2013-2014, then back to the Twins for his final season in 2015. He pulled a Moonlight Graham in 1997, appearing in one game but did not get an at bat.
High up on the list of best defensive center fielders of all time, the 5-time All Star won nine consecutive Gold Gloves from 2001-2009 and the Silver Slugger award in 2009 and 2013. He finished his career with a .277/.331/.461 batting line with 353 home runs, 1391 RBIs, and 2452 hits. He will certainly get some Hall of Fame votes when he arrives on the ballot in a few years.
When LaTroy Hawkins and Michael Cuddyer were on the Mets, we all heard about how the veterans had a phenomenal clubhouse presence, helping develop the younger players. They will now be able to continue that work in Minnesota with the Twins.