Molitor named AL Manager of Year finalist

Skipper guided Twins to historic turnaround in 2017

Molitor named AL Manager of Year finalist

MINNEAPOLIS -- For the second time in three seasons, Twins manager Paul Molitor was named a finalist for the American League Manager of the Year Award, the Baseball Writers' Association of America announced Monday night on MLB Network.

Molitor, who finished third in the balloting in 2015, is joined as a finalist by Cleveland's Terry Francona and Houston's A.J. Hinch. Molitor is considered a strong candidate to win the award, but Francona guided the Indians through a 22-game win steak and Hinch led the World Series-champion Astros to the best record in the AL. The winner will be announced Nov. 14 on MLB Network at 5 p.m. CT.

Molitor's case is built on the Twins' surprise run to the AL Wild Card Game, as they became the first team to go from losing 100 games to making the postseason the next year. As a result, Molitor was rewarded with a three-year extension after the season.

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Molitor's stoic demeanor helped the Twins throughout a season that saw the club become sellers at the Trade Deadline, only to bounce back with 20 wins in August to take control of the second AL Wild Card spot.

Molitor's message to the club after they traded closer Brandon Kintzler and lefty Jaime Garcia was to stay strong, writing "No retreat, no surrender," on the white board posted next to the lineup that day -- after hearing Bruce Springsteen's "Never Surrender" while on a walk in San Diego that morning.

The Hall of Famer finished third in the balloting for the award in his first season as manager in 2015, finishing behind Texas' Jeff Banister and Hinch. But he was named the winner of the 2015 AL Manager of the Year by Sporting News.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.