Skinner back to manage Red Wings in 2019
Photos courtesy of the Rochester Red Wings
Top row, from left, Joe Skinner and Stu Cliburn
Second row, from left, Jacob Dean and Chris Johnson
Third row, from left, Javier Valentin and Mike McCarthy
ROCHESTER – Minnesota Twins Director of Minor League Operations Jeremy Zoll has announced Joel Skinner will manage the Rochester Red Wings for a second season in 2019. Also returning to the Red Wings clubhouse in 2019 will be veteran pitching coach Stu Cliburn, bullpen coach Mike McCarthy and athletic trainer Chris Johnson. Two additions to Skinner’s staff are Javier Valentín as hitting coach and Jacob Dean as strength and conditioning coach.
Skinner, 57, has managed 13 minor league seasons since 1995, combining to go 924-853. He also served as interim manager of the Cleveland Indians in 2002, leading the Tribe to a 35-41 record after Charlie Manuel was fired July 11. After being out of baseball in 2017 Skinner spent the prior five seasons managing in the White Sox organization with Single-A Winston-Salem (2016) and Triple-A Charlotte (2012-15). Skinner was named Minor League Manager of the Year by Baseball America and The Sporting News while leading Triple-A Buffalo to the International League Governors’ Cup finals in 2000 and by USA Today Baseball Weekly in 1998 with Double-A Akron.
In his managing career the son of former Major League pitcher and manager Bob Skinner, Joel won the 1995 New York-Penn League championship with Watertown, earning Manager of the Year that season, and in 1997 with Single-A Kinston of the Carolina League. Skinner also managed Team USA at the All-Star Futures Game (2000), Double-A Akron (2010, 1998-99) and Single-A Columbus (1996). He was on Cleveland’s staff as bench coach (2006), third base coach (2001-02, 03-05, 07-09) and catching instructor (1994). He also served as Oakland’s bench coach in 2011.
Rochester’s skipper enjoyed a 15-year professional career from 1983-91, playing 564 MLB games with the Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees and Cleveland. Skinner was selected in the 37th round of the 1979 June Amateur Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates out of Mission Bay High School in San Diego, CA.
Skinner’s father managed the Philadelphia Phillies from 1968-69 and the San Diego Padres in 1977. The two became the second father-son tandem to manage in the major leagues, joining Red Wing and Baseball Hall of Famer George Sisler (St. Louis Browns, 1924-26) and his son, Dick (Cincinnati Reds, 1964-65). Bob Boone (Kansas City Royals, 1995-97 and Cincinnati, 2001-03) and his son, Aaron (Yankees, 2018) became the third pair last season.
Cliburn, 62, returns for his fourth consecutive season as pitching coach, seventh overall with Rochester, and 27th year as a coach in the Twins organization. He served the same role for Double-A affiliates in Chattanooga (2015) and New Britain (1999-2005, 2009-14), Single-A affiliates in Fort Myers (1998, 2008) and Fort Wayne (1994-97), and rookie-level Elizabethton (1993). Cliburn was also with California’s Single-A affiliate in Palm Springs from 1991-92, Scottsdale in the Arizona Fall League in 1996 and Wilmington of the Maryland Fall League in 1998. He played three MLB seasons with the Angles from 1984-88 and finished fifth in the American League Rookie of the Year voting in 1985.
Last season was the first as a professional coach for McCarthy, 31. He is was a 14th-round selection of the Boston Red Sox in 2011 out of California State-Bakersfield and pitched six seasons in the organization, reaching as high as Triple-A Pawtucket in 2016. McCarthy studied pre-med at Bakersfield and earned a master of business administration from the University of Phoenix in 2016. Since 2013 he has served as field coordinator for Baseball Miracles, a volunteer organization that helps underprivileged youth around the world get baseball equipment and instruction.
Johnson will be in his 14th season in the Twins organization and second with Rochester. He spent five years working as athletic trainer with the Double-A affiliate in Chattanooga (2015-17) and New Britain (2013-14). Johnson joined the organization as a spring training intern in 2005. Later that summer Johnson interned with the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs during preseason camp. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and graduated with a bachelor of science degree in 2006. Johnson resides in Minneapolis with his wife, Lindsey, and their two dogs.
Valentín, 43, joins the Red Wings as hitting coach after spending the last two seasons in the same role with Double-A Chattanooga. He has been in the Twins system as a coach for four seasons, previously serving as hitting coach for the Gulf Coast League Twins from 2015-16. Valentín played 17 professional seasons including parts of 10 years in the majors with the Twins (1997-2002), Devil Rays (2003) and Reds (2004-09) after being selected in the third round of the 1993 June Draft out of Fernando Callejo High School in Manati, Puerto Rico. He is the brother of 16-year major league veteran José Valentín and uncle of Jesmuel Valentín, who has spent time each of the last three seasons with Triple-A Lehigh Valley in the Phillies system.
Dean makes the jump to Triple-A after spending 2017-18 with the Twins Single-A affiliate in Fort Myers, winning the Florida State League Championship last season with the Miracle. He is a certified strength and conditioning specialist and studied human performance and exercise science at the University of Alabama, earning his master’s degree in December 2016. Dean is originally from Bay Minette, AL.