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Ryan's run: the good, the bad, the deals

  • September 13, 2007 - 11:52 PM

Terry Ryan became Twins GM on Sept. 13, 1994. He resigned Thursday, 13 years to the day he took over. In between, Ryan had numerous highs and lows.

THE GOOD

1 Four AL Central Division titles in five seasons (2002-06).

2 With the threat of contraction hanging over the team, he turned down an offer to become Toronto's GM, saving the Twins from mass front office exodus.

3 Presided over farm system that has produced All-Stars such as Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer and Torii Hunter and is currently rich with pitching prospects.

4 Hiring of Ron Gardenhire as manager after Tom Kelly's resignation in 2001 proved to be wise decision.

5 Getting Johan Santana proved to be one of the best Rule 5 picks in major league history.

THE BAD

1 Six consecutive losing seasons to start his tenure (1995-2000).

2 Leaves a farm system extremely short of position prospects to help fill holes at third base, outfield and DH.

3 His failure to make a meaningful move for offensive help at the trade deadline cost the team any chance of making the playoffs in 2005 and 2007.

4 Recent free-agent signings have been flops: Ramon Ortiz, Sidney Ponson and Rondell White in 2007, White and Tony Batista in 2006.

5 "The one that got away" — not tendering David Ortiz a contract after the 2002 season, then watching him turn into a superstar with Boston.

RYAN'S BEST DEALS

Scott Erickson for Scott Klingenbeck in July 1995 might not have been a very good start, but Terry Ryan eventually became known as a savvy trader as Twins GM, particularly when it came to trading major leaguers for prospects. The five best trades he made:

1 A.J. Pierzynski to San Francisco for Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser, November 2003: One of the most lopsided trades in recent major league history.

2 Chuck Knoblauch to the New York Yankees for Eric Milton, Cristian Guzman, Brian Buchanan and Daniel Mota, February 1998: Milton and Guzman played a big role in the Twins' 21st-century turnaround.

3 Buchanan to San Diego for Jason Bartlett, July 2002: Prototypical good Ryan trade -- Buchanan wasn't much of a major leaguer, while Bartlett is now their every-day shortstop.

4 Bobby Kielty to Toronto for Shannon Stewart and Dave Gassner, July 2003: Stewart's arrival at the All-Star break propelled the Twins to their second AL Central title in a row.

5 David Hollins to Seattle for David Ortiz, August 1996: The teams made a similar trade a year later, when the Twins got Joe Mays from the Mariners for Roberto Kelly.

DENNIS BRACKIN

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