Wrote about Terry Ryan's view of the future in today's paper. A few more tidbits from my conversation with the Twins' GM:
-He refuses to blame the team's payroll for its struggles. ``Back in the mid to late ‘90s, when we struggled, some of that was payroll-oriented. This one isn’t payroll-oriented at all. This is just making good baseball decisions. It can be done.
``We’e got plenty fo revenue here and plenty of payroll. We’ve got things here at our disposal that we never experienced in the Metrodome. I’m not sure exacltoy where that payroll is going to go in 2013 but ti’s certainly going to be a workable figure.''
-On signing big-money free agent pitchers: ``It’s not so mjuch the money, it’s the years. If you look at the market coming up, there’s a handful of guys. The market’s a little lean. So if you’re going to go toe to toe with some of the franchises that go after players like that, you’re going to get into that neighborhood of dollars and years...''
-More on his expectations for Justin Morneau in 2013: ``I think his numbers are going to return. I think he's a core guy. He’s fine. I think he's answered those questions about the concussions, and he's gotten past the injuries and surgeries. There don’t seem to be any more questions about his wrist., his ankle.
``His numbers, they’re respectable, but they're not Morneau numbers that you expect from him, that you got three years ago. It's been a while. Obviously, I'd like to see the home-run output and some of the offensive numbers increase. I expect they will. He's played quite well at first and he's been available. We've made strides in that area.''
-On his relationship with Ron Gardenhire, whom he says he won't fire: ``He and I have had similar philosophies. We disagree from time to time but we agree quite a bit. I don’t’ see where he’s the problem here.''
-His view of the current roster: ``We’ve got some good players here, and we’ve got some talent. We certainly have character. And we’ve got some things going for us. Unfortunately, they're not coming together like you would hope. So we've got a lot of work to do.''
-After saying that family considerations would be a part of his decision on whether to return as GM, he admitted that both of his children ``are out of the house,'' and that he wouldn't place the onus for the decision on his wife. ``I wouldn't put all of that on her shoulders,'' he said.
-Again, he gave me the impression that he's going to return. He sounds determined to fix the team. And other than teh starting rotation, he has a lot more to work with now than he did in the late '90s.
-When he stepped down as GM after the 2007 season, Ryan had a pretty good idea that longtime assistant GM Bill Smith would replace him. I asked him if he had successors waiting in the wings this time around, and whether he would recommend someone if he did step down.
Are there future GMS in the organization? ``We probably have quite a few, actually,'' he said. ``Some of them are people sou’re aware of and some of them aren’t. We have some people in this pipeline who have a good grasp of what this job entails...
``I think the Pohlads would listen to my input, but I think that's a decision that (president) Dave St. Peter and the family would make. They're not just going to listen to my recommendation.''
Assistant GM Rob Antony has worked in media relations and baseball operations and has worked closely with the minor league system. Longtime executive Mike Radcliff has an excellent reputation in the industry. Wayne Krivsky, the former Reds' GM, has experience and, like Radcliff, is highly respected in the industry.
I'll be on 1500espn at 2:05 today. You can follow me on Twitter at @Souhanstrib.