GM Ryan returns in Twins shakeup

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 8, 2011 - 6:36 AM

Bill Smith was surprisingly fired after four years, replaced by predecessor Terry Ryan.

Twins owner Jim Pohlad decided last weekend that the 99 losses of last season called for drastic change. So a family ownership that had not fired either a manager or general manager since 1986 fired GM Bill Smith after four years on the job.

The Pohlad family did not require a lengthy search to find a replacement. Terry Ryan, the architect of the team's resurgence in the early 2000s, agreed to return to the job he had left four years ago, when he cited burnout.

The 58-year-old Ryan on Monday accepted the title of interim general manager, sounding very much like a man who intends to see another rebuilding job through.

"I don't know if it'll be for one year or 10 years," said Ryan, who was the team's GM from 1994 through 2007, before serving as a special adviser under Smith.

Later, Ryan added: "I would say, if I like this job, I think [Pohlad] will let me stay. If I don't, I'm going to try to set up a successor."

Two months ago, Pohlad said Smith would return for the 2012 season.

"There's no question I said [Smith's job was safe], and when I said it, I meant it," Pohlad said Monday. "But we did say at the time that we want to get better in 2012, and we'll see what the plan is. And like we've said, the plan that was proposed, we were on different pages."

Twins President Dave St. Peter gave Smith a heads-up over the weekend that Monday's news could be coming. Monday morning, Pohlad and St. Peter called Smith into a meeting and offered him another position in the organization. Smith said he plans to step back for about a month and think about it.

"It's a decision the ballclub felt it had to make and I respect that," Smith said. "When you take this position, you know it's probably not forever. It's much like dealing with players. You can't look at the last three or four years. You have to look at the next three or four years.

"And if the Pohlad family feels they need a little bit different voice, a little bit different leadership, then they have that obligation to make that move."

Smith added: "I'm absolutely thrilled that Terry Ryan has accepted this position. He's probably my closest friend in the game. He's as good a baseball man as I've ever met."

Ryan had grown tired of dealing with agents and the media when he resigned in September 2007. Smith had served as an assistant GM under Ryan and stepped in at a difficult time in team history.

That offseason, the Twins let All-Star center fielder Torii Hunter leave as a free agent to the Los Angeles Angels and traded two-time American League Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana to the Mets for four prospects who never fulfilled their promise. The Twins also traded Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett to Tampa Bay for Delmon Young, a deal that helped propel the Rays to the 2008 World Series.

But the Twins were a surprise team that year, too, losing a one-game playoff to the Chicago White Sox for the division title. The Twins won division titles in 2009 and 2010, only to suffer first-round playoff defeats to the New York Yankees both times.

Some of Smith's best moves were trading for Carl Pavano, Jon Rauch and Orlando Cabrera late in the 2009 season. He traded for J.J. Hardy and signed Orlando Hudson before the 2010 season, and the Twins went 94-68 in their first year at Target Field.

But Smith's moves since July 2010 have drawn heavy criticism from the team's fans, especially the trade that sent catcher Wilson Ramos to the Washington Nationals for relief pitcher Matt Capps. The Twins also traded Hardy and Young for meager returns. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, who was signed out of Japan, did not look ready to be a starting major league infielder.

Throw in injuries to stars Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, and the Twins sunk to 63-99 this year, despite having a franchise record $115 million payroll.

In another surprise Monday, Ryan said the payroll could be trimmed to $100 million.

"We've got a lot of work to do," Ryan said. "The GM meetings are coming up. Free agency's upon us already. The 40-man roster, winter meetings, arbitration, all that stuff that is coming, but I think we've got people intact that we can get this going back to where it was prior to the 2011 season."

After leaving the GM job, Ryan spent a lot of time scouting minor league and amateur games for the Twins but was also a key part of Smith's inner circle, along with Vice President of Player Personnel Mike Radcliff and assistant GM Rob Antony.

Monday, Ryan confirmed former assistant GM Wayne Krivsky will be returning as a special assistant. Krivsky, who left the Twins to become the Reds GM in 2005, will focus on professional scouting, but Ryan will tap him frequently for advice.

"Obviously, I talk to Wayne a lot because I value his opinion -- a lot," Ryan said.

Ryan, who was scouting the Arizona Fall League last week, looked revitalized as he addressed the media, wearing a sharp black blazer and open-collared white ress shirt.

"If we'd have won 94 games [last season], I wouldn't be sitting here," said Ryan, whose agreement allows him to select his successor as Twins GM. "I didn't want Bill Smith's job. He knows it. I don't like the way it happened, but, unfortunately, here we are.

"But I'm willing to take this on, and I think I can do the job for the organization. I know I certainly have enough experience. I'm much more prepared to take this job right now than I was in '94. So I'm anxious to get going."

Joe Christensen • 612-673-7844

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Dallas 6:00 PM
Orlando
Sacramento 6:00 PM
Indiana
Toronto 6:00 PM
Washington
Houston 6:30 PM
Detroit
Philadelphia 6:30 PM
Atlanta
Cleveland 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Oklahoma City 7:00 PM
Memphis
Portland 7:30 PM
Milwaukee
LA Clippers 8:00 PM
San Antonio
Charlotte 8:00 PM
Denver
Phoenix 9:30 PM
Golden State
Washington 12:00 PM
Montreal
NY Islanders 1:00 PM
Detroit
Arizona 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Los Angeles 6:00 PM
Boston
Florida 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Carolina 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Toronto 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Dallas 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Columbus 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Edmonton 9:00 PM
Calgary
Chicago 9:30 PM
San Jose
Boston College 11:00 AM
Clemson
Western Mich 11:00 AM
Eastern Mich
NC State 11:00 AM
Georgia Tech
Wisconsin 11:00 AM
Iowa
Stony Brook 11:00 AM
New Hampshire
Notre Dame 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Providence 11:00 AM
St Johns
Davidson 11:00 AM
Saint Josephs
Xavier 11:00 AM
Seton Hall
Tulane 11:00 AM
Temple
Auburn 11:00 AM
Tennessee
Texas Tech 11:00 AM
West Virginia
Arkansas 12:00 PM
Florida
Penn State 12:00 PM
Illinois
Lipscomb 12:00 PM
Stetson
South Florida 12:00 PM
Tulsa
Bradley 12:05 PM
Indiana State
UMass Lowell 1:00 PM
Binghamton
Green Bay 1:00 PM
Cleveland State
Georgetown 1:00 PM
Creighton
Coll of Charleston 1:00 PM
Delaware
Villanova 1:00 PM
DePaul
Arkansas State 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Vermont 1:00 PM
Hartford
TCU 1:00 PM
Iowa State
Kennesaw St 1:00 PM
Jacksonville
Kansas State 1:00 PM
Kansas
Boston Univ 1:00 PM
Lehigh
Illinois State 1:00 PM
Loyola-Chicago
Albany 1:00 PM
Maine
Butler 1:00 PM
Marquette
LSU 1:00 PM
Miss State
Mount St Marys 1:00 PM
Sacred Heart
Richmond 1:00 PM
VA Commonwealth
Virginia Tech 1:00 PM
Wake Forest
IUPU-Ft Wayne 1:00 PM
Nebraska Omaha
Loyola-Maryland 2:00 PM
Army
Tenn Tech 2:00 PM
Belmont
Bethune-Cookman 2:00 PM
Florida A&M
Valparaiso 2:00 PM
Ill-Chicago
UAB 2:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Idaho State 2:00 PM
North Dakota
Evansville 2:05 PM
Drake
Rutgers 2:15 PM
Indiana
Ball State 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Southern U 3:00 PM
Alcorn State
UNC-Wilmington 3:00 PM
Drexel
Coastal Carolina 3:00 PM
Gardner-Webb
Morgan State 3:00 PM
Howard
William & Mary 3:00 PM
James Madison
North Carolina 3:00 PM
Louisville
Coppin State 3:00 PM
MD-Eastern Shore
Ole Miss 3:00 PM
Missouri
Wichita State 3:00 PM
Northern Iowa
Loyola Marymount 3:00 PM
Pacific
Winthrop 3:00 PM
Radford
George Washington 3:00 PM
Rhode Island
Bryant 3:00 PM
Robert Morris
Long Island 3:00 PM
St Francis-NY
Fair-Dickinson 3:00 PM
St Francis-PA
Massachusetts 3:00 PM
Saint Louis
Georgia 3:00 PM
South Carolina
Central Conn St 3:00 PM
Wagner
SIU Edwardsville 3:15 PM
Eastern Ill
Ohio 3:30 PM
Central Mich
Eastern Ky 3:30 PM
Morehead State
Incarnate Word 3:30 PM
Nicholls
Campbell 3:30 PM
UNC-Asheville
Vanderbilt 3:30 PM
Texas A&M
South Alabama 4:00 PM
ULM
Western Carolina 4:00 PM
UNC Greensboro
Detroit 4:00 PM
Milwaukee
Idaho 4:05 PM
Eastern Wash
Marshall 4:30 PM
Louisiana Tech
Jackson State 4:30 PM
Miss Valley St
Houston Baptist 4:30 PM
Sam Houston St
Louisiana 4:30 PM
Texas State
Denver 4:30 PM
South Dakota St
Oral Roberts 4:30 PM
South Dakota
Texas 5:00 PM
Baylor
Citadel 5:00 PM
Chattanooga
Fresno State 5:00 PM
Colorado State
Yale 5:00 PM
Cornell
Ark-Pine Bluff 5:00 PM
Grambling St
Nebraska 5:00 PM
Minnesota
Hampton 5:00 PM
Norfolk State
Purdue 5:00 PM
Northwestern
Alabama A&M 5:00 PM
Prairie View
Dartmouth 5:00 PM
Princeton
Pepperdine 5:00 PM
St Marys-CA
NC A&T 5:00 PM
Savannah State
Delaware State 5:00 PM
SC State
Western Ky 5:00 PM
Southern Miss
Nevada 5:00 PM
Wyoming
Akron 6:00 PM
Bowling Green
Colgate 6:00 PM
Bucknell
FIU 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Brown 6:00 PM
Columbia
George Mason 6:00 PM
Duquesne
NC Central 6:00 PM
East Tenn St
Saint Peters 6:00 PM
Iona
Alabama 6:00 PM
Kentucky
Abilene Christian 6:00 PM
Lamar
Char Southern 6:00 PM
Liberty
Hawaii 6:00 PM
Long Beach State
New Orleans 6:00 PM
McNeese State
Lafayette 6:00 PM
Navy
Elon 6:00 PM
Northeastern
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
Old Dominion
Harvard 6:00 PM
Penn
La Salle 6:00 PM
St Bonaventure
Furman 6:00 PM
Samford
TX A&M-CC 6:00 PM
Stephen F Austin
Duke 6:00 PM
Virginia
Mercer 6:00 PM
Wofford
Northern Ky 6:00 PM
Fla Gulf Coast
USC Upstate 6:00 PM
North Florida
Longwood 6:00 PM
Presbyterian
Ark-Little Rock 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
SE Missouri St 7:00 PM
Austin Peay
CS-Northridge 7:00 PM
UC Riverside
Towson 7:00 PM
Hofstra
UT Martin 7:00 PM
Murray State
San Jose St 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Rice 7:00 PM
North Texas
Toledo 7:00 PM
Northern Ill
Oklahoma 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
San Francisco 7:00 PM
San Diego
Utah State 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Northwestern St 7:00 PM
SE Louisiana
UCF 7:00 PM
SMU
Southern Ill 7:05 PM
Missouri State
Troy 7:15 PM
Texas-Arlington
Jacksonville St 7:30 PM
Tennessee St
Alabama State 7:30 PM
Texas Southern
Stanford 7:30 PM
Washington St
Santa Clara 8:00 PM
BYU
TX-Pan American 8:00 PM
New Mexico St
Northern Ariz 8:00 PM
Southern Utah
Middle Tennessee 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Weber State 8:00 PM
Northern Colorado
Chicago State 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
UC Santa Barbara 9:00 PM
UC Irvine
Memphis 9:00 PM
Gonzaga
Air Force 9:00 PM
UNLV
Cal Poly 9:00 PM
UC Davis
Seattle 9:00 PM
CS-Bakersfield
Montana State 9:05 PM
Portland State
Montana 9:05 PM
Sacramento St
Colorado 9:30 PM
UCLA
UMKC 9:30 PM
Utah Valley U
Mount St Marys 10:30 AM
Sacred Heart
Texas-El Paso 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
Arkansas State 11:00 AM
Georgia State
Bryant 12:00 PM
Robert Morris
Central Conn St 12:00 PM
Wagner
Fairleigh Dickinson 12:00 PM
St Francis-PA
Long Island 12:00 PM
St Francis-NY
Bethune-Cookman 12:00 PM
Florida A&M
Longwood 12:00 PM
Campbell
Charleston Southern 12:00 PM
Winthrop
Louisiana Tech 12:00 PM
Marshall
Ohio U 12:00 PM
Central Michigan
Western Mich 12:00 PM
Miami-Ohio
Coppin State 1:00 PM
MD-Eastern Shore
Incarnate Word 1:00 PM
Nicholls
Samford 1:00 PM
East Tenn St
Western Carolina 1:00 PM
Furman
UNC Greensboro 1:00 PM
Wofford
Gardner-Webb 1:00 PM
Coastal Carolina
Liberty 1:00 PM
High Point
Morgan State 1:00 PM
Howard
Presbyterian 1:00 PM
UNC-Asheville
Kent State 1:00 PM
Akron
Northern Ill 1:00 PM
Ball State
Houston 1:00 PM
Cincinnati
SIU-Edwardsville 1:00 PM
Eastern Illinois
Eastern Kentucky 1:00 PM
Morehead St
Holy Cross 1:00 PM
American Univ
Army 1:00 PM
Loyola-Maryland
Niagara 1:00 PM
Manhattan
Lehigh 1:00 PM
Boston U
Navy 1:00 PM
Lafayette
Saint Josephs 1:00 PM
Davidson
Duquesne 1:00 PM
Fordham
George Washington 1:00 PM
George Mason
St Bonaventure 1:00 PM
Massachusetts
Milwaukee 1:00 PM
Youngstown St
Jacksonville 1:00 PM
Kennesaw St
North Florida 1:00 PM
USC Upstate
Buffalo 1:30 PM
Eastern Michigan
St Marys-CA 2:00 PM
Pepperdine
Nebraska Omaha 2:00 PM
IUPUI
Houston Baptist 2:00 PM
Sam Houston St
Mercer 2:00 PM
(25) Chattanooga
No Dakota State 2:00 PM
South Dakota St
Oral Roberts 2:00 PM
South Dakota
Southern Miss 2:00 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 2:00 PM
UAB
East Carolina 2:00 PM
Tulane
South Florida 2:00 PM
Memphis
New Mexico St 2:00 PM
TX-Pan American
Utah Valley U 2:00 PM
UMKC
Jackson State 2:00 PM
Miss Valley St
Louisiana 2:00 PM
Texas State
South Alabama 2:00 PM
ULM
Saint Louis 2:00 PM
Dayton
Cleveland State 2:00 PM
Oakland
Grand Canyon 2:05 PM
Chicago State
UCLA 2:30 PM
Oregon
Washington St 2:30 PM
(12) Stanford
Kansas State 3:00 PM
Texas Tech
UNLV 3:00 PM
Air Force
UCF 3:00 PM
Tulsa
Delaware State 3:00 PM
SC State
San Diego State 3:00 PM
Utah State
Sacramento St 3:00 PM
Montana
Portland State 3:00 PM
Montana State
Northern Colorado 3:00 PM
Weber State
Hampton 3:00 PM
Norfolk State
NC A&T 3:00 PM
Savannah State
Alabama A&M 3:00 PM
Prairie View
Toledo 3:00 PM
Bowling Green
Ark-Pine Bluff 3:00 PM
Grambling
Southern U 3:00 PM
Alcorn State
Marist 3:00 PM
Iona
Bucknell 3:00 PM
Colgate
North Dakota 3:00 PM
Idaho State
Ark-Little Rock 3:30 PM
Georgia Southern
BYU 4:00 PM
Santa Clara
Gonzaga 4:00 PM
Portland
Pacific 4:00 PM
Loyola Marymount
Abilene Christian 4:00 PM
Lamar
Colorado State 4:00 PM
Fresno State
New Mexico 4:00 PM
San Jose St
UC Davis 4:00 PM
UC Santa Barbara
San Diego 4:00 PM
San Francisco
New Orleans 4:00 PM
McNeese State
TX A&M-CC 4:00 PM
Stephen F Austin
Old Dominion 4:00 PM
Florida Atlantic
Tenn Tech 4:00 PM
Belmont
Eastern Washington 4:00 PM
Idaho
Stetson 4:00 PM
Lipscomb
Washington 4:30 PM
California
USC 4:30 PM
(7) Oregon State
IUPU-Ft Wayne 4:30 PM
Western Ill
Northwestern St 4:30 PM
SE Louisiana
SE Missouri St 4:30 PM
Austin Peay
Columbia 5:00 PM
Brown
Charlotte 5:00 PM
FIU
(19) Princeton 5:00 PM
Dartmouth
Penn 5:00 PM
Harvard
UT Martin 5:00 PM
Murray State
Troy 5:00 PM
TX-Arlington
Alabama State 5:30 PM
Texas Southern
Jacksonville St 5:30 PM
Tennessee St
Wyoming 6:00 PM
Nevada
Oklahoma St 6:00 PM
Iowa State
CS-Bakersfield 6:00 PM
Seattle
La Salle 6:00 PM
VA Commonwealth
Cal-Irvine 6:00 PM
Cal Poly
Fla Gulf Coast 6:00 PM
Northern Ky
Southern Utah 7:00 PM
Northern Ariz
Green Bay 7:00 PM
Illinois-Chicago
Cal State Fullerton 9:00 PM
Long Beach St
CS-Northridge 9:00 PM
Hawaii
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How optimistic are you about the 2015 Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close