Bill Smith given new job with Twins as top assistant

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 17, 2011 - 12:29 AM

The fired GM agreed to remain with the Twins front office.

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Bill Smith.

Photo: Jerry Holt, Star Tribune

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After being fired as Twins general manager last month, Bill Smith never really left the team.

The Twins immediately began talking to him about taking another position with the club, and Friday they made that title official: assistant to both the president and general manager.

"All of us with the ballclub are thrilled to have Bill Smith staying with the Twins family," team President Dave St. Peter said in the announcement. "His many contributions during a 25-plus-year tenure with the Twins has directly resulted in much of the success this franchise has enjoyed on and off the field."

Among Smith's responsibilities:

• He will continue to work with Lee County, Fla., building on relationships he has had since the Twins spring training facility opened in 1991. The Twins hope to do some major renovations for 2013.

• Assessing the team's player development in Latin America.

• He helped lead a seamless transition from the Metrodome to Target Field, and the Twins will focus his efforts on strengthening and maintaining their baseball facilities (Target Field, Hammond Stadium, etc.).

• A longtime member of baseball's minor league board of trustees, Smith will work with Twins minor league director Jim Rantz on maintaining relationships with the team's affiliates.

"I think everybody knows how valuable Bill can and will be," said Terry Ryan, Smith's predecessor and successor as Twins GM. "His strengths are most of my weaknesses, for sure, and I know he's going to help Dave with numerous items that are on his plate, so it is a good fit."

First base questions

Now that Michael Cuddyer has agreed to terms with the Rockies, the Twins have lost their primary backup option at first base, a position where Justin Morneau has started just 132 of a possible 324 games over the past two seasons.

"First off, Morneau's our first baseman, so I'm not all that worried about it," Ryan said.

"Secondly, if we need to have somebody go over there, we have a few people on this team who can go there: [Trevor] Plouffe, [Joe] Mauer. In an emergency, [Ryan] Doumit and Luke Hughes. And you always have [first base prospect Chris] Parmelee."

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