Terry Ryan served as Twins general manager from 1994 until he stepped down in 2007 and was replaced by Bill Smith.
Ryan came back as GM in November 2011 and has served in that role since. But with the club on its way to its third consecutive losing season — and second under Ryan — he was asked if he is ready to resign again or if he hopes to continue to try building a winning team.
“I’m having a good time, regardless of the record,” he said. “The enjoyment of the players and the staff down there and the people that I work around and the Pohlad family and Dave [St. Peter, team president], this is a pretty good job. I am enjoying it.
“I wish I could give you a better record. But with everything surrounding this club — the ballpark, the All-Star Game coming up [at Target Field on July 15, 2014], there’s a lot of good things to look forward to.”
When Ryan first left his role as general manager, he said he wanted to spend more time on the field with players and maybe a little less time in the front office.
“I look like I’m 75 but I’m 53, and I’d probably be better served out in the field and out there on the diamond instead of behind that desk,” he said at his retirement news conference. He added: “The game has changed since I’ve entered. It’s for bright, energetic negotiators, more so than anything I possess.”
Still, the Twins called on Ryan to return to the job in 2011 after Smith’s tenure as GM bottomed out with a 99-loss season, and Ryan was willing to step back into his old role.
At that news conference, he said his tenure would be in flux, depending on how he felt about the position.
“I don’t know if it’ll be for one year or 10 years,” he said and added later: “I would say, if I like this job, I think [owner Jim Pohlad] will let me stay. If I don’t, I’m going to try to set up a successor.”
For now, Ryan says he doesn’t have any thoughts of retiring again, even with the club struggling and the immediate future not looking real bright unless some of their young players blossom overnight.
So what does Ryan think is the main problem with the Twins at this point?
“You go through streaks in this game and I think it all comes down to that starting pitching,” he said. “Our bullpen has been pretty decent. We haven’t scored as much as I thought we would. We haven’t hit with runners in scoring positions as much as I thought we would.
“But ultimately you keep going at this thing and you’re trying to tweak this roster and hopefully you have some guys come up that do some things, like [starting pitcher Andrew] Albers has and [reliever Caleb] Thielbar has and some of the younger guys like [reliever Ryan] Pressly, they’ve contributed. It’s not unlike any profession, you’re going to have positions where you think you’re doing OK and then you’re going to run into a rut.”
Asked if he might make a trade before the season is over, Ryan said there is nothing going on with first baseman Justin Morneau right now. “I can put that out there,” he said. “I don’t see it, but there is always a possibility.
“[Closer Glen] Perkins is doing fine. We haven’t seen him out there much lately but he is doing fine. I don’t think you have to worry about him [being traded].”
Buxton and Sano
Ryan talked about the likelihood that the Baseball America’s No. 1-ranked prospect, outfielder Byron Buxton, and the No. 3-ranked prospect, third baseman Miguel Sano, will be in major league spring training camp next year.
“They are putting up numbers,” Ryan said. “Sano has to be close to 30 home runs by now [actually 31 between Class A Fort Myers and Class AA New Britain]. We’ve promoted Buxton to high Class A [in Fort Myers] and he’s hitting over .300 and he’s stealing bases and his defense is probably the best part of his game. They are being recognized but they also are backing it up. It’s just not reputation.