Terry Ryan indicated strongly Thursday that if he is the Twins’ general manager when the 2015 season begins, Ron Gardenhire will be back for a 13th season as manager.
He also implied he will return as GM next season if his health continues to improve, a decision he won’t make until the end of the year. Ryan had surgery to remove cancer from his neck in February and radiation treatments before returning to work full-time in June.
Ryan was asked if he wants to come back next season.
“Let me get through the year,” he said. “Like everything around this organization, we usually wait until the end of the year before we make any decisions.”
What about Gardenhire?
“Same stuff. He is signed for next year, so you don’t have to worry about him.”
He’ll be back?
“Yeah, yeah, I would say he’ll be back,” Ryan said.
Does Ryan think Gardenhire has done a good job this season with a struggling Twins club?
“We can all do better,” Ryan said. “We’re not where we need to be. We can all do a better job. He has to, I have to, as an organization, we all have to. We’re just not playing up to what we’re wishing we were, consequently we’re not playing games that mean much in September.”
Even though this will be the fourth bad year in a row for the Twins, it’s obvious the team will start next year with better young talent, including a number of players who have improved with experience this year.
“[Right fielder Oswaldo] Arcia, [designated hitter Kennys] Vargas and [shortstop and center fielder Danny] Santana have all come up here and done a pretty good job,” Ryan said. “As you can see, they have talent. It’s just a matter of a little bit more experience. They have some ability to help us down the road.”
Ryan praised former Yankees starter Phil Hughes, who won his 14th game against eight losses Thursday by beating Cleveland 4-1 at Target Field. Hughes pitched seven innings of one-run ball, allowing five hits and striking out eight.
“[Hughes] has been good,” Ryan said. “When he came over here, he just had some problems with Yankee Stadium and the dimensions over there, I think more than anything. We got him in this ballpark and it has certainly been to his liking. He has given us a lot of good outings, he throws a lot of strikes, he’s competitive and he’s been a good addition to this club.”
Ryan also said he still has hope for Ricky Nolasco, who is in the first year of a four-year, $49 million contract. He has a 5-9 record with a 5.96 ERA, after limiting the Indians to four runs over 6⅔ innings in his most recent start.
“He had a better outing [Wednesday, in a 5-0 loss to Cleveland],” Ryan said. “His stuff played better, and it was crisper. Now I think it’s just a matter of command. He threw strikes, but I’m not sure his location is where he wanted it. He was better. He’s going to be OK, I think.”
Ryan was asked if there are a number of areas where the team has to improve for next season or if there are some positions that feel settled for next year.
“We certainly need to look at a lot of things here,” Ryan said. “We just can’t seem to get the big hit when we need it. We could use some depth in our rotation, there’s no doubt about that. We have to address the personnel on the roster.”