La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Smith out, Ryan back in as Twins General Manager

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: November 7, 2011 - 3:36 PM

The Twins have fired Bill Smith and have replaced him on an interim basis with former GM Terry Ryan.

The move is effective immediately. Ryan, who previously was the GM from1994-2007, will meet with the media at 4:30 p.m. at Target Field.

 “No one in the Twins’ organization wants to win any more than Bill,” Twins Owner and CEO Jim Pohlad said in a statement. “He is unquestionably loyal, committed and talented. The Twins goal is to get better in 2012 and beyond. Bill was equally motivated to achieve that goal but we differed in the scope and approach that was required. Going forward, we intend to have additional discussions with Bill about an ongoing role within the organization. We wish Bill, Becky and the entire Smith family nothing but the best.

“We are fortunate and grateful for Terry Ryan’s willingness to step in as interim general manager,” Pohlad continued.
This comes after news late last week that former assistant GM Wayne Krivsky was close to  returning to the organization as a special assistant.
Krivksy and Ryan were together as the Twins rose from the ashes in the late 1990's to win four division titles under Ryan's watch.
As the Twins'  completed their 99-loss season, Pohlad met with the Star Tribune for a lenghy Q & A session, where he  announced that the club was not a, ``knee-jerk'' organization. Predicatably, that didn't go over well with a fan base that wanted accountability for such a terrible season.
Pohlad wanted to time to meet with staff and figure out a plan of attack. About six weeks later, here's your accountability. 
``Working for the Minnesota Twins for the past 26 seasons has been the greatest professional privilege I could have ever imagined,” Smith said in a statement. “I will be forever grateful to the Pohlad family for the many wonderful opportunities they have provided to me, including the chance to sit in the General Manager’s chair for the past four seasons.  My thanks and admiration to each of the wonderfully talented people with whom I have worked, and to Tom Kelly, Ron Gardenhire, their hard-working coaches & trainers and a large group of players who always represent the Minnesota Twins on the field and in the community better than any team in Baseball! Finally, it gives me great pleasure to hand this baton back to the best baseball man I have ever known, Terry Ryan.”
Ryan and Krivsky are back together again. They are two men who bring a lot to the table in terms of player evaluation, contract negotiation and running an organization.
While the Twins decide which role, if any, will Smith have with the club.We are left to wonder how long Ryan will want to stay in the big chair.
Ryan is being announced as an 'interim' GM. One interesting line in the Twins' press release: ``In addition, Ryan will be responsible for succession planning within the baseball department with the intent to identify future leadership candidates. ''
 That suggests Ryan might do this for a year or two, then move on. With Krivsky, Mike Radcliff and Rob Antony around, it would appear that the Twins have in-house options for a long-term GM.
Ryan is going to have to hit the ground running. With several players on the free agent market and several holes that need to be filled on the roster, he has quite a to-do list.
“As we move ahead, I’m looking forward to the challenge of improving this club for 2012 and beyond,” Ryan said in a statement. “We have many assets in place including a strong front office, manager, coaching staff and returning core of players. We have a lot of work to do in relation to development of our roster, but I’m optimistic in our collective abilities to ensure the future on-field success of this franchise.”
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