NEW YORK – Go ahead and speculate all you want about Ron Gardenhire’s job security. Terry Ryan won’t mind.
“It doesn’t bother me at all,” Ryan said about the recent slump-fed clamor for a change in the dugout, “because there’s no validity to it.”
With that, the Twins’ general manager made it clear that he has no plans to employ anyone but Gardenhire for the rest of the season. Just an hour earlier, Gardenhire reiterated that he’s not interested in walking away from the job he’s held for 11½ seasons.
“I like managing. I like running the ballclub. I have a lot of fun doing it,” the Twins’ manager said before his slumping team opened a three-game series in Yankee Stadium. “I get to see a lot of really good players, on both sides. Best seat in the house. Hottest seat, too, right now. That goes with the territory.”
Gardenhire acknowledged that many Twins fans are unhappy with the team’s decline over the past three seasons, and especially with him. But at a remarkably upbeat news conference, considering his team has gone 4-16 since June 20, he said he has no plans to quit.
“I’ve seen an awful lot of good here. It’s a little rough right now; we’re trying to figure that out,” he said. “As long as they keep me here, I’ll try to figure it out. If they decide they want to do something, that’s what they decide.”
“They” in this case is presumably Ryan, owner Jim Pohlad and the Pohlad family. Gardenhire has had a strong relationship with Ryan for years, and considers the Pohlads “great owners and good friends.” But he has had no discussions with “decisionmakers” about his job status — “except my wife,” he joked.
There’s no need for a discussion, Ryan said. The Pohlads, like their late father, Carl, “treasure loyalty, they treasure people who do a good job, they treasure continuity,” he said.
That’s not to say that there won’t be changes after next week’s All-Star break.
“Every day, I’m looking at something. We might make a move tomorrow, or the next day, or the next day. You can’t just keeping letting things go,” Ryan said of the Twins’ roster. “We have confidence and faith in some of these guys, and we’re showing it — because they’re still here. [But] we might have to make a move here.”
Much of the recent discontent has been fueled by Star Tribune writer Patrick Reusse’s Thursday column, which proposed that Gardenhire not be made to suffer through “another death march” in the season’s second half.
“It’s never good when someone starts out with, ‘Goodbye, Gardy.’ But the article was actually” complimentary, Gardenhire said. “I think it was an entertaining article, let’s put it that way. As a manager, when people start writing things like that, it’s really not good.”
The 2010 AL Manager of the Year also said he doesn’t believe the current team will suffer the fate of his past two teams, which lost 99 and 96 games.
“I believe we can run off a 10-game winning streak, just like we ran off a 10-game losing streak, and that’s the streak I’m looking for,” Gardenhire said.
He’s losing sleep trying to find answers for the slump, he said, and spends a lot of time worrying about its effects on his players and coaches, but “as a manager, it would be a lot of fun to turn this thing around with this group. That’s what my goal is.”