With the caveat that this is way too early and highly speculative, here is your way-too-early, highly speculative list of candidates the Twins might consider as the permanent replacement for General Manager Terry Ryan, who was fired Monday:
Pie in the sky
Billy Beane: He’s been the Athletics GM since 1997. They made a book, then a movie (“Moneyball,” of course) about his methods. But for all his success, Beane has developed critics in Oakland — and the franchise has largely flopped when reaching the postseason. Beane has ties to the Twins organization, having played here in the 1980s. He’s also used to working with a limited budget. Stranger things have happened.
Jed Hoyer: Why would Hoyer, currently the general manager of the Cubs, give up that gig? Because as long as he’s working under Theo Epstein (Chicago’s president of baseball operations) he will always be obscured. Rebuilding the Twins — who have depth in the minor leagues — could be an attractive landing spot if Hoyer, 42, wants to step out of the shadows. He would represent a new way of thinking.
Ben Cherington: Like Hoyer, he has worked under Epstein before ultimately succeeding Epstein as the general manager of the Red Sox — a title he held from the end of 2011 through last August, when he resigned. The Red Sox won the World Series in 2013 under Cherington’s helm, but they faltered in 2014 and 2015. Still, Cherington is a free agent who figures to be coveted. Would he fit in a midsized market after getting used to spend-happy Boston?
Doug Melvin: Previously the longtime general manager of the Rangers and then Brewers, Melvin is well-respected in the game. He left the GM role with the Brewers in the middle of the 2015 season and is now working with Milwaukee as an adviser. Melvin will be 64 next month, so it’s unclear whether he would relish the chance to be a GM again. But he might be a fit here.
Kevin Towers: Like Melvin, Towers has a wealth of experience as a major league GM, having held the post with San Diego and Arizona. Towers, 54, has a mixed bag of a résumé but did take San Diego to the World Series and engineered a huge one-year turnaround with the Diamondbacks.
Randy Bush: The former Twins outfielder/pinch hitter extraordinaire from both their championship teams is an assistant GM with the Cubs and could be in line for a promotion. He is well-respected and has preached patience as the Cubs have ascended into one of the National League’s elite.
In-house candidates: If the Twins promote from within — which might seem questionable given Monday’s news was a firing and not a retirement — they could consider Rob Antony, Mike Radcliff, Wayne Krivsky or Deron Johnson.
Antony was given the interim GM label and seems to have the best chance of the four of getting the permanent job. Krivsky has GM experience with the Reds. Radcliff and Johnson are both respected talent evaluators.