DETROIT – Rob Antony spent his second day as the Twins’ interim general manager checking in with clubs about potential trades, connecting with members of the organization and having multiple conversations with manager Paul Molitor.
There might be an interim tag on his title, but Antony is jumping into the role as if it’s his for the long run. That, of course, remains to be seen, as owner Jim Pohlad and team president Dave St. Peter will engage candidates inside and outside the organization during their search for a permanent GM.
Terry Ryan, who was fired over the weekend, has encouraged Antony to be his own man and not be afraid to do things differently. And that is what Antony, who has been with the organization in a variety of jobs for 29 years, plans to do to show what kind of dealmaker he can be.
Antony sat down with the Star Tribune on Tuesday to discuss his new role, how he plans to tackle it and what he’s up against as the Aug. 1 nonwaiver trade deadline approaches.
Q: Now that you are the interim GM, how much more is on your plate right now?
A: A lot. Every time I’m on the phone, I’m getting buzzed by somebody else. Part of it is just because of the timing of this thing. Some of it is congratulatory calls. Some are other GMs that I haven’t talked to that might have checked in with Terry and now they are calling me and saying, “This is kind of where we are at.” Terry gave me all the information. I was in on all those calls prior to this happening. But he was in Arlington [Texas] for four days. I wasn’t with him and he had conversations then. He brought me up to speed, but it wasn’t like I could hear them all. We’ve already done a lot of the homework and were discussing it. But we weren’t at the name stage before but we are going to the name stage now.
Terry said, “You might get more action now than we did before because people are going to test you.”
Q: How many teams have you been in contact with?
A: About nine [Tuesday] and a handful [Monday].
Q: Is there any sense of urgency to prove [the team] can be fixed by someone inside the organization instead of by an outsider?
A: The only thing I can do is try to do the right things. I’m not going to make a radical move or fire somebody to show the owner that I’m willing to do something if it’s not the right thing. It’s not going to be a charade. I’m going to do things the way I would as we move forward. Any time he wants to meet with me and ask me any questions, I’m willing to answer those questions. I think he’s exactly right. I think we need to evaluate every area of our organization and the way we do things.
Q: You think there’s a perception that baseball operations have fallen behind the times?
A: I’m aware of the perception. I don’t believe in that. There are some organizations that have 11-12 people in their analytics department. There are some that have one or two. We fall in the middle of that. And I think we have good people who are doing that. We have information that we didn’t used to have. And we have done a lot of things with our own programming to provide us with information that helps us with the analytical part of evaluating players.
We don’t feel the need to justify ourselves or defend ourselves and say what we are doing. We’ll keep that close to the vest and use it as we can benefit from it.
Q: How close is Jose Berrios to getting another shot?
A: He didn’t pitch well his last time out but I think he’s close. I think it would probably be in our best interests to try to get him back up here. If he continues to take his lumps a little bit [in the majors], it still might benefit him next year. I think he’s a tough kid. When we sent him out, he looked shellshocked. I think he learned something from that. I think he’s not too far away from being a guy you can throw out there every five days.
Q: Are you prepared to trade prospects for established players if it helps get to the next level?
A: I don’t think that’s in the plan in this trade deadline. But in the offseason, if we don’t see a guy coming at a position, we need to address that. And we need to know our system better than anyone else knows our system. There might be a guy that people in the industry think is really good who we don’t think is going to be that good. And we can’t be afraid to move him. We need to jump on those opportunities. I don’t think you can rule anything out. Where we are at, we have to be open to doing anything possible that makes us better.