TORONTO – The Twins are no longer searching for a general manager to replace Terry Ryan. They're thinking bigger.
Owner Jim Pohlad and President Dave St. Peter have decided to restructure the Twins' baseball operations department, and they plan to hire a presidential-level executive who will have authority over all baseball decisions yet be freed from the day-to-day particulars of the GM job.
"It's not a one-man job anymore," St. Peter said Friday. "Frankly, it's not a two-man job."
There are so many aspects of the job, in fact, from scouting to planning to development to analytics, that the Twins have alighted on the attribute they want most: leadership.
"It will be someone who is responsible for setting the vision of our baseball team, shaping the strategy and assuring the alignment between all the various decisions it takes to reach our goals," St. Peter said by phone Friday. "We want someone who is forward-thinking, someone who can take a 30,000-foot view of all aspects of the operation."
That executive will then take the lead in hiring a general manager, St. Peter said, a person in charge of player procurement and collaborating on, then carrying out, the decisions of the new baseball boss.
It's a structure that has become relatively common, with Boston's Dave Dombrowski, the Chicago Cubs' Theo Epstein and Toronto's Mark Shapiro heading large organizations with increasingly varied duties.
"We got a great deal of input from around the game, and this structure made a lot of sense to Jim Pohlad and myself," St. Peter said, in confirming a report by Fox Sports. "We feel this gives us the best chance to attract the best candidates and the best chance of achieving success on the field as well."
In fact, St. Peter said, the quality of candidates under consideration for that head-of-baseball job — no titles have been formalized yet — "is exciting. … There is no shortage of great talent out there, and the autonomy this position will offer has … gotten attention." But he emphasized that the structural changes were decided upon independently of any candidate's input; while the new position might attract a particularly sought-after candidate, in other words, the decision isn't being made at that person's behest.
The new executive will technically rank below St. Peter on the team's organizational chart, but "with a direct line to Jim Pohlad," St. Peter said. "Anybody who oversees baseball operations will have a strong relationship with ownership."
The Twins have a working list of potential candidates now, St. Peter said, with the help of executive placement firm Korn Ferry, and they have begun the process of contacting teams for permission to talk to a few. "I've said from the start that this would be an attractive job, and that's proven to be the case," he said. "Candidates have emerged from a host of different backgrounds — some strategic thinkers, some from scouting and player development, some from advanced metrics. … The beauty of this structure is that we can put together a well-rounded team that addresses all the aspects that the baseball department will entail."
The new GM might even come from the pool of candidates for the top job, he said.
No formal interview has taken place with interim GM Rob Antony, St. Peter said, but that remains his intention. Is it possible Antony, Ryan's chief lieutenant until the longtime general manager was fired July 18, could remain in the GM job under a new baseball chief? St. Peter wouldn't speculate on specific candidates, especially since the incoming baseball boss "will have a strong voice in the shape of the department around him."
He also declined to specify when the Twins will hire their new baseball chief, and reiterated that "the situation of some candidates" — meaning, employees of teams headed to the postseason — could dictate the timing of an announcement.