As many of you know, the Twins fired general manager Terry Ryan on July 18. The move was hardly surprising given the fact that the Twins have a 34-59 record, worst in the American League. Ryan was fired following 2 stints as Twins general manager over 22 years. Prior to this season, I was completely in favor of the Twins keeping Ryan as GM. With this dreadful season, I was much less certain of Ryan’s future.
Ryan’s first stint as Twins GM (1994-2007) was largely a success. In 1996, Ryan made his first major move, trading Dave Hollins to the Seattle Mariners for David Ortiz (though Ryan and the Twins later failed to re-sign Ortiz, which turned out to be a big mistake). In 1998, Ryan sent Chuck Knoblauch to the New York Yankees for four players. Two of those players were Christian Guzman and Eric Milton, both future All-Stars. In 1999, Ryan traded for future two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana. Perhaps most important, these moves (and more) helped spark the Twins’ turnaround in the early 2000s and kept the Twins in Minnesota amid contraction talk. Without the help of Terry Ryan, the Twins may not exist today.
Ryan’s second stint as Twins GM (2011-2016) was far less successful. After replacing former GM Bill Smith (a tough job!), Ryan drafted star prospect Byron Buxton. However, the real trouble began when Ryan traded Aaron Hicks (for John Ryan Murphy, who has done nothing since the trade).Ryan then decided to put 260-pound Miguel Sano in right field, a position Sano had never played before and was terrible at. Also, I think Ryan was too old-school and unable or unwilling to adapt to the modern age of sabermetrics.
Going forward, the Twins need to hire a GM with no ties to the organization. The Twins’ history of promoting within the organization is fine once in a while, but sometimes a completely new voice is needed (especially after this season!). Read an article supporting this idea, as well as the consequences of the decision to keep manager Paul Molitor after 2016.
Ryan’s firing is just part of the solution for the Twins. How about getting rid of Joe Mauer’s contract and using the money to get at least one star pitcher? Please vote on the poll below asking whether you believe the Twins need to do more to contend than firing Terry Ryan. As always, feel free to comment!
Written by Sam Graves