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  1. #1

    Bill Smith fired

    Apparently Terry Ryan is taking over - possibly as interim.

  2. #2
    Tom Pelissero
    Bill Smith says he met with Jim Pohlad and Dave St. Peter this morning. Has been offered another role. Will take a step back first.

    Buster Olney
    Folks in the sport are completely stunned by the news that Bill Smith has been fired; to others, timing of the move is strange.

    Joe Schmit
    Smith worked for #Twins for 26 years. Says the decision came quickly and was a surprise

    Joe Schmit
    Smith is taking a month off before he decides if he will stay with #Twins. Called Terry Ryan best friend in baseball and best baseball mind.

    Joe Schmit
    Just talked to Bill Smith #TwinsHe cited philosophical differences. Found out Friday, finished details today. Has been offered a job w/Twins

    Tom Pelissero
    #Twins say Terry Ryan "will be responsible for succession planning with the intent to identify future leadership candidates." Hence, interim

    Tom Pelissero
    That said, this sure doesn't sound like a 3-month gig. Terry Ryan is 58. I get the impression he's signing on for a couple of years at least

  3. #3
    Twins Fire GM Bill Smith, Bring Back Terry Ryan As Interim GM

    By Rob Neyer - National Baseball Editor

    Nov 7, 2011 - So this is official: The Minnesota Twins have dismissed general manager Bill Smith, and erstwhile GM Terry Ryan is taking over for the moment.

    Smith took over from Ryan after the 2007 season.

    In Smith's first season as GM, the Twin improved from 79 to 88 wins. In his second and third seasons, they won American League Central titles before getting swept in their Division Series, both times by the Yankees.

    And then the Great Northern Baseball Disaster of 2011, when the Twins went 63-99, their worst record since 1982.

    It's hard to blame Smith for the injuries that practically wiped out Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer, the franchise's biggest stars. And it's probably too early to tell if Smith has overseen productive amateur drafts and international signings. But after a season like this, someone's usually going to take a fall and apparently Ron Gardenhire's not going anywhere.

    Before taking over as GM in 1994, Ryan had been the Twins' scouting director. He was a baseball guy. While running the club, he traded A.J. Pierzynski for Joe Nathan and Francisco Liriano, and picked up Rule 5 draftee Johan Santana. There were some lean times in Ryan's first few years at the helm, but beginning in 2002 the Twins won four division titles in five years.

    Smith served for some years as Ryan's assistant, but upon his hiring was described in one newspaper story as "primarily an administrator". He's been advised by Ryan, and enjoyed the services of scouting guru Mike Radcliff as Vice President of Player Personnel. So whatever you might think of Ryan, it's hard to imagine that he's not had access to good advice. Whether he's been taking good advice is an open question.

    Radcliff has been been mentioned as a GM candidate, and just last week the Twins denied permission for him to talk to the Orioles about their vacancy (now filled by Dan Duquette). It seems quite possible that Ryan is merely keeping the chair warm until the Twins are able to work out a new deal with Radcliff.

  4. #4

    Wow wasnt expecting that.

    I can safely say I wasnt expecting to hear this today and I am not sure I have a problem with it either. After such a horrible season I cant blame the team for making this move and when you look at how many of his moves have not worked out he shouldnt have been to shocked.

    The question for me is this an excuse for the team not to spend any money this offseason to improve the team?
    It doesn’t matter if you are a king or street sweeper pretty soon you will dance with the reaper!

    Its better to be silent and everyone think your an idiot than open your mouth and remove all doubt.

    “Statistics are no substitute for judgment”
    Henry Clay

  5. #5
    Oh, I don;t have a problem with it. Bill Smith has been, at best, totally incompetent at his job.

    But this needs to just be a first step.

    We have no talent in the upper minors at all. And IMO, our philosophies about hitting, pitching and defense are all fatally flawed.

  6. #6
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    It should have happened at the end of the season.
    It is a first step to correcting the ship.

    What other moves there will be? I don't know but I am more comfortable knowing Ryan is back and making them.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Excellent news. Smith was a dismal failure. Even he had to realize that.

  8. #8
    Gleeman's take:

    Five weeks ago Twins owner Jim Pohlad gave Bill Smith a public vote of confidence, making it very clear that he'd remain the general manager following a 99-loss season because "he's had a very tough situation" and "we're not a knee-jerk organization." Apparently something major changed between then and now, as yesterday the Twins fired Smith after four years and two months on the job, repeatedly citing "philosophical differences" that they refused to discuss.

    To replace Smith the Twins turned back the clock, with longtime general manager Terry Ryan returning to the job on an interim basis after serving as an advisor to the front office since his resignation and Ryan's former right-hand man, Wayne Krivsky, returning to his old assistant role after leaving the organization in 2006 to take over as the Reds' general manager. They're getting the band back together, for a while at least.

    Ryan stepped down as GM on September 14, 2007, citing burnout after 13 years at the helm, and in returning to the job at age 58 he expressed uncertainty about whether it would be "for one year or ten years." Clearly the Twins weren't expecting to fire Smith until very recently and Ryan seemingly indicated that he was stepping back into the job as much out of his feeling of responsibility to the organization as his desire to actually be the GM again.

    Ryan left Smith in a difficult spot in 2007, with Torii Hunter leaving as a free agent and Johan Santana on the trade block. Similarly, injuries wrecking the entire roster this year made many of Smith's decisions moot, good or bad. However, that doesn't excuse the series of bad moves Smith orchestrated, from getting little in return for Santana and trading Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett for Delmon Young to dealing Wilson Ramos for Matt Capps and dumping J.J. Hardy.

    Smith also made a number of shrewd trades and signings, but for the most part they were on a small scale. Jim Thome and Orlando Hudson were smart, cheap free agent pickups, trades for Carl Pavano and Jon Rauch worked out well, and the original deal to acquire Hardy from the Brewers was an excellent one even if it involved admitting that Carlos Gomez was a bust as a centerpiece of the Santana blockbuster.

    Smith did reasonably well at the margins, but failed on the franchise-altering moves and that's not a recipe for long-term success. By contrast, Ryan thrived with big-picture moves like adding star-caliber building blocks outside of free agency and squeezing unseen value out of veteran-for-prospect trades, but struggled with small stuff like surrounding those building blocks with washed-up veterans. Ryan's weakness was annoying. Smith's weakness was crippling.


    Eventually we'll learn more about the "philosophical differences" that led to Smith's firing and based on the odd timing those details are probably pretty damn interesting, but ultimately it comes down to the fact that he performed poorly and the more successful person he replaced was available and willing to resume the job. This is a crucial offseason, for 2012 and beyond, and you'll be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn't trust Ryan more than Smith.

    None of which is to say Ryan has an easy task ahead of him. For one thing, he revealed during yesterday's press conference that the Twins' payroll will decline in 2012, saying it will likely be "somewhere around $100 million." If true that would represent a $15 million drop and leave little room to re-sign Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel, and Joe Nathan, let alone add other free agents. Based on the current roster they already have about $82 million committed for 2012.

    Beyond that, Smith was hardly the only person involved in the Twins' decision-making during the past four years. Ryan was an advisor during Smith's various poor moves, assistant general manager Rob Antony and vice president of player personnel Mike Radcliff remain in the same roles, and even Krivsky comes with a mixed track record in Minnesota and Cincinnati. Smith took the fall because he was sitting in the biggest chair, but his departure alone fixes nothing.

    Smith was a relative unknown when he took over for Ryan in 2007 and proved overmatched, making large-scale blunders that vastly outweighed his small-scale successes while seemingly epitomizing the Peter Principle. That doesn't make him a bad person or even an incompetent employee, it just means he was a poor fit as the GM of a major-league team. Ryan may not be able to climb out of this hole either, but I certainly feel more optimistic handing him the rope.

  9. #9
    AP:

    One of his priorities will be to address the medical side of the team. Several injured Twins spent an inordinate amount of time on the disabled list, and Ryan said the team has to figure out why they didn't get back sooner.(AFT)

    "We need to do some tweaking at the very least there. ... I know Bill was in the process of doing that up until last week," Ryan said. "He was worried about it and I'm worried about it. ... The players can only take advice. Players take the advice you give them. ... I would never put it on the players. It's our responsibility to take control of that and we will."

  10. #10

    Not what I want to hear.

    Bill Smith is in the past now that Terry Ryan is back under control. Its time this team starts talking about how its going to fix things. I am not overly concerned about the free agents who could leave. Cuddyer, Kubel, and Nathen all seem to be good guys and they are decent ball players but they are not great players at this point. I can see why other teams would want them to some degree but they are not game changers on their own. My problem I feel we are going to see is a team who should have a solid $100 million budget being run like it is a $50 million team. That is fine you want to make every dollar spent be a good one but this team needs help now because the help isnt coming from the minors anytime soon. I want to hear how this team is going to right some of the wrongs over the last few years. Lets face it this team really fell apart last season because a GM didnt listen to his scouts and maybe listened to much to his manager. Namely the scouts said dont sign Nishioka he isnt very good and a managers love for Casilla kept him on the roster.

    Go get a could good solid players who can play some defense and run up the middle. It will help the pitching staff a great deal. Get a good quality backup catcher who can play everyday if need be to allow Mauer to do other things. Either get Morneau healthy or get him out of here. I must say I do like the loyalty of the Twins and the idea that in baseball young players can play a long period of time with their original team but Morneau is helping no one if he isnt hitting and due to his injuries I am not sure he has anything left to give on a regular basis because any bump sends him to the DL. His contract just kills us in adding better talent.
    It doesn’t matter if you are a king or street sweeper pretty soon you will dance with the reaper!

    Its better to be silent and everyone think your an idiot than open your mouth and remove all doubt.

    “Statistics are no substitute for judgment”
    Henry Clay

  11. #11
    Sinker:

    I expected the Pohlads to give Bill Smith another year to turn things around, based on the public pronouncements and the organization's publicly stated (and misguided) view that the 2011 season was largely the result of circumstances beyond its control.

    Smith's firing is a sign that things were going as badly this fall at Target Field as they had been during the season. Whatever Smith brought to the Pohlads as solutions to the team's problems didn't play.

    And Terry Ryan said he was available after four years away from the general manager's job.

    Knowing that, and seeing the prospect of a team falling further into disrepair, it shouldn't have been a difficult call for the Pohlads to make. Surprising, yes. Difficult, not so much.

    During Monday's press conference, Ryan was pretty strident about the need for change. Whatever has to be done won't be accomplished simply by extending spring training for three days, which was a solution presented with some fanfare toward in September to show how things would be different in 2012.

    Three extra days in Florida? In February? With afternoons free for golf and the beach?

    How harsh.

    Let's keep in mind how far the Twins fell in 2011.

    The challenge after the playoff disaster of the previous season -- yet another three games-and-gone -- was to create a roster that would not only be a playoff contender but a playoff factor. Even if Mauer and Morneau had been at 100 percent health, not one thing was done last winter to move the Twins in that direction. It's hard to look back through the wreckage and remember how we were looking at things last off-season, but the distress was of an entirely different nature, which now feels like a paper cut as opposed to a gaping wound.

    Get more right-handed on offense? Didn't happen. Find a front-line starter? Didn't happen. Replace the guys cut loose in the bullpen with quality arms? Didn't happen. Upgrade the middle infield? Didn't happen.

    Instead of improving the roster, the Twins trumpeted their re-signing of Carl Pavano in a free-agent market where his options were fewer than originally assumed. And they swapped out J.J. Hardy for Tsuyoshi Nishioka at shortstop, a personnel decision surpassed in ineptitude only by the notion that Nishioka may somehow be a factor at shortstop in 2012.

    In other words, the Twins set a lose-lose course from the start of 2011. The best case was that they would put themselves in position once again to be overmatched in the postseason. The worst case is what happened, a team that crumbled under the weight of the mess of their decisions, on-field performance and injuries.

    Now, faced with the prospect of becoming the Kansas City of the North, the Pohlads have turned over that mess to Ryan.

    Much was made after Monday's press conference about the payroll shrinking from $115 million to about $100 million. Depending on how you look at the probable 2012 roster, about $75 million to $80 million is already committed -- including $38 million to Mauer and Morneau.
    I am pretty confident that if the right opportunities arise, Ryan can convince the owners that $100 million should become $105 million or $110 million. But I am also sure that would only happen after the decisions are made that not a penny will be spent on Cuddyer, Kubel, Nathan and Capps in 2012. Hard good-byes are on the agenda.

    Here's where Ryan comes in.

    He's a baseball guy;. Smith was an administrator. You don't have to be a "baseball guy" to lead a winning organization, but without that background at the top, an organization has to be that much more reliant on mining and making use of the data that has become so much a part of baseball. The Twins haven't made that commitment -- certainly not to the extent of other teams -- and a crippling critical mass took over.

    Whatever the case, I am more confident in Ryan at $100 million than Smith at $115 million. I am also hopeful that statistical voices in Ryan's front office will have a greater say at the personnel table.

    I expect Ryan to more than nibble around the edges of the Twins' problems. His first stint was filled with significant moves that transformed the Twins from failures into playoff fixtures. That time, though, it took about a half-dozen years for his moves to yield success.

    Now, we're expecting a quicker turnaround.

    Like right away.

  12. #12

    Lets hope.

    The first need is getting a starting SS to help shore up the defense. Terry Ryan has always been a guy who find players at all levels to fill holes and needs even if it costs nothing. I have a lot of faith in him but this team needs some spark that some cash could help with. I just think its not the right time to be thinking cheap give Ryan some cash for him to work with so even his turnaround can be quicker. I think Ryan helps the franchise more in minor league levels than it does at the major league level long term. Ryan's ability to find talent was always top notch.
    It doesn’t matter if you are a king or street sweeper pretty soon you will dance with the reaper!

    Its better to be silent and everyone think your an idiot than open your mouth and remove all doubt.

    “Statistics are no substitute for judgment”
    Henry Clay

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf on the Prowl View Post
    The first need is getting a starting SS to help shore up the defense. Terry Ryan has always been a guy who find players at all levels to fill holes and needs even if it costs nothing. I have a lot of faith in him but this team needs some spark that some cash could help with. I just think its not the right time to be thinking cheap give Ryan some cash for him to work with so even his turnaround can be quicker. I think Ryan helps the franchise more in minor league levels than it does at the major league level long term. Ryan's ability to find talent was always top notch.
    Enter Nick Punto..i seriously wouldnt be surprised if the Twins tried to bring him back..I wouldnt mind but ONLY if it was as a bench player and not a starter

    I think the Twins will either keep 1 or 2 of the 3 FA's..Other then that i think it will be another ho hum offseason..

  14. #14
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    Twins are reportedly reducing payroll this offseason.
    Going to be a tough one to improve the team.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLoneWolf View Post
    Enter Nick Punto..i seriously wouldnt be surprised if the Twins tried to bring him back..I wouldnt mind but ONLY if it was as a bench player and not a starter

    I think the Twins will either keep 1 or 2 of the 3 FA's..Other then that i think it will be another ho hum offseason..
    From the Pioneer Press

    Just who those players are, Gardenhire wouldn't say, though he did acknowledge he wouldn't mind having infielder Nick Punto back. Punto left the Twins as a free agent last winter, signed a one-year deal with St. Louis and won a World Series title with the Cardinals.

    Gardenhire said he hasn't talked with Punto yet but he will, if only to congratulate him.

    "You know my standing with Nicky Punto," he said. "My standing was I didn't want him to leave in the first place. I'll always have a spot on my team for Nick Punto."
    It will be interesting to see who they let go and who they bring in. With the Twins payroll being cut and Ryan looking for solid players at a bargain price I wouldn't be surprised to see a good handful of "Nick Punto" type players come on board.
    We have forty-four defenses for him, but he has forty-five ways to score. ~Al Attles, on Nate Archibald


 

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