Twins interim general manager Terry Ryan spoke to Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (in two separate pieces) about the Twins' season, offseason plans and his own future with the team. Here are some of the highlights...
- Ryan doesn't plan to fire Ron Gardenhire and says that he wouldn't make any changes to the coaching staff without Gardenhire's approval. "I don't think either one of us should independently make that call. I wouldn't want to force-feed a coach on a manager. That never works in a clubhouse," Ryan said. Souhan notes that Ryan didn't fire former Twins manager Tom Kelly even after Kelly had presided over eight consecutive losing seasons.
- The Twins' biggest offseason need is starting pitching, though Ryan described the free agent pitching market as "a little lean." The club isn't likely to get into a bidding war over big name free agent starters, though Ryan said the team would explore all avenues to improve their pitching, including possibly re-signing Carl Pavano and Scott Baker. The Twins have a $9.5MM team option on Baker for 2013 but I would think the team would decline that option and try to re-sign Baker on a new, smaller deal.
- Ryan is satisfied with the team's payroll (slightly over $100MM in 2012) and said finances weren't to blame for the last two seasons. "This one isn’t payroll-oriented at all. This is just making good baseball decisions," Ryan said.
- Justin Morneau has been the subject of trade rumors this year but Ryan sees the former MVP as part of next year's Twins. "I think his numbers are going to return. I think he's a core guy. He's a former MVP who's what, 31? He's one of the most important people in this organization, no doubt," Ryan said.
- In regards to his future as the Twins' GM, Ryan said he would make a decision after the season, though Souhan noted that Ryan "sounds as if he is determined to keep the job, even if he won't yet admit it." Twins owner Jim Pohlad said earlier this week that he would like Ryan to remain as GM and Ryan is free to remove the 'interim' tag from his job whenever he wishes.