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Bill Smith Rumors
FRIDAY: Smith is officially back as an assistant to the president and GM, according to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
WEDNESDAY: Former Twins general manager Bill Smith is in the process of finalizing a new role in the Minnesota organization, according to Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN.com. Smith will likely become a special assistant to the president and GM. In that role, he would oversee Latin America development and plans for the team's Spring Training facility.
Twins owner Jim Pohlad let Smith go last month after the team lost 99 games. Longtime Twins GM Terry Ryan accepted the challenge of fielding a respectable team again. "Bill was equally motivated to achieve that goal,” Pohlad explained at the time. “But we differed in the scope and approach that was required." The Twins won two division titles in Smith's four years as GM.
Twins owner Jim Pohlad spoke to La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune about the future of the team. A few highlights:
- Smith blames the Twins' disastrous 2011 season on "the perfect storm of injuries" as well as players failing to match their 2010 performances. He also admitted there were fundamental issues with players called up from the minors.
- Manager Ron Gardenhire and GM Bill Smith will be back in 2012, with Pohlad noting that the Twins are not a "knee-jerk reaction organization."
- Told about the potential $40MM+ the Twins have coming off the books, Pohlad said, "Well if what you just said, if that's true, that gives us tons of flexibility." The owner also said, "My guess is we're probably going to have to do more than one impact player."
- Pohlad was noncommittal on bringing back Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel, and gave a non-answer regarding the team renewing their interest in Hisashi Iwakuma. Said Pohlad, "I think probably everybody is on our radar."
- Pohlad says the team's $115MM payroll is "going to come down naturally" but it won't be slashed and will be "right up there."
- Based on our arbitration estimates, a $105MM payroll could give the Twins about $30MM to spend in 2012 salaries.
Brendan Bianowicz has more GM Trade History series updates for us. Click below to download Excel spreadsheets with info on the AL Central GMs (trades, free agent signings, and top draft picks).