Terry Ryan Rumors

AL Notes: Ryan, Hunter, Miller, Bonifacio, Front Office

Twins GM Terry Ryan is “doing well” after his bout with throat cancer, writes MLB.com’s Barry Bloom. The 61-year-old still is experiencing various forms of discomfort, but has completed radiation and is back at full force in the Minnesota front office.

Here’s more out of the American League:

  • The Tigers will not pursue Torii Hunter after inking Victor Martinez and trading for Anthony Gose, GM Dave Dombrowski told reporters today, including George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press. “I called and said it just didn’t look like it was going to fit the way the club was getting put together,” Dombrowski said. “Thanked him for everything. Absolutely love him. If something changes where we make some changes for one reason or another, that we’re not anticipating, we would still be open. It’s just probably not much of a fit right now.” Hunter indicated in an Instagram post that he still intends to play in 2015.
  • The Blue Jays recently met with free agent lefty Andrew Miller, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports on Twitter. Miller figures to be a highly sought-after relief weapon. Toronto has definite pen needs, as Nicholson-Smith’s colleague, Shi Davidi, told me on this week’s podcast, and as MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk wrote in previewing the club’s offseason.
  • Free agent utility man Emilio Bonifacio is receiving interest from his former teams, including the Blue Jays and Royals, Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com tweets. (Cotillo also lists the Cubs as a team with possible interest.) Bonifacio should have his pick of situations given his versatility and place on the market.
  • The Red Sox have promoted Mike Rikard to become the team’s scouting director, according to a tweet from Clint Longenecker, formerly of Baseball America. He replaces Amiel Sawdaye, who will be promoted to a vice president role, according to Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal (via Twitter). Longenecker himself is moving on to join the Indians, Baseball America’s John Manuel tweets.

Twins Notes: Plouffe, Hughes, Ryan, Gardenhire, Coaches

Third baseman Trevor Plouffe suffered a fractured left forearm today, as LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reports on Twitter. That will end the 28-year-old’s season, but not before he posted a solid .258/.326/.423 slash over 520 plate appearances. Presumably, he will return to full strength in time for the spring — after taking his second pass through the arbitration process.

Here’s the latest out of Minnesota:

  • As things stand in today’s game, starter Phil Hughes has gone eight innings on 96 pitches and stands just one out away from reaching 210 innings on the year — which would trigger a third and final $500K incentive payment. But, as Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets, a rain delay is now threatening to complicate Hughes’s bid to finish his excellent season with a complete game and a healthy bonus payout.
  • GM Terry Ryan told reporters that he hopes to stay at the helm of the Twins next year, as ESPN.com reports. Ryan said he is doing well eight months after his cancer diagnosis, and feels physically capable of doing the job. He will sit down after the season with owner Jim Pohlad, as usual, to discuss his future. All reports have indicated that Ryan is expected to return.
  • Meanwhile, manager Ron Gardenhire said today that he, too, hopes to be back in 2015, as MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger reports. “Why wouldn’t you want to be here? This is as good as it gets,” said Gardenhire. “But I’m all for whatever’s best for the organization, too.” For his part, Ryan has said that a decision on Gardenhire’s future has yet to be reached, but will be forthcoming quickly after the season ends.
  • The Twins have a talented group of young Latin American players, but lack Spanish-speaking coaches to serve as mentors, writes Patrick Reusse of the Star Tribune. As the flow of Latin talent to the club’s MLB roster increases, says Reusse, it is incumbent upon Minnesota’s leadership to create an environment that will get the most out of those players.

Ryan On Free Agents, Tenders, Pelfrey, Pitching

Twins GM Terry Ryan discussed a number of topics with 1500ESPN.com's Darren Wolfson on Wednesday, including the following hot stove-related items…

  • The Twins have a protected first round draft pick but Ryan said he'd be comfortable in surrendering the club's second round selection to sign a free agent who had declined a qualifying offer, provided that he felt the free agent was a good fit.
  • Likewise, if the Twins identify a player on the trade market that would upgrade their club and could be had at the right price, Ryan would be open to dealing prospects to make a big splash like the Royals did last offseason to acquire James Shields.  "If you find some of that pitching, it makes you look a lot better in a hurry. So, you'd have to give it some consideration. But it'd have to make a lot of sense. No doubt," Ryan said.
  • Ryan has "flexibility with payroll" and isn't afraid to spend on a player his front office thinks is the right guy.  "We have people who put their neck out and are committed to whoever the player is or the pitcher is, you move forward. If it costs you some money, we go to where we're comfortable," Ryan said.
  • Trevor Plouffe will be tendered a contract, Ryan confirmed.  He declined to comment on Anthony Swarzak or Brian Duensing (both of whom are also eligible for arbitration), but Wolfson reports that "league sources are convinced" that both pitchers will be tendered contracts.
  • There is "probably not" any chance of the Twins re-signing Mike Pelfrey before he hits the free agent market, as Ryan suggested Pelfrey and agent Scott Boras will want to test the market.  Pelfrey returned from Tommy John surgery in 2012 to throw 152 2/3 innings for the Twins last season and he posted a 5.19 ERA that peripherals stats indicated should've been lower.  Pelfrey has said he would be interested in returning to Minnesota and MLBTR's Steve Adams suggests Pelfrey could be had on another one-year contract.


Terry Ryan On Gardenhire, Diaz, Buxton, Correia

In a wide-ranging interview with 1500ESPN.com's Darren Wolfson, Twins GM Terry Ryan talked about a team that is currently "going in the wrong direction." Here are some of the most notable points covered:

  • At the halfway point, Ryan acknowledged that his team is "struggling." Ryan declined to place the blame at the feet of manager Ron Gardenhire, saying that "I just now need to get him players he can succeed with." Ryan said that he "take[s] the responsibility" for the team's record. "I put this roster together. I've told Gardy to do the best he can. I understand that I don't have a perfect roster here."
  • When asked whether the team's deal with Dominican outfielder Lewin Diaz was Minnesota's big international deal, Ryan said no. The team "still ha[s] dollars left" and is "still pursuing other guys." 
  • Ryan indicated that he is impressed with top prospect Byron Buxton for more reasons than his incredible tools and statistics. "He's done a good job and he's made up right," said Ryan, referring to Buxton. "He's a good teammate. He's approachable. There's a lot of humbleness in him. He was raised right by his parents."
  • Discussing trades, Ryan says that the general manager is "not going to win no matter what you do," though he insists that he is not bothered by criticism. Several moves that the Twins have faced questions over include not trading Josh Willingham before last year's trade deadline ("If I had traded him, I would've been hammered. Not trading him, I'll get hammered.") and shipping out center fielders Denard Span and Ben Revere this past offseason ("We made a bold move. We need pitching. People were comfortable with Benny and Denard."). 
  • One Ryan decision that has received criticism was the two-year, $10MM deal given starter Kevin Correia. With Correia pitching well enough to be a trade target, Ryan says he "never thought it was the wrong decision" because "our people were adamant that he'd be okay. … We got him for what we thought was right. He has fit in here. He's given us what we thought he could do."
  • Looking at this year's trade deadline, Ryan acknowledged that the team's current 10-game road "will be a good indicator whether we're a team that will be competitive." Minnesota kicked things off with a dispiriting 4-0 loss to Mark Buehrle and the Blue Jays last night, and is expected to be a seller.

AL Central Notes: Indians, Twins

White Sox outfielder Casper Wells was perhaps the most successful pitcher yesterday for Chicago. The interesting backstory can be read here. The Sox gave up two ballgames in incredible fashion to the division rival Indians. Let's take a quick look at the Tribe, along with their American League Central foes from Minnesota:

  • Looking ahead for the Indians, Sheldon Ocker of the Akron Beacon Journal wonders whether this could be the last season that Carlos Santana toils behind the dish. With a Yan Gomes/Lou Marson tandem potentially capable of holding down the catching role, and Santana's offensive gifts outpacing his defensive development, Ocker says that Santana makes more sense as a first baseman/designated hitter going forward.
  • Of more immediate concern, Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer writes that Cleveland's seeming rotation depth has suddenly dissolved. In his view, GM Chris Antonetti should be aggressive in looking to bolster the starting staff in advance of the trade deadline. Of course, the Indians would join a growing list of clubs looking to add starters from a relatively sparse pool of potentially available candidates.
  • The Twins haven't ruled out a September call-up for top prospect Miguel Sano this season, according to Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN.com. "I guess we'll let him dictate that," GM Terry Ryan said. "And certainly it'll be a little bit of a situation of what's going on with the major league team as well." Sano's trademark power has been evident this season, despite a .236 batting average in 17 Double-A games, and Ryan is also impressed with the third baseman's work on the defensive side of the ball. "His defense is better than his offense down there [at Double-A] to this point, which is good. I think anybody that's seen him realizes he's going to hit, and certainly in time I think he'll catch up with Double-A pitching."
  • Meanwhile, Ryan is keeping quiet on the team's plans in the pre-trade deadline period. As MLB.com's Kelly Erickson reports, the veteran GM says he has not even determined that the team will sell since Minnesota sits just seven games out of first. "People get a little jumpy at this time of year," says Ryan.

Aaron Steen contributed to this post.


Central Notes: Gallardo, Twins, White Sox

The Royals made this a special Father's Day for 21 dads as the team invited the players' fathers to travel with them on their current road trip to Tampa and Cleveland. Dick Kaegel of MLB.com reports the idea was the brainstorm of the Royals' senior director of travel Jeff Davenport, who borrowed the idea from NHL teams, and was approved quickly by GM Dayton Moore and manager Ned Yost. The idea came as a shock to some of the dads including the father of infielder Elliot Johnson, Robert. "Elliot told me about it and I had to call him back three times to make sure I got this story right — I said, 'You've got to be kidding me. All I have to do is get to Kansas City and they're going to put me on a plane and fly me along with you and not charge me anything? And I'm going to get in a hotel and eat with you guys and hang out with you?" The trip hasn't been without incident. Robert Johnson admitted he had an argument with Hall of Famer and new Royals batting coach George Brett over – what else – Elliot's hitting. In other news and notes from MLB's Central divisions: 

  • After struggling for most of the season, Yovani Gallardo has now tossed 14 consecutive scoreless innings. With the Brewers in last place and Gallardo controlled affordably through 2015 ($11.25MM in 2014 and a 2015 club option worth $13MM), the right-hander's name has popped up as a trade candidate (including by MLBTR's Tim Dierkes two weeks ago) and he has heard the talk. "We'll see what happens," Gallardo told reporters including MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. "It's definitely a little bit different. It's the first time I've been in a situation like this — not to say that anything is going to happen." McCalvy reports Gallardo can block trades to ten teams, but Gallardo acknowledges even he doesn't know the identity of all of them. 
  • While the Brewers don't anticipate Corey Hart returning from offseason knee surgery until after the All-Star break, at the earliest, GM Doug Melvin will not rush first base prospect Hunter Morris to the Majors, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Melvin told Haudricourt service time considerations aren't part of the decision-making process, "He needs to play more at Triple-A. We just want to make sure he's ready before making a move like that." The Brewers entered the weekend last in the NL at first base with a .493 OPS and 14th with four home runs and a .275 slugging percentage.
  • Twins GM Terry Ryan told Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio Josh Willingham, Justin Morneau, and Kevin Correia will be the most asked about players as the Trade Deadline approaches (Twitter link).
  • Twins closer Glen Perkins will also be sought after by teams looking to bolster their bullpen, including the division rival Tigers. Ryan, however, told Bowden he has not had any conversations with Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski and would rather have Perkins pitch for him than against him (Twitter link).
  • Yesterday, the White Sox announced the signing of seventh-round draft choice Trey Michalczewski. Today, Jim Callis of Baseball America tweeted the prep third baseman will receive a $500K bonus, which is $323.4K above the recommended slot (per Baseball America). 

AL Notes: Ankiel, Mariners, Twins, Ramirez, Ortiz

Rick Ankiel could be nearing the end of his well-documented but still-surreal path through baseball, writes Joe Posnanski of NBCSports.com. Evoking the poet Dylan Thomas ("rage, rage against the dying of the light … do not go gentle into that good night"), Posnanski notes that Ankiel's journey has taken one more incredible turn. In 42 plate appearances this season prior to this evening's game, Ankiel posted a remarkable 26:0 strikeout to walk ratio, but was slugging over .600 thanks to his five home runs and two doubles. While long known as a free swinger with contact issues, Ankiel appears to be bringing both those labels to heretofore unseen extremes for the struggling Astros. Elsewhere around the American League:

  • It is time to wonder whether and when the Mariners will start firing people, writes Dave Cameron at U.S.S. Mariner. While Cameron is no fan of manager Eric Wedge, he feels that there is little to be gained from a mid-season firing of the team's skipper. And while the team might be tempted to can GM Jack Zduriencik, that could create major logistical difficulties with the upcoming draft and then trade deadline. Ultimately, says Cameron, Seattle will be hard pressed to avoid reaping what it sowed in a confounding offseason.
  • Twins GM Terry Ryan says it was "just happenstance" that this offseason saw the club acquire a series of groundball-inducing righties (Vance Worley, Mike Pelfrey, and Kevin Correia), Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press reports. Ryan has a background in what Berardino describes as "old-school scouting principles." Nevertheless, the GM says that he does not make any decisions without consulting his statistics guru, Jack Goin, whose official title is manager of major league administration and baseball research.
  • The Angels have outrighted right-handed Elvin Ramirez to Triple-A after the pitcher cleared waivers, writes Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com (via Twitter). Ramirez was acquired from the Mets for cash about a month back. The move means that the club has cleared a spot on its 40-man roster, Gonzalez also notes.
  • After being designated for assignment to make room for Aaron Laffey, pitcher Ramon Ortiz has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A by the Blue Jays, according to the club's Buffalo affiliate (on Twitter). He made one appearance for Toronto this year after spending all of 2012 in the Yankees' system.

Terry Ryan Named Permanent Twins GM

The Twins announced that they have removed the interim label from Terry Ryan's job title, making him the permanent general manager once again (Twitter link). Ryan had been in charge of baseball operations as the team's interim GM for the last 11 months.

Ryan, who first became the Twins' GM in 1995, spent more than a decade in the role before stepping aside in September of 2007. Bill Smith succeeded Ryan as the team's general manager, a role he stayed in until last offseason, when Minnesota replaced Smith with Ryan on an interim basis.

Since Ryan returned to the GM role, the Twins have signed Jamey Carroll, Ryan Doumit, Matt Capps and Josh Willingham to Major League deals. Some of Ryan's best minor league additions in the last year include Jared Burton and Casey Fien, as MLBTR's Transaction Tracker shows.

I recently explained that the Twins must obtain pitching this offseason and Tim Dierkes took a detailed look at the team's arbitration eligible players.


Terry Ryan On Gardenhire, Morneau, Interim Tag

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.

Pohlad Talks Twins, Ryan, Gardenhire, ASG

The Minnesota Twins enter play today on a five-game losing streak, which has sunk them to a season-low 24 games under .500. With this as a backdrop, Twins owner Jim Pohlad was a guest Saturday of Darren Wolfson on 1500 ESPN.  Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN.com has excerpts from the interview.

  • On approaching a second consecutive 100-loss season, Pohlad said, "It's very frustrating. There's only one way to describe it, and that's losing (stinks)."
  • On the future of interim GM Terry Ryan, "When Terry wants to remove the interim (label) from his title, we'll welcome that." Pohlad added that Ryan's "interim" label still exists only because Ryan "hasn't chosen to drop that (label) from his title (yet). But on the other hand, we don't keep revisiting that every week or every month. We don't keep saying to him, 'Terry, why are you still interim?' Whenever he wants to take that way, he can, as far as we're concerned."
  • Pohlad "can't foresee" a change in manager. He did say that any decision regarding the future of Ron Gardenhire and his coaching staff would be Ryan's.
  • Pohlad does not believe the Twins are looking at a lengthy period of futility while trying to rebuild. "We have no desire to have our history defined by losing. With some tweaking — or maybe some people would say it's more than tweaking, and they could be right — we have faith in the future."
  • One of Twins' problems is they have $32MM invested in players who are either on the disabled list, in the minors, or no longer with the organization. "That's true," said Pohlad, "and that unfortunately happens throughout baseball. It's part of the game, and it's not an attractive part of the game. And we don't like that. Nobody would like that."
  • One thing Pohlad would like is for Target Field to host the 2014 All-Star Game. "Dialogue between the Minnesota Twins and the commissioner's office has increased noticeably over the past couple weeks," he said, "and we believe something is really imminent."