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Live baseball in 2020: Bay Stars 2 - Swallows 8

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Terry Ryan deserves blame, but he is not the only one

Posted by Jonathon Zenk , 05 July 2016 · 2,444 views

minnesota twins pathetic terry ryan bill smith total system failure
Terry Ryan deserves blame, but he is not the only one Minnesota has a number of problems this season, as its record indicates. People are focusing most of the blame on General Manager Terry Ryan. I am here to tell you that while Ryan deserves his fair share, it is not just him. He gets the most heat, and rightfully so, since he is the general manager, but there is much blame to go around. There is a phrase that is going around when talking about the Twins, and that is ‘Total System Failure.’ Those three words seem appropriate considering where the Twins are, having the worst record in the league at 27-55, a game and a half worse than the Atlanta Braves, who have the second worst record.

People criticize Ryan for everything, even things that are not his fault. However, he does sign the free agents and the results have been abysmal. Ervin Santana, Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes were brought in to try to stabilize the starting rotation and they have done anything but. Those three combine to make nearly $35 million this season, and Santana has done the best out of the three, going 2-7 with an ERA of 4.50 so far. That tells you all you need to know. Hughes, before he was injured, had an ERA of nearly 6. Those three pitchers have combined to go 6-21 with an ERA of 5.16. Ouch! These signings, along with the contract of Joe Mauer, have hurt the Twins recently. The problem has not been the unwillingness to spend money, but moreso that the players who have received the big money from the Twins have fallen flat on their faces. Minnesota will need to spend money more wisely moving forward.

What Ryan has done well at in his return is drafting. Obviously, the players have to perform at the big league level, but a number of Ryan’s draft picks have done very well in the minors and are top prospects in the Twins organization, and the Twins have needed them to since the system was void of many top prospects when Ryan returned in November 2011.

In his first draft. three of the Twins first five picks were Byron Buxton, Jose Berrios and J.T. Chargois and those three are three of the top young players in the Twins organization. Ryan has also drafted other top prospects in the organization as well, such as Tyler Jay, Nick Gordon, Kohl Stewart and Stephen Gonsalves. People will rip Ryan by saying that top draft choices should be big time prospects, but some just don’t pan out. Look at Mark Appel for example. He was a huge prospect, but has been terrible so far in his minor league career.

However, when looking at reasons why the Twins are terrible, Bill Smith should get some of the blame as well. Even though he has been gone for nearly five years, his poor drafting remains a cause for Minnesota’s disastrous season. Brian Dozier has easily been the best player Smith drafted, but they missed out on some top picks like Levi Michaels and Alex Wimmers. Draft picks take awhile to develop and the Ryan picks need a few more years to say if those picks are good or not. But virtually all of Smith’s picks have been a disaster. Also, many of the Twins fans complain about Joe Mauer's contract, and his contract is among the worst in the league, and it was Smith who gave him the big deal. Although, I don't blame Smith for that as the same people who complain about his contract would also be the first to rip the Twins for not re-signing the home state hero.

It won’t happen, but I believe Ryan should go be a scout for the Twins. He is really good at drafting, but I do believe it is past time for a change. Minnesota needs to go outside the organization for a new general manager. The Twins need to get new blood in the organization and step outside of their comfort zone. It has not been just one person who has contributed to this catastrophic season they have had, but like has been pointed out by numerous fans, it has been a total system failure.

Deron Johnson does the drafting. Granted it is under the direction of the GM, but Ryan has said he has left the decisions up to him. Same guy for both Smith and Ryan, just getting smarter.

Also, let's not forget that both Sano and Kepler were signed while Smith was in charge. Have to give him credit for two of the best looking young players on the team, even if the drafts were awful. At the end of the day Ryan has been given complete control of the baseball operation by the Pohlads. If there is a total system failure, he is responsible, as the leader of that operation. 

You have an awful amount of money available (and required) to be paid to your top draft picks. The players chosen will pretty much know what they are getting. No more choosing, say, a Ben Revere because he may cost less and is eager to sign. Drafted players are pretty much working against each other now...If a team decides to pass you by for someone else, there is a reason (or a more significant need). It is also an investment. Out of the millions spent each year by a team, truly how many players make it to the show for any significant time with the drafting team or another.


And with the ability to trade picks sooner rather than later, you should basically go after the best available.


This has changed and I'm not it works well with the longterm Ryan system of scouting. You can't just choose a good or comfortable player and negotiate a bonus. You are locked into a specific amount, or close to it. 250-300 guys know they will be getting decent money to start their minor league careers. You pretty much put yourself out there willing to accept whatever you get for the level you are drafted, or make known your needs to continue growth by going to college.


And then you have to get these guys thru the system in x-amount of time and know you only have so many years of control. 


It's a tough and expensive job. But, ultiamtely, you go after the best talent available now. You supposedly have the money to spend. Maybe the problem is that Terry, like his free agent spending, is happy to spend the money...sometimes now overpaying for the talent.