The only thing smith has to fall back on is his international signings. But for a guy like sano...there is a nishioka to balance the scale...or tip it to the point of not reassessing his time as gm. Then u have capps...trading jj hardy, trading johan for a bucket of balls...the list goes on. Maybe well thank him when buxton is a hall of famer for it was his foresight to create a terrible tewm so we could have a high pick...the man is a genious
He made a number of good small deals - Rauch, Pavano, Cabrera. He also signed Thome, Crede and Hudson. He changed the offensive philosophy away from piranha ball to getting some offense out of our lower order spots. Because of needing to sign Mauer, he locked in a lot of contracts. Blackburn always gets thrown out but he also signed Kubel, Baker, Morneau, Span and Cuddy to nice team friendly deals.
Fans revolt on his trades but he really had no choice on the Santana deal. Garza/Young was the type of trade fans had been demanding for years. Hardy was traded b/c of payroll issues and the coaching staff wanting a "different direction." Fans here act like Ramos is an all-star catcher when in fact he was an injury prone player with plate discipline issues whose prospect status was falling. And fans are less likely to complain about the Bullock/Diamond deal now compared to when it happened. As mentioned, he made a number of good small deals and the 2010 Twins were the best Twins team since 1991 in large part because of how Smith went about creating the team (again, no piranhas!).
Smith came into the Twins at a horrible time and, as Kwik notes, didn't have all that much power. The Twins had missed the playoffs two out of the last three years and had just had their first losing season. Santana, Silva and Hunter were going to be gone. Liriano was coming back from injury. Mauer was going to need a huge deal. And we had an aging core. Smith built for 2010, it worked, but the window fell apart in 2011. I'm not saying he shouldn't have been fired but he did get too much of the blame, (and I think he was fired more b/c he wanted to spend more money). As mentioned, I like that Johnson took over the draft and changed some of our philosophy but it hasn't yet panned out for us.