In the end, the "rock and a hard place" that Terry Ryan finds himself in is between: (a) fan expectations the he, Dave St. Peter and Jim Pohlad have are responsible for setting. Each of those gentlemen have publicly stated that they expect the Twins to contend next year and that the FO's intent is to find pitching that will accomplish such; and (
an ownership that is slow to acknowledge that sometimes that kind of fix takes more money than he'd like to spend.
Ryan has certainly placed himself in that uncomfortable place by telling fans (and likely, his owner) that he believes he can acquire good starting pitching without spending a lot of money. It's quite possible he significantly underestimated market prices for such pitching (just as many of the rest of us did).
If it turns out he can't deliver on his promisies, he's going to have a choice to make: go to Pohlad and ask for more money (they've never told him "no", or so we've been told, right?) or tell his bosses and the fans that he can't do what he said he should be able to do.
There's still time for Ryan to get the job done. Haren is the only big time FA pitcher that's signed and most of the rest aren't likely to sign anywhere until Greinke signs. But reality is that the cost of labor has gone up and probably higher and faster than Ryan and Pohlad expected it to. How they react to that reality will tell fans all we need to know about how serious they are about putting a Major League team on the field in 2013.
It's a perfectly legitimate business decision for Pohlad to make... whether to spend more money now to put a real MLB team on the field or punt on 2013. But if you choose the latter, I don't want to hear whining from the Twins offices about how fans are not being "supportive" of the team when more than half of Target Field seats are empty all year. If you choose not to put a priority on being competitive, that has to come with the assumption that few people will pay MLB prices to watch that team play.