So, for the sake of important, meaningful discussion, let’s limit this discussion to the general manager role. Today, I’m going to post several qualifications of an MLB general manager. Feel free to discuss the qualifications in the comments, but mostly, use this article to start thinking about who you would like to see replace Terry Ryan (if that were to happen). We may not know the names of specific examples, but think about which qualities are most important to you, and how a candidate stacks up in those categories. Whether the Twins stay inside the system for a replacement or look elsewhere, the same questions need to be asked.
Do the Twins need hire someone with experience as a big league GM? If so, does it need to be a GM who has put together World Series champions, or could you consider a candidate who wasn’t good in his first GM job but meets many other requirements? Do you prefer a candidate who has been second-in-command in a winning organization? Can the candidate be a former player, or would the negate him as a possibility for you? While we probably couldn’t officially ask, does age factor into the decision?
The draft is less than three weeks away. Scouting is a big part of the draft. What would you want a GM to have as a draft philosophy? Would it be simply best player available? Would you focus on college or high school players? Would you use high picks on pitchers or hitters? How involved do you expect the GM to be in the draft process? Should the GM be very involved in the specific names, or should the GM simply have a plan with the director of scouting and develop a plan that is expected to be followed?
How do you feel about signing players from around the world? Do you spend more money on scouting in the Caribbean? How do you feel about signing players from Cuba? What should the strategy be on spending slot, going over slot, or even trading draft picks for international slot money?
The Twins send scouts to watch the teams that they will play next. Should that process continue, or should they just hire a stats company to provide all scouting data
This is one that people think that the Twins are so far behind on. I don’t think we really know. However, if there were a change, and you were in charge, how much focus would you put on it?
Do you need a group of 30+ statheads or could much of the same work be done with a group of six to eight?
How much voice do you give the analytics group compared to the scouting group? Are they on equal group or should it be all about the past numbers?
What are your philosophies on the minor leagues and player development? How do you strategize areas of focus, and development of individual development plans?
What should the role of a minor league manager be?
What role should player discipline be for various issues?
What should the role be of a minor league hitting coach or pitching coach?
What should the culture look like in your ideal world? Is it about winning? Solely about developing the top prospects?
What is the responsibility of the GM and the big league team relative to the organization’s affiliates?
What are the expectations for each player in the offseason? Should coaches meet individually with each player throughout the offseason?
How much time should the GM spend with each of the affiliates during spring training, and during the season, if any?
The GM is also in charge of the media relations department, including the press releases. Ideally, transactions and news would come through the PR department and to the media via press release. How do you feel about information leaks?
And, as a GM, how much should you be telling the media or a listening audience? Do you want them to be an open book, or do you want the information on what is going on to be kept close to the vest?
Do you, like Terry Ryan, spend time before each game meeting with the media and answering what he can?
What is important for you in a GM as it relates to hiring the following:
What are the expectations for the hiring of an assistant GM?
What are the expectations for the director of player personnel?
What philosophies are important for a minor league director?
How do you feel about keeping Twins “royalty and historical figures” around? Should Tony Oliva, Rod Carew, Torii Hunter, LaTroy Hawkins, Tom Kelly, Ron Gardenhire, Kent Hrbek and the like be involved in the organization, and how so?
Of the current group, who stays and who goes?
THE ON-FIELD STAFF
What is important for you in hiring a GM in terms of his or her philosophy on the role and/or selection of a manager?
How much say do you let a manager have in player decisions, if any?
How much say should a GM have in managerial duties such as lineup construction and in-game decisions, if any?
What are the keys when selecting the coaching staff?
THE CURRENT SITUATION
That’s all the behind-the-scenes stuff (probably not ALL, but a good portion of it) that a GM has to be responsible for, but now this candidate must step into the current roster and make some decisions.
Do you want a manager who makes a bunch of moves on day 1? Do you want a manager who steps in the door and says that he needs to evaluate a few things before making decisions.
How do you figure out the outfield situation? Should Miguel Sano be in the outfield, moved back to third base, or DHd. Should Brian Dozier be sent to AAA, keep playing or be traded? Should you trade the likes of Trevor Plouffe, Brian Dozier, Kurt Suzuki, Phil Hughes, Rick Nolasco and Kevin Jepsen for pennies on the dollar? Or, if you can’t trade some of them, are you willing to just explain to ownership why releasing them is the right thing?
What should a GM's philosophy be on trading veterans? Whose opinion counts most when it comes to prospects you are getting in return: scouts, minor league coaching staffs, or number crunchers? How does that same GM feel about acquiring an elite talent and being willing to deal prospects?
Four years ago, the Twins needed to go from a terrible pitching staff to just a mediocre pitching staff, so Ryan went out and spent money to acquire some solid, mediocre veteran starters. Results have been mixed.
Understanding the Twins current starting and relieve staffs, should the Twins have gone after the $150-200 million starters? Should they have stayed away from the $10-13 million starters and focused more on the $5-8 million variety. What is the value of a strong bullpen and quality, reliable relievers. How long is too long for a contract, or how much is too much?
What is your philosophy on signing minor league veterans to contract? Good idea, you never know who will develop later, or never sign them and push players excessively rapidly?
Have them define “Success” in their job? What do you want their answer to be?
What should the clubhouse atmosphere be like?
What should the atmosphere of the front office personnel be?
How does the GM candidate feel about building from within.?
How does that GM candidate create a culture of accountability?
Which current major league and minor league coaches would be let go, and who would you bring back? (I do find it interesting that a lot of people who want to clear house would like to see Doug Mientkiewicz as the next Twins manager, but anywho…)
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
All right, now it’s your turn? What are the most important qualities that a GM can bring to an organization? I brought up a lot of topics, and how do you go about acquiring those kinds of players?
Again, I will not call for Terry Ryan to be fired. I wouldn’t be surprised if he steps down again, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he sticks around and says, “I helped make this mess, how are we going to make it better?”
You are in the shoes of the Twins owner. You need to decide if you want Terry Ryan to make the July and August trades and then let him go after the season. Or, you need to decide that it needs to happen right now so that a replacement can be established before the draft and before any trades are made so that the new GM’s footprint can be made on those decisions.
Again, I appreciate this thread not turning into yet another negative, bashing thread, but instead, let’s be productive and each of us jot down our thoughts on what makes a good GM, and what type of candidate we would support the Twins signing.