|Twins GM Terry Ryan resigns after 13 seasons, stays on as adviser|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 13 September 2007 22:11|
Hard work was one of the traits that made him one of baseball's most revered general managers, but the demands of the job began to add up. Ryan sounded a bit burned out when he announced his resignation after 13 seasons as GM of the Minnesota Twins on Thursday.
``It doesn't stop for Thanksgiving. It doesn't stop for Christmas. It doesn't stop for Easter, and it doesn't stop for the Fourth of July,'' Ryan said. ``These days, there is no vacation.''
He probably owes one to his wife, Karilyn.
``The last time I took her anywhere was the Cape Cod League in 1990,'' Ryan said, referring to a summer league for college players that draws plenty of attention from major league scouts.
It wasn't exactly rest and relaxation.
``I'll be over in about three games, and I'll see you on the beach,'' Ryan said, recalling what he said.
Always stoic and close-to-the-vest, Ryan choked up during a news conference at the end of a long list of thank-yous when he mentioned Karilyn; his 19-year-old son, Tim; and his 16-year-old daughter, Kathleen.
So Ryan will have the winter off to spend more time with his family, and assistant general manager Bill Smith will step into the job. Ryan will be his senior adviser, refocusing on his strength as a player evaluator.
The Twins won the American League Central last season for the fourth time in five years, but they're in third place and two games under .500 this season - well out of the playoff chase.
``If we won 100 games this year or lost 100 games, this was going to happen,'' Ryan said.
The 53-year-old, who said he's as ``healthy as a horse,'' built a reputation as one of the game's most savvy executives for putting a winning team on the field with a modest amount of money for player salaries.
At the beginning of this season, the Twins were 19th in the majors with a payroll of about $71 million. The New York Yankees were tops with more than $195 million.
``I've always been on his side. For what he has and the limitations he has with payroll, he's done a great job,'' All-Star center fielder Torii Hunter said. ``You give this guy a Yankee payroll, and I promise you he will do 10 times better than any GM out there.''
Ryan took over for Andy MacPhail at the end of the 1994 season, and it wasn't until the 2001 turnaround when the Twins ended a streak of eight straight losing years. But after many mistakes early in his tenure, he led the organization's commitment to drafting and developing players - a necessity given the payroll constraint - and helped form a model franchise that fellow general managers often marveled at.
When young players were poised for significant raises, Ryan signed most of the ones he wanted to keep and traded others at the right time. The greatest heist was his deal with San Francisco that sent catcher A.J. Pierzynski to the Giants when Joe Mauer was ready to move behind the plate, bringing Nathan and pitchers Boof Bonser and Francisco Liriano in return.
More recently, a farm system that annually produces top pitching prospects has failed to yield players at key positions - prompting Ryan to sign relatively inexpensive veterans to fill holes. Most of them have been busts, like left fielder and designated hitter Rondell White who is hitting .152 in 92 at-bats this season on his second one-year contract.
Ryan's background and strength is as a scout, and he'll refocus on that. Smith, who was promoted to assistant general manager two days after Ryan started as GM, is better at the administrative parts of the job. He also, Ryan said, will have more patience with agents when contract talks heat up.
The Twins have always held a promote-from-within philosophy, so Smith's appointment was not a surprise.
``This isn't broken,'' he said. ``We've got so many positives.''
Reverence for Ryan went beyond baseball. Across town, Doug Risebrough used Ryan's approach to player development as an example once he took over as general manager of the Wild. They entered the NHL as an expansion team in 2000.
``I know how difficult it is to be patient in a business that doesn't allow patience,'' Risebrough said. ``Here's a guy that's found a lot of good players and been patient with their development and found people to make their players better, so you've got to really respect what he's done.''
AP Sports Writer Jon Krawczynski contributed to this report.