Monday, November 7, 2011

Twins Fire Bill Smith and Bring Back Terry Ryan as GM

The Minnesota Twins have fired Bill Smith as their general manager, and replaced him with former General Manager Terry Ryan. Ryan is a vaunted figure amongst Twins fans. He rebuilt the Twins into a winner. Smith on the other hand is greatly disliked by Twins fans. Under Smith’s leadership the Twins have made multiple bad trades and some questionable free agent signings that have put them in a bind.

Here is a list of Bill Smith good, bad, and just plain ugly moves.

The Good

  • Smith was able to trade minor league pitcher Yohan Pino for to Cleveland for starting pitcher Carl Pavano. Pavano has been a solid starting pitcher for the Twins while Pino has never made it to the majors.

  • Smith signed free agent Jim Thome to $1.5 million dollar contract in 2010. Thome promptly played like a player worth $10 million, and became a cult hero in Minnesota.

  • Smith was able to acquire shortstop Orlando Cabrera, reliever Brian Fuentes, and reliever Jon Rauch for little or nothing. All three players helped the Twins with a division tile.

  • Smith traded Carlos Gomez for shortstop JJ Hardy. Hardy had the look of a long term answer for the Twins at shortstop. Unfortunately Smith would trade Hardy (see below) away before Hardy could he was answer.

  • Smith signed young international prospect Miguel Sano to a then record signing bonus. Sano is the now the best prospect in the Twins farm system, and has the look of a future superstar.

The Bad

  • Smith traded 2 time CY Young award winner, and fan favorite Johan Santana to the New York Mets for Carlos Gomez, Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey, and Deolis Guerra. Santana pitched well for the Mets, but not as well as he had for the Twins. Santana also missed all of 2011 with injuries. Gomez, Humber, and Mulvey never did much for the Twins and have left the organization. Only Guerra is still around, and he is still in the minors with a chance he might be become a reliever. Smith should have gotten more for Santana, but it should be remembered Santana had the power to veto a trade, and he only wanted to pitch on the east coast.

  • Smith allowed valuable relievers Matt Guerrier and Jesse Crain to leave as free agents. In retrospect Smith should have re-signed one if not both, but he had Matt Capps and Joe Nathan both coming back and earning a combined roughly $20 million which may have affected his thinking.

  • Smith signed Japanese league star Tsuyoshi Nishioka to a 3 year $9 million contract. Nishioka had a miserable year in 2011 and his future is cloudy at best.

The Ugly

  • Smith traded starting shortstop Jason Barlett and young pitching prospect Matt Garza to Tampa Bay for Delmon Young and Brendan Harris. Barlett and Garza helped Tampa to the World Series, and both remain solid to above average major league players. Young had one good year (2010) and three bad years. Harris mostly was below average and was sent packing. The Twins are in need of a shortstop and top of the rotation pitcher. Bill Smith gave both those things away in this trade.

  • Smith traded catching prospect Wilson Ramos to Washington for reliever Matt Capps. Capps proved to be an ordinary at best while Ramos has the look of a good catcher who will be around for the next 10 years.

  • Smith traded J.J. Hardy, who he had acquired just the year before, to Baltimore for two non-descript minor league relievers named Jim Hoey and Brett Jacobson. Hardy had a great year and was signed to a contract extension by Baltimore. Hoey and Jacobson had bad years, and have iffy futures.


In the end Smith traded Johan Santana, Jason Bartlett, Matt Garza, Wilson Ramos, and JJ Hardy, and all the Twins have left in the organization from those trades is a minor pitching prospect Deolis Guerra, and relief pitching non-prospects Jim Hoey, Brett Jacobson, and Lester Oliveras.

Five good major league players traded and you only have 4 non-descript relievers to show for them. No wonder Bill Smith was fired.

Welcome back Terry Ryan. The Twins need your help badly.