Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Terry Ryan Is Bad, And Worse Than You'd Think

There's not much hiding from the fact that the 2016 Minnesota Twins aren't good. Currently just 24-51 through their first 75 games, Paul Molitor and Terry Ryan have put a stinker on the field night after night. While there's plenty of blame to be handed to the players under-performing, there's a true scapegoat in all of this.

At the end of the day, the criticism for Terry Ryan hasn't been loud enough.

Sure, it's maybe not fair to pile on a 62 year old that's in well over his head. That being said, he's currently the General Manager of a Major League Baseball team, and his ineptitude suggests we probably haven't dissected just how bad it is, often enough. Forget the fact he asked his best young player to play out of position, or the reality that he's made countless of boneheaded roster moves in 2016 alone. Honestly, you can forget that fact that the debacle known as 2016 has even happened, none of it matters, and none of it absolves Ryan from what he's done.

What is it that he has done you ask? Now in his 20th season as the General Manager of the Minnesota Twins, Ryan has compiled losing records in 13 of those seasons (including 2016). He's orchestrated two separate four-year stretches of 90 plus losses, and his teams have won just 47% of the 3,083 games he's presided over.

After handpicking his replacement in Bill Smith following the 2017 season, he's come back to be even worse. Since his return in 2011, the Twins have won only 42% of their games, and have had just one winning season. Ryan has never sniffed anything close to a World Series berth, and the playoffs have been made just four times.

In short, no sane franchise gives any comparable run to a General Manager that has failed at the level Ryan has for the Twins.

Not only has Minnesota given Terry Ryan 20 years of employment, but they have also entrusted him with one of the most critical situations in recent Twins history. Following the second four-year 90 loss stretch under his watch, Ryan was tasked to rebuild. He had a talented farm system that was supposed to be the biggest piece of the puzzle, and in turn, make Minnesota relevant at the highest level.

Instead, Ryan has decided to put bandaids on a bullet wound, and turned his nose at a rebuild. He's committed significant money or years of employment to players like Phil Hughes, Ricky Nolasco, and Kurt Suzuki, He moved his star third basemen to right field and got him injured. He's failed to make trades when they appeared obvious, and instead has sold at a player's lowest possible value, or cut bait all together (see Arcia, Oswaldo). Seemingly lacking understanding of player options, he's misused his young talent (see Tonkin, Michael or Polanco, Jorge), and he's committed to veteran retreads.

Ryan most recently can be pitted against franchise gurus such as Theo Epstein or Jeff Lunhow. With both the Cubs and Astros finding themselves in similar positions to the Twins during recent memory, both have turned their respective franchises around and are in significantly better places than that of the hapless Twins. While both Chicago and Houston were looking to turn things around and sustain a high level of play into the future, Ryan was worried about toeing the line of mediocrity for the here and now.

To summarize, nothing the Twins do in 2016 matters. Poor trades, poor roster management, poor decisions, all of it together doesn't matter. Sure, the more decisions that Terry Ryan has a hand in, the further the franchise will be set back for the long run. Really though, the only thing that matters is that the Twins realize and do something about their 20 year long mistake.

Terry Ryan is not a good General Manager, and he's never been a good General Manager. A brief period of relevance is a distant memory, and far from worthy to hang the franchise's hat on still today. It's not an enviable situation to make a change at the top, but until the Minnesota Twins rid themselves of the man who has brought them 20 seasons of losing, nothing matters.

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