MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Twins announced Monday that general manager Terry Ryan has been relieved of his duties.
Assistant General Manager Rob Antony will be the team’s interim general manager. The move comes after the Twins got off to a disastrous 0-9 start and never recovered. They are currently 25 games under .500 at 33-58 and 17.5 games out of first place in the American League Central Divison. They are also 12 games behind the Chicago White Sox for fourth in the division.
“Since joining our organization as a player in 1972, Terry has been a dedicated, loyal and respected member of the Minnesota Twins family,” Twins owner and CEO Jim Pohlad said in a statement. “Terry has been a gifted leader of the baseball department for over eighteen seasons. It is impossible to overstate his contribution to our game, our team and the Upper Midwest baseball community. The decision to part ways with Terry was difficult, painful and not obvious. We are extremely grateful and very thankful to Terry, his wife Karilyn and their family for being a part of the Minnesota Twins.”
Sources tell WCCO Sports Director Mark Rosen that Ryan was told before the All-Star Game, which was last Tuesday, that he wouldn’t be returning for the 2017 season.
Pohlad said Monday Ryan was told about a month ago he would not be back for the 2017 season, but was given the option to stay on through this year. Ryan declined and wanted to “get on with it.”
“I would say it was about a month ago where Jim and I were spending some time together and really dug deeper into where our organization was at and in talking about some of the changes we thought were necessary,” Twins President Dave St. Peter said. “Ultimately we felt that a change in leadership was going to be required to enact those. A really difficult decision, but one we thought needed to be made to move our organization forward and ultimately to put us into a position to hopefully maximize our talent.”
Pohlad said the new general manager will have complete control of baseball decisions, other than a decision on a manager. The new general manager must agree to having Molitor back for the 2017 season. Pohlad wants a new general manager in place by the end of the regular season.
Outside candidates will be strongly considered for the general manager position, and Antony will get an opportunity as well.
It’s been an especially disappointing year for the Twins. Expectations were high for the 2016 season after the Twins went 83-79 in Paul Molitor’s first year as manager. Molitor replaced Ron Gardenhire, who was let go following four seasons of at least 90 losses. The Twins had potential to be a playoff team this year after being relevant in playoff consideration going into the final weekend of the regular season last year.
“While disappointed we were unable to bring Minnesota a third World Championship, I leave the GM post with immense pride in being part of the Twins organization for the better part of three decades,” Ryan said in a statement. “I’m grateful for the leadership opportunities provided by the Pohlad family; the collaboration and talents of my colleagues in the front office; the hard work and dedication of our manager, coaches and clubhouse personnel; the commitment and professionalism of our players; the passion and attention to detail of our minor league staff and scouts; and most importantly, the incredible support of our fans. It’s been an honor to be part of the Twins organization and I wish everyone nothing but the best going forward.”
Ryan took over as general manager in 2011 after being a special assistant to then GM Bill Smith. He was also the team’s general manager from 1994 to 2007.
During Ryan’s tenure as general manager, which marked 18 seasons, the Twins had a .474 winning percentage in more than 2,900 games. They also won one playoff series, but have not won a playoff game since 2004.
WCCO contacted Ryan on Monday, and he declined comment.