With GM search underway, Twins open to outside hire
By Do-Hyoung Park
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins have not yet begun their search for a replacement for outgoing general manager Terry Ryan, but they hope to have a successor in place by the end of the 2016 regular season. Although the franchise traditionally has preferred to hire from within, the Twins will consider both internal and external candidates, and they could turn to an external search firm to guide their search.
"Yes, I would say [we're] nervous," said Twins owner and CEO Jim Pohlad. "We haven't had to [search recently], and even if we ultimately went outside to hire a person, that's even harder, because they're not as known a quantity. We're going to do a thorough process at vetting all of the candidates that are put forth to us, and hopefully at the end of that, we'll have a good sense for people and maybe we won't be so nervous."
Interim GM Rob Antony has been with the organization since 1988 and will have full authority in the role through the end of the season. Antony remains a prime internal candidate for the full-time position, but Pohlad alluded to the need to change the organization's fundamental approach moving forward, which was a major reason he decided to move on from Ryan.
"We have a great organization from top to bottom," Pohlad said. "We do need to see how we can do things differently/better. There's no question about that. We should always be doing that. You get older, change gets harder. But you've got to do it. You've got to recognize things don't stay the same."
Pohlad has been exploring the various structures and operational models of other MLB organizations as he gathers his vision for the future. With that said, he said that the Twins' new GM, whether an internal or external hire, will be under no "mandate to blow up the baseball operation," though he did consider it a possibility.
"I considered the benefits of that, and that could be an outcome here," Pohlad said. "But that's not a prescribed path."
The new GM will have full control to modify the organization's structure, payroll and staff as desired, but cannot dismiss manager Paul Molitor, whose contract expires in 2017. Molitor has Pohlad's full confidence through the transition and will be the team's manager next season if he so desires.
Although the Twins have not begun a search in earnest, Pohlad and team president Dave St. Peter are not concerned about their ability to find candidates while following their desired timeline.
St. Peter believes that they do not need to wait until the end of the season to find the best possible talent, and unless the new hire's timeline dictates the necessity to wait, the organization strongly wants to avoid prolonging the search into the offseason.
"This is a compressed situation because [Ryan] wanted to make the announcement now, but on the other hand, it does give us the luxury of beginning the process now before the season actually ends," Pohlad said.
"We think this is a really good job," St. Peter added. "We have assets here in the form of talent, in the form of history, in the form of Target Field, in the form of local revenues that are, frankly, quite appealing."
St. Peter emphasized the potential in the Twins' Minor League system, which Ryan essentially rebuilt from the ground up during his second stint as general manager from 2012-16. Although the team hasn't seen results at the Major League level yet, St. Peter is confident that the new GM will inherit a much more robust organization than the one Ryan inherited from predecessor Bill Smith.
"I am very excited and optimistic about the future," Pohlad said. "I'm not happy, because I feel sad for Terry and his family that he is leaving the organization that he's done so much for so many years, but going forward, I am excited and optimistic about the future."
Do-Hyoung Park is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minneapolis. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.