TwinsDaily Interview With Terry Ryan: Gardenhire and Molitor
Once again, this year's Offseason Handbook will include a 30+ minute interview with Minnesota Twins General Manager Terry Ryan. It was conducted Tuesday, shortly after it was announced that Paul Molitor would be joining the Twins coaching staff. Ryan talked about the Molitor hire and very candidly about the decision to bring back Ron Gardenhire, how he evaluated the coach of a 90-loss team and how much it reflected on himself.
Parker: Switching gears: Ron Gardenhire had a very successful run, followed by three straight very bad years. How do you evaluate a manger’s performance that goes beyond the record?
Ryan: If Ron wasn’t coming back, I probably shouldn’t be back. Now, Jim Pohlad and Dave St. Peter invited me back, so I brought Ron back with me. A lot of time you should evaluate a manager on the personnel he has. And unfortunately, we’ve fallen a tad short here as far as productivity. And I take total responsibility on that, so I shouldn’t pass the buck on the manager and the coaching staff.
So, you evaluate him on discipline and respect and organizational skills and how the clubhouse sets up and are we prepared – all that stuff that you evaluate anybody’s job on. Same stuff. How does he handle the media? How does he handle a player that doesn’t want to get in line? How does he run spring training? How does he set up strategy? What does he do with his bullpen?
Now I’ve never managed. And it’s easy to sit up there about 50 yards from the game and second-guess everything that goes on. I’ve got a lot of respect for him. And he’s an up-front guy. He’s accountable. I think players enjoy this organization. I don’t have any problem ever in luring a guy here if we’re close in the dollars and stuff like that. They never say “I wouldn’t want to play for him.” If I would’ve gone a different direction and somebody would have said “What are you looking for in a manager?”, I’d say “A lot of traits Ron Gardenhire has.”
Parker: Speaking of your coaching staff, you just added Paul Molitor to it. What is he going to bring?
Ryan: He’s a very good baseball mind Parker. He’s a very smart guy. He looks at the game differently than a lot of people. He and Tom Kelly watch games different than I do. I’ve always respected that, his baserunning intelligence, bunting and he’s going to be responsible too. He’s going to be in the dugout with Gardy and [Terry] Steinbach. He’s been with us for quite a long time. He knows our minor league system and stuff like that. He’s got a lot of knowledge that I think will benefit the organization. That’s why I put him on here.
Parker: You guys got seven guys now in the dugout? You going to have to expand the dugout?
Ryan: No. Almost all of the clubs – not almost all, but most of the clubs – have seven coaches now. Major League Baseball changed the rule early April, which was funny timing. They allowed teams to go. We didn’t. We chose not to and now we’re going to do it. We’ve got Paul in the system here, so it makes sense. He’s a good baseball man. He’s been our baserunning and infield instructor for the last – I don’t know – eight, nine years. There’s some continuity here with bringing [Miguel] Sano and [Byron] Buxton and [Eddie] Rosario and those types of guys. They’re very familiar with him. I don’t think that’s all of a bad thing.
Parker: Was that a big factor?
Ryan: Not a big factor. It happens to be a convenient factor. No, his baseball IQ is the big factor.
You can find a lot more in the Offseason Handbook from this far-ranging interview, and it will be shipped to you on the first day of the World Series if you order it today. TwinsDaily would like to thank Terry Ryan for taking 45 minutes for a very candid interview, as well as the Minnesota Twins for their recent efforts to reach out to and accommodate independent media and bloggers.