Twins GM Ryan stands by comments, but it's too early for certainty
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins general manager Terry Ryan caused a bit of a stir when he was quoted in the Star Tribune as saying manager Ron Gardenhire would be back in 2015. That didn't sit well with some Twins fans, who have grown impatient with a team that entered Friday on pace to lose 90 games for the fourth consecutive season.
Gardenhire is under contract for next season, but with the team performing poorly once again, it's common for the manager's job security to come into question.
Ryan did not rescind that vote of confidence Friday, but he added that no decision has been made, and that he'll wait until season's end to have that conversation.
"At the end of the year we are going to sit down and we'll discuss the year," Ryan said, when asked about his comments in Sid Hartman's column. "There's a lot of season left. So it would be premature to tell you anything about anybody's future, including my own, I may add. There's a lot of things that will be decided upon in the next six or seven weeks."
Ryan has not said definitively that he will be back next season. He also hasn't said that he won't be, and said that he thinks he's in good standing with the Pohlad family, which owns the Twins.
"There's no guarantees for anybody's job, including my own," Ryan said. "We're not doing well. I'll be the first to tell you that. We've got to a better job as an operation, as a baseball organization here, of improving this product."
Gardenhire said Friday that he doesn't pay attention to the reports. He said he would not get into discussions about his future.
"I don't pay attention to it. I don't worry about it," Gardenhire said. "I talk to Terry Ryan about it. And we'll talk at the end of the year, as always. Nothing's been talked about and I worry about that stuff when the season's over with."
When the Twins held a press conference last fall to announce Gardenhire's two-year contract extension, Jim Pohlad said that Ryan would have the general manager chair as long as he wanted it. Ryan said he won't be holding Pohlad to that statement.
"That's awfully kind of him to say but everybody's got a breaking point. We aren't doing too well. I would never hold Jim Pohlad to that statement because it wouldn't be fair to him," Ryan said. "We've got to get better. This isn't working right now and we've got to fix it. I appreciate that support, that was nice, but things change. I shouldn't have that type of comfort. We're losing way too many games here for anybody to put that much faith in anyone."
Ryan is right. And while the Twins have built one of the best farm systems in all of baseball, Ryan acknowledged that nobody wants to hear about the farm system. It's a difficult consolation prize for fans to accept when the Major League product is lousy.
Ryan said his health and his performance will be two factors to consider at the end of the year when he decides if he wants to keep the job, or if ownership decides they still would like to keep him. Ryan had surgery in February to remove cancerous squamous cells from his neck. He's worked his way back to full-time GM duties, including scouting trips to the Twins' minor league affiliates.
He said he's not worn down by the losing this season but rather that it serves as a motivator.
"I'm not worn out by the lack of success, it just drives you to want to get better," Ryan said. "If there's one thing that drives me here it's to reward the fanbase for their patience, which they've shown."
Now the question turns on the historically loyal Twins organization. How much patience will they show?