Twins GM Terry Ryan: 2015 Is “Going to be a Struggle.”


Terry Ryan finally said what we have all been thinking.

Two days ago,  Ryan and team president Dave St. Peter held a Town Hall-style conference call with season ticket holders to answer questions, share updates on the organization, and give a “state of the franchise”.  Nothing appeared to be off-limits, as topics such as Joe Mauer, Miguel Sano, and Terry Ryan himself were discussed at length.  One of the topics that was discussed was what the Twins and their fans could expect in 2015.  Ryan’s answer was a mixed bag:

"“We’re not broke here, we’re bent. We’ve got some issues, and we need to make better decisions. But I feel a heck of a lot better about this club and moving forward than I did a year ago,” Ryan said. “I don’t think we’re all that far away [from contention]. I don’t want to punt on 2015, but it’s still going to be a struggle.”"

Obviously, this sort of comment isn’t groundbreaking in itself. Most fans, myself included, look at the current state of affairs for the organization and realize that a reversal of fortunes isn’t just around the corner or a simple fix away.  I’m not pollyannish enough to declare that the Twins are going to make some miraculous turnaround and be a World Series contender in 2015, but to hear the man in charge of roster, payroll, and staff say he isn’t optimistic about next summer has me a bit concerned.  One of the great things about opening day at the end of March or early April is that the slate is clean and everyone has a chance to be this year’s Kansas City Royals or Baltimore Orioles.  The idea that in April everyone has a chance at October glory is what drives us as fans.

So if Terry Ryan isn’t optimistic, why should we be?

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Even for those of the fanbase who weren’t expecting too much for 2015, his comments should also raise an eyebrow from you for several reasons:

  • 2015 Free Agents – Let’s face it, Ryan wasn’t the type of GM who spent a lot of money in free agency to begin with. He’s certainly not going to go out and spend big money on any of the high profile free agents this off-season if he thinks they’re more than a year away from contention. Any hope of seeing James Shields, Jon Lester, or Max Scherzer in a Twins uniform in 2015 in nothing but a pipe dream at this point. Possibly a little gun-shy from the Ricky Nolasco signing last off-season, his comment sets in motion what is expected to be another quiet free agent period for the Twins.
  • Payroll – Much like with free agency, Ryan isn’t going to increase payroll for a team that isn’t ready to compete.  He was quoted during the conference call that, “100 million dollars should be plenty” for payroll.  The Twins started the 2014 season at about 85.5 million, getting it up to around 95 million when they added  Kendrys Morales (a move that looks especially bad in hindsight), and ended the season around the 80 million dollar mark.  With arbitration-eligible players Anthony Swarzak, Jared Burton, and Brian Duensing‘s futures uncertain, there’s obviously money to spend. Ryan’s comments to not instill confidence that’s he’s willing to spend it.
  • Bringing up the Prospects – If 2015 is going to be a struggle, when can fans expect to see some of the top young baseball players currently in the organization’s farm system?  Ryan stated during the call that third baseman Sanowould definitely not be with the Twins after spring training, but did insinuate that his call-up would occur sometime during the season.  Before the disastrous injury bug caught almost every top Twins prospect in 2014, I believe that Ryan’s plan was to bring many of them up in 2015.  Now, Ryan may hesitate with many of them not having the appropriate amount of time in the minor leagues and bring them up a year later.

Obviously, this is all speculation and Ryan might spend this off-season surprising us.  But based on early impressions, Ryan has already confirmed what many of us already feared, 2015 has the potential to be a very trying season.

Until next time…

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