Rebuilding is never a term that a professional sports franchise, or any company for that matter, really wants to use. It strikes a nerve with supporters, and suggests that by design you will be losing in the present to succeed in the future; that’s a tough sell. Terry Ryan has weathered the storm since rejoining the fold with the Minnesota Twins, and although he’s not yet out of the darkness, he has taken significant steps forward and deserves to be commended for it.
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For much of the last few season, Twins fans have wanted Terry Ryan gone. The thought has been that he isn’t progressing the franchise forward, the Twins aren’t spending money, and a level of competitiveness is no closer to being achieved. Since taking over for the debacle that was Bill Smith, the Twins now have one of the best farm systems in baseball, they have made payroll complaints look silly, and competition in the AL Central may never be higher than in 2015.
Baseball is not a sport that can be won in the offseason. That is to say, an organization’s success is based upon the creation of a roster through a 12 month lifecycle. The Major League Baseball amateur draft, the progression of prospects, and the supplementation of veteran talent is how teams compete for years on end. The Twins have been caught between drafting talent and waiting to supplement it for the past few years, but Terry Ryan’s patience is finally starting to pay off.
Although it may have looked as if there was no plan in place, or that Ryan hadn’t made the right moves to put the Twins in the best position to move forward, this offseason should have halted that debate for now.
No drastic moves were made this offseason by Ryan, but the signings of Hunter and Santana suggest that the club has done enough to make the team better. Ryan has pushed the club forward through free agent acquisitions, and now to continue the plan, he needs to commit to do so with the prospect talent.
Assuming that Terry Ryan is thinking along the same process outlined previously, pairing young talent with veterans, now begins the time when Alex Meyer, Buxton, Sano, and Eddie Rosario need to be introduced into the fold. Allowing those players to contribute at a high level in the major leagues provides the Twins pieces that they can build around for years to come.
Expecting the fruits of the process to blossom in 2015 is a bit naive, nothing is going to happen that fast. However, if Ryan continues down the path he appears to be on, 2015 should be a breath of fresh air, with a bright future on the horizon. Hopefully this continues to play out as it looks like it is progressing to, and Twins Territory once again has renewed faith in the direction of the franchise.
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