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September 13, 2007 at 12:09 PM

Twins lose a GM; Bavasi’s future?

Shocking news today that Terry Ryan, perhaps the best general manager in the game of baseball, has resigned his position with the Minnesota Twins. Bill Smith takes his place. Who saw it coming? Nobody. Ryan has been under fire of late for some of his decisions, but his track record of success — on a buget — speaks for itself. In my book, Ryan did everything that some “new wave” general managers, like Toronto’s J.P. Ricciardi, were supposed to accomplish but failed at. Ryan won division titles within a limiting budget, never using a lack of money as an excuse for not competing. He employed a varitey of methods, traditional and newfangled, to secure talent. Ryan was also adept at swinging impact trades that benfitted his teams and helped carry them to the post-season.
In short, he was everything a team asks for in a general manager.
Did he make his mistakes? Of course he did. No GM is perfect.
What does this mean for the Mariners? Absolutely nothing. As of today, I’ve been told by people within the organization that Bill Bavasi is coming back next season. Nothing has been officially announced and these are all off-the-record conversations. But no, Terry Ryan is not about to become GM of the Mariners.
Bavasi, of course, has not enjoyed near the level of Ryan’s success. He also has a much higher payroll of $107 million to work with. Are M’s fans right to expect something more? I think they are. The recent firing of GM Dave Littlefield in Pittsburgh and the stepping down by Ryan will increase the calls for something to be done regarding Bavasi. Some of it may be fair, some not so fair. But a little pressure on a front office can never hurt fans of a baseball team. Payroll limitations or not, nothing lasts forever in this game.
And the M’s are certainly not hamstrung by the same limitations of other teams.
Meanwhile, one of Bavasi’s assistants, Dan Evans, is in-line for the Houston Astros opening.

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