So Terry Ryan is out, fired as the head of the Twins baseball operations. Rob Antony, his assistant, takes over less than two weeks before the trading deadline.
That Ryan is out isn't all that shocking. I thought there was a 50 percent chance that he was going to leave, either of his own volition or because Jim Pohlad meant it in April when he ascribed the major league team's horrific start to a "total system failure." But I thought that departure, if it came, would come in September, or at least after the trading deadline.
Ryan's firing makes sense only if Pohlad and the others atop the organizational pyramid intend to revamp the baseball side. Pohlad and team president Dave St. Peter said Monday that Antony was not ruled out for the permanent position, but really ... the best reason to dump Ryan would be the ingrown nature of the team's front office. Elevating Antony would do little if anything to address that.
Pohlad said the new general manager would have to accept Paul Molitor as his manager in 2017. The wisdom of that edict is debatable, but I doubt that somebody who really wants the job and is a good enough candidate to get a multi-year commitment from the Pohlads would let one year of an incumbent manager get in his way.
It has been said often of managers: They are hired to be fired. That applies, in most organizations, to pretty much everybody. Managers, scouts, coaches, minor league staffers ... and general managers. The new GM comes in and sweeps a big broom and installs his own people -- and in many cases, in four years or so, a fresh GM is installed with an equally big broom. Nobody on the baseball side is safe when there's a new sheriff.
The Twins have avoided that for almost 30 years. 1986 was, really, the only big broom in franchise history, when Andy MacPhail took over baseball ops, cleared out the remnants of Calvin Griffith's "organization" and brought in people from other organizations. One of those was Ryan, who became the scouting director.
MacPhail modernized the Twins front office. Thirty years later, it probably needs modernizing again. Monday was only the beginning.