Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 11/11/11

This past week Minnesota Twins owner Carl Pohlad dismissed general manager Bill Smith from his role despite giving him the dreaded vote of confidence after the team’s ninety-nine loss season. It was mentioned that the change was due to philosophical differences and that Smith was offered another role within the organization in baseball operations.

I can understand that there would be turmoil on a club that was expected to compete for the division once again and tanked the season, but the manner in which this maneuver took place is nonsensical. The top assistants to Bill Smith are remaining intact in their posts. Ron Gardenhire undoubtedly will be in the dugout on opening day and Terry Ryan was brought in to be the interim general manager with no timetable on filling the position permanently.

I wouldn’t suggest this, but I could understand the decision if the team was clearing house and going into a whole new direction after last year’s collapse. They aren’t doing so for the aforementioned reasons. In addition, Ryan’s priorities in the offseason seem to be with the free agents that formerly played with the team. What’s the definition of insanity again?

Terry Ryan was used to operating with a miniscule payroll during his previous tenure as general manager and he will have to take a cut again this year of around thirteen million. This is largely due to the fact that the team struggled so much last year, so attendance is likely to lag somewhat behind the previous record setting pace. Also, the honeymoon period with the stadium is ending with more focus heading to the on the field product.

If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll have what you’ve always had. Since the team won sixty-three games last year, then why do they prioritize looking at all of their past free agents first? Minneapolis is not like Chicago or other big cities around the country. There is a sense of loyalty that is uncommon in professional sports and I applaud that for the most part. However, winning takes precedence in the professional realm and it is not disloyal to go separate ways when terms of a contract are satisfied. Albert Pujols is talking with Ozzie Guillen and the Florida Marlins. Terry Francona is offering his services to the people of Saint Louis. Sometimes a fresh voice and a change of scenery is just what the doctor ordered.

It is unfair to simply criticize a move and not offer any solutions. It must be clear by now that I would not have dismissed Bill Smith. How much could have changed in a month’s time if Pohlad’s remarks at the conclusion of the season weren’t disingenuous? I would actually make Jason Kubel my first free agent priority from the previous group because he is a natural hitter and still relatively young. The health of Joe Mauer and Jason Morneau is critical for the future well being of the franchise, so their offseason routines are of more important than anything else that may occur.

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