What Would This Off-Season Look Like If Terry Ryan Was Still In Charge?

Photo Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

During his tenure with the Minnesota Twins, Terry Ryan was almost as disciplined as a dad leading his family on a cross-country road trip. He had a plan in mind for where he wanted to take this thing, and damned if he would let the kids decide how he planned his itinerary.

Oh, what’s that? The kids want to pull over for a Happy Meal because they saw one on a flashy billboard? Too bad. Papa Terry packed a cooler with bagged lunches and bottled water.

With the MLB off-season now in full swing, Twins fans have their focus on the team’s needs heading into 2023. Expectations will undoubtedly be high as the club is coming off two disappointing seasons and appears to have considerable room in its budget. Fans are craving a Happy Meal of their own, whether in the form of a frontline starting pitcher on the free-agent market, re-signing star shortstop Carlos Correa — or a combo meal of the two.

We’ll see what Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have in store as they plot a course of their own, but it’s fun to think about how Ryan would’ve steered the Twins’ minivan if he was still in charge of the club this winter. Would fans be pleasantly surprised with a quick detour through the fabled drive-thru they clamor for every year? Or would they need to settle for another bagged lunch?

First things first, Papa Terry would have a ready-made list of priorities for the off-season. Sure, his financial advisor said he has plenty of wiggle room if he wants to do some spending. But Ryan scoffs at the idea of simply throwing money at the problem. He doesn’t need to outspend his competition. In his eyes, he needs to out-scout them.

With that in mind, Ryan addresses his team’s perceived pitching needs first. The kids can keep dreaming, but some decisions must be made with practicality as the driving factor. The Twins are already overflowing with projected mid-rotation-caliber pitchers for their rotation picture. Minnesota has some options between locks for the opening-day roster (Sonny Gray and Joe Ryan), higher-upside but injury-riddled veterans (Tyler Mahle and Kenta Maeda), and a slew of prospects. Prevailing logic would be to aim high or not at all. But Papa Terry has that chip on his shoulder.

He hears the cries for a playoff-caliber starter from hungry fans and springs into action in the first week of free agency.

Ryan makes his first move: a two-year deal with old friend Kyle Gibson worth $12 million.

Yeah, yeah, yeah – he’s 35 years old and had a 5.05 ERA this year. But this is Gibby we’re talking about. Ryan was scouting this kid way back when he was in high school and led the Twins’ front office when Gibson made his MLB debut in 2013. And last season, Gibson’s walk rate (2.6 BB/9) was the lowest it’s been in his career. So, he’d be stupid not to sign him. Right?

Not only that, but Papa Terry is glowing at the idea that he has him under control for two years at a similar price to his 2022 salary. Cha-ching!

Now Ryan needs to find someone with grit who can hit the top of the lineup. They don’t need to be a top-three hitter on the team, but they need to give off the vibe that they should be a leadoff hitter. Don’t waste Terry’s time with that wOBA hogwash or that wRC Paramount+ mumbo jumbo. This call is made on vibes and vibes alone.

So he signs veteran infielder Josh Harrison to a one-year, $5 million deal. His best days are probably behind him, but looking through his notes, Ryan says this guy is a ballplayer. He sees the ball well and knows how to play the game correctly. Come on, he has played for five different teams throughout his career. Clearly, he’s doing something right if so many other front offices like him.

Last but not least, the lack of a major veteran presence needs to be addressed after that superstar shortstop officially opted out of his contract this week. And Ryan has a move that no true Twins fans would ever predict this so-called “cheap” franchise would ever make.

He can picture it now – a press conference is called for the signing, and Papa Terry reveals the back of a freshly-rebranded Twins jersey one letter at a time.






He pauses. Finally, he can say that he delivered on bringing back a popular veteran player instead of watching them sail off into the sunset. He finishes revealing the name on the back of the jersey.


That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. Papa Terry got him back. Kevin Correia. The guy all the talk radio hosts have said should be the club’s main focus of the off-season – or at least that’s what it sounded like coming from his transistor radio.

So that’s it, folks. Does a Terry Ryan-brand off-season scratch the itch that fans haven’t been able to reach? Maybe not. But it gets them where they need to go, and it gets them there on time. So lean back and enjoy a bagged lunch and a bottle of water. Because if Papa Terry hears you complaining about the itinerary that he’s laid out, he’s not afraid to tear it all down. He’ll turn this minivan around and head home, damn it.

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