November 2011

Twins reportedly to sign Jamey Carroll

MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins have reportedly signed veteran infielder Jamey Carroll to a two-year deal believed to be in the $7 million range, according to multiple reports. The deal is said to be pending a physical.

The Twins, however, have not responded to the reports, as a message left with interim general manager Terry Ryan was not immediately returned.

Carroll, who turns 38 in February, hit .290 with a .359 on-base percentage and .347 slugging percentage in 146 games with the Dodgers last season. He also stole 10 bases without getting caught.

Known for his steady defense, Carroll saw time at both second base and shortstop last season, and has also played third base and both corner outfield positions.

The 10-year veteran is a career .278/.356/.347 hitter and hasn’t posted an on-base percentage lower than .346 since 2007. He’s not a ranked free agent, meaning he would cost the Twins a draft pick if signed.

Carroll would fit the club’s need in the middle infield after the struggles of Tsuyoshi Nishioka and Trevor Plouffe at shortstop, especially defensively, last season.

Terry Ryan to replace Bill Smith

MINNEAPOLIS — In a surprising move, Terry Ryan has assumed the role of Twins general manager, replacing Bill Smith effectively immediately, the club announced today.

“No one in the Twins’ organization wants to win any more than Bill,” Twins owner and CEO Jim Pohlad said in a statement. “He is unquestionably loyal, committed and talented. The Twins goal is to get better in 2012 and beyond. Bill was equally motivated to achieve that goal but we differed in the scope and approach that was required. Going forward, we intend to have additional discussions with Bill about an ongoing role within the organization. We wish Bill, Becky and the entire Smith family nothing but the best.

“We are fortunate and grateful for Terry Ryan’s willingness to step in as interim general manager,” Pohlad continued.

Smith, 53, began his career in the Twins organization in 1986 and was named the fourth general manager in Minnesota’s history on Sept. 13, 2007.

The Twins won two American League Central Division titles (2009-10) under Smith and narrowly missed another chance at the postseason when they lost in a dramatic Game 163 to the White Sox in ’08. But the club never won a postseason game during his tenure, and lost 99 games last season.

“Working for the Minnesota Twins for the past 26 seasons has been the greatest professional privilege I could have ever imagined,” Smith said in a statement. “I will be forever grateful to the Pohlad family for the many wonderful opportunities they have provided to me, including the chance to sit in the General Manager’s chair for the past four seasons. My thanks and admiration to each of the wonderfully talented people with whom I have worked, and to Tom Kelly, Ron Gardenhire, their hard-working coaches & trainers and a large group of players who always represent the Minnesota Twins on the field and in the community better than any team in Baseball! Finally, it gives me great pleasure to hand this baton back to the best baseball man I have ever known, Terry Ryan.”

Ryan, who has spent more than 28 years in the Twins organization as a Minor League player or executive, returns to the role of the general manager, a post he held for 13 years (‘94-‘07).

Ryan, 58, will also be responsible for helping find a replacement general manager, as it’s unknown how long Ryan will serve as interim GM.

“As we move ahead, I’m looking forward to the challenge of improving this club for 2012 and beyond,” Ryan said in a statement. “We have many assets in place including a strong front office, manager, coaching staff and returning core of players. We have a lot of work to do in relation to development of our roster, but I’m optimistic in our collective abilities to ensure the future on-field success of this franchise.”

Thome on Cuddyer

Former Twins designated hitter Jim Thome is headed to the Phillies on a one-year deal worth $1.25 million, and now there are reports out of Philadelphia that the club is also interested in Michael Cuddyer.

Thome, at his introductory press conference on Saturday, was asked about his relationship with Cuddyer and if Cuddyer has any interest in playing in Philadelphia.

Here’s what he had to say:

(Have you talked to Cuddyer?)
We’ve texted a little bit. We’ve talked. All I can say about Michael is he’s a great player. He’s a winner. He’s a stand-up guy. I know he’s done a lot of great things on and off the field in Minnesota. Anybody that plays in that organization for a long time, their credibility is instantly high. Any team that gets him is going to gain. He’s a great teammate. I would put Michael as one of my top-five, all-time favorite teammates. No question. He’s up there. He’s a winner.

(Does he have any interest in Philly?)
I can’t answer that. Look, every player that sees the way the Phillies have done things over the last seven or eight years, they’ve set the bar very, very high. Guys around baseball would love to come here. When you win, you create a lot of good things.

(He didn’t say he’d like to join you?)
He did not.

(Did you encourage him to do that?)
I could, yes. Absolutely. I’m sure we will talk going forward.