Four years after being installed as the General Manager, Bill Smith has been fired. Following a disastrous 99-loss season, the Pohlad family has decided to replace the man responsible for constructing the roster that finished with the worst record in the American League, despite the franchise's highest-ever payroll. From trading Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett for Delmon Young and Brendan Harris to signing Nick Blackburn to an entirely unnecessary contract extension to turning Wilson Ramos into an overpaid and overrated reliever to giving away J.J. Hardy for two replacement-level relievers, Smith's tenure has been a series of bungled moves.
In his stead, the Twins have brought back Terry Ryan, who stepped down in September of the 2007 season, leaving Smith to deal with the Torii Hunter and Johan Santana situations. While I thought (and still think) Smith made the right move in letting Hunter walk and I don't particularly blame him for the Santana disaster, the rest of the moves were can definitely not be attributed to Ryan and were even worse. Ryan is a legend in the Minnesota organization and he can't really be any worse than Bill Smith was, but it remains to be seen just how long he will occupy this position.
Last time he stepped down he cited a lack of energy or interest in doing the general manager's duties. Either his time off caused him to regain that fire or he's doing the Twins a favor as they look for somebody else (or he just couldn't stand to see Smith's continued blunders and felt obligated to take his place). Regardless, hopefully Ryan's return means a return to the shrewd moves that made the Twins contenders for the past decade despite a relatively small budget.