The Minnesota Twins’ flurry of trade deadline moves were not unexpected by the team’s fans, if dashed with a measure of disappointment over the return on the players sent and a season that didn’t go as planned. But it stunned at least one veteran observer.
“I didn’t think you could make that many trades,” said former Twins GM Terry Ryan. “It seems like it’s too many.”
The front office braintrust of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine moved five players for fistfuls of prospects. And the man they replaced in the organization was shocked.
“I’d go to Mr. Pohlad at the trade deadline, and if there was a deal to be made, I’d ask permission to make one trade,” said Ryan. “One. I’d fill out what was frankly some onerous paperwork in a windowless room. Two large men from Mr. Pohlad’s security team observed the process. They were both named Otto. They never spoke. Once I was done, we could go to the league office.
“Five trades? My goodness. I thought you could only do that during wartime.”
Ryan, currently a scout for the Phillies, admitted to being “baffled” by the apparent ease with which Falvey and Levine were able to move and acquire players.
“Things are very different in this day and age. I’m not saying it’s better or worse, just different. For example, when I told Mr. Pohlad I wanted to pick up Shannon Stewart from Toronto during the 2003 All-Star break, he told me a long story about The Great Depression, The War of 1812, and The Donner Party. Then he picked up the phone, said ‘The fire this time,’ hung up, and approved the trade.
“In retrospect, some might call that troubling, especially with the city of Falstaff, Iowa, burning to the ground that very night. I just think he was a man who knew the value of a dollar, but he wanted to win as much as anybody.”
When informed that there is no record of a Falstaff, Iowa, ever existing, Ryan became almost ashen. He began to visibly shiver.
“I’ve said too much.”