It was nice that Smith found a Diamond in the rough...but all GM's including Terry Ryan make bad trades or moves...and Ryan has had more than his share.
That said Hardy had been injured and had struggled off and on for the year before and the year of his signing with the Twins. The Twins made the move to find stability at SS...someone that could play SS. Their selection was Nishioka...and if he was all that bad (which he was), the scouts and Terry Ryan who was assistant to the GM would have or should have said something. I believe if they would have Nishioka would have never been signed.
Contrary to your belief, Smith a self admitted 'non evaluator of talent' had to rely on his scouts and his assistants for input. If he didn't then I won't defend his decisions. I also believe that he did and though he pulls the trigger on moves, the scouts and assistants can share the blame.
The Thome situation: He was traded (waiver claim I believe) to allow him to have a chance to get into the playoffs. The Indians were his chance. It was a gesture by the Minnesota Twins to reward Thome for his almost two seasons with the Twins. Many in the game did not believe Thome would continue his ML career after last season...and as it's going this season...it may be his last. So, what ever value the Twins received was more then fair.
BTW it was mentioned by St. Peter and Pohlad that Smith was removed from the GM position because the parties had different visions. Smith wanted more money to improve the team and the Pohlad's didn't want to spend anymore. Ryan is a model for cutting payroll and playing with bare minimum...and it still shows this season.
So blame it ALL on Smith but this organization began to fall off the cliff years before Smith took the reigns.
Why was Garza traded? Why was Young traded? Do you think the Twins EVER had ANY chance to get DeRosa? Punto was a choice by whom? Garrett Jones has come back to earth...just an average ballplayer. Slowey had value? and to fetch a decent starter? Dickey is having a great year...so now the complaining about letting Dickey go? The intent was to sign Cuddyer or Kubel in the off season. They didn't know which one would sign so what should he have done...logically?
It is easy to be an arm chair GM I guess...
The Garza trade was a risk worth taking. This team needed to support Justin and Joe with a right handed bat. They trade Garza also because he was a nuisance. They were bothered by his personality much in the same way they have been with Valencia.
All the other stuff is on them. I don't care whether we were able to see any of that stuff coming or not. These guys are supposed to have better baseball minds than us. They have gotten the worst on a lot of transactions over the last several years. Why do you suppose that is?
"These guys are supposed to have better baseball minds than us. They have gotten the worst on a lot of transactions over the last several years. Why do you suppose that is?"
That is correct and I wasn't disputing that fact. It has been more then the last several years...it may have started with the Castillo for Butera trade (and another player or two that are no longer with the organization).
If you noted the Twins did not criticize, at least publicly, the moves Smith made...the more I heard about, read and listened to the interviews the more it was about how much money the team was going to spend to improve the team...as we see the few dollars spent was the route taken.
Note: Attendance down about 180,000 from this same point last year...lost revenue...
The Castillo-Butera/Martin trade was the ultimate insult to the fans. I was here for that trade and when it went down I was livid. At that time, the organization told us they were not sellers and that their goal was to improve the team. Trading Luis Castillo for two players who weren't major league ready infuriated a lot of people and Ryan completely lost the team. The reaction was negative almost across the boards in that locker room. We were told that we had players ready to replace Castillo and both Casilla and Tolbert proved to be big steps down from Castillo. It was not just a bad move, but a demoralizing move that divided the team. It made no sense at all.
With regards to Bill Smith I can't make him any more of a scapegoat than Ron Gardenhire or the scouts or even Terry Ryan. I get annoyed when I hear about how Bill Smith ruined the team. He didn't ruin it all on his own. He had help. It wasn't like Smith had total autonomy to make moves. They even mentioned right off the bat that he was a more a finance guy than anything. He was not a talent evaluator. There are a whole lot of people in the Twins brain trust who have been there for years that have managed to fly under the radar. Deron Johnson and Jim Rantz are probably the best examples of this. At what point does these guys retire or get replaced?
<< Note: Attendance down about 180,000 from this same point last year...lost revenue... >>
Come on, fans, let's keep this up and show the Pohlads we will not put up with their lame, antiquated policies any more!