La Velle's 3-2 Pitch: Three observations and two predictions on Sundays.
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Terry Ryan spent Thursday in Janesville, Wis., his place of birth and where his mother- and father-in law still reside. He was not checking in with bosses or planning a scouting trip.
He has plenty of time for family now. After being let go as the Twins general manager in 2016, Ryan hooked on with the Phillies as a scout, rejoining Philadelphia President Andy MacPhail, whom he replaced as GM with the Twins in 1994.
His contract with the Phillies expired after last season, but he agreed to stay on as a consultant to help them through the lockout. That agreement ended last month. Now he has more time to spend with his wife, Karilyn, two children and two grandchildren. Karilyn no longer is stuck clearing snow at their Eagan home while her husband is away at spring training.
Except for the few months unemployed in 2016, this is the first time Ryan has not had a job since 1979.
"I was in very good shape there," Ryan said of Philadelphia. "I liked it over there very much. It was time."
Ryan had two stints in the big chair with the Twins, from 1994 to 2007, then 2011 to 2016. He helped guide the Twins through an ownership-ordered roster deconstruction in the late 1990s, then through the threat of contraction in 2001. He had a chance to interview for the Blue Jays GM role as contraction talk swirled. Instead of leaving the club during uncertain times, he stuck with the franchise.
Some of his moves backfired. David Ortiz was released and went on to a Hall of Fame career with Boston. Scott Erickson was dealt for Scott Klingenbeck. And the Twins lost prospect Travis Lee on a technicality.
Other moves set the franchise up for success in the 2000s. Chuck Knoblauch was dealt for future All-Stars in Cristian Guzman and Eric Milton. Two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana came through a trade the day of the Rule 5 draft. Shannon Stewart cost the Twins only Bobby Kielty. And A.J. Pierzynski was traded to the Giants for future Twins Hall of Fame closer Joe Nathan, All-Star Francisco Liriano as well as Boof Bonser, who started a playoff game for them.
Ryan, now 68, just couldn't duplicate his success in stint No. 1, when his moves helped the Twins to four division titles and one ALCS berth.
"We did some good things," Ryan said. "We had some tough times, just like any franchise. [My legacy] is for someone else to decide. I don't take that lightly. I had a good run there.
"We had some good clubs."
Ryan is known for his eye for talent, work ethic and quick wit. Even as a GM, Ryan would sit in his booth during pregame activities, filling out scouting cards on opposing players. He is a high-quality human being, someone you'd want as a next-door neighbor. That's if you can catch up with him.
Ryan is watching plenty of major league games on television and plans to swing by Target Field occasionally. He also has attended amateur games in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Wait. Terry, does that mean you might call a team to recommend a prospect you like?
"That would be correct," Ryan said.
Once a scout, always a scout.
Win early, Vikings
One thing is obvious about new Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell: He must have a friend in the NFL's scheduling department. O'Connell on Thursday was handed a manageable early-season schedule in his first season leading The Purple.
Week 2 at Philadelphia followed by home games against the Lions, Saints and Bears is not exactly running through a gantlet. The heat will be turned up in November, when the Vikings travel to Buffalo before home games against Dallas and New England. But O'Connell has a chance to build some immediate street cred before the Week 7 bye.
Young stars need help
The demise of the Wild in the Stanley Cup playoffs extends the title drought of men's professional sports teams in the Twin Cities. But fans can still enjoy the present and the near future.
Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov legitimized himself as a superstar this season. Anthony Edwards is on his way to NBA stardom with the Wolves. The Vikings' Justin Jefferson is an elite wide receiver. A healthy Byron Buxton is "the best player in the world," teammate Carlos Correa said.
Each of these teams has a 20-something cornerstone. Now, add talent around them.
... AND TWO PREDICTIONS ...
Barr a Patriot?
The Vikings have no room for free-agent linebacker Anthony Barr. Look for the veteran to land where many solid professionals end up later in their careers: New England.
Cano no help
Former All-Star Robinson Cano landed with the Padres after being released by the Mets. Look for San Diego to cut ties with Cano by June 30.