A look at 10 men who should be considered to run a baseball operations department.
Welcome to Top 10 Week. All week long, various BP authors will be revealing their Top 10s in various categories. Today we start off with Will Carroll ranking the 10 best general manager candidates.
A couple years back, I did a list of the "next GM" crop. It's one of those innocuous exercises that nonetheless tells us a lot about what's going on inside of the front offices. We hear about GMs, about trades, about drafts, but even in Moneyball and earlier in Dollar Sign on the Muscle, we seldom hear about the day-to-day operations carried out by a group of people that is overworked, underpaid, and most importantly, vastly overqualified. This is a group that years ago would be more likely to be putting together a hedge fund, working for the State Department, or something a bit more "important" than the game of baseball. With the money of the modern era, teams got smarter, fast.
The Phillies talk about becoming a dynasty, the Cubs warm up to sabermetrics, plus other notes from around the majors.
Cole Hamels tried to think of the right word to describe the Phillies as he reflected on their recent past and looked ahead to their future. Finally, a visitor to his locker in the defending National League champion's spring training clubhouse offered some help.
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The former general sits down to talk about guiding a cash-strapped team, trading Pedro Martinez, and how much front offices have changed.
Jim Beattie won't be in Indianapolis for this year's Winter Meetings, but the erstwhile Expos and Orioles General Manager knows what goes on behind closed doors when his former brethren convene to talk trade. It was at the meetings 12 years ago that Beattie, then in charge of a financially-strapped Expos franchise, reluctantly laid the groundwork for trading Pedro Martinez to the Red Sox.
A preview of the Dominican Winter League, taking a look at the teams, stadiums, managers, and players to watch for.
The "National Religion" came back on October 16th, as the Dominican League launched its 56th edition. Reliably praised as having the highest level of talent among the winter leagues, one should expect to watch another mix of highly ranked prospects, mid-level major leaguers, a few recognizable American players, veterans looking for another shot, and some major league stars between now and the end of the Caribbean Series in February. The league format has six teams playing a 50-game regular-season schedule, with the four best records advancing to a long 18-game round-robin playoff, and the two remaining best clubs play a best-of-nine final series to decide the league's champion. Without further ado, here's what this season will bring us:
Tigres del Licey (Licey Tigers)
Home: Santo Domingo
2008-09 record: 26-24, fourth place (tied) regular season; 12-6, first place round-robin; beat the Gigantes in the final series 5-0.
Ballpark: Estadio Quisqueya; strong pitcher's park, with a Park Factor of 92.
The Tigers rebuild their lair, Colletti escapes his Boras-induced Groundhog Day, plus news and notes from around the major leagues.
The Tigers are going through a hype-free spring training this year, and that's quite a switch from what they went through in 2008. The buzz last spring was over a Tigers' offense so powerful it was expected to score 1,000 runs. In turn, 1,000 runs were supposed to lead to possible 100 wins. Unfortunately, the Tigers were instead one of the biggest disappointments in baseball last season; not only did they fail to even come close to scoring 1,000 runs, but they finished last in the American League Central with a 74-88 record.
The Reds' Single-A affiliate GM holds forth on the success of the Dayton Dragons.
Minor League Baseball set an attendance record last year, and the poster-child team for that success resides in the Ohio Valley. The Dayton Dragons sold out every game for the ninth consecutive season in 2008, with 8,624 fans coming through the turnstiles to watch the Single-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds on a nightly basis. Gary Mayse, the team's Executive Vice President and General Manager, talked about why Dragons baseball is so popular, and the reasons that minor league baseball will continue to thrive despite the economic downturn.
Minor tweaking by the GM and major baiting by the players in The City of Brotherly Love, plus news and notes from around the major leagues.
Ruben Amaro Jr. is in the minority, and that goes beyond his Latin American heritage. The new Phillies' general manager is one of just three former major league players to currently hold that position in baseball. The others are the White Sox's Ken Williams and the Athletics' Billy Beane.
A new GM in Philadelphia, Theo and the Red Sox play nice, and news and views from around the major leagues.
Joe Maddon is getting married on Saturday, and he will then head to Europe for his honeymoon. "We're going to try to see a lot of Europe on foot with backpacks and that kind of stuff, see some old churches and all the other sites, but we'll also stay at some really nice hotels," Maddon said. "It's something we're looking forward to very much."
Phillies GM Pat Gillick relies on experience and a steady hand when building his winning teams.
PHILADELPHIA-Compared to his front-office counterpart in this year's World Series, Phillies general manager Pat Gillick is definitely old school. The Rays' executive vice president of baseball operations (Rays-talk for GM) Andrew Friedman is 31, and looks young enough that putting together an American League championship team could have passed for his senior-class project. If that were the case, Friedman would certainly deserve an "A," as the Rays are in the World Series and will face the Phillies in Game Three tonight at Citizens Bank Ballpark with the series tied up at a game apiece. Gillick, on the other hand, is 71 years old and has worked in baseball front offices for 45 years. The Phillies are the fourth organization for whom he has served as GM, following stints with the Blue Jays, Orioles, and Mariners.
A workhorse named CC, Cashman takes responsibility for his own narrative, and off-season calculations from around the major leagues.
Dale Sveum understands the value in the pitching arm of ace CC Sabathia, and how the big left-hander is going to cash in on it this upcoming winter when he becomes eligible for free agency. "He's going to make more money than any pitcher in the history of the game," said the Brewers' interim manager. "It couldn't happen to a better person, either. He's as nice of a guy, for a superstar, that I've ever met in my 27 years in professional baseball. He's a very special person."
The Brewers rise to the occasion, Cashman looks to the Yankee future, and news and notes from around the major leagues.
PHILADELPHIA- When the Brewers' team bus pulled up to Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday morning, it hit Dale Sveum all at once. "We were just here a couple of weeks ago and never did I think I would be right back here in the situation I'm in now," the Brewers interim manager said. "It's amazing how things can change in this game." It certainly is.
Possible changes coming in the GM landscape, the Astros are irked, and Cubs players envy how the other half lives.
A few months ago, it appeared that there would be wholesale changes made among major league general managers in the offseason, but now that no longer seems to be such a certainty. One team that will definitely have a new GM in 2009 is the Phillies, as Pat Gillick has already announced that he is retiring at the end of the season. It is conceivable, though unlikely, that the Phillies could be the only team to change GMs.