Names you should know, whether you're a Mariners fan or simply curious about who the head honchos of tomorrow might be.
In a post-Moneyball world, a new generation of baseball minds have ascended to the top of their teams. While initial returns have been mixed-Paul DePodesta was forced out of Los Angeles after a perfect storm of weak ownership and a hostile local media conspired against him-the trend is still running strong. That's because like most sports baseball is a game that thrives on imitation; if you win, someone will try to copy your success or at least steal someone that knows the formula. Josh Byrnes got a shot in Arizona because the Red Sox won, even if the second Sox title didn't start a run on the next Sox assistant.
It's time to take a look at the names you'll be hearing next year. While some of these are people who have already been interviewed for positions and might already be on your radar, some of them aren't. I've also taken some of the more easily-anticipated names off of the list. For example, any time there's an opening, Chris Antonetti's name has come up, and for good reason, but after turning down several job offers, Antonetti seems locked in with the Indians, and essentially removes himself from our list, though his name's going to keep coming up whenever a GM job does become available. I also removed former general managers from this list, even though that means keeping well-qualified people like DePodesta off; as with Antonetti, DePodesta will be in circulation as a candidate. This choice also keeps people like Gord Ash, Gerry Hunsicker, or even Pat Gillick off of my list. That's because what I would like to do here is add some names to your mental list. Inside baseball, these guys are known and known well; it's time you did too.
Some Mets come to Omar Minaya's rescue amid allegations he only wants Latino players, Bud Selig says "nay" to an MLB-sanctioned celebration of Bonds passing Ruth, the White Sox/Angels get into it again, and Greg Maddux is smart.
"When you are a first, there will be some people that are uncomfortable with the fact that you are a first, and they will try to create non-baseball issues if they have the opportunity. I just see that as people that are uncomfortable with the fact that there's a Hispanic in a position of authority. ... It is what it is." --Mets GM Omar Minaya, on his perceived Latin-heavy roster (Sacramento Bee)
Jonah sits down with Lee MacPhail, the Director, Baseball Administration/Special Assignment Scout for the Washington Nationals. Among the items they discuss: old-school scouting, the situation of the Expos/Nationals, and the team's recent draft strategy.
Lee IV has worked in the Orioles, Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians, Minnesota Twins and Montreal Expos organizations. He now holds the title of Director, Baseball Administration/Special Assignment Scout for the Washington Nationals. MacPhail recently chatted with Baseball Prospectus about his family legacy, the challenges of working under uncertain conditions with the Expos and Nats and other topics.
Current Mets third base coach Manny Acta seemingly came out of nowhere to be a finalist for Arizona's managerial vacancy. Carlos Lugo sat down with this successful Dominican League manager to learn a bit about his managerial philosophy, his background, and his experience in the Expos organization.
Acta managed for three years in the Dominican Winter League: in his first year he made the playoffs managing the Estrellas, and he spent the last two seasons at the helm of the nation's most popular and successful team, the Licey Tigers. Acta won the League's championship and Caribbean World Series in his first year with the Tigers, and lost a seven game Final Series against the Cibao Eagles this past January.
The A's and Pirates provided something to talk about over the traditionally quiet Thanksgiving weekend.
"I'm just happy I have an All-Star catcher in the prime of his career who was dying to come to California.... We feel like we're getting a guy in the prime of his career who's really motivated and who's never played for a team in contention before."
--Billy Beane, Athletics general manager, on trading pitchers Arthur Rhodes and Mark Redman for Jason Kendall (ESPN.com)
Chris Kahrl reflects on the careers of Rico Brogna and Robin Ventura, examines the hires of Omar Minaya and Mike Hargrove, and stumps for an improved system of professional development in Major League Baseball. These and other musings in today's Transaction Analysis.
Old-time Oriole relievers, the Colorado effect, and the Mets managerial choises--all this and more in today's Prospectus Triple Play.
The list was quite comprehensive, but in response to our request, reader Don Brady wrote in with one deserving Oriole he felt had been forgotten: Eddie Watt. Watt was a dominant bullpen arm for the Orioles of the late Sixties and early Seventies, finishing with an ERA above league average every year with the Birds except his first. 1969 may have been Watt's best season: at age 28, he racked up 16 saves and a 1.56 ERA. But Don still can't get Game Five of the '69 Series out of his head, when Watt, pitching in the eighth, gave up the go-ahead (and, as it turned out, Series-clinching) run to the Mets on two base hits by Cleon Jones and Ron Swoboda.
The Expos and Giants have some creative payroll massaging to do if they're to field contenders while cutting payroll. Plus the Blue Jays keep a close eye on their prospects at the Arizona Fall League. These and other news and notes out of Montreal, San Francisco, and Toronto in this edition of Prospectus Triple Play.
And Now, YOUR 2004 Montreal...uh, San Juan, uh Monterrey...Expos!: Of the 30 teams in Major League Baseball, none face as much uncertainty as the two clubs at opposite ends of well, pretty much every spectrum--the Yankees and the Expos. With far more money to spend than any other team and an owner looking to clean house at the slightest sign of weakness, the Yankees are expected to completely revamp their roster this off-season. The Expos' roster is equally full of uncertainty, though for very different reasons:
The Red Sox look to repeat 2003's historic hitting campaign next year. Running down the list of GM candidates for the Reds. Gary Bennett is the only person surprised that the Padres released Gary Bennett. All this and more from San Diego, Cincinnati, and Boston in today's Prospectus Triple Play.