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General Managers Newsbeat

Thursday, January 14, 2016


Thursday, January 07, 2016

The 1998 Indians had a “dream team” front office.

John Hart’s real legacy.

“It’s one of those things you get a sinking feeling,” Hart said. “But we were doing so well and people want to take your guys.”

Success affected the front office in other ways, in O’Dowd’s estimation.

“The culture changed when we got really good,” he said, “because everybody wanted something for themselves within that process, including me. It changed the dynamic of the relationships. Sometimes it’s harder to manage success than failure. When you fail, there’s this bond that ties you all together and creates something special. Once you get special, where do you go from there? I actually think Apple’s going through that now.”

Just as the Indians endured the difficulty of keeping an elite team together on the field after the sell-out streak ended and the robust revenues ran dry, they also saw the front office evolve. As evidenced by Toronto’s hire of Shapiro to run both the business and baseball operations, Cleveland is still regarded in the industry as one of the more collaborative and well-organized offices in the game. A place worth poaching.

But we might never again see a group as jam-packed with GM prospects as that 1998 stash. Hart’s family tree has surely left its mark on baseball, and DePodesta’s bold move to the Browns is extending its influence to the gridiron.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 07, 2016 at 10:16 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: front office, general managers, indians, john hart

Monday, December 21, 2015

Peter Gammons: Reconstructing Gillickism in Boston - GammonsDaily.com

Peter Gammons says nice things about Dave Dombrowski.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 21, 2015 at 11:41 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: dave dombrowski, general managers, red sox

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Executive Viewpoints: Structural Change with Regime Change | FanGraphs Baseball

“What gets lost in the shuffle sometimes is just how complex this industry can be. It’s a large infrastructure that branches out quickly. It’s almost like an iceberg with the GM on top. When you get below the water line, there is a lot going on and a lot of people involved. When you consider all the different facets of an organization – scouting, development, the business side, the major league club – there are a lot of moving parts. It’s not surprising different teams can take different approaches to making those parts fit and interact as smoothly as possible.”

Jim Furtado Posted: December 20, 2015 at 10:30 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: general managers

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Al Avila: Going from assistant to GM a little like getting married

“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”

Avila, the Tigers’ assistant general manager before replacing Dave Dombrowski late last season, has spent a lifetime in baseball waiting for the opportunity to make such deals.

“It’s been easy in the sense that I’ve been through it so many years, so many times over and over,” Avila said. “Same system. We go through the same meetings.

“The biggest difference is when you’re in charge, everything is on your shoulders. That responsibility is big. Nobody should take it lightly. You don’t really know until you get that responsibility. You think you know, because you’ve been there, you’ve done that, over and over. And you think you know. But once you’re appointed that position and the responsibility is yours, it’s a whole different feeling.

“I’m not going to compare it to being a kid, but I remember being single. You get married. All of a sudden you’re married, and now you feel a little more pressure. Now you have your first kid, it’s a whole different responsibility. I’m not going to compare it to that, maybe I am ... It happens, and all of a sudden you feel it. With time, it feels normal.”

Jim Furtado Posted: December 10, 2015 at 06:59 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: al avila, general managers, tigers

Friday, December 04, 2015

Jeff Bridich on Building the Rockies | FanGraphs Baseball

Here’s some interesting comments on the Rockies from General Manager Greg Bridich.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 04, 2015 at 04:35 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: general managers, jeff bridich

Hardball Retrospective – General Manager Trading Scorecard | Seamheads.com

I don’t have time to go through all this at the moment but at first glance it looks like some impressive research.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 04, 2015 at 04:34 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: general managers, sabermetrics

Blue Jays name Ross Atkins as team’s new general manager - Sportsnet.ca

Atkins, a 42-year-old from Greensboro, N.C., has a long resume in player development, a strong breeding ground for general managers because countless decisions and evaluations must be made on players, coaches and staff. He also has experience in Latin America, an area the Blue Jays plan to continue prioritizing despite international director Ismael Cruz’s departure for the Dodgers.

A right-handed pitcher who spent five seasons in the Indians system before topping out at double-A, he’d been expected to join the Blue Jays in some capacity under Shapiro, as the two became close in Cleveland.

Atkins served as vice-president of player personnel in 2015, helping negotiate big-league deals, working on arbitration cases, dealing with roster-management issues and participating in off-season planning. Prior to that, he worked in the club’s player development department as a director from 2007-10 and vice-president from 2011-14.

Players developed under his watch include Cody Allen, Lonnie Chisenhall, Kyle Crockett, Tyler Holt, T.J. House, Jason Kipnis, Roberto Perez, Jose Ramirez and Danny Salazar.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 04, 2015 at 07:43 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, general managers, ross atkins

Friday, November 27, 2015

Why did Braves trade Andrelton Simmons? | Atlanta Braves blog

This is well worth reading.

Why make the trade now instead of waiting, at least until the Winter Meetings, to drive up the price?

“Take a team like the Angels. They have needs at second base, third base, left field, bullpen. And we felt these were their two best prospects.  If we wanted to wait until the Winter Meetings, there’s a good chance that they are gone and that we don’t get this sort of opportunity again. And that’s just one example. If there’s a good deal….

“We had a shot to trade a player this past season for a guy who’s now ranked as a top-50 prospect in the game, and that player (whom the Braves were going to trade) ended up getting hurt. And by the time we tried to make the trade, that prospect had shot up the charts and they wouldn’t even talk about the player.

“We made a strong run last year with the Yankees at (pitcher) Luis Severino, and we didn’t get the deal done last year, and now he’s off-limits this year. I mean, if you feel like you have a chance to get special talent, you can’t shy away from it. You’ve got to really jump at it and take that plunge. We were not sure that we could get these sorts of players, this was such a good opportunity for us that we wanted to seize it once it was available to us.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 27, 2015 at 11:41 AM | 55 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, general managers, interview, john coppolella

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO … JOHN SCHUERHOLZ | www.myajc.com

On the current state of the club: “Here’s how it’s been: We did a very, very thorough analysis and where we were going to be if we stayed the course. We could not stay the course. We had to make dramatic and tough decisions. We had big contracts, we had talented players who weren’t going to be able to by themselves bring us a world championship opportunity again. We had a farm system where all the good players we had, had already matriculated in the major leagues. Our system was empty. And we knew that if we just continued to stay the course and tried to balance ourselves with both worlds, it wouldn’t work. Last season we couldn’t fix the big league part, although we did for the first half of the season until (reliever) Jason Grilli suffered the Achilles injury. It was difficult because we’ve been winners, and I keep reminding myself take a long-term view at what the Atlanta Braves have done. Since 1991 only the New York Yankees have won more games than us and the Cardinals are third. It’s hard to swallow for all of us, it’s hard to swallow for the fans, we understand all that.’’

On whether he is involved in player decisions: “Well yeah, I’m the president. I don’t make decisions, but they come to me and if I have a question or an uncertainty about it, I’ll voice it. I’ll listen to what they say, what’s the plan, what’s behind it, what about it makes sense to us. Those are the kind of things I ask them.’’

Jim Furtado Posted: November 27, 2015 at 10:59 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: general managers, john schuerholz

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

David Stearns on His Vision for Building the Brewers | FanGraphs Baseball

This.

On the information beast: “I really don’t see a dichotomy between the analytics and scouting departments. I see them both as information sources where we need the absolute best of both. We’re going to build out both until we feel we have the best information we can possibly acquire. We’re always going to want more. That’s the nature of the beast. In this industry, the game is, ‘What is the next frontier in baseball and where can we get the next competitive advantage?’”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 24, 2015 at 03:23 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, david stearns, general managers

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Newberg: The varying degree of cutting ties. - GammonsDaily.com

Tom Wilhelmsen is not a Jerry Dipoto trophy.  He was an asset for a new General Manager to evaluate, to decide whether his greatest value to the club was in the bullpen or in a trade.  Rumored for weeks to be hunting for a center fielder (such as Brett Gardner, Peter Bourjos, Jon Jay, or Martin, according to Fox Sports columnist Ken Rosenthal earlier this month), Dipoto clearly decided that adding Benoit (on Thursday) would facilitate flipping Wilhelmsen for that center field addition.

Just a week ago an NL club executive explained to Joel Sherman (New York Post), in the context of this wave of GM changes around the league: “What happens is that when you have new people, they do not view the talent left behind like the old people did.  When you draft and develop a player, you tend to have a higher opinion and affinity for the player than someone outside the organization.  The new person doesn’t have the same ties and is more willing to trade them.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 19, 2015 at 06:14 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: general managers, jerry dipoto, mariners, rangers

Monday, November 16, 2015

Ranking baseball’s top 10 GMs — yes, Cashman makes the list

Ruben Amaro is not eligible for this list, since he was fired.

5. Brian Cashman

Ah, yes. Mr. Cashman. The mere refusal to advocate for his immediate firing draws venom from many fan corners. The Yankees haven’t won a playoff game since 2012, for crying out loud!
Look at the other names on this list. Only Mozeliak can relate to Cashman on one very important career track: In 18 years on the job, not once has Cashman made a “sell” trade, nor has he picked in the top half of the draft. Every other man ranked here has benefited greatly from playing the long game. Never has Cashman enjoyed an opportunity to do that. The decision to go crazy two winters ago, bringing aboard Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Masahiro Tanaka — as opposed to ramping it down upon the retirement of the Core Four — was driven by ownership, and it also reinforces the considerable financial room for error that Cashman possesses.

What Cashman re-established last winter, though, is he has a pretty good feel for what he’s doing as he tries to balance the Yankees’ short-term and long-term ambitions. The acquisitions of Nathan Eovaldi and Didi Gregorius both look strong, as does the call to let David Robertson go to the White Sox, get the compensation draft pick and sign Andrew Miller for less money; the Yankees now have 15 postseason appearances in Cashman’s reign. And the farm system is producing again after its notable drought. The Yankees probably will never replicate their 1996-2000 postseason success; the Core Four will go down as the best quartet to debut in the same season in the history of professional sports, and the other teams have gotten smarter and richer. Yet Cashman has the Yankees on a track to be back in the mix every season.


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Self-Sustaining System Is Stearns’ Success Plan - BaseballAmerica.com

“The philosophy of building a sustainable playoff team is not a secret,” he said. “You need to acquire, develop and keep controllable, young talent.

“If you look at the sustainably competitive teams throughout the industry, regardless of market size and city, that’s what they have to do.”

Fortunately for Stearns, the Brewers made real progress in that direction before he was hired. By virtue of the team’s last two drafts, in particular their highly regarded 2015 selections, as well as prospects acquired in their July trades, the Brewers’ farm system was transformed in relatively short order from one lacking blue-chip players to one brimming with them.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 11, 2015 at 05:55 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, david stearns, general managers

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Full Count » GM meetings notes: Talks already heating up for Dave Dombrowski, Red Sox

Will this off-season top last year’s off-season?

Still, it sure seems like things are trending toward something happening in the coming days.

“I do,” said Dombrowski when asked if he believed there was more activity than normal at this young stage of the offseason. “People have asked me why, and I’€™m not really sure of that answer, but I do find that.

“We had some of our guys, I asked them to fly in this afternoon to sort of sit down. A couple of our guys said, ‘€˜Wow, we just got here and we’€™re behind,’€™ because we had so many discussions already. I’€™m not really sure why that is. People have speculated different thought process. New general managers being aggressive. I think part of it is the playoff teams were pretty much identified early, except for a couple, so that allowed some of the other clubs to start planning. I think some agents are probably aggressive because they see there’€™s a big number of pitchers out there. Some people speculated yesterday that perhaps it was a situation there’€™s a lot of general manager who aren’€™t tied to the players in their organization as much. I don’€™t know if it’€™s some or all of that, or really what. But I’€™ve had many more conversations, and more serious conversations, earlier than would be the case.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 10, 2015 at 10:21 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: dave dombroski, general managers, gm meetings, red sox

Monday, November 09, 2015

Economics degrees proving helpful for those seeking MLB front-office positions: Zack Meisel’s musings | cleveland.com

First prerequisite to become a GM. Having enough money to work as an unpaid/lowly paid intern to get your foot in the door.

1. Role play: Managers no longer need decades of experience. Front-office bigwigs no longer need a major league playing background. Organizational roles are evolving and with that transformation come new criteria.

The role of a president of baseball operations is becoming more prevalent throughout the game. The Indians promoted Chris Antonetti to the position and elevated Mike Chernoff to general manager at the end of the season. Their responsibilities won’t really change. It’s more of a cosmetic title shift.

Dave Dombrowski holds the same position as Antonetti, but with the Red Sox. Theo Epstein does the same with the Cubs. The same goes for Billy Beane with the Athletics, John Hart with the Braves, Andrew Friedman with the Dodgers, Kenny Williams with the White Sox and Walt Jocketty with the Reds.

2. Office space: Here is Chernoff’s explanation as to why that front-office structure has become more common.

“We want to be providing leadership to this organization,” Chernoff said, “but it’s a huge organization when you think about coaches, players, scouts and front office employees, so there’s so much that goes into the information flow and the leadership challenges that the extra role in most front offices now is just a natural evolution of how much there is to do in the game.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 09, 2015 at 09:54 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: front office, general managers


Sunday, November 08, 2015

Simmons Says: Anthopoulos left Blue Jays’ bank account in great shape | SIMMONS

There were 48 million reasons to keep Alex Anthopoulos, all of them dollars, and by April that number could be closer to $70 million.

That’s how much the Blue Jays took in with ticket and merchandise sales between August and late October — all of that above what was budgeted for. And that’s not counting upcoming Christmas sales and new ticket buyers, all of which will certainly up those numbers for the coming season.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 08, 2015 at 06:58 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: alex anthopoulos, blue jays, general managers

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Rogers: Anthopoulos’s job would have been the same under Shapiro - Sportsnet.ca

Did Anthopoulos jump the gun?

Asked if Anthopoulos, named Sporting News Executive of the Year on Thursday in a vote of his peers, would have had full autonomy and final say on baseball decisions, Rogers quipped: “If you meet a person that in their life has full autonomy I’d love to meet them, I’m not sure that exists.”

Then, turning serious, he replied: “There are two things there. One is the premise that Paul Beeston was some sort of shrinking violet, that he wasn’t fully engaged, is for people that know Paul, quite a silly notion. And I think Mark would have been engaged differently and may have had a different approach or focused on slightly different things, like we all do with different people we work with. But I’d say both people are fully engaged presidents of the Jays, so I think that notion is false. Secondly, and the main thing is, Mark Shapiro hasn’t started yet, Mark starts on Monday, so we tried to ease (Anthopoulos’s) mind by, beyond having a contract length for a long period, also giving him an offer that if he wasn’t satisfied within one year, he could exit gracefully and be released from his contract.

“When you speculate about the future and what will happen it’s impossible, I think you’ve got to work with a person for somewhere between many weeks and many months, go through cycles and go through business events, trades, to see how people work and complement each other. Our notion was let’s try it for a year and see if that would have worked.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 01, 2015 at 07:39 AM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: alex anthopoulos, blue jays, general managers

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Inside Baseball: Personality clash led to Anthopoulos’ gutsy call; more notes - CBSSports.com

But while everyone was surprised anyone would have the guts to turn down a guaranteed $10 million or more when all the other GM jobs are filled and nothing else comparable is available, some did wonder whether this was an odd pairing that ever made sense. Shapiro is highly structured and “all about process,” according to former co-workers, while Anthopoulos is seen as a frenetic mile-a-minute thinker and mover who can seem all over the map at times.

Anthopoulos is also all about bold moves, and this is just another one of them. While he may seem scattershot, he often ends up in the right place. This may be for the best for two very different people.

Anthopoulos only said it wasn’t the right “fit,” leaving much to the imagination. But the reality is, he didn’t feel he’d be able to work comfortably with Shapiro, according to people familiar with the situation.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 31, 2015 at 11:06 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, general managers, notes

Friday, October 30, 2015

Blue Jays ownership responsible for this ridiculous ending: Arthur | Toronto Star

Ed didn’t mention the terms, though. Anthopoulos wasn’t going to accept being anything less than the general manager of this team. Would you? He built a top-four team in baseball, so of course that’s how he felt. That’s why he left.

Shapiro, meanwhile, wanted control. Wouldn’t you? The consensus in baseball was that Shapiro had been pushed upstairs from the GM job in Cleveland after 65- and 69-win seasons. Running the business operations of the Cleveland Indians — 29th, 29th, 28th, 29th, 24th and 30th in attendance the past six years — doesn’t seem like the job of a lifetime. Shortly after he was hired by the Jays, word began filtering through baseball that Shapiro was telling people he couldn’t wait to get back into player personnel. You can be sure Rogers gave him that power.

And that’s where it broke. In a face-to-face meeting with the senior members of the Jays’ front office, Shapiro said he strongly disagreed with some of the deadline choices that sent prospects out. The initial contract offer to Anthopoulos, according to an official who was briefed on the talks, was a two-year deal, with the second year an option.

It was an insult. By the time Rogers tried to give Anthopoulos a five-year contract, it was already too late.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 30, 2015 at 06:15 AM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: alex anthopoulos, blue jays, general managers

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Marlins dismiss general manager Dan Jennings | marlins.com

Take one for the team. Now get out.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 29, 2015 at 07:44 PM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: dan jennings, general managers, managers, marlins

Inside Baseball: Humble Moore takes unusual route to become top GM - CBSSports.com

I’m in the middle of Moore’s book right now. As often happens analysts oversimplify the approaches of the people they write about. Moore is much more complex than the caricatures he’s drawn as.

While Moore may not be a sabermetric expert (though he is very proud of the Royals’ saber department, which includes an MIT man, a Columbia man and a Vanderbilt/Notre Dame man, and they’re taking them all out to fields to make them more well-rounded), he may well be the best leader in the game. The entire organization seems to love him. And that isn’t true everywhere, of course.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 29, 2015 at 07:07 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: dayton moore, general managers, notes, royals

Monday, October 26, 2015

Ben Cherington accepts position at Columbia University - Over the Monster

Any owner with the patience of the owners in Houston or Kansas City couldn’t do better than having Ben Cherington in charge of baseball operations.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 26, 2015 at 02:25 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: general managers, red sox

Phils’ new GM comes highly recommended

Meet the Phillies new Assistant General Manager. Matt Klentak

Jim Furtado Posted: October 26, 2015 at 11:09 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: general managers, matt klentak, phillies

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