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Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Baseball Historian: The Cardinals Way: A Review

I’ve read about a third of the book and I’m enjoying it very much.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Arizona Diamondbacks’ GM, wife navigate unique situation

Among those competing for a roster spot are catcher Chris Herrmann and reliever Enrique Burgos. Both are former clients of Stewart, the club’s GM. Both are current clients of Murray, the GM’s wife.

shoewizard Posted: March 29, 2016 at 10:05 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: agents, diamondbacks, general, general managers, legal

Monday, March 28, 2016

Ruben Amaro Jr. reflects on time with Phillies | phillies.com

Members of the new Phillies’ regime have said the analytics system was way more advanced than they had anticipated, based on nothing more than the world’s outside perception of it.

If that is true, then why did the Phillies try to seem so unanalytical at times?

“We didn’t think it was all that important for us to have to advertise what we were doing,” Amaro said. “Why do we have to advertise what we do? Am I doing it to save my job or what? We were a little behind I think with some of the analytics. The reality of it is we won without the analytics. We had the best team in baseball without the analytics … a full analytics core. Could we have been better? Maybe. There’s always ways to improve, but that’s probably why I’m in a uniform now.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 28, 2016 at 09:35 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: general managers, phillies, ruben amaro jr.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The day the direction of the Padres changed | SanDiegoUnionTribune.com

The story gets better.

Preller was the quirky, baseball savant who showed up for interviews with a nondescript spiral notebook that Peter Seidler, the franchise’s lead investor, described as the kind you’d pick up at a Target with “scribbles and notes at all these weird angles.”

Other finalists, by contrast, surrounded themselves with leather-bound notepads, Power Point presentations and unmistakable polish.

Preller, though, had climbed into final contention for the job with Yankees Assistant GM Billy Eppler, now GM of the Anaheim Angels and reportedly Dee’s initial pick. The candidate with the no-ego notebook requested one more sit-down as he scouted an area high school tournament.

“I told him I’d meet him one last time, just as a kind of courtesy, because he was so good throughout the process,” Dee said. “He basically blew me away. When I said, if we don’t go with you because of this concern or that concern, he was just like an attorney cross-examining. He basically mitigated every concern.

“I got back to San Diego at 5 a.m. and called (Chairman) Ron Fowler at 8 a.m. I said, ‘I had a change of heart overnight.’ We have to hire A.J.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 22, 2016 at 03:22 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: a.j. preller, general managers, padres

Monday, March 07, 2016

Interview With Former GM and Baseball Lifer Dan Evans

Evan had an opportunity to work alongside former Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos for the past few years, Evans spoke about the work ethic of Anthopoulos.

“Alex has as much passion as anyone I have ever worked with, and he has an unrivalled capacity for work. A good friend of mine dubbed me The Energizer Bunny a few years ago, but Alex wins the gold medal in energy. I have immense respect for his character and creativity, and appreciated how he fully immersed himself, reading every report. We chatted when he took the Dodgers’ position, and I know that he will definitely make a positive contribution to a franchise that I have a ton of respect for. I wish him the best, but my focus and goal is trying to win the 2016 World Series with the Blue Jays.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 07, 2016 at 07:00 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: dan evans, general managers

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Jeff Bridich sees no point predicting when Rockies turn corner 

Asked why he has not publicly stated when be believes the Rockies might actually have a window of opportunity to begin winning, Bridich replied:

“What’s the point? Why limit ourselves? So if I were to come out and say something that’s pleasing to the ear of you, or a fan here or a fan there, and I say, ‘We’re not going to win for X.’ So what? What’s the point of doing that?

It’s about people. It’s about process. And it’s about how well can we do that together. If a lot of that or most of that comes together for us this year, wonderful. Why say something where it’s got to happen X number of months and years in the future, where really a lot of good things can happen this year. I just don’t see the point.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 27, 2016 at 07:21 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: general managers, jeff bridich, rockies

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Tom Ricketts plans to make Theo Epstein baseball’s highest paid executive - Chicago Tribune

Why can’t the Red Sox get a general manager like Theo who can blend scouting and analytics well?

Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts understands the price of success.

In this case, he appears prepared to make President Theo Epstein the highest paid executive in major league baseball.

“He’s the best at what he does in the game,” Ricketts told reporters after addressing Cubs players before the first full-squad workout.

“And from a compensation standpoint, it should be reflected. We’re generally on the same page. We spend a lot of time together, not just on the contract.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 25, 2016 at 06:18 AM | 53 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, general managers, theo epstein

Friday, February 19, 2016


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Indians General Manager Mike Chernoff continues to carve out role in baseball world - Indians - Ohio

A lot of good stuff in this article.

It is in this goal that Chernoff finds his place in the Indians’ front office as the de factor second-in-command to Antonetti. He is an organizer, a representer and an evaluator.

“[Antonetti] and I have been working side-by-side for 12 years. We’ve gotten really close and know each other’s styles really well,” Chernoff said. “Chris is leading decisions and he gets this intense focus on that process. I’ve often found my role to be to go out, gather a lot of input and ideas, generate new ideas and look at it from different angles. I tend to have some emotion and passion for what I’m advocating for. Chris is a really good balance for that. Those styles complement each other. Hopefully, sometimes I bring some of that to the table in our discussions.”

The information revolution in baseball over the past decade has created a need for streamlined systems of organization. Synthesizing data is as crucial as it has ever been. More data, viewpoints and ways to break down the game means a higher chance of disorganization and crucial information getting lost in the fray. Chernoff is a facilitator of data to take to Antonetti as a means to better make a more informed decision rather than relying on incomplete information, which recently has become an increasingly present issue for teams when any player could have half a dozen indicators of future performance all pointing in different directions.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 14, 2016 at 07:18 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: general managers, indians, mike chernoff

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

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