General Managers Newsbeat
Saturday, February 25, 2017
Some good quotes in this piece.
Jerry Dipoto, Seattle Mariners: “You always want a plan, and we’ve not varied. Our roster has varied, but the plan we instituted the day I took the job has… I don’t want to say it’s come to fruition, but this is about as close as we’ve been to that. We wanted to control the strike zone, we wanted to be more athletic, we wanted to be deeper on the pitcher’s mound, and we wanted to improve our overall organizational depth in our minor-league system. To some extent, we’ve accomplished all of those things. Now we have to see if it actually results in wins on the field.
“To me, the middle ground, say 80 wins, isn’t the place to be. But I will say this: having gone through rebuilds with two different franchises — once as a player, and then as an executive — it isn’t very comfortable. It’s an exciting time to be a scout, and sometimes it’s enjoyable to be in player development, but it’s hard to rebuild. It’s hard to put the fan base through that.
“With all the young players we have, we don’t feel we’re operating in a small window. We feel we’ve added enough sustainable young players that can add to that core, and help us win now, and help us open a window that can stay open.”
Posted: February 25, 2017 at 08:43 AM | 0 comment(s)
Saturday, February 18, 2017
“I would probably say I should have stuck to my gut — although I think Shelby Miller is going to be everything I thought he was going to be when I traded for him,” Stewart said Wednesday on MLB Network Radio. “But my gut that whole time said I should not move Dansby Swanson.
A boy genius for you. A boy genius for you. Boy geniuses for EVERYBODY!!
Monday, February 13, 2017
Why not also add in a “college of coaches”?
The setup is somewhat different. In November both were named senior vice presidents, with Neander also the general manager, and both are working under baseball operations president Matt Silverman, giving the Rays, in essence, a three-headed department.
“It is a unique structure,” Silverman said. “But it works because of the uniqueness of their paths and the relationship they’ve been able to form over a decade.”
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
“You’ve got a thousand little things that go into it, even when you feel like you’ve got a pretty good sense of your ballclub,” said one executive. “How long a tenure does the general manager have, and how long is his current contract? How stable and consistent and long-term looking is the ownership? How have the last five years been? The last ten? What’s the current season ticket base? There’s just so many different factors, and there is a huge wide spectrum of thought on each of those issues.”
Posted: January 25, 2017 at 06:40 AM | 1 comment(s)
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
It’s tough to think outside the box when you all occupy the same box.
“That’s where your internal process is important — how you evaluate, and not only the players you have, but also the type of development process you have. You’ve got to have people that don’t think alike all the time. Group-think isn’t always a good thing in an organization. You want people who are willing to play devil’s advocate and push your internal convention. If you’ve got that, you’re hopefully setting yourself up to make good decisions.
“It’s important to have principles, and it’s important to have a plan and a strategy, but you also need to have a common-sense approach. And there’s only so much you can do during the season. Unless you have completely unlimited funds, which maybe one or two teams in the league have, it’s very difficult to change your stripes in any one season.”
Saturday, December 10, 2016
Some great insights into MLB front offices by Eno Harris.
“We were in an era where a lot of great statistical analysis was being done on the internet,” one respondent reminisced, “but now the internet is far behind right now due to the proprietary data the teams have.”
There was some brain drain, as many of yesterday’s blogging analysts now pepper front offices, such as Houston’s Mike Fast and Chicago’s Jeremy Greenhouse, among others. But if more data were available, this baseball person was sure that the public would produce another crop of great analysts: “Today’s people could be there, but they’ve got one hand tied behind their back—teamwork is so much richer.”
Friday, November 11, 2016
What’s the next zag?
“When people begin to value players much more similarly across the industry, the ability to find value disappears or greatly decreases,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. “There’s no question that teams are looking at player evaluation much more similarly than they were five years ago.”
Posted: November 11, 2016 at 10:17 AM | 14 comment(s)
Thursday, November 10, 2016
“I’ve met with them,” Boras said Wednesday at the general managers’ meetings. “As far as the brain trust part of it, I think they’re well intact.”
Boras has far more experience negotiating contracts with Twins GM Thad Levine from his days with the Texas Rangers than with fast-rising chief baseball officer Derek Falvey, formerly the assistant GM with the Cleveland Indians. But as a combination, they seemed to hit it off with Boras here this week.
“I think it’s going to be an exciting new process, a very different process than what’s been before,” Boras said. “I think they’re men that have a very clear idea of what they want to do.”
Posted: November 10, 2016 at 06:45 AM | 5 comment(s)
Wednesday, November 09, 2016
Rumor: Yankees have reached out to free-agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes’ agency
Why it makes sense: Cespedes, a top right-handed bat who hit .280 with 31 homers in 2016, would slot in perfectly alongside lefties Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner in the Yankees’ outfield. Cespedes’ 132 wRC+ ranked sixth among Major League outfielders, he’s hit 30-plus homers in back-to-back seasons, and 20-plus in each of his five in the big leagues. Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks, the Yankees’ two likeliest third-outfielder options, struggled this season, and Cespedes is a star.
Why it doesn’t: Cespedes went into the All-Star break hitting .302, but by the end of the season, his average dropped thanks to a .246 second half in which he was hampered by nagging injuries. Bringing in Cespedes could also stall the Yankees’ youth movement, limiting the chances Judge or even Tyler Austin might get in the outfield.
Posted: November 09, 2016 at 07:13 AM | 17 comment(s)
Tuesday, November 08, 2016
On the first day of the GM Meetings on Monday, general manager Billy Eppler said he’s on the lookout for a player to plug that hole.
Although he’s not publicly ruling out the internal options — Kaleb Cowart, Cliff Pennington — the Angels plan is to get an everyday second baseman via trade or free agency.
“We have guys who have played second base on the roster, but no one who has played 120 to 130 games (in a season) to date at second base,” Eppler said. “That would be nice to find, but if we can’t, we have candidates internally who can shore up the position.”
Eppler also conceded that, in a perfect world, he would get a left-handed hitter, or a switch-hitter, to play second, because the Angels lineup leans heavily to the right.
The free agent market is more like a flea market this season.
“We should be players, whether it’s in the free agent or trade market, we should be players,” Coppolella said. “Because we will have money to spend.”
Monday, November 07, 2016
Of course, then comes the purge.
So what did Hazen learn about that transition?
“Do a lot of listening. Try to meet with as many people as you can and get their thoughts,” he said. “We’re looking at it from across the country, so it’s more about gathering the opinions of that staff that’s been here and what they think went wrong and then maybe layering over some objective opinions on that as well to hopefully figure out a way to turn it around.”
That echoes what Hazen said impressed him most about Dombrowski last winter.
“The way he’s empowered a staff that he’s inherited is probably the thing I respect the most,” Hazen said about Dombrowski last January.
How will they be better than other front offices?
Falvey and Levine, who both got five-year contracts, were introduced at a news conference later Monday morning. The two are part of the wave of baseball executives who place an emphasis on analytics, but Falvey said, “We will have a commitment to understanding metrics but we’ll always be making human decisions.”
Said Levine: “In the healthiest decisionmaking cycles, analytics plays a meaningful role but not a decisive role … [analytics] will be infused in every decision we make. It’s something we will infuse throughout our organization. It’s a piece of the puzzle.”
Falvey added: “We want to be evidence based. It doesn’t just come from analytics or numbers … also scouting information, medical information … it’s a marriage of all that information.”
Posted: November 07, 2016 at 02:15 PM | 2 comment(s)
Friday, November 04, 2016
The reliever market gets more expensive every day.
“The bullpen will be interesting to see how it comes together,” Williams said. “The market is going to make it challenging. There is not a ton of options available, and there are a lot of teams talking about needing bullpen help right now. We just have to be careful that we don’t get swept up in a market that is overheated. We’ll monitor that market and try to find value.”
Creative bullpen management was in focus throughout the postseason, with managers not being afraid to go to their setup men in the middle innings and closers as early as the seventh to finish games while throwing 40-50 pitches.
Wednesday, November 02, 2016
I don’t like the purge at Fenway.
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
The exodus of talent leaving the Red Sox over the last year does not fill me with hope.
The Diamondbacks’ new-look front office continued to take shape Monday with the addition of Red Sox executive Amiel Sawdaye, who will become the club’s senior vice president and assistant general manager, a source said Monday night.
Sawdaye, who has been with the Red Sox since 2002, will be the second in command to new General Manager Mike Hazen. The two overlapped in Boston for 11 years.
Sawdaye ran the amateur draft for the Red Sox from 2010 to 2014, during which time the club selected Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Blake Swihart and Matt Barnes, among others. He spent the past two years as vice president of amateur and international scouting.
Sunday, October 23, 2016
Exciting times for Cubs fans.
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Thursday, October 20, 2016
Does he still have credibility with other GMs?
Monday, October 17, 2016
Sunday, October 09, 2016
In his case, it looks like prudent judgement.
But while the ownership involvement and the obvious volatility (they’re about to hire their seventh GM in 13 years) are potential issues, the Arizona GM job is still seen as desirable by many. To reports about candidates being turned off by the seeming instability, one interested party who hasn’t been mentioned yet opined, “That’s BS. There are only 30 of these jobs.”
Thursday, October 06, 2016
I’ve argued in the past for the idea of “emergent WAR,” which is the idea of teams deriving value, not from individual contributions, but from the ways in which the parts of the roster can interact with one another. For example, putting a groundball-heavy pitcher in front of a good infield defense can be worth several hits turned into outs, and turning a hit into an out is worth roughly three-quarters of a run each time you do it. A good GM could have the wherewithal to execute a plan to gather those players together. These specific ideas (catcher framing, putting a groundball staff in front of a great infield) may not be earth shattering any more, but there are more of those out there, and they can easily be worth the amount of value it would take to justify a salary like $10 million per year, even if a GM only has one or two of them in his pocket.
The GM has to be the organizing emergent principle behind a front office. The much-discussed “rapidly expanding front office” is actually a nod to the fact that no one person can do everything that needs doing. That’s not a slam on them, that’s just the way things are. There has to be one person who can aggregate all of that knowledge and those little advantages and turn it into a coherent actionable whole. Someone who can understand why the statistical thing is important and why the scouting thing is needed and why we’re even talking about the player development thing. Without that, a front office is just a bunch of people making noise.
With that emergent organizing principle in place, a baseball team is a living, breathing organism that is more than the sum of its parts. That’s where the GM makes his money. A baseball team is such a complex organism and the skill set it takes to run one well, while not impossible to find, isn’t easy either. There are probably plenty of people who can approximate it, but very few who can do it exceptionally well, and the spaces in between really could be worth the kinds of millions that executives are starting to be paid.
Sure, the 31st-best general manager in baseball knows a lot more about baseball than everyone who is currently reading this article. But there’s a lot of room to grow. We see that in the 30 GMs who are currently employed. And yeah, it’s not unreasonable to think that the best GM in baseball is worth a win or two more than that 31st guy.
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